The Ramsey Foundation provides resources to organizations working in rural communities. Our focus is helping to meet daily life needs as well as the enrichment of cultural arts. In addition, we seek to bring awareness to the disparities of cultural arts resources and opportunities in rural communities.
Sara and Matthew Ramsey grew up in rural Southwest Virginia prior to moving to Nashville in 2002 to pursue Matthew’s dream of songwriting. Matthew spent years in Nashville honing his craft of songwriting and playing his music at every opportunity. He eventually began to have success, first as a songwriter and subsequently as an artist. Matthew is the frontman to the Country Music Band Old Dominion. Since breaking onto the country music scene in 2014 the band has been on fire. Old Dominion was recognized as the Group of the Year at the both the 2018 and 2019 ACM Awards and the reigning CMA Vocal Group of the Year. The band has notched seven No. 1s at country radio, surpassed one billion on-demand streams, singles “No Such Thing As A Broken Heart” and “Written in the Sand” earning Platinum certifications and “Hotel Key” earning a Gold, from their Gold certified sophomore album Happy Endings, and headlining arenas and amphitheaters across the globe on their super-successful “Happy Endings” and current “Make It Sweet” tours. Matthew’s songwriting continues to support the success of the band and other artists such as Kenny Chesney (“Save it For A Rainy Day”), Michael Ray (“One That Got Away”), and others.
The Ramseys maintain a deep connection to their roots. Beginning in 2011, Matthew returned to Buchanan, Virginia annually to hold a songwriter night for the community benefiting the local area food pantry that his parents Tom and Peggy Ramsey operationalize out of their church. Nashville Night in Buchanan was an opportunity for Matthew to share some of the talent he experienced daily in Nashville. People have been given an opportunity to hear songwriters and hit songs that otherwise would not be available. After years of this, ample funds were raised to be able to support more than the food pantry. The event has raised over $177,000 and has given the food pantry the ability to provide over 82,500 meals. Because of Matthew’s increased notoriety and success, Matthew and Sara decided to start the Ramsey Foundation in order to reach further with the money raised.
The Ramsey’s love rural life and are shaped by the strong family and community ties found in the small town where they grew up. However, they noticed a disparity in resources between rural and urban environments. Sara and Matthew experienced much easier access to music and other cultural arts in their urban surrounding of Nashville. Their hope is to bring some of the urban benefits home to the area that they love (and others like it). They believe that to be able to grow culturally, basic needs must also be met. Because of this, they intend to continue to support programs meeting basic needs as well as programs created to expand access to the arts. This may include visual, literary, dramatic, music, or other cultural arts.
Through the My Home Town Fund established at the Community Foundation Serving Western Virginia, the Ramsey Foundation provides resources to the community. The Community Foundation provides infrastructure and identifies and verifies needs and recipients that meet the Ramsey Foundation’s purpose. This relationship allows the expertise and knowledge of the Community Foundation team members to guide the Ramsey Foundation to make the largest impact possible on the communities they serve. This relationship also minimizes the costs of the Foundation so that more dollars go to helping deserving causes. Organizations wishing to apply for Grants should contact the Community Foundation Serving Western Virginia directly at cfwesternva.org.