Although the Community Foundation Of The Virgin Island (CFVI) is still young and its assets still small, it boasts membership in a proud, 80-year old philanthropic movement that is sweeping the U.S.—identifying community needs and awarding funds to build and support strong families and enriched environments.
CFVI Executive Director Dee Baecher-Brown and an 18-member volunteer board oversee a collection of permanent endowment funds established by individual donors and institutions.
The income from these funds (earned interest) goes to nonprofit organizations, focusing on programs and projects to support the needs of children and families in the Virgin Islands.
"A community foundation allows people to give back to their community, whether they still make their home here, or lived here and have moved away," said Baecher-Brown. "We work in partnership with other local agencies and organizations to address needs not met by public funding sources."
A sampling of projects and programs funded during the 1999 calendar year includes:
— $150,000 to participate for two years in KIDS COUNT, a national effort to track the status of children in this country, from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. This collaboration (between the University of the Virgin Islands and the Departments of Education, Health, Human Services and Police) will provide local policy makers and citizens with benchmarks for the well being of Virgin Island children.
— $10,000 to six organizations on St. John, from the Laurance S. Rockefeller Fund.
–$14,000 to outfit a state-of-the-art Resident Computer Center at Paul M. Pearson Gardens, from the Citibank Community Fund.
— $8,000 in grants to the United Way, The Humane Society, the University of the Virgin Islands and Antilles School, from the Jean T. Robertson Fund.
— $7,100 to twelve students, from the Anna Greene Walsh Scholar Awards.
— $6,250 to sixteen families for one-time emergency needs (in the absence of government and/or service-provider funding assistance), from the Rapid Response Fund.
— Twenty-seven Mini-grants–ranging from $250 to $1,000–promoting new and creative projects that directly benefit Virgin Island children and families.
The Community Foundation Of The Virgin Islands started in 1990 with a $500,000 endowment. Since 1996, it has more than doubled in size to over $1.3 million, equally distributing these dollars across all three islands.
CFVI manages over two dozen corporate giving programs, administers scholarships and award programs, and coordinates the establishment of memorial funds. Donors can make unrestricted contributions–indicating a general field of interest (the arts, education)–or direct The Foundation’s board to use its judgement for awarding the income. Any unrestricted funds given by a donor go into programs for children, youth and families.
For more information about The Community Foundation Of The Virgin Islands—or to inquire about applying for grant dollars–contact CFVI Executive Director Dee Baecher-Brown at 774-6031.


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