Community Grant Options

Since 1950, charitable people have created discretionary and field-of-interest endowments at the community foundation. Their generosity gives us the flexibility to fund a variety of causes in southeastern Virginia. We channel this funding through our competitive Community Grants for:

  • Seed and program funding: to begin a promising new program or service or expand an existing one -- available in the areas of Cultural Vitality, Economic Stability, Educational Success, Environmental Stewardship, and Health and Wellness.
  • Vibrant places funding: to build or improve area nonprofit facilities through major capital projects and capital campaign.

Cultural Vitality

Applications Due April 1

Why It matters: We believe the educational, social and emotional well-being of youth can be positively influenced through arts and culture programs.

Studies show that high-quality arts programs support youth development in engagement, productivity and navigational skills which, in turn, lead to life-long qualities of resilience, self-worth, individual contentment and community engagement.

Community Grants for Cultural Vitality support programs offering hands-on arts and cultural experiences for area children. Our goal is to help the educational, social or emotional well-being of youth through arts and culture.

Programs should be available to all area youth regardless of ability to pay. They should strive to increase participation of youth from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Grant applicants should offer meaningful arts and cultural experiences that engage area youth in hands-on activities such as:

  • Gaining skills in visual, musical or creative expression through the written word or performing arts
  • Participation in visual or performing arts

Grant proposals for program funding should address one or more of these outcomes:

  • Children and youth demonstrate improved academic performance.
  • Children and youth decrease occurrence of absenteeism.
  • Children and youth display increased self-worth.
  • Children and youth decrease engagement in risky and problem behaviors.
If you are ready to apply:

Note: Requests for funding minor equipment needs may be submitted as part of the grant request. For major capital project and capital campaign requests, please read guidelines for Vibrant Places (Nonprofit Facilities) grants.

Economic Stability

Application deadline: July 1 at 5 p.m. EST. Apply online now.

Why it matters: We believe our region will thrive when its most vulnerable residents have the opportunities and support they need to lead self-determined lives.

Economic stability helps create the conditions needed for children to learn and grow, strengthens an individual’s resolve to pursue hopes and dreams, and reduces the anxiety that accompanies economic insecurity.

Community Grants for Economic Stability focus on providing opportunities for vulnerable people to become stable, self-sufficient, and prosperous. Programs that we support address:

  • Ending homelessness in our region with a preference for programs that provide safe and affordable housing for individuals and/or families and provide supportive services to ensure housing stability.
  • Workforce readiness training/certification acquisition and connection of low income individuals to employment. Preference is given for programs that offer supports to help the individual remain employed for at least one year.
  • Development of sound financial education and savings programs to help low income individuals build financial assets for long-term economic well-being.

Grant proposals should address one or more of the following outcomes:

  • Homeless individuals and families are permanently located in safe and affordable housing and remain there for at least one year.
  • Economically disadvantaged adults develop skills for jobs available in Hampton Roads and are employed for at least one year.
  • Underemployed individuals obtain a higher-wage position post-training and remain employed for at least one year.
  • Economically disadvantaged individuals improve their knowledge of financial literacy and participate in banking services to include increasing funds in a savings account.
If you are ready to apply:

Note: Requests for funding minor equipment needs may be submitted as part of the grant request. For major capital project and capital campaign requests, please read guidelines for Vibrant Places (Nonprofit Facilities Improvement) grants.

Educational Success

Application deadline: April 1 at 5 p.m. EST. Apply online now.

Why it matters: We believe that preparing our children and youth for the future is paramount to our mission.

Educational success of a region’s people is a core element of a thriving and resilient region. An educated citizenry is fundamental to strong economic development and personal prosperity. Reaching developmental academic and socio-emotional milestones is critical to a child’s early success. Lack of kindergarten readiness crosses all socio-economic levels; however, children living in poverty often have multiple barriers that inhibit their educational success. Students who graduate from high school on time and successfully transition to college and complete a degree or career-based certification have a great likelihood of living healthier and more financially stable lives.

Community Grants for Educational Success strive to improve educational achievement of under-performing children and youth from our region. They encourage growth through opportunities for all students to excel in their educational pursuits and meet the region's current and future workforce demands.

We support innovative programs that improve academic achievement of our region’s public school students in the following areas:

  • Projects that prepare children, academically and/or socio-emotionally, to succeed in kindergarten.
  • Programs that prevent middle and high school students from dropping out of school.
  • After-school time projects that have been proven successful at increasing the likelihood of students earning advanced or standard diplomas within four years of entering high school.
  • Programs that help students successfully transition from high school into collegiate education or career-based certificate programs after graduation.

Desired Outcomes: Grant proposals should address one or more of the following outcomes:

  • Young children meet age-appropriate developmental milestones
  • Children succeed in kindergarten and are promoted to first grade
  • The number of quality-rated center-based or home-based pre-school facilities increases
  • Public school students succeed academically and are promoted to the next grade on time
  • The drop-out rate for public school students decreases
  • Public school students graduate from high school on-time
  • Public high school graduates enroll in collegiate education or career-based certificates after graduation

Proposals for program funding must be able to articulate:

  • Program’s fit with our stated priorities
  • Program’s desired outcomes
  • Organization’s plan for measuring program effectiveness in reaching outcomes

If you are ready to apply:

Note: Requests for funding minor equipment needs may be submitted as part of the grant request. For major capital project and capital campaign requests, please read guidelines for Vibrant Places (Nonprofit Facilities Improvement) grants.

Environmental Stewardship

Application deadline: January 15 by 5 p.m. EST.

Why it matters: We believe preparing our region’s youth to be good environmental stewards is critical to improving our region’s natural environment now and in the future.

