The Alleghany Foundation Announces Grants

The Alleghany Foundation’s latest round of grants provides support for endeavors that range from recycling efforts to firefighting assistance, from wellness for students in area schools to a children’s reading initiative, and for two projects that help further the VISION 2025 Initiative.

Seven organizations benefitted from grants totaling $510,821. The grants encompass the timeframe of June 2018 through March 2019.

Grant recipients include the Alleghany Fire & Rescue Association, the Alleghany Highlands Arts & Crafts Center, Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation, Alleghany Highlands YMCA, the city of Covington, Jackson River Enterprises and a collaboration between Alleghany County and Covington City schools.

“It is always exciting to be able to announce grant awards from The Alleghany Foundation that support important efforts in the community,” said R. Meade Snyder, president of The Alleghany Foundation Board of Directors.

Snyder added, “A couple of things stand out about grants awarded over the past 10 months. First, there is a diverse group of community and local government organizations who are each working to provide important services and projects to improve the well-being of our region. Second, most of the organizations seeking funding asked for funds to match other contributions or grants that support their work. The Alleghany Foundation is proud to support these organizations and also wants to recognize the other donors in the community who respond to the many efforts to raise money by the respective organizations and their board members.”

Jackson River Enterprises in Covington received $184,375 for its day support initiative and expanded community support. The day support initiative is designed to replace lost revenue brought about by state policy changes.

JRE will also use a portion of the grant to update its recycling program.

“All of us at JRE are grateful for the grant received from The Alleghany Foundation,” said Russell Updike, chairman of the board at JRE. “Despite the hard work of our leadership, staff and dedicated clients, JRE has faced numerous challenges in the past few years.

“The timely assistance from the foundation will afford JRE additional time to adapt to drastically changing economic conditions related to the recycling industry,” Updike added. “We intend to take advantage of this grant to restructure our recycling program so that we can continue to provide cost-effective services to the residents of the Alleghany Highlands.”

By implementing the day support program, JRE will once again be able to bill for services that Medicaid waiver clients receive. Also by providing basic computer skills, daily life skills — laundry, hygiene and cooking — and education, JRE officials believe the program will attract other wavier clients in the area.

“The Alleghany Foundation has been instrumental in our existence going back to when JRE acquired the property at 825 West Edgemont Drive with the assistance of a grant,” said JRE CEO Todd Anderson. “Without the ongoing support of the foundation, I doubt the people we serve would have the employment opportunities they do. The foundation really is a lifeline for the deserving and dedicated clients we serve who are the heart and soul of our organization.”

The Alleghany County-Covington City Schools Health and Wellness Clinic is a project that will extend for one year the school health project funded in part by The Alleghany Foundation for the last 20 years while, at the same time, enabling the school health project to explore ways going forward to improve health outcomes for students, staff and families.

When initiated, this model program provided health services to students in both Alleghany County and Covington City Public Schools.  Medical needs of students in both school divisions continue to increase in complexity with more chronic health conditions existing in addition to the number of medically-fragile and special needs students.

“On behalf of the joint school efforts, Covington City Public Schools is appreciative of the recently-awarded Alleghany Foundation grant to continue the school nursing program for another year under the direction of the school nurse coordinator and administrative assistant positions,” said Melinda Snead-Johnson, superintendent of Covington City Public Schools. “We are also very excited to explore the expansion of the current nursing clinics to include wellness models of providing support to our students.”

“Good health and wellness are the foundation of expanding learning opportunities for our students,” she added.

Also adding to the health and safety of the community, the Alleghany Fire & Rescue Association received $49,106 for 40 sets of structural firefighting clothing.

Eight fire departments — Boiling Springs, Clifton Forge, Covington, Dunlap, Falling Spring, Iron Gate, Selma and Sharon — each will receive five sets.

“The protective clothing that firefighters wear is a basic necessity required for them to perform the services that they provide for our citizens,” said Ryan Muterspaugh, director of public safety for Alleghany County.  It allows firefighters to approach and/or enter a fire and extinguish it.  It also allows firefighters to search for and rescue victims, while providing protection against the weather when services are needed for instances other than fighting fire.  “Making sure that our volunteers have equipment that meets current standards is paramount for their safety,” Mutispaugh added.

Turnout gear, as well as air packs and breathing units, are expensive and ongoing needs for community fire departments. Due to recent changes in regulations, insurance will not cover accidents to a firefighter using turnout gear that is over 10 years old.

“On behalf of the county and the fire departments, I want to thank The Alleghany Foundation for their contribution and support of emergency services in the Alleghany Highlands,” Muterspaugh concluded.

The Alleghany Highlands YMCA received $18,840 over two years to support its Dolly Parton Imagination Library program. The goal of this early childhood literacy project is to put books in the hands of children who do not have access to reading materials.

