The Alleghany Foundation Awards Over $2 Million In Latest Grants


The Alleghany Foundation continues to focus on the economic viability of the Highlands in its semi-annual grantmaking.

In its latest round of grants totaling more than $2.0 million, The Alleghany Foundation has awarded grants to several organizations interested in the long-term economic well-being of the area.

Dr. Michele Ballou, the chair of The Alleghany Foundation Board of Directors, said these grants “speak to the need for ongoing support for growth as an investment in our future.”

She added, “Making an impact on economic development definitely requires doing several things at the same time and doing them well. We are so fortunate that there are so many capable people working hard and volunteering their time to improve the quality of life in the region.”

The Alleghany Foundation is investing $3 million in a program related investment (PRI) with Virginia Community Capital (VCC) to foster economic and community development efforts in the foundation’s geographic footprint. The foundation has approved a multi-year $500,000 grant to support deployment of the PRI investment, including credit enhancements as well as project “readiness” costs.

“The PRI is outside the foundation’s routine grantmaking,” said Alleghany Foundation Executive Director Mary Fant Donnan. “A PRI is a special type of investment that a foundation can make to further its philanthropic goals. For The Alleghany Foundation, creating a PRI through VCC creates opportunities for VCC to support community growth by lending to for-profit and non-profit organizations interested in economic development in the Alleghany Highlands.

“VCC can be a partner in lending with other types of financial institutions already serving businesses in the area,” Donnan added.

VCC will have a physical presence in the community and is committed to moving vital projects to completion.

“VCC is very pleased to forge this significant partnership with The Alleghany Foundation and innovative and forward-thinking philanthropic partner,” said Jane Henderson, CEO and president of VCC. “VCC’s mission aligns well with the foundation’s desire to further community development and job creation projects in the Alleghany Highlands region.

“We look forward to local collaborations to promote vibrancy, job creation and enhance the quality of life for the area,” Henderson added. “VCC is committed to economic growth and vitality of this region.”

The Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Tourism was awarded a grant of $435,000 over five years for operational funds and program support. The chamber receives vital financial support from its members, from lodging taxes and from fundraising. This grant provides supplemental operational support for the chamber’s mission and ongoing economic development efforts to develop and market the area’s tourism-related assets and to enhance the quality of life in the Alleghany Highlands.

“We are very appreciative of the foundation’s continued support of the Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Tourism,” commented Teresa Hammond, executive director of the chamber. “This grant award will provide operational funds and program support to allow the visitors center to be open for extended hours during peak tourism season, continue to support the Vision 2025 efforts, grow and enhance the outdoor events, drive the signage and wayfinding projects, support the downtown revitalization efforts including the development of design guides and research, and apply for and track various grant opportunities.”

A part of the downtown revitalization efforts will focus on the Alleghany Historical Society’s Alleghany Highlands Industrial Heritage and Technology Discovery Center, also a part of the Vision 2025 initiative. The foundation has awarded a $40,000 grant to the historical society to begin the planning stages for this endeavor.

The Alleghany Highlands Industrial Heritage and Technology Discovery Center will focus on the area’s rich industrial history that has included products composed of wood, paper, iron and fibers made from silk and rayon. Organizers envision a downtown Covington location for the center.

“There are few places that have engaged in so many materials-related industries on such a large scale as the Alleghany Highlands,” said Paul Linkenhoker of the Alleghany Historical Society. “There are also related topics and activities that can be integrated into the discovery center themes, such as forest management/ecology, tree identification, geology, product designs, the culture of people who came to the area over the years and made contributions to each industry and other topics.”

Alleghany County has also been awarded a $224,440 grant for welding lab upgrades and enhancements at Jackson River Technical Center. This project will accomplish two areas of improvements to the welding lab at JRTC. It will replace a ventilation system that has been in place since the welding lab was first built , and it will provide equipment and improved gas distribution within the welding lab so that students can work on the various welding processes in a more efficient manner.

“Effective economic development works hand in hand with educational attainment, another important foundation focus area,” said Alleghany Foundation Executive Director Mary Fant Donnan.

Other educational grants include $305,000 over three years to the Alleghany County and city of Covington school systems for a joint instructional technology coach, $25,500 for a New Tech Network space utilization study and $23,150 for a responsive classroom course and follow-up support.

“Organizations are taking the lead on trying new approaches to encouraging economic development while our local school systems have been offering high-quality professional development and exploring answers to the question: What makes great 21st century education?” Dr. Ballou said.

Additionally, The Alleghany Foundation awarded four grants to sponsor interns at different nonprofits to support development of the Vision 2025 working groups and leadership development. The four sponsoring organizations were Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation, the Riverside Health Center and the town of Clifton Forge.

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 all its residents. The total annual awards from The Alleghany Foundation now add up to more than $50 million. For more information about the foundation, please visit

About VISION 2025: VISION 2025 is a community-based initiative launched in 2013 with support from the Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, the Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation, Dabney S. Lancaster Community College and The Alleghany Foundation. Five working groups — Industrial Sites/Real Estate, Utilities and Marketing; Corridor Curb Appeal, Gateways and Main Street Enhancements; Community Landscaping and Destination Gardens; Alleghany Highlands E-Webstore and Small Business Support; and Industrial Heritage and Technology Discovery Center — with leaders from local government, non-profits and the community are leading efforts to stimulate economic revitalization in the region. If you would like to be involved, please email The Alleghany Foundation at

November 2015 Grants
Focus Areas Underlined

Community Capacity
Alleghany Highlands Arts and Crafts Center 
Fundraising Match (over two Years) – $90,000

Economic Transformation
Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce  and Tourism
Operational Funds and Program Support (over five years) – $435,000
Summer Intern for VISION 2025 Gardens & Industrial Heritage Working Groups – $3,500
Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation
Summer Intern for VISION 2025 Webstore Working Group – $3,500

Alleghany Historical Society 
Alleghany Highlands Industrial Heritage and Technology Discovery Center for VISION 2025 – $40,000

Town of Clifton Forge
Evaluating Broadband Opportunities in the Region – $7,500
Summer Intern for VISION 2025 Corridor Curb Appeal Working Group – $3,500

Virginia Community Capital
Alleghany Highlands Loan Program (over four years) – $500,000

Educational Attainment
Alleghany County

JRTC Welding Lab Upgrade and Enhancement – $224,440

Charles P. Jones Memorial Library
Computer Learning Lab – $56,447

Joint School Systems – Alleghany County and Covington City Public Schools
Joint Instructional Technology Coach (over three years) – $305,000
New Tech – Space Utilization Study – $25,500
Responsive Classroom Course – $23,150
SURN Leadership Academy – $5,000

Rector & Visitors of the University of Virginia
Collaborative Work to Plan School Development and Change – $84,875

Health and Wellness
Alleghany Highlands YMCA
Energy Study Implementation –
2016 Annual Campaign Match – $50,000

Riverside Health Center
2015 Summer Intern –

Total Action Against Poverty in Roanoke Valley (TAP)
Fathers First –
TAP Dental Health Initiative Loan Fund –

Total Amount Awarded: $2,084,777