Names: Stephen and Cara Cupka

City of Residence: Virginia Beach

Job Titles/Companies: 

Stephen – Project Manager (ET Gresham)

Cara- Scheduling Engineer (VDOT)

How did you first hear about The River Ellis Foundation?

When we got the tragic news about River we were at a total loss for words. We knew we wanted to support Doug and Rachel and shower them with love during this tragic time but we were uncertain as to what would help them heal the most. When Doug and Rachel shared the news about their new foundation we were blown away by the vision they had of honoring their daughter’s legacy while helping others find sunrises of their own. 

Why did you decide to donate?

We couldn’t think of a better way to lift up our friends Doug and Rachel while honoring their Daughter River and helping others simultaneously. Just as they poured themselves into River, they mustered up the strength to turn and do the same for their community. Their vision for this foundation is truly inspiring as it is helping so many others who are going through tough times and need an opportunity to heal as well. River’s legacy will forever shine bright through the Foundation and will touch so many more lives than any of us could have imagined.  

What do you hope The River Ellis Foundation accomplishes in the near future?

Our hope is that the foundation continues to grow, both in community and outreach, so that it may continue to increase the amount of support granted to those who need it most. We also hope that if anyone knows of someone who needs a sunrise that they contact the foundation and fill out a nomination. 

What would you tell someone who is thinking about donating?

We think the best part about the support this foundation provides is its diversity. There is not one particular area or group that this foundation focuses on but rather the community as a whole. It has been motivating to see the foundation’s social media posts and newsletters, which provide updates on where the foundation is currently giving sunrises to those who need them. Being able to know directly what the foundation is providing others introduces an intimate aspect that not many other foundations offer.

What other organizations/causes do you support?

St. Jude Children’s Hospital

The Children’s Hospital of the Kings Daughters

Virginia Beach CASA

Lynnhaven River NOW 

What do you wish other people knew about The River Ellis Foundation?

We want everyone to know that there is more than one way to get involved with the foundation. This includes monetary donations, volunteer efforts, and the ability to nominate someone in need of a sunrise. The convenience of the nomination process is that it ensures there is no sunrise too big or too small.