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Tucker Community Foundation creates new volunteer center

The Inter-Mountain photo by Brad Johnson Tucker County Community Foundation Executive Director Kelly Stadelman speaks to members of the Elkins Rotary Club on Monday.

ELKINS — Information on a new community volunteer center was shared with the Elkins Rotary Club Monday afternoon.

The Tucker Community Foundation, a tax-exempt public charity serving eight counties in West Virginia and one in Maryland, has created the Potomac Highlands Volunteer Center, which works to match up volunteers with area opportunities to improve communities.

Kelly Stadelman, executive director of the foundation, and Casey Gilbert, the coordinator of the volunteer center, gave Rotarians details about the new services being offered.

“We think the center will really be an asset to our communities and will help strengthen them” by connecting interested people with volunteering opportunities, Gilbert said.

Using the center’s online hub, at wvvolunteers.com, individuals and groups who want to volunteer can learn about community organizations and groups with volunteer needs.

Gilbert said the hub offers both in-person and virtual volunteering opportunities. She pointed out that high school students can build a volunteering resume and track their hours online.

She noted West Virginia recently ranked 45th out of 50 states in volunteerism.

“That’s not great,” she said. “We want to bring that up.”

Gilbert said the center will also offer a “voluntourism program” because some people visiting our region want to donate some hours as a family activity.

Stadelman told Rotarians that the Tucker Community Foundation was formed in 1989, as a result of the devastation caused by the 1985 flood. She said the founders were determined to create a charitable infrastructure so that the county would be prepared for the next natural disaster.

“We’re celebrating 30 years of changing lives,” Stadelman said, adding that the foundation’s scope eventually widened beyond Tucker County’s borders to include the local region.

“We have three main things that we do — scholarships, grants and endowments,” she said, noting that the foundation currently manages 130 endowments and provides about $100,000 to nonprofits per year.

One of those endowments, the Randolph Community Fund, was begun by the Elkins Rotary Club and currently stands at more than $14,000.

Each year the foundation presents Run For It, a charitable event during the Leaf Peepers Festival in September. Featuring a 5k race and a 2k walk, Run For It last year featured 85 local teams including 1,400 participants, and gave out more than $300,000 to non-profits, civic organizations and other charities. Since its inception, Run For It has generated more than $1.8 million for participating organizations throughout the region.

For more information, call 304-478-2930.