The Two Rivers Giving Circle—named for the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers—brings together committed, concerned and charitable citizens to focus on local conservation and preservation grantmaking in the Eastern Panhandle.
The following is an update on the 2014 Two Rivers Giving Circle Grant to the Jefferson County Black History Preservation Society. This highly effective nonprofit organization received a $2,100 grant to cover some of the costs related to preparation for the interpretation of the Webb-Blessing House. George Rutherford stopped by the Community Foundation office recently with a beautifully completed Grant Report, great photos, and amazing stories about how the Two Rivers Grant had a snowball effect on the program.
The members of the JCBHP Society used the $2,100 grant to remove the old electrical wiring, remove the flaking paint, apply paint to the windows and walls in the house and paint the smokehouse, but more importantly, the grant opened lines of communication with Shepherd University and other Charles Town organizations. Former Shepherd University President Suzanne Shipley and several professors toured the Webb-Blessing House, which led to students from Shepherd University conducting 18 recorded interviews that will be placed in the Shepherdstown Museum. American Public University has provided funding for the development of an exhibit for the building, and the Dolly Madison Garden Club has agreed to take on the back yard as one of their pet projects.
George mentioned that prior to receiving the grant, the members of the JCBHP Society had been considering mothballing the Webb-Blessing House in the hope that younger folks would take on the project (George is 79 and the two Jims are in their 80s). Upon receiving the grant, they refocused their efforts and accomplished more in one year than they hoped to get done in five years. And, according to George, it made them feel young again. To learn more about the Two Rivers Giving Circle, or to become a member, please download our Two Rivers Giving Circle Membership Flyer.
You can download the Two Rivers Giving Circle Grant Application here.
Programs and projects that are eligible for funding include:
Safeguarding Habitat: Protection of habitat is critical to the preservation of biodiversity. Focus is placed on buffer zones, wildlife areas, watersheds, and functioning ecosystems.
Children and Nature: Education and involvement of the next generation is extremely important. Programs that address youth activism, knowledge, hands-on activity, and physical movement.
Saving Panhandle Treasures: We all have a deep caring for our countryside and heritage. Initiatives that provide increased protection of historic, cultural, and pastoral places in the Panhandle.
Waste and Recycling: Efforts that catalyze underserved recycling efforts, promote effective household waste treatment and deter non-point source pollution in the Panhandle.
Energy Conservation: Initiatives that promote increasing energy conservation and decreasing consumption behaviors in our Panhandle community.
Growing the Movement: Programs that engage, organize, and empower new constituencies who add to the advancement of programs through volunteerism and leadership that lead to new ways of thinking and acting.
Previous Years’ Grants
More than $50,000 in grants to local nonprofit organizations has been funded by the Two Rivers Giving Circle since its inception in 2008. To support the grantmaking, members of the giving circle each contribute at least $500 annually. Twenty percent of the annual gift is dedicated to building an endowment at the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation. During the past eight years, the Two Rivers Giving Circle Fund has grown to just over $52,000. A list of the grants that have been funded follows:
$2,000 – Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission for stabilization of the historic Cement Mill Site.
$1,300 – Potomac Riverkeeper Network for North Mountain Stormwater Assessment in Berkeley County near Gerrardstown.
$2,500 – Potomac Valley Audubon Society for assistance with signage and marketing the new Cool Spring Preserve property in south Jefferson County.
$1,220 – Spring Mills Middle School for an environmentally friendly water bottle refill system with a water cooler and reusable water bottles.
$ 850 – Wind Dance Farm & Earth Education Center for field trip bus transportation to the Morgan County environmental education facility.
$2,500 – Berkeley County Historical Society for an archive computer, supplies and other equipment.
$1,675 – Cacapon Institute for Potomac Headwaters Leaders of Watersheds (PHLOW) – conservation, education, and tree planting program in the Eastern Panhandle.
$2,000 – Historic Shepherdstown Commission for continued repairs to the stone walls at the Shepherd Family Graveyard.
$2,000 – Jefferson County Black Historic Preservation Society to cover partial expenses to install a backyard garden and brick patio at the historic Webb-Blessing house.
$1,500 – Historic Shepherdstown Commission for Graveyard stone wall repairs
$2,100 – Jefferson County Black History Preservation Society Webb Blessing House Interpretation
$ 500 – Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission digitizing GeoExplorer project
$1,000 – North American Bushcraft School to help toward the construction of an Outdoor Classroom
$1,500 – Potomac Valley Audubon Society Stauffer’s Marsh wetlands education for students
$1,500 – Town of Bath StreetScapes Green Infrastructure construction on Washington Street
$ 900 – Wind Dance Farm & Earth Education for three bus field trips to the facility
$3,000 — CraftWorks at Cool Spring for establishing a roughly six-acre native grassland bird habitat
$360 — Eastern Panhandle Free Clinic for drug disposal boxes to keep old drugs out of the watershed
$1,000 — Shepherd University for restoration of windows (and workshop) in historic property on campus
$3,000 — Warm Springs Watershed Assoc. for installing kiosks in wetlands near Berkeley Springs High School
$3,488.23 — Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission to support digitizing materials for historic preservation.
$1,192 — Jefferson County Museum to support a new project called “History à la carte” to promote children’s interest in history.
$1,000 — Morgan Arts Council to support “Water, Ecology, and Nature” artist program for schools and summer camp.
$1,000 — Martinsburg Library to support “This Land is Your Land”, an environmental awaremess program for children.
$1,000 — Potomac Valley Audubon Society to support design, purchase, and installation of interpretive signs for Stauffer’s Marsh.
$360 — Charles Town Health Right, Inc. to support a safe drug disposal program.
$1,694.85 — Shepherd University and its Historic Preservation Program to sponsor hand-on experiential learning for students in restoration of area historic graves and graveyards.
$2,500 — Potomac Valley Audubon Society to seed a “Wee Naturalist” conservation-education program offered in preschools in Jefferson and Berkeley Counties.
$2,500 — Morgan County Solid Waste Authority to offset costs for glass recycling in that county.
$2,500 — Berkeley County Historical Society to purchase storage units for historic documents.
$2,000 — Shepherd University in partnership with Shepherdstown Elementary School to develop a two-day scavenger hunt for fifth-graders. The program integrates photography with local architecture, natural sites and historic places in the Shepherdstown area.
$993.95 — Warm Springs Watershed Association based in Berkeley Springs to design, print and distribute a new informational brochure about local watershed importance and protection.
$2,000 — Craftworks at Cool Spring to launch a citizen-based invasive species education and management program in Jefferson County.
$500 — Friends Wilderness Center to offset costs for materials for repair and renovation of a tree house retreat center.
$2,000 — Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission to purchase a computer server for the GeoExplorer project to enable local citizens online access to historic records.
$1,500 — Potomac Valley Audubon Society to seed a new in-school environmental education program for 2nd graders in select area schools.
$1,500 — Berkeley Springs High School AP Environmental Science Class to establish a school-wide recycling program.
$1,500 — Martinsburg-Berkeley County Library to help support an after-school ecology club program in the children’s library.
$800 — American Conservation Film Festival to support a photographic safari for children at the group’s annual film festival.
$2,021.97 — Elks Run Study Committee to help build outreach and communication to local citizens regarding the importance of Elks Run Stream and its watershed.
$2,175 — Morgan County Solid Waste Authority to assist with the purchase of equipment to open and operate a permanent recycling center to serve Morgan County.
$2,125 — Potomac Valley Audubon Society to help develop and offer a new pre-school program at the Yankauer Nature Preserve.
Home page photo: Dean @ the Bednbiskit