Media Contact:

Sean Liphard

Communications Manager

561.818.8050 cell

The Valerie E. Hodge Scholarship Fund Established at CFVI

Family members set up the fund to benefit students from the USVI foster care system

U.S. Virgin Islands, February 16, 2023 The Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands (CFVI) announced the establishment of the Valerie E. Hodge (VEH) Scholarship Fund at the Foundation, created in memory of Valerie E. Hodge, a foster parent to many children of all ages on St. Thomas from 1970 - 1985.

The Fund was set up with the goal of providing financial assistance to children who were formerly in the foster care system and are now in the pursuit of continued educational goals in order to help them reach their full potential. 

"Our hope is to ease the transition from foster care, increase self-sufficiency, provide equity in educational access, and educate the public on the challenges facing this specific sector of the Virgin Islands community," said Shaneé Halbert, Valerie’s granddaughter.

Halbert went on to explain that many children in Virgin Islands foster care "age out" of the system by age 18. "Once out of foster care, youngsters may face abrupt challenges, such as homelessness, and limited means to attend college or a vocational school. We want to help bridge the gap for these children," she said.

Prior to beginning her official work as a foster parent in 1970 with the Virgin Islands Department of Social Welfare, now the Department of Human Services, Valerie Hodge frequently opened her home to relatives, adults, and children who needed a place to stay until they could get their lives in order or were old enough to live on their own.

Hodge fostered children of all ages; children who were physically and mentally abused, abandoned, and children with severe disabilities. Her home also served as a temporary shelter for children whose families were undergoing custody hearings.

She was recognized for her commitment to children and youth by the Department of Human Services, her friends and colleagues, and especially by her family and foster children. Her role as a foster parent ended in 1985 due to illness.

Shaneé Halbert would like to extend gratitude to her family members and friends for their help in developing the scholarship: 

  • Valerie's daughters, Sedonie Halbert, former Commissioner of Human Services, and Jacqueline Callender, retired educator;
  • Valerie's grandsons, Stacy Halbert, and Curtis Callender, and his wife, Memorie;  
  • Denise Blackman Chinnery, Valerie's foster daughter, and her husband, Marvin Chinnery; 
  • Kirsha Rhymer, Valerie's grandniece; 
  • Ferrynesia Benjamin, former Assistant Commissioner of Human Services

"We honor her life and legacy through the Valerie E. Hodge Scholarship Fund," said Halbert.

For more information about Hodge and the fund, visit

CFVI will begin accepting applications for the scholarship in March as part of its 2023-2024 scholarship cycle announcement. Applications will be due in May.

Donations to the Valerie E. Hodge Scholarship Fund can be made by visiting Or, checks can be made out to "CFVI" with the memo "Valerie E. Hodge Scholarship Fund" and mailed to CFVI at PO Box 380, St. Thomas, VI 00804. Credit card donations can be taken over the phone by calling CFVI at 340-774-6031.


About the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands
Since 1990, CFVI has been a catalyst for positive change in the territory through initiatives committed to youth, learning, family support and the environment. With a professional staff and a volunteer Board of Directors composed of community leaders, CFVI is a trusted advocate and supporter of programs that ensure opportunity and sustainability for current and future generations. CFVI is a registered non-profit organization entirely supported by individual donors, grants, trusts, corporate donations and estate planning. For more information, visit
Connect with us!
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  Linkedin