“Meeting the National Standards benchmarks is a rigorous, comprehensive process,” said Randy Royster, board member of the Council on Foundations. “This accreditation is a significant accomplishment that indicates BAF demonstrates a commitment to transparency, quality, integrity and accountability as it carries out its mission.”
The National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations® program requires community foundations to document their policies for donor services, investments, grantmaking and administration. With over 800 community foundations already accredited nationwide, the program is designed to provide quality assurance to donors, as well as to their legal and financial advisors.
“This is critically important to our donors,” said Dena Cushman, BAF Executive Director. “When people make a charitable bequest or establish a fund, they are putting their trust in us. They are counting on us to manage the investment wisely and honor their charitable wishes. The National Standards accreditation says our house is in order.”
BAF works to meet critical community needs and support local causes, including animal services, the arts, civic beautification, economic development, education, health & human services, and public recreation.
BAF offers a range of charitable funds, allowing donors to advance a cause, support an individual organization, or provide flexible support for community needs. In addition to affirming the organization’s philanthropic services, the accreditation validates BAF’s grantmaking practices for the nonprofit community.
“Grantmaking is a lot like investing,” said Douglas Ramsden, BAF Board President. “BAF needs to assess risks, weigh potential gains, diversify assets, monitor performance and operate fairly. With our National Standards accreditation, you can be assured that we’re doing just that.”
Organizations seeking to solve community challenges may have access to additional support, thanks to a new donor-advised fund established with the Beckley Area Foundation.
The Vaught Fund for Social Entrepreneurship was established by Raleigh County natives Chris and Debbie Vaught. As the term implies, social entrepreneurship is a movement that seeks to solve society’s problems by applying creative, out-of-the-box thinking often embraced by entrepreneurs.
“The fund’s goal is to promote and support innovation and entrepreneurship for addressing community needs.” For example, grants from the fund can help new organizations design and implement solutions for recently identified problems. Existing organizations might also expand their offerings or add a social component. “We are most excited about collaboration among groups to create efficiencies and leverage combined strengths.”
— Chris Vaught
“It is a pleasure to help generous people like Chris and Debbie achieve their unique philanthropic goals and realize their ability to make lasting change. Charitable giving allows you to create your own legacy and teaches the value of philanthropy to future generations.”
— Dena Cushman | BAF, Executive Director
Vaught is a serial entrepreneur, having launched six Raleigh County-based businesses and organizations in the last 14 years. He serves on the board of directors for several community organizations.
“Through my work with Beckley Area Foundation and WV Hive, which supports local entrepreneurs, I see how non-profit organizations can fit in a collaborative entrepreneurship ecosystem. Debbie and I hope this fund will help organizations create equitable, sustainable solutions for our community’s greater good.”
— Chris Vaught
Anyone interested in donating to this fund may mail contributions with “Vaught Family” in the memo to BAF, 1210 South Kanawha St., Beckley, WV 25801 or click the button below to donate online. If you are interested in starting a donor advised fund or leaving a legacy gift, call BAF at 304-253-3806 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The designated “Delta Kappa Gamma XI Chapter Legacy Fund” was established by Gerald & Glenda Wait to support the Delta Kappa Gamma (DKG) XI Chapter. DKG Society promotes professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education.
"We are very appreciative of Dr. Glenda Wait and her husband Gerry Wait for their generous contribution to the future of DKG Chapter XI. Glenda's effective leadership at the local, state, and international level contributes to the personal and professional growth of her DKG sisters. Her leadership is truly an inspiration! With this funding, DKG can continue to grow and develop their leadership skills through training and other leadership development opportunities."
— Brenda Epling | DKG XI Chapter, President
The local chapters are the beating heart of DKG. The support from the DKG Legacy fund will help XI Chapter cover a small part of travel expenses for state and international conventions and conferences. These experiences will enrich the members and community. XI Chapter has almost 40 members and are always seeking new members of all ages to support the outreach of XI Chapter.
Our budget priorities are often directed at helping youth and adults in the local community; these funds will provide opportunities for our own chapter members as well. Through Gerald and Glenda’s support, our members will receive financial assistance to attend personal and professional training for many years to come.
— Dr. Linda M. Kutilek | DGK XI Chapter, Finance Committee Chair
Anyone interested in donating to this fund may mail contributions with “DKG XI Chapter” in the memo to BAF, 1210 South Kanawha St., Beckley, WV 25801 or click the button below to donate online. If you are interested in starting a designated fund or leaving a legacy gift, call BAF at 304-253-3806 or email email@example.com.
“Fred was proud to be a long-time Raleigh County Educator. Opportunity and fair representation for everyone supported his positive approach towards a better life experience. His desire to establish an unrestricted fund indicates his confidence in BAF’s ability to make life better for his community.”
