Marlinton native Kristen Beverage-Doss will be filling the shoes of former Snowshoe Foundation Executive Director Jessica Stump.
Drawing from her experience as Partnership and Community Development Intern for the U. S. Forest Service, Doss said she has found her calling as a coordinator for events and providing funding for new projects in the county she loves.
“I have a degree in finance from WVU, and I originally thought I wanted to pursue something in the insurance field,” she explained. “I worked at State Farm for a while as an intern, and I loved it, but I felt like I wanted to broaden my horizons. Then, I got my job at the forest service and that was what really opened my eyes to community development, economic development, grants, education – all of that.
“I just tried to focus on finding a career that would support doing something I love to do, and when this position became available I had a few people send it to me and they were like, ‘I think you should apply for this. It’s looks perfect for you,’” she continued. “I did, and it worked out.”
As the Executive Director of Snowshoe Foundation, Doss is the leader of a 12- member board of directors which hosts annual fundraising events to provide grants for new and current programs in Pocahontas, Randolph and Webster counties.
“Sometimes people think Snowshoe Foundation is just associated with the resort – but it’s a completely separate entity,” Doss said. “It’s funded separately, and the organizational structure is separate. Basically, what they strive to do is provide opportunities and economic development and community development.
“The money that we’re taking in, we’re putting right back into the community. We’re trying to infuse that to build a better economic foundation and provide more opportunities.”
The grants are funded by money raised at events including Treasure on the Mountain, the annual golf tournament, the Ice Dinner and Christmas Tree sponsorships.
The foundation may also see more events on the horizon with Doss’ expertise.
“I’m hoping to add some more to those,” she said. “I also have an event planning certification. I love to plan weddings. I love to do big events. I did some public events for the forest service. I get giddy about events and things. I’d love to dive a little bit into that.”
The foundation has two grant cycles, one is for funding up to $10,000 and the other is for requests for $10,000 to $20,000. The first cycle opens September 1 ends October 14 and those grant awards are announced December 4.
The second cycle opens later in the fall.
“These grants are here for people in the communities to apply for,” she said. “I just want to help make people aware of that. Please apply. Even if you’re not sure, apply anyway. It can’t hurt. As long as you have a project in mind that is focused on community development, education, technology – apply and see what comes. You never know.”
Since its inception, the Snowshoe Foundation has granted $2,873,218 to communities and individuals.
In 2018, a total of $351,907 was awarded in the three counties. The applications are available for schools, educational programs and 501(c)3 organizations.
“I think the more we can improve these communities, the better,” Doss said. “Growing up here, it’s something I’m really passionate about. I’ve lived other places, and I think, ‘if only we had that opportunity’ or ‘if only we had that kind of funding or that kind of structure.’ The possibilities are endless, and I love it.”
Like Stump, Doss is also the community liaison for Snowshoe Mountain Resort, and so she is ready to make stronger connections between the resort and the rest of the county.
“I fell into the stigma of most of the locals,” she said. “I was intimated to apply for jobs at Snowshoe to begin with. I don’t know why, I just was. Once I got on their job site, I’m like, look at how many opportunities there are here. They have sections for everyone. It’s kind of like the forest service. When I first started working there, I thought, ‘I’m not a biologist. I can’t work for the forest service.’ Then I realized they have botanists. They have people who work in the office – administration, grants. Snowshoe is the same way.
“There are a lot of opportunities that I didn’t even know existed,” she continued. “So, I’d like to encourage people to look at the job market up here because it is something special and the drive hasn’t been too bad.”
Doss is a 2013 graduate of Pocahontas County High School and 2017 graduate of West Virginia University. In October, she and her husband, Seth Doss, will celebrate their second wedding anniversary. Seth, another Marlinton native, is a lineman for Mon Power.
For more information on Snowshoe Foundation, visit www.snowshoefoundation.org