How You Can Help
VILLAGE IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION KICKS-OFF CAPITAL CAMPAIGN
TO EXPAND ITS CLUBHOUSE
The Village Improvement Association (VIA), a charitable, non-profit organization, announced a $250,000 Capital Campaign to expand their Clubhouse at the Boardwalk and Grenoble Place. “We are excited about this,” said Campaign Committee Chair Theda Blackwelder. “Where many charitable volunteer organizations are losing members, we are increasing ours steadily and have just outgrown our space!”
The little Clubhouse nestled behind the dunes, was built in 1926 at the cost of $2,644.88. At that time, VIA membership was small, the women fit comfortably in their new surroundings and held meetings, art classes and shows. Today VIA has 220 active members and that number is steadily growing. Although the building was expanded after the devastating Nor'easter of 1962, today the Clubhouse cannot accommodate various functions and many fundraising efforts are severely curtailed by the lack of space. There is just not enough room.
Since its founding in 1909, the VIA mission was, and continues to be, the promotion of interests, improvements and progress of the Rehoboth Beach community and to perform charitable and civic work in and around the Rehoboth Beach area. During 1912, the VIA joined the fledgling Delaware State Federation of Women's Clubs (DSFWC). In 1923, VIA became part of the General Federation of Women's Clubs (GFWC) whose members are women of diverse interests, talents and backgrounds and are united by a dedication to community improvement through volunteer service. TheVillage Improvement Association historically has remained a strong supporter of both DSFWC and GFWC .
Expansion feasibility studies headed by VIA Vice President Carolyn Billingsley considered the size of the meeting room as well as updating the kitchen. With VIA's desirable beach location, more people are seeking the VIA building for their weddings, receptions and parties. The current kitchen often does not meet catering needs.
During the planning sessions, everything was considered...from researching the official historic status of the building, working with the State Fire Marshall to consulting with builders and, important to Billingsley, considering the ability to build as “green” as possible.
In many building circles, $250,000 would not seem a large amount. The women who, for 102 years, have raised money with bake sales, high teas and other events, felt they could not bake that many cookies. They are seeking funding from foundations, corporations, members, city, county and state officials and the generous donations of individuals to meet their goal. The Village Improvement Association is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and all donations are tax-deductible.
Over $75,000 has been raised and various fundraising events are planned. DNREC granted $35,000 and of that $25,000 is specifically for solar panels and $10,000 is to be used for other “green” energy efficiency needs. Grant requests are currently being written and a few generous anonymous gifts have been donated to this worthwhile cause, however, there is still a long way to go before the VIA members are secure in being financially comfortable to be “shovel-ready”.
With this proposed expansion, the members are hoping to take their charitable giving to a new level. Some of the organizations who receive grants from the VIA are the Rehoboth Beach Library, the YMCA, Therapeutic Horseback Riding Program, Stockley Center, Read Aloud, Cape Henlopen Citizenship Award, The Beebe School of Nursing Scholarships and many others. The VIA members have made it quite clear that none of the charities they support financially will suffer in their quest for expansion funds.
The dedicated women of the Village Improvement Association are seeking funds to meet their goal of raising $250,000 for the expansion of their Clubhouse. Those interested in helping, donating or who wish additional information may contact Theda Blackwelder 945-2775.
A $10,000 grant from The Lowe II Foundation in North Palm Beach, Florida is presented to Village Improvement Association Building Chair Carolyn Billingsley (l to r) by VIA member Laurie Meacham as Capital Campaign Chair Theda Blackwelder happily looks on.
Sussex County Council member George Cole generously granted $2,500 from his Council budget to help with the proposed expansion of the Village Improvement Association Clubhouse. He is pictured with VIA Vice President and Building Committee Chair Carolyn Billingsley (left) and VIA Campaign Treasurer Phyllis Stone.
The Village Improvement Association Clubhouse at Grenoble Place and the Boardwalk.
Elevation of the proposed VIA Clubhouse expansion.
The Village Improvement Association is dedicated to the improvement of conditions for our neighbors in our local communities. We promote the interests, improvements, and progress of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
We are represented on civic and charitable organization boards in the area and organize fundraisers to support their needs. We do and perform whatever charitable and civic work in Rehoboth and elsewhere as is needed and decided upon by our members.
Residents and visitors can support our efforts and help us support our community by getting involved through volunteerism and by attending and supporting local fundraising events. On our home page you will find a listing of our annual fundraisers as well as monthly events that are planned. Other helpful ways that businesses and individuals can help is to sponsor our events and/or to donate door prizes. Recognition is always given in the local papers to those who support our efforts.
We have ongoing sales of our cookbooks which you can find at various locations throughout the community, the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, or directly through the VIA.
We have a crafts boutique during our St. Nicholas Tea in November along with sales of the annual 'White House Ornament'.
Our many bake sales are well attended and our chicken salad is renowned.
Of course, charitable donations can be made at any time to our organization. To ensure that the aims and purposes of the VIA continue, contributions or bequests to our voluntary endowment fund may be made in any amount, in any form, at any time. Gifts are invested in a special account and are tax deductible.
Whichever way you choose to support the VIA, be assured that Rehoboth Beach and the surrounding communities will benefit. We thank you for whatever way you choose.