George W. Shreckhise Memorial Scholarships Awarded

The George W. Shreckhise Memorial Scholarship Fund was established by Mrs. Judith Shreckhise Strickler in memory of her father. George Shreckhise spent a lifetime enjoying and working in agribusiness, with an emphasis, later in life, in the nursery business. Horticulture is plant science that includes the study of plant growth and plant interactions with the environment (soil, air, water) to improve human life through the cultivation of crops and the maintenance of a sustainable environment. This scholarship, named for Mr. Shreckhise, supports students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in Horticulture. Consideration is given to academic standing, leadership qualities, and volunteer or work experience related to Horticulture.


The 2017 recipients of the George W. Shreckhise Memorial Scholarship are both students at Virginia Tech University:

Ella Reeves (Dublin, VA)

Rachael LaFlamme (Granby, CT)


Ella Reeves was also a 2016 recipient of this scholarship.

Philanthropy Celebrates One of its Own

Hundreds of the most generous community leaders gathered at the JMU Festival Student and Conference Center to celebrate National Philanthropy Day on Monday, November 21, 2016.  This has become an annual event of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and an appropriate way to start the week of Thanksgiving.

Groups and Individuals were honored for gifts to the community, including Ted and Stephanne Byrd for their commitment to nonprofit organizations.  “This community was our home, (growing up), and being raised here and seeing the opportunities that were provided to us, gives us the ability in turn to make sure those opportunities exist for our kids and maybe their children,” said Ted. Ted’s first example of giving was to the church, followed by participating in trick-or-treat for Unicef.  Stephanne encouraged everyone to get involved by sharing with the crowd a favorite quote by Arthur Ash, “Start where you are, use what you have, and do what you can.”

Ted and Stephanne have been involved with countless nonprofit organizations.  Unless they are on vacation and don’t have computer access, there is hardly a day that goes by when they are not working for an organization to make our community better.  They are a true living example of what giving and serving means.  Stephanne and Ted are visionary and dream big.  They utilize their time to work on those things that will have a lasting impact on our community.  Their commitment to Harrisonburg and Rockingham County is relentless and we are a richer, more vibrant community because of their gifts.

Both Ted and Stephanne have given to many nonprofit organizations, too many to list.  Ted was thanked for his leadership and gifts to the Salvation Army, as well as, the Massanutten Regional Library, and the American Frontier Culture Center.  Stephanne was recognized for her leadership and gifts to the Arts Council of the Valley, Shenandoah Valley Economic Education, both at the local and state level, and for the very breath and life she gave to The Community Foundation.

Giving isn’t about the donation but rather the difference it makes.  Congratulations to Ted and Stephanne Byrd, 2016 Individual Philanthropist Award honorees.

Karen Komara and The Scarf Factory was also recognized at the event, as Youth in Philanthropy honoree.  Karen, a fifth grade teacher at Pleasant Valley Elementary School, taught her students an economics lesson by making scarfs and selling them for $4. The students learned the importance of giving back and selected the Harrisonburg Rockingham Free Clinic as the recipient of their proceeds.

Chad Layman, Kathy Sizemore and Stacy Farley were honored as the Spirit of Philanthropy for their work on a new event, K9s for Warriors Adventure Race, which raised around $200,000. K9 for Warriors program rescues dogs and trains them to be service dogs for veterans who are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. chad-layman

LSC Communications, (known formerly as RR Donnelley) was honored as the Corporate Philanthropist.  LSC Communications have a culture of giving back to the community.  Often employees recommend supporting project in and around the community.

Janet Wendelken was recognized for her professional accomplishments as the Sandra S. Neff Fundraising Executive Award.  Janet has worked in the community for a long time, including work at MillerCoors, the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce, Rockingham Education Foundation, James Madison University and the RMH Foundation.

Congratulations to everyone.

As we continue to celebrate this Thanksgiving Season, thank you all for your gifts to this community as we Dream.  Share.  Build. Our Community.

Eastham House Pre-Qualification for Bidders

Eastham House

The Community Foundation of Harrisonburg & Rockingham County (TCFHR) will work with Blue Ridge Architects to pre-qualify potential bidders for the Eastham House renovation project. This historic Harrisonburg structure, located at 317 S. Main Street, will be the new home for TCFHR offices in 2017.


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Learn More About a 65% Virginia State Tax Credit Opportunity

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) Tax Credit Program is a way to support educational opportunities for local students and receive a 65% Virginia state tax credit on top of current state and federal charitable deductions. These state tax credits may be used in the tax year they are issued.


