About

Foothills Forum is an independent, nonpartisan civic news organization, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, serving Rappahannock County, Va. Foothills raises community support for local news. Since 2014, we have partnered with the award-winning weekly Rappahannock News and other organizations to research and report on matters of concern to the 7,300 residents of Rappahannock.

Foothills Forum’s mission is to:

  • Frame and research local issues.
  • Provide that explanatory, solutions-based reports on those issues are published and distributed.
  • Convene residents and partners in civil discussions on what we can accomplish together.

Foothills began with a public opinion survey developed with University of Virginia’s Center for Survey Research. This poll set a baseline of local concerns, issues and views on local services and quality of life.

In recent years Foothills’ journalism has addressed virtually every major issue facing Rappahannock.  Foothills-supported researchers and reporters – respected, experienced journalists from the nation’s top news organizations – have presented in-depth, nuanced reports [see Reporting Projects] on broadband and cell phone service, local land use and county planning, health care, transportation, mental health, housing and more.

In 2000, Foothills responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by assembling a team of reporters to inform the community about the strange “new normal” impacting local health, education, business, government and public safety.

Our reports, complemented by striking interactive graphics and photography, have won top honors for in-depth/investigative journalism five years in a row from the Virginia Press Association.

Foothills’ IRS Form 990, our working agreement with the Rappahannock News, and the names of our donors are all available to the public.

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