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The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation is a charitable community trust organized in 1962 to accept contributions, create and administer funds, and make grants for the benefit of the people of the Kanawha Valley region of West Virginia. It is a collection of many separate funds, each with its own agreement, its own donors, and its own philanthropic purposes. It devotes special attention to programs in six distinct areas: arts and culture, education, health, human services, land use, and recreation.

The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation began operations in 1962 with a single fund, the Frank A. Knight Memorial Fund. The Knight Fund was established with proceeds of the North-South Football Game, which was discontinued, and its assets, amounting to about $45,000, redirected by the circuit court of Kanawha County to the foundation for the benefit of the Children’s Museum and Planetarium, later a part of Sunrise Museum. A general fund was created shortly after 1962, and in 1965 the foundation made its first discretionary grant of $1,000 to Morris Harvey College, now the University of Charleston.

Governance of the foundation is vested in an 11-member board of trustees, some of whom are appointed by civic and public organizations and some of whom are elected by the board itself. The distributions committee, upon consideration of requests, recommends grants for approval by the trustees. The scholarship committee, upon consideration of applications from students, recommends approval of scholarships to be awarded based upon criteria set forth in the agreements creating each scholarship fund.

In 2012, the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation had assets exceeding $192 million and distributed $11 million in grants. The foundation is the largest community foundation in central Appalachia and consistently ranks among the top 100 in the United States. The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation is a contributor to The West Virginia Encyclopedia.

This Article was written by Becky Ceperly

Last Revised on May 15, 2013

Cite This Article

Ceperly, Becky "Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 15 May 2013. Web. 08 February 2023.


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