Environmental stewardship requires the practice of conservation and sustainable activities that protect the natural environment for future generations. We believe it is vital that Hampton Roads youth are knowledgeable of our waterways’ health and the implications of sea level rise and, accordingly, adopt positive behaviors in caring for the natural environment. After many years of progress to improve them, many Hampton Roads waterways still fall below desired ratings for healthy waterways. Our region also ranks in the top 10 worldwide for sea level rise vulnerability.

Community Grants for the Environmental Stewardship focus on programs that educate youth in grades 3 through 12 about Hampton Roads waterways' health and the impact of sea level rise on our region. Programs should be sustained efforts that:

  • Provide hands-on outdoor experiences
  • Include education on environmental issues related to our water-based region, and
  • Offer the opportunity for youth to develop and implement an action plan around watershed preservation and restoration.

Grant proposals should address both of the following outcomes:

  • Hampton Roads youth increase their knowledge of our waterways' health and exhibit positive behaviors that improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed.
  • Hampton Roads youth increase their knowledge of sea level rise and its potential impact on the region.
If you are ready to apply:

Note: Requests for funding minor equipment needs may be submitted as part of the grant request. For major capital project and capital campaign requests, please read guidelines for Vibrant Places (Nonprofit Facilities Improvement) grants.

Health & Wellness

Application deadline: July 1 at 5 p.m. EST. Apply online now.

Why it matters: We believe that people who are healthy enjoy more productive and satisfying lives.

Many factors contribute to a person’s health and wellness: genetics, education, individual behavior, environment and access to quality health care. For under-resourced populations access to affordable, quality health care (primary, oral or behavioral) can be challenging. Unhealthy behaviors can lead to chronic diseases. Becoming more informed about the causes of chronic disease can lead to behavioral changes that prevent or decrease these disease.

Community Grants for Health & Wellness focus on improving the health of the region's citizens. Efforts supported include:

  • Programs that support participant access to primary, dental, and/or mental/behavioral health. Behavioral health includes substance/drug abuse treatment.
  • Sustained programs that encourage healthy behaviors that are known to reduce chronic diseases (e.g. Type II diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease) in populations that typically have a high rate of health disparity. Preference will be given to programs that place an emphasis on improving participants’ health literacy.

Grant proposals should address one or more of the following outcomes:

  • Low-income individuals connect with a medical home and receive care/treatment that leads to an improved health status.
  • Individuals who access oral care programs complete a dental treatment plan.
  • Behavioral health needs or conditions of clients are improved.
  • Participants increase their knowledge of chronic disease conditions and exhibit healthy behaviors that lead to improved health.
If you are ready to apply:

Note: Requests for funding minor equipment needs may be submitted as part of the grant request. For major capital project and capital campaign requests, please read guidelines for Vibrant Places (Nonprofit Facilities Improvement) grants.  

Vibrant Places

Application deadline: January 15 at 5 p.m. EST

Why this matters: We believe suitable nonprofit facilities are critical to successful programs and services. We also believe vibrant facilities that provide appropriate space and are efficiently and attractively designed bring important benefits to clients, staff and the community.

We support major capital projects and campaigns that are transformative for the organization and the communities it serves. Organizations requesting Vibrant Places facilities grants should support one of these areas:

  • Cultural Vitality
  • Educational Success
  • Environmental Stewardship
  • Health & Wellness
  • Economic Stability

We look for projects that will reduce local nonprofits' building operating costs over the long term and minimize the negative environmental impacts associated with construction and operation.

We encourage "green" building practices that can cut heating and cooling costs, save water and reduce pollution. We give strong preference to facility grants that incorporate these types of building practices.

Requirements for Applying for a Vibrant Places Grant

Your proposal must:

  • Demonstrate that your project is conducive to your organization’s mission and is part of a strategic plan for your organization.
  • Show how this project will enhance your organization’s or coalition’s ability to help those it serves through new services, assisting additional clients or increasing effectiveness
  • Demonstrate diversified funding sources, including board contributions and broad-based local support

*If your campaign goal is $1 million or more, your grant request may not exceed 5% of the goal, excluding any endowment goal.

Also...

  • Requests for routine building maintenance and upgrades and equipment replacements and upgrades will be considered a low-grant priority.
  • We are pleased to work in partnership with the Alison J. and Ella W, Parsons Fund of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation. Advisors to this donor-advised fund will also review capital project and capital campaign requests that we have received. For more information please contact Vivian Oden, director of donor services.
  • If your organization is awarded a Vibrant Places facilities grant, please do not reapply for another facilities grant for at least three years from the date of the award. However, your organization may apply for seed or program funding during this period.

If you are ready to apply:

Increase your chances for program & seed funding

  • Demonstrate that the project is a strong fit with your organization’s mission and is aligned with a board-adopted strategic plan.
  • Demonstrate your nonprofit’s organizational and programmatic expertise and experience necessary to accomplish the project
  • Have a track record of providing effective programs to your target population
  • Have a history of strong financial management
  • Have a structured business plan for ongoing financial and community support to ensure the continuation of the program
  • Bring new strategies to bear on the need, particularly in the area of re-orienting traditional service approaches to more fully engage clients in the program
  • Have a program that is proven effective through a research methodology within the target population
  • Not duplicate approaches already in place within South Hampton Roads
  • Include clearly stated goals, timeline, logic model and measurable knowledge, skill and/or behavioral outcomes
  • Be able to measure the program’s effectiveness in achieving its stated objective
  • Include a viable and effective component to measure interim and long-term program outcomes. (These outcomes should be tied to identified indicators within the field of service and others noted as of particular interest to us.)
  • Seek to creatively collaborate and cooperate with other organizations or agencies

Please also check out our Special interest grants. You organization might be eligible to apply for funding.

Related Resources

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