Late in 2021 The Normandy Allies, led by Marsha Smith in New York, decided to close their operations. They had been raising funds for decades to support sending American students to Normandy each summer to see the D -Day Beaches, the battlefields and have a great cultural experience with our friends in France. They chose our Foundation as the recipient for all their remaining funds and to carry on their student and educator Normandy tour travel grant mission.
In 2022 we were able to send 7 students and two adult educators to France supported in part with funds from the initial grant given to us. Six of the nine had been scheduled to travel in 2020 but COVID and the closing of Normandy Allies canceled their original trips. These first trips supported by our foundation were very successful and so we decided that we will continue and expand student and educator travel funded in whole or part by us in keeping with our education mission.
In 2024 our foundation will offer travel grants to students and educators in our region, based on merit and need, so they can travel to Normandy on a summer trip led by our 29th Division Museum staff and local guides in France. This will be a once in a lifetime trip for many and the academic and life lessons they will experience first-hand will create memories for the ages. Certainly they will never forget America’s Citizen Soldiers after this event.
Along with individual donors we are partnering with businesses, civic groups, financial institutions and the Community Foundation of the Central Blue-Ridge to raise funds to support annual travel grants for students and educators. Travel grant awards will range from $500 to $1000 and up to $3000 (full trip cost) per traveler each year for up to 20 students and adult educators. We believe that each school with a student desiring to attend should be able to receive a grant!
What an exciting opportunity we have to enrich the lives of students and educators! Call 540-248-0116 if you want to sponsor a student’s trip cost, a particular school, or make a general contribution to this fund.