Kiwanis Club of Charlottesville Foundation, Inc.

A 501(c)(3) Corporation

Mission:  to improve the world by serving children and youth, one child and one community at a time.

Purpose: to aid people in need of assistance, particularly young people; to assist youth in attaining vocational excellence; to aid persons with disabilities in attaining happy, useful lives.

Activity:  1.  To expend funds directly for such purposes or by furnishing funds to entities organized for charitable, scientific, or educational purposes, especially those organized to assist children and youth and those working to prevent child abuse.

                2.  To solicit, acccept, and acknowledge gifts made to the Foundation with the intention of promoting the success of the Foundation's mission and purpose.

2017-18 Officers:  Karen Dowell, Chairwoman; Philip Day, Vice Chairman; Michelle LaRose, Secretary; Michelle Good, Treasurer. 

2017-19 Directors:   Ed Schmitz; Gordon Merrick; Tom Lowe, Jeanne Masloff; Bob Pflugfelder.  Ex-Officio Member of the Board: Current Kiwanis President Eric Lamb.  

Please see important information at the bottom of the page .

Our "Five Pillars" or Current Major Emphases: 

   ‚Äč1. Service Leadership Programs (SLPs) for Children, Youth, and Adults:

            Key Club--the oldest and largest service organization for high school students, Key Club teaches leadership through service to others.  Kiwanis Charlottesville awards the   J. T. Graves Memorial Youth Scholarship every year to outstanding graduating Key Clubbers in the clubs we sponsor.  2017 winners were Grace Rainey of Western Albemarle High School and Hannah Pajewski of Albemarle High School.

Builders Club--provides middle school students with opportunities to develop leadership, improve self-esteem, increase civic engagement and learn life skills through service. Kiwanis Kids (K-Kids)--provides elementary school students with opportunities to work together on service projects, develop leadership potential, and create strong moral character.  The K-Kids Club at Venable Elementary School is directed by volunteers from the Circle K International Club at UVA.   Circle K International (CKI)--the premier collegiate and university community service, leadership, and friendship organization in the world. Aktion Club--Aktion Club is the only service club for adults with disabilities, with more than 12,000 members worldwide.  Aktion Clubs draw members from various organizations that support individuals with disabilities, as well as other community programs.  It provides members opportunities to serve their communities while developing initiative and leadership skills. In March 2017, the Kiwanis Club of Charlottesville board approved the establishment of two Aktion Clubs in Charlottesville,  The Jefferson Area Aktion Club held its organizational meeting on August 29 at the VA Institute of Autism (VIA) in cooperation with Innisfree Village  On Sept. 20, the Foundation made a $950 grant to this Aktion Club to support their charter expenses. The club meets on the first Tuesday of every month at 2 p.m. at the Virginia Institute of Autism's Day Center (3500 Remson Ct.,Cville22901.)

For more info: 

 Gifts to the Foundation can be designated specifically for "Aktion Club."  

    2.  The Key Leader Program

           Key Leader is a leadership development weekend for high school students ages 14-18 and is open to all high school students, not just Key Club members.  The goal is to give each student participant an opportunity to experience personal development, growth and fellowship.  They learn about achieving excellence and becoming a true leader in all aspects of their lives.  For many, it is a life changing program. 

          The Capital District will hold its Spring  Key Leader Weekend at Jamestown 4H Camp in Williamsburg, VA on April 27-29, 2018.   The Kiwanis Club of Charlottesville Foundation financially supports the attendance of two students from each of the four high schools where Kiwanis sponsors Key Clubs.  Tax-deductible gifts may be made to the Kiwanis Club of Charlottesville Foundation to help defray the cost of sending a local student to Key Leader.

3.  The Eliminate Project

Kiwanis International has joined forces with UNICEF to change the world for millions of mothers and babies by ridding the world of Maternal/Neonatal Tetanus (MNT).  As of August 2017, Kiwanis has raised $110 million and has eliminated MNT in 43 out of 59 priority countries.  See


4.  Kiwanis Cozy Comforts Project    (formerly Sweet Dreams Project)

Kiwanis Cozy Comforts is a basket of love and support for children and families in transitional and/or difficult situations.  The goal is to show these families and children they are warm, safe and cared for and to inspire them to have fun together as well.  Items in each basket will vary based on need but might include hand-made blankets to surround them with warmth; books and puzzles to share together as a family; nightlights for security and safety; and personal care items to ensure health and well-being. Our hope is that each basket will bring a small sense of security and comfort to these children and their families as they navigate the challenges of transition and ensure them that they are happy, healthy, safe and loved. 

