Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge
Location: Staunton, Virginia
Mission: To inspire philanthropy and respond to needs in our community.
This month’s “Member Spotlight” features Dan Layman, President & CEO of the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge. This year marks their 30th anniversary and rather than focus on an anniversary event, his aim is to “make a significant investment in housing at a level that will be far beyond anything that we’ve ever done.”
Dan is also a founding Advisory Board member for VFN and serves as part of the Governance Committee and the inaugural conference planning committee. Dan was recently honored with the Citizen of the Year award from The Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce. Here’s a little bit more about Dan and his work in philanthropy:
Describe your philanthropic philosophy and how your philosophy shapes your work.
We work to be the best possible stewards of the resources entrusted to us by members of our community. We are also committed to being an engaged community partner and leader. The simplest way that I describe this to others is that “we show up.” We make ourselves present throughout the community, and we begin by listening and learning before we act.
What are you currently reading?
Castle by Isabel Wilkerson, a New York Times bestseller.
What “influencers” are you following?
In particular, I enjoy following the great work of other grantors and bringing those ideas to our community. In particular, the work of the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation and the Hampton Roads Community Foundation specifically for their commitments to investing in greater housing security for their communities.
What are your organization’s top three areas of focus for 2022?
- Housing insecurity
- Mental health
What partnerships and/or collaborative efforts have been meaningful to you in the last year?
The urgency created by the pandemic led to the creation of numerous coalitions and partnerships, including our own Local Response Fund Coalition. We participate in the majority of these collaborations and have been inspired by the creativity and selflessness that has emerged. So much good work has come as a result of this work, which has inspired us to invest in strategic planning for its continuation. Read more here.
How has VFN been relevant to the work you’re doing?
Several of VFN’s networking groups align with our priorities, which has already proven to be invaluable. We have a new, long-term commitment to addressing housing insecurity, which is a very complex issue. Having the opportunity to connect with other funders who are at different stages of addressing similar issues has helped us grow our knowledge and strategy considerations much more quickly than we could ever have done on our own.
What else would you like your fellow funders to know? As one of only four grantors, and the largest, in our community, I can’t put a price on how meaningful it has been to me and our work to connect with a wide range of funders from across the Commonwealth. Building those relationships and knowing that I can reach out to them at any time is in and of itself worth the cost of membership.