Over $14,955.31 Raised for Local Charities

Decorating the Trees for a Cause is a program sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Learning & Research (IALR) that raises money for local charities while bringing the community together in the spirit of the holidays. Participants set up and decorated a tree in honor of a chosen non-profit organization. This year 44 organizations participated in the program. Community members vote for their favorite tree or charity by giving monetary donations over four weeks. All participants receive 100% of the donations made for their trees. The two trees earning the most donations receive a bonus of $1000 for first place and $600 for second place. Decorating the trees began in 2010 with just four trees and raised $310.  Since the program’s humble beginning, $85,496.61 has been raised over the last eight years.

The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company tree raised the most money and was awarded a $1,000 bonus for a total donation of $4,892.70 to the United Way of Danville – Pittsylvania County.

The Danville Area Humane Society came in second place and was awarded a $600 bonus for a total donation of $3,010.51. 

The third place bonus of $400 was selected by a random drawing and was awarded to Danville Church Based Tutorial.  The bonus awards were sponsored by Sodexo and an anonymous donor. The total donations made to local charities and causes was $14,955.31.

PHOTO: Representatives from Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company are shown receiving a check from IALR employee Ellen Bass while Executive Director Mark Gignac looks on.

Focused on assessing potential opportunities for developing the United States’ industrial hemp industry, the first Annual Industrial Hemp Summit is a collaborative effort between Halifax County Agricultural Development (HCAD) and the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR). A specific focus of the summit will be building the supply chain for this emerging industry and developing markets for industrial hemp fiber and food. The summit will highlight current innovation in the industry, as well as explore solutions for resolving resource and infrastructure needs to move the industry forward. The summit will explore legislative and regulatory changes that are needed to allow the hemp industry to flourish.

The United States is the world’s largest market for hemp products with estimated sales of $688 million in 2016, according to Vote Hemp market research. Most hemp products sold in the U.S. have been imported. With potential changes in legislation, the U.S. hemp industry growth has accelerated following the inclusion of a key provision in the 2014 Farm Bill, which authorized state regulated hemp pilot programs and research. The Summit seeks to serve as a catalyst to help the hemp industry grow and create jobs and economic development in rural communities.

The Conference Center at IALR, 150 Slayton Avenue, Danville, VA 24540 will host the Summit.

The Conference Center at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research 150 Slayton Avenue, Danville VA 24540

Monday evening, February 26, 2018 - Networking Reception in the IALR Atrium Tuesday, February 27, 2018 – Daylong Summit of Experts

Additional information is available at www.industrialhempsummit.info.

Written by: Leslie Dobbins, Conference Services Manager

The Institute’s Conference Center was one of ten locations in the Commonwealth to hold a special coding experience for 100 middle school girls. This special one-day program taught students how to create their own mobile applications. The event was presented by the Virginia Secretary of Technology and Capital One.

The day-long event was supported by 35 volunteers who came to our area from Northern Virginia, Richmond, and as far away as Michigan. The volunteers spent two nights in local hotels and dined in area restaurants; a fine example of economic development. 

In preparation for the event, our catering provider, Sodexo, provided a healthy breakfast and boxed lunch. 

Following the event, the team leader from Capital One said, “Words cannot express enough how incredibly grateful I am for making the Coders Experience in Danville such a wonderful, life changing experience for the middle school girls who participated in this event. Thank you for hosting us at your incredible facility. Between the logistical and technical support that you provided before and during the event, to offering nutritious meals and refreshments for participants and volunteers, and especially your amazing hospitality – we were so very fortunate to partner with your team and are so very impressed by what you’re doing to support the workforce of today and of tomorrow.”

The Conference Services Team really enjoyed working with the planners from Capital One and the George P. Johnson marketing agency. Weekly conference calls over a three-month period gave the team greater insight into the program logistics. This kind of event contributes to our region’s economic development - people staying in our hotels, eating in our restaurants, and experiencing Southern Virginia in a positive and meaningful way while advancing the learning and growing opportunities for the youth of our future.

Comments and paraphrased statements from volunteers: 

“Amazing facility! If only Capital One had a place like this for conferences. “

“The conference staff was awesome, they assisted with every detail; from menu planning and catering along with caring for our every need during set-up and registration. 

“The food and service were wonderful!




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