The first Kiwanis Cozy Comforts event, helping 14 families identified by Jefferson Area Children's Health Improvement Program (CHiP), took place on April 6, 2017.  Gifts to the Foundation can be designated specifically for "Kiwanis Cozy Comforts."  The second event took plave on September 21, 2017 at the foster family/adoption agency  People Places, Inc.   During their Thursday luncheon meeting , Kiwanians delivered fifteen uniquely designed and individually packed "Cozy Comforts" backpacks to the staff at People Places to be presented to chlldren as they transition into foster care families in the upcoming weeks and months.   Project co-chairs Heather Mott and Barb Ritter explained that the backpacks contain essentials such as a stuffed animal, a handmade blanket, a nightlight, books, and personal care items in order to give each child a sense of comfort as well as providing them with some of their first possessions they can call their own.  Brad Wentz, Regional Director in Charlottesville, stated that People Places is proud to establish this partnership with Kiwanis Charlottesville and looks forward to Kiwanis support in helping these very special children and their new families.  The third event took place on February 15, 2018. 15 Cozy Comforts backpacks were given each to Elk Hill School and to DePaul Community Resources.    For photos of these presentations follow this link

Gifts to the Foundation can be designated specifically for "Kiwanis Cozy Comforts."  

  The Sweet Dreams Project

In December, 2015, eighteen children and their families who are in difficult circumstances and who are being assisted by Jefferson Area Children’s Health Improvement Program (CHiP) were presented with unique, portable bags of bedding assembled by volunteers from the Kiwanis Club of Charlottesville in a project entitled “Sweet Dreams in a Bag.”   Lt. Gov. Barb Ritter and fellow Kiwanians, Ronda Guill, Heather Mott,  Joyce Lesich, and Karen Dowell, campaigned among their fellow Kiwanians to raise money, search out the best deals from local stores, and solicited outright gifts of items that go into filling these large, sturdy, yet portable, clear plastic “Sweet Dreams” bags, that resemble over-sized suitcases rather than bags.  Each bag contains a child-themed coverlet, a fleece blanket, a set of sheets, a pillow and pillowcase, toothbrush and toothpaste, a small toy, and an age appropriate book. The Kiwanis Club held an assembling workshop on a Monday service work night held at WorkSource Enterprises, where the collected contents of the bags were sorted according to particular ages and sex of the individual children who were being served and packed neatly into the cases.  Smaller gift packages have also been prepared especially for the parents.  


5. Foundation Grants Program

The Kiwanis Club of Charlottesville Foundation was happy to share in the holiday joy with all 93 children who are clients of ReadyKids with a foundation grant to provide holiday gifts.  Santa arrived and distributed the gifts to children and their parents in attendance while  KCOC Foundation Vice Chairperson, Karen Dowell, joined them at the annual December holiday party.  Kiwanis members, Eric Lamb and Karen Dowell, shopped for gifts, and members. Joyce Lesich and Bettie Dunnavant joined them to wrap the gifts prior to the event.  "It is a great honor to be able to partner with ReadyKids and to see the smiles on the faces of the children.  This is just one of the ways we can show the Charlottesville community that #KidsNeedKiwanis and that what we do impacts one child and one community at a time, and every day offers new opportunities," said Karen Dowell.

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today. Checks should be made payable to Kiwanis Club of Charlottesville Foundation, and mailed to P.O. Box 6698, Charlottesville VA  22906-6698

Address inquiries to Karen Dowell, Chairwoman, Kiwanis Club of Charlottesville Foundation, at the same mailing address or karen

Foundation grant applications are available at

Kiwanis Independence Day 5K Benefits Camp Holiday Trails
news image

The 35th Annual Kiwanis Independence Day 5K Race was held...

BB&T Bank Assists Local Foster Children in Donation Drive
news image

Backpacks and supplies are donated at BB&T.Backpacks and supplies are donated at BB&T.

Jefferson Area Aktion Club Raises Funds at Innisfree MusicFest
news image

Well over a hundred people braved the rains and floods and were welcomed...

Key Clubs End School Year with Honors Banquets
news image

Key Clubs at Western Albemarle HIgh School and Albemarle High School ended the...

Grand Home Furnishings Sports Equipment Drive Big Success
news image

For the entire month of April., Kiwanis teamed up with Grand Home Furnishings...