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The Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund, created by the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond and the Emergency Management Alliance of Central Virginia, is a regional, coordinated campaign that has raised more than $4.6 million to support organizations providing and coordinating response and recovery activities during this crisis. The fund launched with contributions from local foundations and corporations but has found new momentum in recent weeks as individuals, small and large businesses, and faith congregations have joined the effort.
United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg, which is managing online donations for the fund, has committed to matching up to $100,000 in donations made through their website – a milestone that was reached on Tuesday, April 28.
“I am thankful for all of the donors who helped us meet the $100,000 milestone,” said James Taylor, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg. “However, there is still a lot more work to be done. I encourage everyone to help us keep momentum going.”
“Demonstrated by a high level of partnership, this fund was built upon the belief that we can do more good when we come together.” said Sherrie Armstrong, CEO of the Community Foundation. “Whether its Maggie Walker Governor’s School students offering donation-based reading groups and trivia games to elementary students, or the Flying Squirrels sharing a portion of money raised from their 500 Bases of Love event, we see our community generously stepping up to help each other during this critical time.”
Virginia Green Lawn Care has contributed $5,000 to the COVID-19 Response Fund to spread their support to organizations across the region. On Wednesday, they are launching a social media campaign asking people to “Share the Love” by creating a heart on their lawn out of toys, gardening tools, pets or people – anything they might have on hand. For every picture posted and tagged with #VirginiaGreen and #ShareTheLove, the company will donate an additional $10 up to $1,000.
“We at Virginia Green have been fortunate to safely continue our work from home and from our trucks. This has allowed us to not only serve our customers and keep our team working, but also to give back to our community,” said Gil Grattan, President of Virginia Green Lawn Care. “We are proud to support the COVID-19 Response Fund, combining our gift with others to help organizations helping our neighbors who are most impacted right now.”
An advisory committee from the philanthropic, business and public sectors are reviewing and distributing grants from the COVID-19 Response Fund on a rolling basis. Initially focused on emergency response, the fund previously announced $1.1 million in a first round of grants to organizations helping to mitigate the health impacts of the pandemic, with special focus on food access, healthcare, shelter and support for seniors.
With a second round of grants awarded this week, total grantmaking from the fund now exceeds $2 million to 52 organizations and localities in the Central Virginia region. The latest grants are helping to expand food distribution to more rural jurisdictions and address increased need for mental health services and housing support.
To view a full list of grants awarded to date, click here. To learn more about the fund or to donate, go to www.togetheroneregion.org.
The Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund continues to grow with an outpouring of support from individuals and businesses from across the region, including contributions of stimulus checks and from individuals who have fought COVID-19 themselves. Notably, the fund received a significant boost through recent gifts from two national companies with a local presence – The Humana Foundation and Facebook.
Providing a generous gift of $500,000, The Humana Foundation has designated Richmond as one of its 11 Bold Goal communities across the country. Through this program, they have adopted a population health strategy to improve the health of local residents by investing in programs that address food insecurity and social isolation among seniors – two areas of focus for the Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund.
“The Humana Foundation understands the far-reaching strain the pandemic has placed on many organizations working on the frontlines to provide healthcare, food and employment for those disproportionality affected by the COVID-19 health crisis, and our aim is to remove barriers and help them respond, recover and rebuild,” said Walter D. Woods, Chief Executive Officer of The Humana Foundation. “We are supporting the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond because of the role they play in helping Central Virginia community organizations and public agencies assist people most affected by COVID-19.”
Facebook awarded $100,000 to the COVID-19 Response Fund as part of its overall response to the pandemic. This is in addition to their $250,000 investment in the RVA Small Business Relief Fund, established in partnership with Chamber RVA, and a grant of $280,000 to Henrico County Public Schools through the Henrico Education Foundation. Facebook has been part of the greater Richmond community since breaking ground on their data center in 2017.
"Henrico is our home, and we are invested in the long-term vitality of the community,” said Amber Tillman, Community Development Regional Manager, Facebook. “We are happy to be a part of the Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund and to help provide resources to those who need it most during this difficult time."
As a demonstration of what a community can do when it comes together, the Fund has now raised in excess of $5.5 million dollars. Since its launch in mid-March, it has also distributed $2.5 million in grants to approximately 80 local nonprofit organizations and government agencies. An advisory committee from the philanthropic, business and public sectors are reviewing and distributing grants on a rolling basis.
Established in partnership between the Community Foundation, the Emergency Management Alliance of Central Virginia and Plan RVA, the fund was created with the dynamic nature of disaster situations in mind and, therefore, was designed to remain flexible to changing needs. Early phase grants from the COVID-19 Response Fund focused on emergency response strategies to ensure the health and safety of our community. However, as the region begins to reopen, the fund is expanding its scope to include longer term recovery, primarily through grants to organizations providing eviction prevention remedies, rental assistance and employment support services.
