As staff, we often say that our organization’s heart is our community members. Our River Friends who take the time out of their busy lives to support FOR and our mission to protect and preserve our Rappahannock River. This year we had so many river friends support our work through volunteering, sharing our mission with friends and family and even holding events for us! 

March 2023:

Harry’s Downtown Serves Up Support

The philanthropic wave began in March and continued through April as Harry’s Downtown Restaurant, a popular eatery in downtown Fredericksburg, dedicated their burger sales to Friends of the Rappahannock. For every mouth-watering burger ordered during these months, a portion of the proceeds went directly to FOR’s mission. The community responded with enthusiasm, savoring not only the delectable burgers but also the satisfaction of contributing to a cause close to home. As a result, we received over $1,000. 

Thank you Harry’s Downtown!

April 2023:

River Life Show: Where Art Meets Conservation 

The creative spirit of the community came to the forefront with the River Life Show. Local artists showcased their talent by creating river-themed artworks, providing the public with the opportunity to purchase these masterpieces. Additionally with each postcard purchased, a donation was made to Friends of the Rappahannock, every piece became a symbol of support for the organization’s mission. The River Life Show not only elevated the profile of local artists but also raised over $270 for the cause. 

Thank you PONSHOP, Gabe & Scarlett Pons, Dolly Whitley, Ash Moore, Kassandra Escoe, and Pete Morelewicz for donating your time and talent. 

Culpeperpalooza: A Festival for a Cause 

The first year was such a success, Mountain Run Winery and Culpeper Chamber of Commerce brought Culpeperpalooza back for a second and invited FOR again! It is a weekend filled with connecting with our community, handing out trees, enjoying live music, food, drinks and some great local causes. Proceeds from the festival were given back to local nonprofit organizations who make our community thrive and luckily they honored us as being one of them. Thanks to amazing event coordinators and attendees we receive $500 towards our mission and efforts in the Upper Rappahannock River. 

Functional River Art: Blue Hole Canoe Raffle

This unique Blue Hole Canoe’s life before reaching FOR began in 1993. The canoe eventually made its way into the hands of a group of skilled canoe restorationists, artists, and river enthusiasts who generously donated the one of a kind boat to FOR in support of our mission. This gorgeous dark green canoe featured ash woven seats and maple deck plates showcasing beautiful etched heron and kingfisher artwork. This functioning art piece was donated to raffle off to raise money to keep the donor’s favorite river healthy and scenic for generations to enjoy. People were astonished by its beauty and helped raise over $1,500 in tickets! 

Many thanks to those who helped make this project possible! Dave Stockdill, Hal Wiggins, Gary Parks, John Williamson and Bill Micks 


August 2023:

Bowman Summer Fest Brings the Heat to Fundraising

In the heat of August, Bowman Summer Fest turned up the temperature on community support. The organizers not only hosted a memorable Summerfest but also pledged to donate all proceeds from donations and drink purchases to Friends of the Rappahannock. Attendees quenched their thirst while contributing to the organization’s mission. The total amount raised during this summer celebration was over $1,500, further demonstrating the community’s commitment to environmental conservation.

Thank you A. Smith Bowman Distillery!!

Tides Inn Film Night: A Night at the Movies for a Cause

In collaboration with FOR, the Tides Inn organized a special showing of a film highlighting the amazing environmental work they have done at the Inn. Moviegoers flocked to Tides Inn, not just for the cinematic experience but to support the cause close to their hearts. While enjoying the film, attendees also had the opportunity to learn more about the Rappahannock River watershed and the organization’s efforts. The Tides Inn Film Night added a unique and cinematic flair to the fundraising efforts, contributing [insert amount] to Friends of the Rappahannock.

Thank you Tides Inn for continuing to act as a supportive partner in our oyster and living shoreline projects.

Beer & Business: A Unique Outreach Endeavor

Friends of the Rappahannock ventured into the realm of Beer & Business, a unique outreach event hosted by Stafford EDA that brought together local Stafford businesses and beer enthusiasts together to learn about a great cause. Attendees enjoyed craft brews while learning about the organization’s environmental initiatives, the Rappahannock River’s impact on our local economy and ways they can help support FOR. The fusion of socializing and environmental awareness proved to be a successful formula allowing the organization to build relationships with many community businesses.

Thank you to the Stafford EDA and Virginia Credit Union for making the evening possible!

October 2023:

Fall Foliage Adventure Race Sets New Heights

Come October, a community member helped organize the Fall Foliage Adventure Race, a thrilling and challenging event that combined climbing, running, paddling, and biking. The community eagerly participated in the sold-out race, not just for the adrenaline-pumping experience but also to support Friends of the Rappahannock. The admission fees collected from the participants were donated to support FOR’s mission. The event turned out to be a tremendous success, attracting both seasoned athletes and newcomers alike. The cheers of triumph echoed not only for the participants but also for the organization, which raised a remarkable $4,398.

Benny Vitali’s Pizza Doughraiser: A Slice of Support

Amidst the diverse array of fundraising initiatives, Benny Vitali’s added its unique flavor to the mix by hosting its annual Doughraiser in support of Friends of the Rappahannock. Benny Vitali’s has been donating to Friends of the Rappahannock since 2017! On October 18th, pizza enthusiasts had the opportunity to indulge in Benny’s delicious offerings, knowing that 20% of the proceeds from their purchases would be directed towards the environmental conservation efforts of Friends of the Rappahannock. Benny’s Pizza, a local favorite known for their GIGANTIC PIES allowed community members to contribute to a cause close to their hearts while savoring a slice or two. This partnership not only satisfied taste buds but also contributed over $700 to the organization, showcasing how even the simple act of enjoying a meal can have a meaningful impact on the local environment.

Thank you Benny’s Pizzeria! 

Eagle Scout Project Replaces Benches at FOR Nature Center

Jack Young, an aspiring Eagle Scout from Fredericksburg BSA Troop 170, knew he wanted to give back to Friends of the Rappahannock for his Eagle Scout project. During the COVID-19 pandemic, when indoor meetings were not possible, FOR generously allowed Troop 170 to use our picnic pavilion for gatherings. With a desire to make a lasting impact on the organization and its educational programs, Jack set his sights on replacing the rotting and dilapidated benches in front of the FOR nature center.

These benches serve as a vital gathering spot for students participating in field trips and summer camps. Recognizing the time-consuming and expensive nature of the project, Jack was undeterred. He skillfully utilized his videography and marketing talents to craft a persuasive fundraising appeal. His captivating video resonated with supporters, raising over $1,500 – far exceeding the cost of the necessary materials. With the surplus funds, Jack made a generous donation to support our efforts to educate future generations of river stewards.

After finding a blueprint, gathering the materials, cutting the wood to size, and organizing food and drinks for his team, Jack led his fellow scouts on a construction day.  8 new benches were assembled and installed on October 20, 2023.

In the spirit of community collaboration, these events exemplify how local businesses, festivals, and creative endeavors can come together to make a significant impact on environmental conservation. Friends of the Rappahannock expresses gratitude to the community for their unwavering support and looks forward to continued partnerships in the coming year. The success of these fundraisers not only bolsters the organization’s financial standing but also reinforces the sense of community and shared responsibility for preserving the natural beauty of the Rappahannock River watershed. In total through community fundraising we were able to raise over [insert amount].


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