Research indicates that far too many children enter school unprepared. When these children begin school, they tend to fall further and further behind. The Dolly Parton Imagination Library is a proven program for improving literacy and overall school performance, especially for the most disadvantaged segments of the population.

By making books and early literacy activities available to the Alleghany Highlands, overall development will be positively affected for an average of 535 children under the age of five.

“The Y is happy to be a part of this effort to encourage reading at an early age,” said Alleghany Highlands YMCA CEO Jennifer Unroe. “According to the National Commission of Reading, ‘The single most significant factor influencing a child’s early educational success is an introduction to books and being read to at home prior to beginning school.’ Reading with a parent or caregiver also helps children develop emotionally and socially and creates those strong bonds that are just as important as reading.”

Mrs. Unroe encourages anyone interested in contributing to this program or enrolling a child in this program to contact her at or (540) 962-9622.

Grant recipients associated with VISION 2025 strategies include the Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation, $28,500 for business development classes and mentoring; and the city of Covington, $45,000 for Phase I of its Jackson River Sport Complex Paper Trail.

Since 2013, The Alleghany Foundation has been a partner with the Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Tourism (the Chamber), the Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation (AHEDC) and Dabney S. Lancaster Community College to develop and launch a 12-year community revitalization effort that is called VISION 2025.

This approach started with five community-based working groups that focus on a range of needs — from curb appeal and community cleanup and landscaping to entrepreneurship and tourism/heritage-asset development to industrial site development.

“Our community recognizes that its revitalization is dependent on a mix of strategies that are being deployed in addition to the core work of our many excellent non-profits and local government entities,” said Mary Fant Donnan, executive director of The Alleghany Foundation.  Through its grant, the AHEDC will be working with The Advancement Foundation and the Chamber to offer the Gauntlet in the spring of 2019.  The Gauntlet is a 9-week mix of entrepreneurship classes plus mentoring and an opportunity to participate in a business plan competition.

Covington Parks and Recreation Director Allen Dressler said he was very excited to receive a $45,000 grant that will go toward the development of the Paper Trail project at the Jackson River Sport Complex.

“We have been able to ‘rough in’ our trail, do extensive work to the trailhead and clearing for development of upscale camping and potential ‘tiny house’ development near the trail,” Dressler explained. “The Alleghany Foundation has been critical to the start of this exciting project.

“We are hopeful by late summer that this grant, along with DCR, VDOT and the city of Covington, funding will allow us to develop an exciting interpretive trail experience, access to the Jackson River and lay the groundwork for future overnight stays along the trail and at the complex,” Dressler concluded.

The Alleghany Highlands YMCA also received $50,000 in the latest round of grants for its 2019 annual campaign matching funds. Additionally, the Alleghany Highlands Arts & Crafts Center received a fundraising match of $35,000.

“Combined with grants awarded earlier in 2018, the total of new commitments made in 2018 and early 2019 was $1,403,375,” Donnan said. “These awards are part of $2,421,419 in funds currently committed to efforts underway in the community that will take place in 2019 and over the next couple of years.”

For a complete list of grantees, visit the foundation’s website at

About the Alleghany Foundation: The Alleghany Foundation was established in 1995 in Covington with $35 million in proceeds from the sale of Alleghany Regional Hospital. The foundation’s vision is to be a resource for and partner with eligible organizations to make the Alleghany Highlands a civically engaged, prosperous region that builds upon its assets to produce opportunities for its residents.

The total annual awards from The Alleghany Foundation now add up to more than $51 million.

For more information about the foundation, visit

June 2018 – March 2019
(Focus Area Indicated in Parenthesis)

  • Alleghany County – Alleghany Fire & Rescue Association Structural Firefighting Clothing, $49,106
    (Health & Wellness)
  • Alleghany Highlands Arts and Crafts Center – Generating Initiatives – Fundraising Match, $35,000
    (Community Capacity)
  • Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation – The Innovation/Main Street – Alleghany Highlands Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, $28,500
    (Economic Transformation)
  • Alleghany Highlands YMCA – Dolly Parton Imagination Library Program, $18,840
    (Educational Attainment)
  • Alleghany Highlands YMCA – 2019 Annual Campaign Matching Funds, $50,000
    (Health & Wellness)
  • City of Covington – Jackson River Sport Complex Paper Trail Phase 1, $45,000
    (Health & Wellness)
  • Jackson River Enterprises – JRE Day Support Initiative & Expanded Community Support, $184,375
    (Community Capacity)
  • Joint School Systems – Alleghany County and Covington City Public Schools – Joint Schools Health & Wellness Clinic, $100,000
    (Health & Wellness)