June 27, 2004 – Nothing but good news was presented at the annual meeting of the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands Friday.
The charitable organization, founded in 1990 with a $500,000 grant from Henry L and Charlotte Kimelman, has assets today in excess of $3.2 million, according to Ricardo Charaf, foundation chairman.
In its mission of matching donors to community needs, particularly in the area of children and families, the foundation doubled its level of giving between 2002 and 2003, going from $250,000 to $500,000. This year, Charaf said CFVI hopes to give $750,000 to support programs that enhance the educational, physical, social, cultural and environmental well-being of the people of the Virgin Islands.
"As of today we have already given $491,000 for 2004," Charaf said.
Among the recipients were 37 young people who received scholarships. The scholarships, which range from $1,000 to $2,000, go to summer enrichment programs, as well as toward higher education. One scholarship, the Norma S. Levin 80th Birthday Fund, supports a student attending graduate school. Not all of the recipients were in attendance. Several had already gone off to their programs and schools.
Charaf said the foundation's named funds leapt from 50 last year to 73 funds this year. In 2002 there were 30.
"We've accomplished all of this with a staff of only three full-time people and one part-time person," Charaf said after the meeting.
Under the leadership of Dee Baecher-Brown, president and prime mover of the day-to-day operations of the foundation, CFVI has for three consecutive years produced the Kids Count Data book, an effort funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation to measure the well being of children in the territory. The V. I. territory was the first territory to participate in the nationwide program.
With the continued commitment of Baecher-Brown's husband Richard Brown, the foundation initiated and has run the Fatherhood Collaborative for almost six years. The Collaborative, whose goal is to heighten awareness of the important role fathers play in their children's lives, celebrated its 5th Annual Fathers' Night Out on June 16.
The foundation also provides tens of thousands of dollars in grants to non-profit organizations and has a Rapid Response Fund, supported by a grant from the West Indian Company Ltd. This grant offers immediate financial support to families with financial emergencies.
The CFVI Angel program, which accepts direct donations from $500 and up, also grew even more than expected this year.
"This year marks the sixth year of the CFVI Angel program," Charaf said. "And every year has been better than the year before. This year we surpassed our Angel goal." Angels gave $220,000, an increase of 33 percent.
More than 200 people attended the luncheon at Marriott Frenchman's Reef to hear the good news about the foundation's success.
"Isn't this amazing," Charaf asked, with obvious delight, as he scanned the room. "We only had 30 people a few years ago."
For more information on CFVI, visit the Web site at www.cfvi.net.
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