Richard Lykes, a beloved Rappahannock community member, died in 2009. The last line in his Washington Post obituary reads, “His fight is over, his battle won: Now his victory has begun!”

How prescient this quote truly is for Lykes’ life and his legacy. 

Each and every December since 2015, the Richard Lykes Rappahannock Community Fund, established and held at the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation (NPFC), awards grants to organizations dedicated to furthering the growth and resilience of Rappahannock County residents. 

One of NPFC’s 14 grant recipients this year is a collaborative effort between two organizations. The Rappahannock Benevolent Fund and Fauquier Habitat for Humanity partnered to create a project titled, Critical Home Repairs in Rappahannock.

Some 11% of Rappahannock residents live in poverty, with 34% identified as ALICE households (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). Low-income households are particularly high risk because of their economic instability and their concentration in the service industry and other hourly jobs that have some of the highest risks of COVID-19 disruptions. Worth noting, there does not have to be a worldwide pandemic to put these families at risk.

Having formed this partnership in early 2020, Habitat for Humanity and the Benevolent Fund have already completed 12 projects helping 16 people. The Rappahannock Benevolent Fund has dedicated staff to identify needs and projects and the two organizations are working together on execution of the work. Projects ranged from small works such as finishing drywall, repairing a front door, and fixing an air conditioning unit to more critical repairs such as improving the heating system of a home, completing essential plumbing improvements and repairs, and replacing floors decimated by termite damage.

In December 2020, over $73,700 was awarded to 14 nonprofits in Rappahannock County. The recipients were as diverse as RappCats to the Rappahannock Historical Society to Friends of the Rappahannock. Lykes was able to take a feeling of love for his community and turn it into action by investing his legacy into his community. The purpose of a community foundation like NPFC is to help community members actualize those feelings of love and commitment into funds whose returns may be resourced back into the community.

The local recipients and grants awarded include:

— Rappahannock Benevolent Fund - $10,000

— Fauquier Habitat for Community - $10,000

— Child Care & Learning Center — $10,000

— Verdun Adventure Bound - $6,000

— Foothills Forum - $6,000

— Rapp at Home - $5,000

— Rappahannock Food Pantry - $5,000

— Rappahannock Center for Education - $5,000

— Rappahannock Nature Camp - $5,000

— Piedmont Environmental Council - $3,128

— Rappahannock Historical Society - $2,600

— RappCats - $2,500

— Friends of the Rappahannock - $2,000

— Headwaters - $1,500

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