Our Impact Is Everywhere

Hampton Roads Community Foundation does not shy away from tackling major challenges in our region. We work in partnership with generous people and nonprofits through grants and special leadership initiatives.

Since 1950 donors have made possible more than $265 million in grants to area nonprofits as well as $20 million in college scholarships. Name a project of importance in South Hampton Roads and you likely will find our community foundation involved. Arts, education, environment, nonprofit facilities, health, human services and many other areas benefit from the generosity of caring donors from all walks of life.

Here are current initiatives and focus areas where we work with diverse partners to make a positive difference in our region.

Getting Our Youngest Residents Off to Great Beginnings

Minus 9 to 5, the community foundation's newest initiative, started in 2015 and focuses on
South Hampton Roads’ youngest residents from conception until they reach kindergarten.

The reason? Nearly half of children under age 6 live in families with incomes below the poverty line. Forty percent live in single-parent households. Their families often struggle to find, access and pay for quality care and education. Without quality early care and education many children may struggle in kindergarten and far beyond.

Interviews in 2015 with more than 100 childcare workers, community leaders, parents and other experts led the community foundation to incubate Minus 9 to 5, our early care and education initiative.

This collective impact effort builds on the nearly 10 years and $8 million we invested in collaborative work with help from the Batten Educational Achievement Fund. Much of that was done through Smart Beginnings South Hampton Roads (now Elevate Early Education) to benefit children in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach.

The current initiative:

  • Focuses on families expecting babies plus those with children through age 5.
  • Creates opportunities for cross-city collaboration to advocate on behalf of area children.
  • Helps economically disadvantaged families and improves systems for all area children and their families.
  • Emphasizes a holistic range of positive outcomes for children.
  • Improves skills, support and the well-being of parents and the provider community.

These steps are already underway:

  • In 2016 Jane Elyce Glasgow, Ph.D. of Chesapeake was hired as executive director of the Early Care and Education Collective Impact Initiative and Beth Parker, M.S. Ed. of Norfolk joined her as program coordinator. They are temporarily working out of the community foundation's downtown Norfolk office.
  • A 23-member Steering Committee with connections to area families and young children is leading the initiative.  
  • The initiative has convened more than 80 representatives from child care, government, medicine, nonprofits, education, business and philanthropy, as well as parents. Most have joined working groups.
  • Hard at work are a Family Council and a Leadership Council plus five strategy working groups: Health Homes/Healthy Babies, Family Empowerment/Childcare Business and Impact Model, Community Connections, Data and Knowledge Sharing, and Policy and Advocacy.
  • In early 2017 the initiative was named Minus 9 to 5 and gained a tagline: Preparing Families From Conception to Kindergarten.

To learn more or get involved visit minus9to5.org

Improving Our Economic Competitiveness

This effort launched in January 2016 as Reinvent Hampton Roads after nearly four years of incubation at the community foundation. It focuses on economic competitiveness as a driver of whether Hampton Roads expands its job base, becomes an innovation center and attracts college graduates to live, work and raise families.

The warning signs are here for our regional economy. Since the 2008 recession, Hampton Roads has lagged behind the rest of Virginia and the United Sates in rebounding. As a region that has long depended on government and military jobs, the port and tourism, which are declining, we are working with many partners to add new economic anchors.

As a catalyst for Reinvent Hampton Roads, we convened study groups of more than 100 regional thinkers to tackle four key areas:

  • civic leadership,
  • entrepreneurship,
  • industry clusters and
  • workforce development.

Their work led to several projects:

  • Starting the Regional Export Accelerator Program (REAP) to help businesses export products and services beyond our region
  • Prioritizing industry clusters to pinpoint areas with growth potential
  • Finding strategies to engage the next generation of civic leaders
  • Working to increase operational efficiency within and among local jurisdictions
  • Serving as a conduit for GO Virginia funds for collaborative economic development projects in the region
  • December 2016 gatherings at Christopher Newport University and Old Dominion University that drew hundreds of community leaders for an update on the state of the initiative. 

In January 2016 Reinvent Hampton Roads became its own nonprofit organization with former Virginia Beach City Manager James K. Spore as president and CEO. The community foundation remains one of the initiative's key supporters along with Greater Peninsula NOW, Hampton Roads Business Roundtable, Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance and the Virginia Port Authority.

Learn more at reinventhr.org

Revitalizing Neighborhoods

Since 2011 the Hampton Roads Community Foundation has worked to make the historic Park Place neighborhood in Norfolk a neighborhood of choice. We have partnered with the City of Norfolk, Old Dominion University, Landmark Foundation and Place Civic League to revitalize the neighborhood. Efforts helped bring the Y on Granby and New E3 School to Park Place, along with new businesses and an emphasis on caring for homes and public places.

