On January 11, 1974, Richmond Metropolitan Blood Services (RMBS) was established to collect, process, test, and distribute blood for hospital patients in Richmond, Virginia. Over the next several years, RMBS’ reach grew to include Charlottesville and other areas outside Richmond. With this expansion outside of metropolitan Richmond, RMBS changed its name to Virginia Blood Services (VBS).
In 1991 Astraea, Inc. was created to provide a corporate framework to facilitate VBS expansion into new markets that included the acquisition of Metropolitan Washington Blood Bank (MWBB). As the parent company of Virginia Blood Services and Metropolitan Washington Blood Bank, Astraea provided support services such as finance, human resources, information systems, laboratory testing, marketing/public relations, regulatory compliance, strategic planning, and training.
In 2002 Astraea branched out and worked with hospitals in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area to develop and manage the Community Blood Center of the Carolinas, providing it with many of these services. In 2006 Astraea worked with WellStar, a hospital group in Atlanta, Georgia, to develop and manage a hospital-based blood program. In 2006 Astraea changed its name to The VBS Group to mirror and take advantage of Virginia Blood Services’ excellent reputation in the blood banking community.
In 2012, as the demand for blood and blood products declined and hospitals began to move away from local contracting to regional, state, and national contracting, VBS recognized the need to change its business model. As a result, Virginia Blood Services became part of the Institute of Transfusion Medicine (ITxM) headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and The VBS Group changed its focus from a blood center management and consulting company to a private grantmaking foundation dedicated to best practices in transfusion medicine.
As a result of this change in mission, The VBS Group changed its name to Virginia Blood Foundation (VBF). Virginia, Blood Foundation, based in Richmond, Virginia is locally governed and is no longer affiliated with any blood center. Completely independent, VBF is devoted to using its financial resources to champion excellence in transfusion medicine. With its focus primarily on central Virginia, the Foundation does not depend upon fundraising or grants to carry out its mission. Grants are provided through the earnings of its investment portfolio.
Virginia Blood Foundation changes name to Commonwealth Transfusion Foundation to emphasize its focus on advancing and improving the art and science of transfusion medicine.