This program is similar to NAP credits, but is for individual or business donors interested in supporting scholarships at private K-12 schools in Virginia. Donations provide scholarship funds to support students of families that meet financial need criteria. The credits may not exceed the tax liability, but can be carried over for five succeeding years.


This year, the state has authorized up to $25 million in Education Improvement Tax Credits. The credits are readily available, but December 14th is a critical deadline to get this done for calendar year 2016 tax filings. It takes up to 2 weeks to receive the authorization allowing the taxpayer to make a qualified donation. Please note that donation checks may not be written before authorization is received.


The Community Foundation of Harrisonburg & Rockingham County is an approved scholarship foundation for the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE). Our staff will be glad to help you work through the process, and we can expedite application for these credits by sending forms electronically to the state. Program details and the Preauthorization Form can be found on the Virginia Department of Education website.


Please contact Ann at 540-432-3863 or [email protected], if you have questions regarding this program, or if The Community Foundation staff can be of assistance in any way.

Community Foundation Receives a $1.7M Gift to Benefit Area Students

Community Foundation To Fund Ag Scholarships

ERIN FLYNN Daily News-Record
PUBLICATION: Daily News-Record (Harrisonburg, VA)

SECTION: Harrisonburg
DATE: October 4, 2016
HARRISONBURG — A couple’s love for agriculture is being passed on to future generations.
The Community Foundation of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County announced Thursday that it received a $1.7 million gift from the estate of Thelma Phillips. The gift will be used to create up to 11 scholarships for Valley students interested in pursuing careers in agriculture. It also preserves the legacy of the late Thelma and Bill Phillips.
For nearly 30 years, Bill and Thelma “Curly” Phillips of New Market rose before dawn to milk the cows, harvest vegetables and work their 285 acres in Shenandoah County. Bill Phillips was known for his willingness to help others. “He was the kind of person that, when it snowed, he was always out,” said Chuck Mathias, a friend of the couple. “He would open up our driveway and other people’s driveways.” And Thelma Phillips could often be found in the kitchen making treats.In addition to their generosity, the Phillipses are remembered for their love of farming. “They were just hardworking, good people,” Mathias said.
Thelma Phillips would help her husband in any way possible, whether making meals for the farm hand or drive Bill Phillips around on Sundays so he could see check in on other farms. “Their whole life was around farming, and anything she could do to assist him, she enjoyed doing,” said Revlan Hill, The Community Foundation‘s executive director.
In 1980, Bill Phillips died from a heart attack. Twenty-three years later, his wife established a fund at The Community Foundation to honor him. The foundation acts as a conduit between donors and charitable groups by managing property and money. In 2015, Thelma Phillips died at 86 years old.
Memory Lives On
The couple’s interest in agriculture isn’t being forgotten, however. In fact, their legacy could spark interest in future farmers. Through the scholarship fund, The Community Foundation will award $1,500 scholarships to seniors at Broadway, Harrisonburg and Stonewall Jackson high schools. “She always wanted to do a scholarship for those schools,” Hill said. “Her love for the area, her love for students, her love for farming — that’s what she wanted to support.
“Students can renew the scholarships every year for four years, said Ann Siciliano, the foundation‘s director of program services. Offering a renewable scholarship, Siciliano said, could encourage students who might not be interested in a career in agriculture to reconsider the field.Siciliano said students interested in applying for the scholarship must submit an online application, information about their involvement in agriculture, and a transcript. Applicants will be interviewed. A link to the application can be found on The Community Foundation‘s website, and must be completed by March 30, Siciliano said. The foundation will present the scholarships to the recipients during each high school’s spring ceremony.
Contact Erin Flynn at 574-6293 or [email protected]


Hildred Neff Memorial Fund – 2016 Grant Recipients Announced

Hildred Neff 2016In August, grants totaling over $9,500 were distributed to three local nonprofit organizations from the Hildred Neff Memorial Fund. The 2016 grant recipients are all nonprofit organizations that care for domestic animals.

2016 Hildred Neff Memorial Fund Grants:

The grants distributed will fully fund the project requests from the Rockingham/Harrisonburg SPCA and Cat’s Cradle of the Shenandoah Valley, Inc. The grant award to Anicira Veterinary Center will partially fund their $9,000 project request. Anicira’s Targeted Community Cat Project is still in need of $6,176 to be fully funded.

