The Southern Virginia Higher Education Foundation Board Chair, Ryan Garrett presents SVHEC Executive Director Dr. Betty Adams with a check from the Hats & Horses fundraiser.

The Southern Virginia Higher Education Foundation (SVHEF) raised $10,000 with its Hats and Horses fundraiser to support the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC).

It was initially scheduled to be held in the spring at Cloverdale Quarters, but the unforeseen pandemic caused organizers to change it to a virtual “home-based” celebration.

Hats & Horses was Kentucky Derby themed and inspired various aspects of the event from the food to the raffles. 

With each $100 donation, donors received a tax-deductible receipt, choice of a Derby inspired dinner prepared by a local caterer, Derby inspired drink also prepared by a local vendor and entry into nearly a dozen raffles.

After the Derby Paks containing the dinner and drink were picked up at the SVHEF offices, participants logged onto Zoom to commemorate with the SVHEF staff and board of directors through inspirational student stories and raffles followed by a game of Kentucky Derby trivia. 

Hats & Horses received a “tremendous amount of support through the generosity of numerous organizations, particularly from community partners that sponsored the fundraiser,” according to organizers. Sponsors included Sentara, title sponsor, ODEC, food sponsor, Carter Bank & Trust, raffle sponsor, South Boston Self Storage, Beverage Sponsor and Long & Foster-Scotty Felton, beverage sponsor. 

Along with local partnerships, countless individuals contributed to the success of the fundraiser by purchasing tickets and hosting for their friends and family in their homes.

“Through the fundraiser, SVHEF raised $10,000 for the SVHEC! None of which would have been possible without the support of many of you. Thank you,” organizers said.

SVHEF plans to continue the tradition of the Hats & Horses fundraiser in the years to come with hopes that next year, the event can be held in its initial location with the original in-person plans to celebrate.

For more information, call the foundation at (434) 572-5448 or email