— Michael Farris
Frederick A. Farris was born February 12, 1953, in Beckley, WV. He was the eldest child of the late Dr. Frederick and Evelyn June Farris. Fred was a 1971 graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School, and he received his bachelor's degree in Journalism from WVU in 1976. After a brief career in retail sales, he returned to Concord University (formerly Concord College) to complete a teacher certification in Elementary Education. He completed a Master's degree in Speech Communication from WVU.
Fred taught fifth grade at Lester Elementary School where he was named Teacher of the Year for the school before transferring to Independence Middle School to teach Sixth Grade during Raleigh County Schools’ inaugural year of the middle school concept. Fred retired from Raleigh County Schools in June 2018, after 35 years of service.
Fred loved collecting antique cars as well as model cars, reading, art, landscaping, cooking, and cats. He had collections of thousands of books and die cast model cars. He was a member of the WV Education Association, serving in a variety of capacities for the organization at the local, state, and national levels; was a Friend of the Raleigh County Library and a member of the Whitewater Antique Automobile Club of America. He was a life-long member of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church. Fred died April 9, 2021, after a prolonged battle with diabetes.
Leaving a bequest can have a significant impact over time and make a difference to an organization or your local community. Some people think they must choose between leaving a gift to their family or their favorite nonprofit organization. You can do both, and some charitable gifts may save your family money by decreasing inheritance taxes. A simple gift provision in your Will can make a difference in many lives.
Anyone interested in donating to this fund may mail contributions with “Frederick Farris” in the memo to BAF, 1210 South Kanawha St., Beckley, WV 25801 or click the button below to donate online. If you are interested in starting an unrestricted fund or leaving a legacy gift, call BAF at 304-253-3806 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Coach Hicks had a tremendous impact on the players that he coached during his tenure as Head Football Coach at Woodrow Wilson High School, and at other schools. The toughness, work ethic, and focus on flawless execution – emphasized by coach – raised the standard by which we measured ourselves, with each of us who were coached by him.”
— Jim Riffe | WWHS Alumni
Hicks was an outstanding athlete in Richwood, WV, where he was named All-State honorable mention in three sports -- football, basketball, and baseball. He made the All-State team in football one year. Following his graduation from Richwood High School, he received a football scholarship to West Virginia University where he played running back and defensive back from 1960 to 1964.
After receiving his bachelor’s degree in physical education, Hicks accepted a job as head football coach at Big Creek High School. After five years, he accepted the head football coaching position at Woodrow Wilson High School in Beckley, West Virginia. He coached the Flying Eagles for seven years until he was offered the opportunity to return to WVU, where he served as Assistant Coach under Frank Cignetti for 3 years. Hick’s last coaching stop was at Pulaski High School in Pulaski, Virginia where he served as Head Coach until his retirement in 2002. At Pulaski, he won Virginia Coach of the Year 3 times and retired with a career high school head coaching record of 301-96-1. Pulaski honored Coach Hicks by naming its football stadium after him.
Anyone interested in donating to this fund may mail contributions with “Coach Joel Hicks” in the memo to BAF, 1210 South Kanawha St., Beckley, WV 25801 or click the button below to donate online. If you are interested in starting a scholarship fund or leaving a legacy gift, call BAF at 304-253-3806 or email email@example.com.
“I am so pleased to be able to establish this fund in memory of Bob. He genuinely loved the Beckley area, so I cannot think of a more appropriate way to honor his memory. I will always remember his acceptance speech for the Spirit of Beckley award in 2005, because he talked about growing up all over the country and how he felt about his arrival in Beckley. To illustrate what he thought the “spirit” of Beckley was, Bob quoted Matthew 25:35, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” It is my hope that the establishment of this memorial fund will help BAF continue to make significant contributions to the Beckley area and the wonderful people that are fortunate enough to call this area home.”
— Melinda Ashworth Kiss
Bob was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey to Matthew Joseph Kiss, Sr., and Catherine Elizabeth Schnarr. As a military family, Bob's family resided in many places during his youth. Bob moved to WV upon graduation from law school in 1982 and remained a proud West Virginian by choice for the remainder of his life.
Bob was a devoted father and husband. If you knew Bob, you knew that his twin sons were the light of his life and he always put them before any professional or political responsibility. Bob was a Catholic and a member of Saint Agnes Catholic Church in Charleston, WV.
Bob received his B.A. Degree in Economics from The Ohio State University in 1979 and his J.D. degree from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law in 1982. An attorney with the law firm Bowles Rice, LLP since 2003, Bob focused his legal practice on the areas of tax, estate planning, and commercial law. Prior to that, he was employed as an attorney with the Beckley law firm of Gorman Sheatsley & Company from 1982 to 2003.
Bob was a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates for 18 years, where he served as House Finance Chairman from 1993 to 1996 and Speaker of the House from 1997 to 2006. Pursuant to his legislative duties, he was involved in major economic and fiscal legislation that has made permanent and significant positive impacts for West Virginia.
From 2013 to 2016, Bob served as Cabinet Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Revenue as part of Governor Earl Ray Tomblin's administration. He provided oversight to key governmental revenue producing agencies in that capacity.
