The Eastern WV Community Foundation recently awarded $116,100 in scholarships, the majority of which were presented to 73 Eastern Panhandle students during the annual Scholars & Donors Reception, held at the Purple Iris in Martinsburg. EWVCF President Lisa Welch welcomed the students, parents, and fund donors to the outdoor reception held under the big tent on a beautiful spring day.
Rotary Club of Martinsburg President Amanda Vance Giangola, a 2006 Musselman High graduate and a recipient of the EWVCF Dr. N. Blaine Grover Rotary Scholarship, was the guest speaker. Amanda shared stories about her favorite teachers, degrees she earned from Shepherd University, and how grateful she is to be able to live, work, and raise a family in the area where she grew up. Several donors who established funds in memory of loved ones were on hand to award the scholarship certificates to the students and Amanda presented the 2019 Dr. N. Blaine Groves Rotary Scholarship to Spring Mills High School senior Kaitlyn Radar.
Scholarship coordinator Karin Hammann Dunn kept the program moving along nicely, and still took time to introduce all the students and share a little information gleaned from the “Top 10 Things About Me” they wrote as part of the application process. A record forty scholarship funds presented awards in 2019 and although most of the students will be attending a West Virginia based college or university, several are heading out of state, with one attending Columbia University and another heading off to Vassar College.
Scholarships from the Community Foundation generally range between $500 and $5,000 each and several students received awards from more than one scholarship fund. EWVCF Executive Director Michael Whalton explained how the Community Foundation invests donations they receive and the grants and scholarships that are awarded each year are derived from investment gains. Nearly $1 million in grants and scholarships are awarded annually by the Community Foundation and by focusing on long-term growth, the organization will be able to present scholarships in perpetuity.
The Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation (EWVCF) was established in 1995 to help donors create permanent endowments to provide grants and scholarships throughout the region. Since its inception, EWVCF has awarded $9.8 million, including $1 million in 2018 alone. The Community Foundation now holds more than 230 endowed funds with assets of just over $25 million and it is the leading steward of philanthropic giving in the region. EWVCF works with a wide range of nonprofit organizations providing funding for projects from human welfare and scholarships to affordable housing and natural resources conservation; youth and education to animal welfare and historic preservation, and much more.