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Donors include individuals and businesses who wish to contribute to an array of non-profit organizations serving Nelson County humanitarian needs. Donations replenish NCCF coffers to fund approximately 14 grants per year totaling more than $100,000. Nelson County residents are truly grateful for donors’ support.

Take a look at what some of our donors have to say:

A Fireside Chat with Dr. Andrew Hodson

For a decade, Andrew and Patricia Hodson annually sponsored the biggest party in Nelson County at their charming winery at the foot of Afton Mountain. Hosting the Nelson County Community Fund’s Opportunity Ball fundraiser “was a way to give back to the community,” said the retired pediatric neurologist and founder of Veritas Vineyard and Winery ( In fact, it was Hodson who coined the mission statement, “an opportunity to care and share” that appears below NCCF’s logo.

Dr. Hodson sat down recently in the Veritas tasting room with Nelson County Advisory Committee member Sue Klett to answer questions about NCCF’s early days, and the challenge of continuing to address the humanitarian needs of Nelson County residents.

NCCF: You served on the Nelson County Advisory Committee for 15 years. What drew you to the committee and NCCF’s mission?

Hodson: Ed Stemmler (Dr. Stemmler, Nelson County resident and former Dean of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania) invited me to join the committee. Back then it was called the Nelson County Advocacy Committee, a name no one could remember. The NCAC used to be part of a 501(c)(3) called the Staunton-Augusta-Waynesboro Foundation (now the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge). At the time, the NCAC had an annual budget of $20,000. Yet Wintergreen had held a ball and raised $60,000 to help care for animals. I was appalled that NCAC had such a small amount to work with in helping those in need in the community. That’s when the idea for the (NCCF) Opportunity Ball came in. Patricia and I had moved from Jacksonville, FL, and bought Saddleback Farm, which at the time was a cow farm. Patricia and I set up the vineyard and a winery from scratch. We thought we could use a formal ball as a way to give back to the community. So we started hosting the Opportunity Ball. People loved the chance to get all dressed up and dance for good cause. We continued the tradition of the ball when the NCAC moved under the auspices of the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation.

NCCF: What do you see as some of the greatest challenges facing Nelson County residents now and in the future?

Hodson: Lack of jobs, economic status, family structure. The opioid crisis has been a problem. I also serve on the board of the Blue Ridge Medical Center and we have worked with our physicians to cut back opioid prescriptions by 50 percent. Ohio has cut its addiction problem in half. How did they do it? By expanding Medicaid. Virginia is getting ready to do the same thing (expand Medicaid), and the BRMC is ready to address the addiction problem more broadly.

NCCF: Conversely, what are some of the challenges with fundraising, and especially, finding new donors?

Hodson: Donor fatigue is an issue. Also, grant-giving becomes mechanical and we become uninvolved—maybe too removed—from the community in need. I was inspired by the way Jennifer McCrae (Senior Research Fellow at the Hauser Institute for Civil Society at Harvard University) approaches fundraising. She never asks people for money. Instead, she talks about the work that is being done, and the people and the causes that are being helped by this work. It’s about getting donors to expand their philanthropy beyond the checks they write.

NCCF: What could NCCF do more of or do differently to better serve the community? 

Hodson: Get more involved in the community it serves. You mentioned holding a fund-raiser to serve soup in the community*—I think that’s a good idea. Just giving out money without effecting real change is futile.

NCCF: Thank you for the 15 years you spent on the NCAC, and the tremendous support you and Patricia gave toward filling the NCCF’s grant-making coffers.

Hodson: I worked with some wonderful people on the NCAC. It was my way to give back.

*Watch the NCCF website for more information about our new “Empty Bowls, Full Stomachs” fund-raising event coming in the spring of 2019.


Donate Now

Join the hundreds of your neighbors who are supporting the Nelson County Community Fund. Click here to go to our Donate page.

Thank you!

NCCF Receives Proceeds from the Be Thankful 5 K – 2018

Pictured are (left to right) Neil Ripani (Wintergreen Resort), Jane Francis (NCCF Advisory Committee), Sarah Jane Stewart (Co-chair, NCCF Advisory Committee), Art Thorn (NCCF Advisory Committee), Donna McCurdy (Co-chair, NCCF Advisory Committee), Lindsay Dorrier (Bold Rock Hard Cider), Lou Siegel (Rockfish Valley Foundation)

NCCF received a contribution of $1,500 from Wintergreen Resort and $500 from Bold Rock Hard Cider as proceeds from the Be Thankful 5K at Thanksgiving 2018. The course followed the trails of Rockfish Valley Foundation. Wintergreen Resort has supported NCCF since 2011 by donating a total of over $15,000 in proceeds from the 5K. Bold Rock has contributed a total of $1,000 over the past two years. NCCF is grateful to these Nelson County businesses and nonprofits for this support.

Contact Us

Please get in touch with us if you are interested in learning more about the Nelson County Community Fund. We also welcome your questions, comments, and suggestions.

Nelson County Community Fund
P.O. Box 253
Nellysford, VA 22958

(434) 260-1843

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