Leaders of the West Virginia Grantmakers Association (WVGA) are pleased to announce that the WVGA received two major grants recently.

The grants are expected to help several West Virginia areas receive more grant money.

WVGA President, Amy Owen, and Board Chair, Judy Sjostedt, said that the Ford Foundation awarded $200,000 to the WV Community Foundations Consortium, a program of West Virginia Grantmakers Association. The funds will be dedicated to strategic planning and development of the overall organization.

This grant supports the WVGA's work of building community-based philanthropy throughout West Virginia and its goal to build a network of all grantmakers in the state.

In addition, the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation presented $75,000 for to encourage local leadership development and creation of community-based philanthropy in targeted regions of the state.

In our region, Diane Ludwig, LKADC Executive Director and a lead organizer of the new community foundation for Wirt and Calhoun Counties, said that they are very excited about these resources coming into the state to help everyone.

"We're just a month old, but it's nice to see that the national funders are willing to help out. We encourage folks to contact any of us to learn how to 'give where they live' - right here in Wirt and Calhoun Counties."

In 2001, the WVGA began working strategically to build the capacity of West Virginia's community foundations. The organization seeks to encourage participation in all types of organized philanthropy and giving in West Virginia - private and corporate foundations - as well as community foundations.

It is governed by an elected board and supported by grants for special projects. Coupled with previous support from the Benedum Foundation, these new resources from Ford and Babcock are expected to improve the sustainability of WVGA's work toward its longer term goal of building local endowment programs and to strengthening charitable giving within all 55 counties.

WVGA also credited Verizon Foundation for sponsoring its Web site,, and the Appalachian Regional Commission for providing key training support.

WVGA Chairman Sjostedt also serves as co-chair of the Nonprofit Capacity Focus Team of "Vision Shared." She said that West Virginia is ranked nationally as among the U.S. "Philanthropic Divide" states, referring to those ten with a significant gap between needs and permanent endowment and private foundation resources available to meet such needs, affecting the capacity of the state's nonprofits to accomplish their missions.

Sjostedt said that it is critical to build a network of capable intermediary organizations in order to attract larger grants. She said, "national and regional funders, like Ford, Babcock, and Benedum, recognize the value of strong intermediary organizations such as WVGA in carrying out statewide work that affects the local level. Many funders seek an economy of scale in making grant investments to obtain the greatest possible impact."

The Consortium states it has worked deliberately toward this end, "looking to what we can for all of West Virginia," said WVGA President Owen.

She added, "This is a very dynamic time for our organization. Things are now moving into position where we will be able to create an infrastructure vital to the support of West Virginia's charitable growth and the needs of nonprofits, education, municipalities, and faith-based organizations."

The initial emphasis of the statewide organization's approach has been to aid and support West Virginia's 23 community foundations and county endowment funds.

For more information, contact Amy Owen via the WVGA website, or contact Judy Sjostedt at the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation, at 428-4438 or e-mail

Locally, contact Diane Ludwig at the Little Kanawha Area Development Corporation, 275-4231 or 354-7797.