During her lifetime, Hildred Neff was a business woman who raised livestock and fruits and vegetables, and was co-owner of J.E. Plecker Florists. Hildred had a special love of animals and she contributed generously to organizations that promote their welfare. She left her estate to create the Hildred Neff Memorial Fund, which benefits agencies that provide for the needs of both domestic and wild animals. The fund was established at The Community Foundation of Harrisonburg & Rockingham County in 2014.

Next year’s Hildred Neff Memorial Fund grant application will be available in early 2017. Please visit our website for more information if you wish to apply. Grant applications are reviewed in August each year.

If you are interested in contributing to the Hildred Neff Memorial Fund to benefit the care of domestic and wild animals, please contact The Community Foundation of Harrisonburg & Rockingham County at 540-432-3863, or visit our website.

Charitable Giving on a Budget

Although it’s still late summer, some people are ready to start planning for the season of giving. Gifts will be carefully chosen for family and friends, scrumptious desserts will be baked and ready to eat, and holiday decorations hung up around the house. What about giving back to the community though? Unfortunately most of us aren’t made of money so when it comes to charitable giving, planning a budget is a necessity. Here are a few tips to start planning for the upcoming holiday season!


Donate your clutter

Go through your house and clear out any unwanted items or things you don’t need that others could use more. Here are a few organizations to start with that accept donations:


Pool your money

Create a small giving circle within your friends and family to pool all your money together and make one large donation to the organization of your choosing.


Set aside part of your income

Try to set aside at least 3% of your income on a regular basis to ensure you’ll have a little something to give and still have a separate pool of money for family gifts.


Employer match donations

Most corporate employers have matching funds or grants that match its employees’ charitable contributions. Some matching gifts are dollar-for-dollar but others can be double or triple the donation.


Blood/plasma donations

When donating money isn’t an option, don’t forget you can donate blood or plasma and some places even compensate you for your donation with cash (which can then be donated if you wish).


Donate your time

Finally, don’t forget you can always donate your time. A lot of organizations are always looking for extra hands to help out in the busy season of giving. Even if it’s only an hour of your time, anything helps!

Aren’t sure where help is needed? Check out these organizations below!


Click on link below for a full list of local non-profit organizations.




Just Another Day at the Office

On a hot sunny afternoon at The Community Foundation of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, one by one, students arrived at the office. These students came to convince a review committee to select them to receive the largest scholarship award ever offered, thanks to a most generous donor of the Foundation. Some students were shy, others confident. Each student had earned an Associate Degree or completed the transfer program at a community college, and plan to attend a Virginia public university this fall. They also had other things in common: a strong desire to succeed, academic success, plans to give back and live productive lives. 


We talked about life lessons learned from failure and what it meant to be successful. Each student had good reflections, like you must remember during any failure or challenge that “it’s just a bad day, not a bad life.”  Another student noted it was important to surround yourself with good people and not to let the need to impress your friends influence you to make a bad decision you’ll regret later. Yet another noted when she was in a challenging situation and thought about cheating to get a good grade on a test, she remembered a poster in elementary school that read, “Cheaters never prosper!” 


And what does success look like to these young people? We heard, “To get my bachelor’s degree because no one in my family ever completed high school” and “to do good to those around you, be kind, positive, and share a simple smile.” One felt success would be to “look back, be proud, have no regrets,” while another student thinks it important to “live a full life, making good of the time you have on earth.” 


Each student showed humility, making the decision to choose recipients more difficult than the committee ever anticipated. We knew the gravity of this decision; it would change the life of two students. Conversations continued for four hours. There were no wrong answers. 


After much thought and discussion, a decision was made. Two most fortunate students will be awarded the Late Ace Scholarship. Coming into the interviews, the students never knew the amount of the scholarship. The recipients will be contacted to learn that through the generosity of someone they do not know, their college debt will be taken care of. 


What an amazing gift, and well, just another great day at the office!



Letter to the Washington Post

Last week, the Washington Post published a misinformed article about donor-advised funds. The Council on Foundations, with support of community foundations, immediately responded by penning a letter to the editor. The full text of the letter is below.

We hope the Post will consider publishing this letter, but in the meantime we wish to share it with you.


To the Editor:

Tuesday’s article on donor-advised funds (DAFs) (“Wall Street is sitting on billions meant for American charities,” June 21) provides a laundry list of damaging and inaccurate assertions about DAFs, specifically those created by financial institutions. Community foundations, leading stewards of positive change at the local level, also sponsor DAFs which offer the benefit of being an efficient and less administratively burdensome option for many donors who want to establish philanthropic vehicles.