Anyone interested in donating to this fund may mail contributions with “Robert S. Kiss” in the memo to BAF, 1210 South Kanawha St., Beckley, WV 25801 or click the button below to donate online. If you are interested in starting a donor advised fund or leaving a legacy gift, call BAF at 304-253-3806 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I have been overwhelmed by the expressions of kindness from Kathy’s friends. This scholarship keeps Kathy’s love for her friends alive, most of them from Woodrow Wilson High School and WVU. My family and I will be forever grateful to everyone that supports the BAF scholarship in memory of Kathy. Bless you all." — Libby Anderson | Kathy's Mother
Kathy enjoyed genealogical research making many fascinating discoveries about her Italian heritage. She never met a stranger, had friends of all ages, and her loss will be felt by everyone who was touched by her artistic ability and her loving & loyal nature. Many of her art books are being sent to WWHS art department to be placed into their class library for the art students.
Anyone interested in donating to this fund may mail contributions with “Katharine E. Anderson” in the memo to BAF, 1210 South Kanawha St., Beckley, WV 25801 or click the button below to donate online. If you are interested in starting a scholarship fund or leaving a legacy gift, call BAF at 304-253-3806 or email email@example.com.
“The 5k was an outstanding learning experience for the students. They were able to plan, organize, and administer a fundraising event. They have realized the importance of giving back to the community and understand the work it takes to help those in need.”
— Brandon Bennett, SLYP Coordinator | BAF
SLYP is a group of high school juniors and seniors who are engaged directly in the role of community philanthropy. The purpose of this program is to provide an intensive hands-on learning experience through which they are taught the art, the science and business of philanthropy. Part of this experience is for the Senior Cohort to plan a fundraiser campaign, which will then help the Junior Cohort solicit and evaluate grant proposals for nonprofit funding.
“SLYP will help me down the road after acquiring nonprofit business management skills. I have learned how to handle monetary donations, as well as professionally contact and communicate with nonprofit business owners and sponsors. I will use my knowledge from SLYP functions and meetings to do further volunteer work in the future and help my community in any way that I can. Being involved with Beckley Area Foundation is something I can see myself continue doing down the road.”
— Tayler Poe, Senior Cohort Member | SLYP
Applications for the latest round of SLYP grants are currently being reviewed by the Junior Cohort and will be awarded in May 2022. The focus of this year’s grant program is to address Raleigh County youth experiencing poverty.
Anyone interested in donating to the Susan Landis Youth Philanthropists Fund may mail contributions with “SLYP Fund” in the memo to BAF, 1210 South Kanawha St., Beckley, WV 25801 or click the button below to donate online. If you are interested in starting an unrestricted fund or leaving a legacy gift, call BAF at 304-253-3806 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The new building will serve as a hub for charitable collaboration:
As BAF continues to unpack and settle in, we still have a way to go before we reach our campaign's goal to support the renovation costs. Numerous giving levels exist to show your support including several naming opportunities.
Thank you to the Beckley Water Company who helped us move all of our filing cabinets and many many boxes!
“This funding will allow Hospice of Southern West Virginia to further our mission of delivering quality end-of-life care to those with ALS. With this generous gift, we will be able to provide communication assistance devices and other specialized equipment to meet the needs of these individuals. On behalf of the board of directors, employees, volunteers, and the patients we serve, we offer deep appreciation to Mr. and Mrs. Richmond for this funding in memory of their son, Michael.”
— Janett Green, CEO | Hospice of Southern West Virginia
Michael was a graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School, Class of 1984, where he was an active member of both the football and tennis teams. He went on to attend WVU and graduated in 1989, with a B.S. in Business Administration. He returned to Beckley in 1991, to work alongside his father Ray and become the owner of Richmond Insurance Center in 2001.
Mike was a fixture in the community as an Allstate Insurance Agent and he was incredibly passionate about helping the people of West Virginia. He was actively involved in Boy Scouts of America with his son Creek and enjoyed volunteering with the Special Olympics. He was always willing to lend a helping hand to those who needed support.
Mike loved hiking with his dogs and could easily spend a day sitting outside and taking in the West Virginia scenery. In his leisure time, Mike enjoyed riding motorcycles with several of his closest friends. During the past 2 years while having ALS, Mike continued to be an inspiration to those around him with his courageous approach to life, sense of humor and his unforgettable smile.
“Michael was a blessing as a son. He was a respectful, compassionate, caring person and a true gentleman. He was a joy to know. In his honor, we hope this fund will be of assistance to others who suffer from ALS as Hospice was a great comfort to him.”
— Ray & Bobbie Richmond
Anyone interested in donating to this fund may mail contributions with “ALS Fund” in the memo to BAF, 1210 South Kanawha St., Beckley, WV 25801 or click the button below to donate online. If you are interested in starting a donor designated fund or leaving a legacy gift, call BAF at 304-253-3806 or email email@example.com.