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Community Foundation’s 1st Annual Virtual Giving Tree A Resounding Success At Christmas Time

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands celebrated 30 years of serving the community today, a milestone highlighting its decades of collecting, distributing and managing funds by partnering donors and community organizations to help the Virgin Islands recover and grow.

The foundation was established in 1990 with a founding gift of $540,000 from businessman and diplomat Henry Kimelman and his wife Charlotte. By December 1996, the Community Foundation began making grants of approximately $100,000 a year, and by the time the hurricanes hit in 2017, the organization had assets of $12 million.

CFVI provided critical funding for organizations such as My Brother’s Workshop, which was able to serve meals to those in need from its cafe and bakery on St. Thomas after hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the territory in 2017. (Photo courtesy Community Foundation of the V.I.)

Today, the foundation manages an $18 million portfolio benefiting more than 150 named funds and programs committed to issues such as youth, education, early childhood, health, disaster recovery and the environment.

CFVI’S FIRST ANNUAL VIRTUAL GIVING TREE PROJECT

What started with one random holiday request earlier this month turned into the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands (CFVI) launching its first Virtual Giving Tree Project, which so far has raised more than $33,000 (and counting) for USVI nonprofit organizations.

“After that initial request, I wondered about how CFVI could serve as a broker to help address our nonprofit community’s holiday-related needs for children, youth, families and seniors,” Anna Wheatley Scarbriel, CFVI’s vice president and director of Grants and Programs, said.

She followed up with a call to Dee Baecher-Brown, CFVI President, who felt it was definitely worth exploring. “Dee even came up with a name on the spot: Virtual Giving Tree!,” Scarbriel said.

After that, the CFVI team jumped into action to make it all happen. Executive Manager Beth Nuttall created an online form that Communications Manager Sean Liphard sent out asking USVI nonprofit organizations to submit specific needs and requests by December 11. Next, CFVI sought potential donors via email, social media, and personal contact by CFVI leadership. 

“Before you know it, we were matching up donors with requests right and left and our amazing accounting team of Susan Clark and Una Pascal were cutting checks by December 18,” said Scarbriel.  

“It definitely takes a village,” said Baecher-Brown, “and we are so thankful to all the donors who answered the call. I know all of us at CFVI have had a lot of fun playing Santa’s elves by being able to make so many holiday wishes come true during such a challenging year. And we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate CFVI’s 30th Anniversary! Hopefully the Virtual Giving Tree can be a new annual holiday tradition,” she said. 

Below is a list of CFVI Virtual Giving Tree gift recipients: 

All Saints Cathedral School

  • $5,000 for extra support for students’ needs at the holidays
  • $700 for providing lower school students with soccer balls

Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Thomas/St. John

  • $600 for purchasing 25-30 ear phones for students this Christmas to be used for educational purposes
  • $100 for purchasing 25-30 ear phones for students this Christmas to be used for educational purposes
  • $100 for purchasing 25-30 ear phones for students this Christmas to be used for educational purposes

Catholic Charities

  • $5,000 for Bethlehem House and Soup Kitchen – in memory of Mayrelou Thomas

Family Resource Center

  • $4,500 for providing laptops for children and youths
  • $500 for providing laptops to children and youth

Leap and Learn Academy

  • $1,640 for of purchasing 41 age appropriate gifts for each child

Long Path Garden Street Community Association Inc

  • $4,500 for providing food baskets for 60 families of the Long Path/Garden Street areas

Lutheran Social Services

  • $1,000 for purchasing personal care, hygiene supplies and medical supplies for residents at Yellow Cedar Residence
  • $1,000 for purchasing personal care, hygiene supplies and medical supplies for residents at Yellow Cedar Residence

St. Thomas Reformed Church 

  • $750 for Compassionate Care Program
  • $750 for Virtual Learning Program
  • $5,000 for Compassionate Care Program – in memory of Mayrelou Thomas
  • $100 for Virtual Learning Program
  • $50 for Virtual Learning Program

The Collective Collaboration

  • $500 to support purchases of clothing for their clients

The C.O.R.E. Foundation

  • $25 donation in honor of Susan and Michael Blumenfield (grandparents of Nia & Obi) to support the preservation of the VI coral reef environment
  • $100 donation on behalf of Nia Blumenfield to support the preservation of the VI coral reef environment
  • $100 donation on behalf of Obi Blumenfield to support the preservation of the VI coral reef environment

YWCA USVI Inc.

  • $1,250 to provide $50 gift cards for members of the Y-TEENS VI program

If you are interested in making a contribution to CFVI’s Virtual Giving Tree initiative, it’s not too late! There are several outstanding needs, not all of which are time-sensitive.

Review the list of requests at the link below, and contact annas@cfvi.net if you would like to make a contribution of any amount.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1bMq-CePfuK1y8rjlylj1A9iNtxXKODNhUZKS7z1uIiM/edit#gid=1921423544

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