When donors create DAFs at community foundations, they ensure support for nonprofits and leverage the foundation’s programs, collective giving efforts, and civic leadership to further advance local causes. They are able to address immediate needs and, importantly, long-term efforts.

For more than 100 years, community foundations have partnered with philanthropists to support communities. This includes helping donors identify their giving goals and strategy. DAFs factor into these conversations because of their many benefits. For example, DAFs:

  • Provide flexibility. DAFs allow community foundations to quickly respond to local needs including emergency response efforts.
  • Democratize giving. DAFs require modest financial contributions, making them within the reach of most charitable givers.
  • Connect donors to purpose. DAFs empower individuals to support long-term solutions for tough community issues with the benefit of guidance from professionals.

The real threat to charitable giving is not DAFs but one-sided, mischaracterizations of an important philanthropic vehicle that encourages civic engagement.

Rather than narrowing the breadth of tools available, we should focus on expanding and protecting giving options that help citizens to advance the common good in their communities.

Vikki Spruill, Javier Soto, Randall Royster
Tony Mestres, Hazle Hamilton, Richard Ober
Steve Seleznow, Lorie A. Slutsky, Debbie Wilkerson, Revlan Hill

Ms. Spruill is president and chief executive officer of the Council on Foundations.

Mr. Soto is vice chair of the Council on Foundations’ board of directors and president and chief executive officer of The Miami Foundation.

Mr. Royster is a Council on Foundations’ board of directors member and current past president of the Community Foundations National Standards Board and president and chief executive officer of the Albuquerque Community Foundation.

Mr. Mestres is a Council on Foundations’ board of directors member and president and chief executive officer of The Seattle Foundation.

Ms. Hamilton is president of the Community Foundations National Standards Board and executive vice president of the Community Foundation of Central Georgia.

Mr. Ober is president and chief executive officer of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.

Mr. Seleznow is president and chief executive officer of the Arizona Community Foundation.

Ms. Slutsky is president of the New York Community Trust.

Ms. Wilkerson is president and chief executive officer of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation.

Ms. Revlan Hill is president and chief executive officer of the Community Foundation of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County

Bridging the Generational Gap

What does it mean to give back? For most people, I’d say it depends on who you’re asking the question at and when they were born. Throughout the generations who give back to their community and their favorite nonprofits, each generation thinks and gives differently. According to Hartnett and Matan “Nearly 60% of Gen Ys and 50% of Gen Xers want to see directly the impact of their donations, while just 37% of Baby Boomers say seeing a direct impact matters to them.”

However the question remains: how do we bridge the generational gap of giving between Baby Boomers and Generation Y (or Millennials) and really connect with younger donors?

It is also reported by Harnett and Matan that “…45% of Boomers say their financial contribution is key, only 36% of Gex Xers and 25% of Gen Ys think that what matters most is a difference made of money. Instead, they believe that volunteering and spreading the word is more impactful”.  While Baby Boomers and Generation Xers will not be around forever, it has become an important task in creating relationships between nonprofits and Millennials in continuing to find new ways to engage with younger donors.

While Generation Y only represents a small percentage of giving, they do represent the largest percentage of media usage. Numerous social media platforms exist on the internet bringing in users all over the world to share their thoughts, pictures, and connect with old friends. Software company, Blackbaud (see full interactive report here) says, 90% of social media usage is on Facebook and a whopping 97% is surprisingly on YouTube, with LinkedIn and Twitter in last. Generation X does not fall far behind Millennials in the category of social media as well. They also spend most of their time on YouTube at 92%, Facebook at 77%, and LinkedIn at 57% according to Blackbaud.  All in all, Generation Y and X are more likely to give back through social media and learn more about new nonprofits through shared posts and videos, while Baby Boomers give back more through direct mail and organization’s websites.

What does this mean for philanthropy and nonprofits? Essentially, this means social media will become and already plays a huge role in giving back. Whether you are a small nonprofit just getting started or a large established nonprofit, social media is key in educating and connecting with new young donors as we begin to see more Millennials following in the footsteps of their charitable parents and grandparents.

Don’t forget to visit our social media pages  for the latest information on nonprofit news and to see what we’ve been up to!

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You can also give directly to any of our funds listed on our website by clicking on “Donate Now.”