West Virginia Department of Commerce Flex-E-Grant Project: Webster County Community Fund

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Flex-E-Grant Project: Webster County Community Fund

Flex-E-Grant Webster County

Ranked in the bottom 5 percent of median income in the U.S., Webster County stood in dire need of community development. A community development foundation would help generate funds to support local projects and programs. The problem was there was no such foundation in the county. The Webster County Economic Development Authority (EDA) was determined to create one.

The Webster EDA completed a Philanthropy Index to get an objective measurement of its rural community’s financial resources and potential for creating a charitable fund. The results looked bleak. Even so, a determined core of individuals pressed on. Working for months with organizations across the state, the determined Webster County citizens successfully launched the Community Fund under the auspices of the Beckley Area Foundation.

The newly-formed Webster County Community Fund (WCCF) still faced two critical needs. Local organizers needed to learn the operating principles of community fund development. Also, the newly-created WCCF needed to communicate the organization’s progress and attract new supporters.

Support from the Flex-E-Grant program helped provide the solutions:

  • Begin the ongoing process of training local citizens in the precepts of community foundation development and maintenance. Enable the WCCF to ensure its survival by setting up the necessary processes and procedures
  • Educate supporters and potential donors on how the WCCF can help the community they love and help them fulfill their philanthropic desires

WCCF achievements to date include:

  • Two new annual scholarships for Webster County High School students
  • Growing endowment resources that enable WCCF to fund grants for projects such as safety equipment for local fire and police departments, exercise and fitness equipment for local schools and fitness facilities, playground equipment, beautification projects and assistance for the needy