The River Ellis Foundation

We are a community-focused 501c3 nonprofit organization helping those in the Hampton Roads community who have recently encountered an unexpected hardship and are in need of a sunrise.

Our Story

We learned firsthand that tragedy doesn’t discriminate when our daughter, River, died at just two days old in September of 2018. Our world came crashing down around us as we found ourselves in the middle of every parent’s worst nightmare: instead of taking River home from the hospital to begin our lives together, we would be faced with the unthinkable task of planning her funeral.

Our Mission

Sh*t happens to good people and hardship doesn’t discriminate. Individuals in our own community are faced with tragedies and unimaginable adversity every single day. We want to be there for those people: the ones who’ve found themselves in the middle of something they couldn’t have prepared for. Those who don’t quite fit into a box, but need some support to get through the adversity they’re facing.

How You Can Help

There are several ways you can help The River Ellis Foundation and give a sunrise to someone in the Hampton Roads Community. We’d love for you to get involved!

Make a Donation

Help make a difference in the lives of those in our community who need it the most. Every dollar counts!

Nominate Someone

Do you know someone in the community who have recently faced an unexpected hardship and could use some extra support? Nominate them today!

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Read latest news from our blog:

Bay Colony Olympics Raises $40k For REF

Bay Colony Olympics Raises $40k For REF

On October 26th, the annual Bay Colony Olympics was held in Virginia Beach. Each year, teams raise money for a local charity to participate in this event. This year's recipient was The River Ellis Foundation. Participating teams create themes and dress up in elaborate...

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REF Raises Over $200,000 Ahead of Official Launch

REF Raises Over $200,000 Ahead of Official Launch

The River Ellis Foundation exceeded their initial fundraising goal after raising more than $200,000 for the foundation's kick-off event. On September 15th, more than 200 people arrived at the Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum to celebrate REF's Launch Party...

read more

Make A Donation

Help make a difference in the lives of those in our community who need it the most. Every dollar counts!

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Get Involved

Are you looking to get involved in giving back to your community? We have many volunteer opportunities and events throughout the year. If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer, please complete the form on the volunteer page.

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