Efforts also led in 2014 to the start of Healthy Neighborhood Enterprises, a community development corporation focused on Park Place and other older city neighborhoods.

Reducing Homelessness

The community foundation is an ally in a regional effort to combat homelessness. We've been honored by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for "innovative public-philanthropic collaborations designed to address housing and community development challenges."

We are an ally and funder involved in regional plans to end homelessness. Since 2005 we have invested more than $2 million in the country’s first regional, permanent supportive housing communities for homeless adults, helped start a housing broker program to increase the number of affordable housing units, and provided funding for the Regional Taskforce to End Homelessness. We also have funded efforts to help area homeless shelters shift to a Housing First concept. The goal: find permanent housing for homeless people and help them remain there.

Helping Nonprofits Excel

Nonprofits need constant, affordable training so they can meet their missions to improve life in our region. The community foundation is a key player in three ways:

1. Academy for Nonprofit Excellence

The community foundation founded the Academy for Nonprofit Excellence in 2005 in partnership with Tidewater Community College; we continue to underwrite it to keep class costs low. The academy regularly brings experts to teach one- and two-day nonprofit courses on topics ranging from board development and fundraising to communications and human resources.

Since the academy opened, nearly 1,500 individuals from 450 different nonprofits have taken classes – most again and again. As of 2016, 115 participants have taken enough courses to each earn a Certificate in Nonprofit Management.

2. In-House Training

The community foundation offers at least one free training session every month. Topics usually relate to applying for grants here or to any funder. Topics may include how to collect data and complete program logic models. All sessions are held in our office and led by staff experts. Learn more

3. Building Excellence

Through our Building Excellence training grants program, area nonprofits can improve their long-range fundraising plans. Currently Edmarc Hospice for Children and Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) are in the midst of 42 months of hands-on training from The Curtis Group consulting firm. (Sorry, we are not presently accepting applications for new participants.) Current and past Building Excellence recipients come to quarterly meetings for updates.

Building Excellence participants have included:

  • Alzheimer’s Association, Southeastern Virginia Chapter
  • Armed Services YMCA
  • Eastern Shore of Virginia Barrier Islands Center
  • Edmarc Children’s Hospice*
  • Eggleston Services
  • Habitat for Humanity South Hampton Roads
  • Horizons Hampton Roads
  • Judeo-Christian Outreach Center
  • Norfolk SPCA
  • Park Place School
  • Places & Programs for Children (Children’s Harbor)
  • Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Virginia
  • Suffolk Cultural Center for the Arts
  • Tidewater Arts Outreach
  • Tidewater Winds
  • The Up Center
  • Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)*
  • Western Tidewater Free Clinic
  • Young Audiences of Virginia
  • YWCA of South Hampton Roads
*Current Building Excellence recipient

Supporting Arts Sustainability

In 1987, the community foundation led a coalition that created the Business Consortium for Arts Support. The consortium's provides operating support for area arts and culture organizations. Operating support pays the essentials for arts organizations – programming, rent, utilities and staff  but often is the most challenging type funding for arts groups to raise.

Each year the consortium provides unrestricted grants to help 33 visual and performing arts groups bring great music, dance and visual arts to South Hampton Roads. Over the decades the consortium has provided more than $20 million to 45 different organizations.

The consortium operates from the community foundation's offices, and we remain among the largest of its nearly 25 annual funders. Learn more

Helping Children Achieve Their Best

Since 2010, Community Leadership Partners have directed more than $1.7 million to our region's most vulnerable children. In 2017, for example, the Partners awarded $225,000 to 22 organizations that provide mentors and programs that help students improve their academics, social skills and life skills. The goal is to propel kids from lower-income families onto good paths in life.

Who are the Community Leadership Partners? They are community-minded people who enjoy being part of an active giving group focused on helping some of our region's most vulnerable children. The nearly 250 members contribute annual donations, explore where their money can do the most good and then put their money to work through area nonprofits working with children and families.

Bringing Nonprofits Together

Our community benefits most when nonprofits work together to tackle specific issues. The community foundation convenes nonprofits in the same sectors several times a year in Conversation Groups. Participants learn what each other is doing, avoid duplication and identify gaps in service they can fill.

We currently host meetings that deal with K-5 education, middle-school enrichment, transitions to college and careers, disability services, domestic violence, child abuse and services for older adults. To learn more about them contact Linda Rice, vice president for grantmaking and community engagement at lrice@hamptonroadscf.org or (757) 622-7951.