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Two Rivers Giving Circle honors preservationist

Lisa Welch of the Two Rivers Giving Circle presents a handcrafted pottery platter to preservation honoree John Allen. The Two Rivers Giving Circle is a donor-advised fund of the Eastern
West Virginia Community Foundation.

Author, preservationist, and architectural historian John Allen, of Shepherdstown, was recently recognized by the Two Rivers Giving Circle with the presentation of its 2012 Preservation Award.

Allen was cited for his work in the field of historic preservation and was presented with a handcrafted platter made from local clay by award-winning potters Pam and Ren Parziale of Sycamore Pottery in Leetown.

Lisa Welch, one of the coordinators of the Two Rivers Giving Circle acknowledged several of Allen’s accomplishments during a reception held in his honor at the Morgan County home of Charles and Margaret Biggs.

“John has done a remarkable job of documenting Jefferson County historic homes and buildings in his groundbreaking book Uncommon Vernacular,” Welch said. “He also serves on the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission where he is responsible for completing the countywide survey of historic resources and putting that information on line.”

The Two Rivers Giving Circle operates as a donor-advised fund of the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation and has recognized leaders in the fields of preservation and conservation since its inception in 2008. The Giving Circle is one of the few grantmakers in the region that focuses on these two related fields. Grants totaling more than $28,800 have been awarded to such local charities and organizations as the Morgan County Solid Waste Recycling Center, Potomac Valley Audubon Society, American Conservation Film Festival, Berkeley County Historical Society, and Berkeley Springs High School.

The Giving Circle has funded watershed projects, recycling systems, an ecology club, storage systems for historical documents, and many other worthy projects. Now in its fifth year of conservation and preservation grantmaking, the Giving Circle will be awarding 2012 grants to nonprofit organizations in Morgan, Berkeley, and Jefferson Counties later this year. Charities seeking a grant must apply by Sept. 17. Applications may be submitted online, in person, or by mail by following the instructions on the Community Foundation website at


Individuals interested in joining the Two Rivers Giving Circle as a grantmaker should contact Michael Whalton, executive director of the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation, at 304-264-0353. Cost of membership is $500 annually. A portion of all memberships is earmarked for the endowment at the Community Foundation, however, most of the gift goes directly to the grantmaking program. In an effort to increase the Two Rivers Giving Circle endowment, an anonymous donor has pledged $2,500 over five years ($500 each year) for a dollar-for-dollar match of gifts of $50 to $250 which will go directly to the endowed fund which supports the Giving Circle.

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