“While the fund will continue to accept emergency requests related to food and health care, we are beginning to look at the longer term, economic impact on individuals and families,” said Scott Blackwell, Chief Community Engagement Officer for the Community Foundation. “Philanthropy often plays a significant role in in lifting up people who face barriers to financial stability, but the pandemic has only amplified and exacerbated the need. Through partnerships with contributors like The Humana Foundation and Facebook’s Henrico Data Center, we are in a stronger position to help residents in need remain in their homes and return to work.”
While challenges continue and new needs emerge, the Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund continues to demonstrate a deep commitment from all sectors to remain attentive, collaborative and solution oriented. The fund is anticipated to continue providing support to local organizations for several more months, or until funds are depleted.
Individual online donations to the fund are processed through United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg. United Way also provided $100,000 in funds to encourage online donations, a milestone that was reached last month.
“Our region’s needs are increasing, but so is the community’s response,” said James Taylor, President & CEO of United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg. “I am glad to see the Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund expand to meet a broader range of needs and am grateful for the additional support from The Humana Foundation and Facebook’s Henrico Data Center.”
The Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund, created by the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond and the Emergency Management Alliance of Central Virginia, has raised $4.1 million to date with support from 18 lead foundation and corporate partners, as well as generous donors in our region.
But with the impact from the COVID-19 crisis likely to stretch out for weeks and months, the need is just beginning. Philanthropic organizations are coming together to raise money and are calling on local individuals and organizations to make donations.
“The best way to get through this crisis is to do it together,” says Sherrie Armstrong, CEO of the Community Foundation. “That’s how we’ve overcome challenges of the past, and it’s how we will build resiliency for our future. As we gain greater understanding of the immediate effects of this public health crisis, while also anticipating what is yet to come, we are asking the community to help with a gift of any amount to the fund.”
United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg is providing $100,000 in matching dollars to incentivize new donations made through United Way’s website from individuals. Donors may also make gifts of cash, securities or other assets through the Community Foundation.
“Bringing communities together to solve big problems is a fundamental part of who we are,” said James Taylor, president & CEO of United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg. “We don’t know what the future holds, but we do know local nonprofits and the vulnerable populations they serve need our help now. I believe the Central Virginia COVID-19 Fund is the best way to provide that help, but we need the entire community’s support. Please donate today.”
The Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund is the first activation of a coordinated, regional disaster response campaign to mobilize and deploy as many resources as possible in times when the community needs them most. Currently, the COVID-19 Response Fund is looking to provide rapid support to nonprofit organizations and public agencies providing health-related crisis response services and meeting the needs of individuals and families most affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The fund is designed to be flexible in focus as needs change over time, and to complement other resources and responses at the national, state and local levels.
“Over the past year, we have worked closely with the Community Foundation to establish a regional disaster preparedness and response fund to ensure there would be a way for people to give if a disaster were to hit our region,” said Ben Ruppert, finance chair of the Emergency Management Alliance of Central Virginia. “That shared commitment to planning and coordination is paying off now as we come together to tackle a crisis at a scale few could have predicted.”
Informed by those with emergency management expertise and on-the-ground insight, an advisory committee is currently reviewing requests and will plan to announce an early round of grants soon. The fund will be used initially to support essential services such as health care, housing, food access, childcare and senior care. They are also working with schools and government agencies to support the procurement of food and safety supplies for scaled distribution.
Learn more about the Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund and make your contribution at www.togetheroneregion.org
COVID-19 Response Fund Founding Contributors
Just weeks after the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond and the Emergency Management Alliance of Central Virginia activated the Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund as a way to rapidly raise funds and align resources where they are needed most, the fund announces its first round of grants totaling $1.1 million to 25 organizations providing immediate support to those most impacted by the pandemic.
While the region is in the early response phase of this crisis, the fund is initially focused on ensuring support for those most likely to contract the virus or those whose health could be further compromised during this time because of barriers to food access, healthcare or stable shelter.
“While the pandemic has impacted the operations of virtually every organization in our community,” says Scott Blackwell, Chief Community Engagement Officer at the Community Foundation, “We are currently targeting those on the frontline that need to pivot and adapt quickly to an ever-increasing demand for their services. Some organizations have repurposed their buildings, others require additional staffing to make up for fewer volunteers, and others need to purchase additional cleaning supplies and PPEs to ensure the safety of their staff and clients.”
An advisory committee from the philanthropic, business and public sectors are reviewing and distributing grants from the COVID-19 Response Fund on a rolling basis. The first round of grant recipients includes:
For a full list of grants awarded thus far, click here.
