Fall-Winter Newsletter – 2022

Jacob’s Ladder Oyster Tasting

A fantastic turnout and beautiful weather made for a wonderful event! On Sunday, September 25, the 12th Annual Oyster Tasting was held at Merroir Restaurant in Topping, VA. Over 130 guests attended the fundraiser, the largest turnout for this event ever! Everyone enjoyed tasty food, lively music, and good company during the afternoon. 

Alumni Climbers Calvin and Matt

Climbers and supporters donated homemade and hand-painted items for sale at the event, and they were a big hit. There were several guest speakers, including Mr. Stephen Best, President of the Beazley Foundation in Portsmouth, who announced a donation of $50,000 to Jacob’s Ladder to fund Climbers from the Portsmouth area. We want to thank our premium sponsor, Davenport & Company, for underwriting this event and all of our loyal donors for, once again, showing us their love and support. We hope to see everyone back next year, and invite your friends! 

See more pictures

Dominick at Woodberry Forest

Dominick – Climbing the Ladder

Over the years, Jacob’s Ladder has aided in sending a handful of Jacob’s Ladder Climbers to Woodberry Forest School (WFS), a boarding school in Madison County, Virginia, for high school boys. Dominick, pictured above, is the newest Climber to attend WFS and is finding success inside and outside the classroom. A few Jacob’s Ladder family members attended Parents’ Weekend in October. While on campus, they cheered Dominick on at his cross-country meet, explored the campus, had dinner with him, and watched him play the clarinet during a musical performance. When asked about the workload, Dominick said the balance was a big adjustment, but it is teaching him a solid work ethic. He is excelling in his classes, including AP Physics, Honors Algebra 2, Spanish, and Band, and he has made a great group of friends through his classes and group activities. We do not doubt that he will continue to do incredible things, and we will be supporting him every step of the way. 

JoAnne Ruffa, Dominick, Catherine Coggeshall, Palmer Castrodale 

Ed Hipp, III

Long Time Board Member Retires

Mr. Edward R. Hipp, III, has served as a Jacob’s Ladder board member since 1994. After 29 years of dedicated work, he has decided to step back from his role and enjoy retirement with his family. We appreciate his belief in the mission of Jacob’s Ladder and value his generous contributions of time, resources, and counsel throughout his time on the board. His dedication and love for the Climbers are apparent and speak to who he is. We will genuinely miss having this incredible human on the board. Thank you for everything, Ed! 

Zoie McMillan – Alumni Climber, Class of 2012

Zoie McMillan

One of the best things about Jacob’s Ladder is the vast array of subjects that Climbers are passionate about. This passion, coupled with hard work and determination, leads many Climbers to success. Zoie McMillian, Jacob’s Ladder class of 2012, is a prime example of an individual who found her niche and used her given abilities to succeed. Zoie graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science. She continued her education at the University of Maryland, earning her Master of Science degree in Animal Science, focusing on poultry and animal welfare. She succeeded in the classroom, participated in an interview related to her research on circulation fans reducing the severity of footpad dermatitis in poultry, and published her findings. After she graduated from UMD in May of 2022, she moved back to Blacksburg, VA, where she is now a student at Virginia Tech again, this time as a Ph.D. candidate. Wow! Her love of animals led her to transition to the Wildlife Conservation Department, and her Ph.D. research focuses on conserving turtle species in Virginia. She is thrilled to finally be working with wildlife and researching to help local conservation efforts. We are incredibly proud of Zoie’s dedication and cannot wait to hear about her future success! 

Congratulations Climbers

This fall, a new class of Climbers furthered their academic careers and ventured off to college. With a broad range of interests and future goals, we are confident that these students will use what they have learned at Jacob’s Ladder and make their mark in the classrooms and communities they have joined. The following is a list of the schools Climbers have chosen to attend: Virginia Commonwealth University, North Carolina A&T University, Virginia Tech, Radford University, Rappahannock Community College, John Tyler Community College, University of Chicago, Tennessee State University, Virginia State University, and James Madison University. 

We’re Going Virtual

Our team has been working hard to utilize Bloomerang, an online donor management tool, to help spread the word about Jacob’s Ladder and stay connected with our patrons. As a result, we request that you provide your current email address on the enclosed donation card or email Janet at jkirby@jladder.org so we can have your correct information. Using Bloomerang will allow us to send updates, newsletters, invitations, and more through email. If you would still like to continue to receive newsletters in the mail, that is fine; just let us know your preference! 

Please Partner with Jacob’s Ladder

Supporting Jacob’s Ladder has never been easier, from online giving on our website – www.jladder.org – to ensuring that a portion of your online purchases supports our work. Go to Amazon smile.amazon.com and select Jacob’s Ladder, Inc. as your “charity of choice” when making purchases. There is no cost to AmazonSmile customers and no cost to us. For every eligible purchase, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 5% of the purchase price to Jacob’s Ladder. It’s that simple.

Catherine Coggeshall

I have officially been with Jacob’s Ladder for one year! In that time, I have made strong connections with donors, board members, and my staff, and have been working on learning the ins and outs of the nonprofit. I’m in awe at the amount of support and love I have been shown and am ready to focus on year two. Over the last three months, I have spent time on the road with our Middle School Advocate, JoAnne Ruffa, and High School Advocate, Palmer Castrodale, following up with Climbers and their families. On these visits, we strengthen our connections with not only the Climbers but the schools our Climbers attend as well. In addition, I have been focusing on creating connections with different school systems as we begin accepting applications for 2023. I have started receiving new Climber applications and am anxious for the rest of them to arrive! I wish you all a safe and happy holiday season! 


NAP Tax Credits
Jacob’s Ladder has been approved by Virginia’s Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) participant for FY 2022- 2023. For a donation to qualify for NAP tax credits, a minimum donation of $500 for an individual or $616 for a business must be received by Jacob’s Ladder. A tax credit of 55% will be applied. Make your check payable to Jacob’s Ladder, Inc., P. O. Box 3, Urbanna, VA 23175. Your NAP forms will be mailed to you to complete. 


30th ANNUAL GOLF CLASSIC Monday, May 15, 2023 at The Golden Eagle in Irvington, VA

From all of us at Jacob’s Ladder, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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