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!


Read latest news from our blog:

DIY Paddle Out Toolkit

DIY Paddle Out Toolkit

In honor of River's birthday each September, we hold a Paddle Out to celebrate the love that she continues to spread through The River Ellis Foundation. Due to COVID-19, we are unable to hold our paddle out in person this year, but we want YOU to have a DIY Paddle Out...

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Donor Spotlight: Trish Gill

Donor Spotlight: Trish Gill

Trish Gill is from Virginia Beach and serves as the HR Benefits Manager at TowneBank. She lives with her husband, Tom, and daughter Darby (age 9). They also have a 9-year-old yellow lab named Arleigh and a 20-year-old cat named Kitty. Trish loves to spend her time...

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Meet The Board: Doug and Rachel Ellis

Meet The Board: Doug and Rachel Ellis

Doug and Rachel Ellis co-founded The River Ellis Foundation in 2018 when their daughter, River, passed away. Along with the Foundation, Doug is involved in a range of different community organizations. He is Past President/Current Board Member of the...

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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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Donation Total: $50.00

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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