Dinwiddie benefits from JRF grant to FOLAR

By: Adrienne Wallace | Email: Click Here
Posted: January 30, 2020 | 1:30 p.m. 

DINWIDDIE – Healthy Communities, Bright Futures.

That’s the goal of the John Randolph Foundation, and that was their plan in the choosing the organizations and programs that earned the non-profits attention in this grant cycle.

John Randolph Foundation announced its latest grants at a Grant Awards Ceremony on Wednesday at the Foundation’s office in downtown Hopewell. Grants were awarded to 19 organizations receiving more than $410,000.

The Friends of the Lower Appomattox received  $40,000 to provide administrative and operational support for the creation of the Lower Appomattox River Heritage Trail. 

Executive Director Wendy Austin says she has one speed, “fast.” And it’s a good thing because FOLAR is moving at a high-rate of speed as it continues work on the heritage trail that benefits the lives of local residents who live in the Tri-Cities and in Dinwiddie County.

The central mission of FOLAR is to conserve and protect the Appomattox River for all to enjoy, the means to this end focuses on a bigger picture that involves developing awareness, cooperation, community support, and overall economic growth of the region.

“FOLAR, the parks and the river trial is a win, win,” Austin said. “It provides outdoor activities for residents and promotes tourism and economic development.”

The organization develops and maintains the Appomattox River Trail (A.R.T.)  a 22-plus mile trail system with 7 boat access points, 12 miles of walkable riverside trails and 11 riverside parks – all of which FOLAR created, improved, or maintains through its network of volunteers and donors.

Appomattox River Park is in Dinwiddie County, along the south bank of the Appomattox River. The property was donated by Dominion Virginia Power and is now controlled by the City of Petersburg. Its 137 acres provide mostly undeveloped open wooded space containing hiking and biking trails, and access to the river for boating and fishing. The site also includes a half basketball court and a pavilion for group gatherings. 

Friends of the Lower Appomattox River Executive Director Wendy Austin accepts a check from the John Randolph Foundation during last week’s grant awards ceremony. (Adrienne Wallace)

Austin said FOLAR helps provide cleaner waterways for residents and travelers by devoting resources to monitoring and protecting water quality and organizes regular regional river cleanup campaigns.

They promote tourism and economic development by hosting and promoting events like the annual “5K Trail Run”,  “Battle-or-Paddle’” and “RiverFest,” as well as provides programming to promote regional education and stewardship including educational videos, teacher guides, and outdoor youth programs and the FOLAR Environmental Stewardship Scholarship with the John Randolph Foundation.

Friends of the Lower Appomattox River (FOLAR) is a non-profit citizen organization formed as a result of the Appomattox River Corridor Plan, sponsored by the Crater Planning District Commission in June 1999. The Board of Directors is composed of 13 representatives, appointed by the six jurisdictions that adjoin the Lower Appomattox River and Virginia State University. In Dinwiddie, Tammie Collins and Samuel Hayes are members.

Grant Committee Chair Linda Ault said it’s no easy task to choose the winners with so many worthy organizations applying, but the number one goal is to meet the mission for the non-profit that was created with the sale of John Randolph Hospital when it was publicly owned.

That mission is to build healthy communities and bright futures.

Also, Ault said the group hopes to be able to continue to fund the organizations. “We want to follow through,” she said. “What’s the point of awarding the grant if we can’t follow through so we try to provide the funding that’s needed for three to four years, except in the cases its a one-time funding request.”

John Randolph Foundation embarks on its 25th year with the announcement and presentation of 19 grant awards to area non-profit organizations that make positive changes in the lives of our community neighbors. 

“As we prepare to commemorate 25 years of service to the community, we feel so fortunate that we are able to directly touch people’s lives and create hope everyday for individuals and our community,” Ault said during the presentations. “Through the generosity of our donors and with the partnership of many non-profit organizations, we are able to promote healthy lifestyles by teaching active living for children at school and at home. We help provide food and home accessibility to those in need, mentors and life-skills training to students, and to enhance the quality of daily life for so many.” 

These grants are funded by John Randolph Foundation’s Mission Fund, created from the proceeds of the sale of John Randolph Medical Center in 1995. The grants are listed according to the Mission Fund’s priorities: health, quality of life and education.


  • City of Refuge-Hopewell: $20,000 to support the recovery center efforts to assist clients with drug addiction recovery.
  • Colonial Heights Food Pantry: $20,000 to alleviate hunger for low-income families and the food-insecure in the extended Colonial Heights community. 
  • Friends of the Lower Appomattox River (FOLAR): $40,000 to provide administrative and operational support for the creation of the Lower Appomattox River Heritage Trail. 
  • Gateway Homes: $25,000 for patients with mental illness to obtain psychosocial support, and vocational training and life-skills training for reintegration into our communities.
  • Greater Richmond Fit4Kids: $52,000 to continue integrating health and wellness into all Hopewell elementary schools with direct support at Harry E. James. Also, to provide funding for the Learning Garden program at these schools.
  • Hopewell/Prince George Healthy Families: $30,000 to support at-risk, prenatal mothers and parents with at-risk children from birth to age 5 with intensive in-home case management. 
  • Project Homes: $20,000 to build wheelchair ramps and provide safety upgrades to ensure homes are safe and accessible for people in need.
  • Sussex County: $4,000 to purchase video laryngoscopes to improve outcomes for patients in respiratory distress who need prehospital interventions.
  • Virginia Repertory Theatre: $12,600 to bring the “Hugs and Kisses” child sexual abuse prevention and early intervention program to all elementary schools in Hopewell and Prince George.


  • American Red Cross: $12,000 to support neighbors who have been displaced from their homes due to fire with basic needs like shelter, food, and medication.
  • Crater Community Hospice: $5,000 to enhance the quality of life for patients with terminal illnesses.
  • Friends of Burrowsville School: $5,000 to support the expansion of fitness programming to residents at the renovated Burrowsville Elementary School community center.
  • Hopewell Recreation & Parks: $27,000 to support affordable, high-quality summer camp programs for children in the Hopewell area.
  • Lamb Center for Arts and Healing: $20,000 to bring Creative Change Makers programming (opportunities for job training, employment/leadership skills and mentoring) to Hopewell High School students.


  • Boys to Men Mentoring Network of Virginia: $15,000 to train male mentors for middle school and high school-aged boys in Prince George County to reduce drop-out rates, drug abuse, truancy, and other negative behaviors. 
  • Children’s Museum of Richmond: $10,000 to provide early enrichment programs and cultural opportunities for preschool and elementary students Hopewell and Prince George.
  • Prince George County Public Schools: $23,000 to expand the annual Technology Field Day offered by Prince George High School to all 5th-grade students.
  • Smart Beginning Southeast: $40,000 to promote quality childcare and school-readiness for children in the Tri-Cities area.
  • Southside Transformation Opportunities for Residents and Youth (STORY): $30,000 to mentor students in the Thomas Rolfe Community of Hopewell through the Math, Literacy and Leadership Program.
  • City of Refuge-Hopewell, Sussex County, Virginia Repertory Theatre, Friends of Burrowsville School, and Lamb Center for Arts and Healing are first-time grant award recipients.

About John Randolph Foundation

John Randolph Foundation, the Tri-Cities only community foundation, partners with donors and organizations to build healthy communities and bright futures. Since 1995, the Foundation has invested more than $20 million in the community through grants and $2 million in scholarships. Through the generosity of our donors, we currently manage 15 endowments, 69 scholarships, and two educator award programs.

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