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Members of charitable singing group VOICE pose for a group photo. VOICE is hosting upcoming concerts.

There is a local non-profit whose mission it is to help other non-profits that may not be well known.

VOICE was founded in 2008 by J.D. Kiser. A lover of all things music, Kiser dreamed up the idea of a fundraising vehicle that could also fuel his musical passions.

Kiser came up with the idea of recruiting his friends and acquaintances in the musical world to host a concert and collect donations for an area charity. The theme was Broadway musicals and the event was a hit.

After a few years, Kiser went through the process of making VOICE a 501(c)(3) non-profit.

It's been 15 years and the organization is still running full-steam ahead after having to take 2020 and 2021 off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said Misty Newman, who is now the director of the organization after Kiser stepped down recently.

Newman joined VOICE in 2015 after a chance encounter with Kiser while the two were working on the same production.

"I had never heard of it," Newman said. When Kiser suggested Newman join, she was astounded she didn't know that something so close to her passions existed.

Twice a year, VOICE puts on a concert in June and December. Members of the choir are all volunteers. Each concert has a different theme and attendees are asked to make a donation. All proceeds from the concerts go to non-profit charities in the area. Therefore, VOICE has to fundraiser throughout the year to cover operational costs.

Over the course of 15 years, VOICE has raised $75,000 and donated to 25 non-profits. More than 125 people have taken part in the organization since its founding.

Charities are chosen through a simple application process on the organization's website, voiceensemble.org. From those submissions the VOICE leadership team votes on who will be the beneficiaries of that years' concert donations.

The June concert this year will benefit Still Meadows Enrichment Center, also known as Camp Still Meadows, a charitable, nonprofit organization created as a special needs facility in a country setting. They provide year-round therapeutic activities for children and adults with developmental and physical disabilities in a safe, creative environment.

The December concert will benefit Blue Ridge Foster Love, a resource for foster and kinship families to provide children who’ve been separated from their biological parents with clothing, books and other essential care items during their time in the foster care system.

Each concert brings in anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000, Newman said.

"It's building awareness as well," Newman said. During each concert's intermission, a representative of the charity being featured will speak to attendees about the organization and what the donations are funding.

VOICE volunteers rehearse every Sunday at Vision of Hope United Methodist Church from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The organization is not religiously-affiliated. Anyone 13 and older is welcome to join. No audition or specific skill level is required, members said.

For those interested the first rehearsal will be on Jan. 29 and the second on Feb. 5. The first two rehearsals are non-committal. However, after the first two rehearsals, members are asked to make a formal commitment.

Contact Megan Williams at 574-6272 or mwilliams@dnronline.com. Follow Megan on Twitter @Valley_Learn

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