“By working in collaboration with local officials and our many fund partners, we are tapping into deep community knowledge to ensure we are doing the most good for the most people throughout every phase of this crisis,” said Ben Ruppert, finance chair of the Emergency Management Alliance and a fund advisory committee member. “As funds are available, we will remain flexible to the evolving needs as the situation continues to unfold.”
To date, the Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund has raised $4.25 million in contributions from foundations, businesses and individuals across the region. This includes a $100,000 matching grant from the United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg to incentivize new donations made through their website.
“Organizations stepping up to help will continue to need funding,” said James Taylor, President & CEO of United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg. “We are pleased to support this first round of grants, but we know there is a lot more to do. I encourage everyone in our region to join our local United Way in donating to the COVID-19 Response Fund.”
The campaign to raise funds and enlist support from the public continues as the impact from the crisis will likely stretch out for weeks and months. To learn more about how the fund works and how you can help response efforts, please visit www.togetheroneregion.org
How you can help
Resources for nonprofits
Teleworking and event cancellations
Like you, the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond has been monitoring the rapidly evolving circumstances surrounding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and its potential impact for our community. It is times like this when philanthropy can lean into its leadership role and unite our community for the greater good. At the Community Foundation, we are responding to the uncertainty with proactive action and collaboration to better inform you about what is happening and how you can help.
We have established the Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund in partnership with the Emergency Management Alliance of Central Virginia and PlanRVA to support organizations that are addressing the immediate needs, longer term effects of the pandemic, and community recovery. The Community Foundation is seeding the fund with an initial $500,000. We welcome additional contributions from our donors peer foundations and corporate partners.
Additional contributors include: Altria, Atlantic Union Bank, Bank of America, The Cabell Foundation, Capital One, CarMax Foundation, Dominion Energy, Genworth, Jenkins Foundation, Mary Morton Parsons Foundation, Richmond Memorial Health Foundation, Robins Foundation, VCU Health System, Wells Fargo and several individual donors.
We not only face this challenge together, but we will also get through it together. Thank you to the countless individuals and organizations that make the Greater Richmond region a strong, resilient community.
The Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund was launched with an initial gift of $500,000. The fund will provide flexible support for community-based organizations serving the most vulnerable in our community, and those facing hardship due to reduced revenue. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis to nonprofit organizations only; no individuals. See more details here
Repercussions of the pandemic have the potential to threaten the fiscal health and long-term sustainability of many organizations. Individuals with funds at the Community Foundation can make grant recommendations to organizations of their choice at any time.
National and International Organizations
If you are interested in national or worldwide response, here are a few options:
Be alert to scams
This is a time to be cautious about emails and links that may be sent to you from organizations or people you do not know. These may be fundraising or phishing scams that attempt to take advantage of your generosity. If you are suspicious of a solicitation, please contact us first.
While many public events and volunteer activities in our region have been cancelled, our HandsOn Greater Richmond team is working closely with organizations to share their most immediate needs while dealing with coronavirus—from virtual volunteering to projects that ensure essential services can continue. In particular, we are partnering with schools, food banks/pantries, and homeless shelters.
Resources for Nonprofits
Can my organization be considered for support from the Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund?
We understand the COVID-19 outbreak is impacting nonprofits in many ways. We are working hard to ensure that the grants awarded meet the greatest needs in communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. To learn more about the priorities of the fund and how to submit your request, please click below to see our FAQ.
Follow latest updates and guidance on COVID-19
Resources to support nonprofit planning and response
We’ve compiled resources on ConnectVA, our nonprofit information hub, to give guidance to organizations on nonprofit emergency planning and response. You will find an abundance of information, and we will periodically add new information or tools as we learn of them.
Community Foundation Teleworking and Event Cancellations
The Community Foundation has temporarily closed its office at 3409 Moore Street in accordance with recommendations for social distancing. All Community Foundation hosted events and meeting are cancelled until further notice, while most nonprofit classes and trainings are postponed.
During this time, the Foundation will remain fully staffed and fully operational. Staff will continue to be accessible by phone and by email as they would be if they were working from our building. We also will use virtual/video meetings when possible.
Now in its fifth year, the Ujima Legacy Fund has harnessed the generosity of its 40 members to award two grants of $20,000 each to Higher Achievement and Mega Mentors. Created with the goal to increase the philanthropic impact of African American men in the Greater Richmond region, the Ujima Legacy Fund focuses its grant program on organizations working to empower youth through education-related programs. Cumulative grantmaking now totals $168,000 to 8 area nonprofits.
Higher Achievement closes the opportunity gap for underserved students through intensive after-school and summer programs that provide expanded learning, mentorship and opportunity. Scholars begin as rising 5th and 6th graders and remain in the program through 8th grade. Support from the Ujima Legacy Fund will allow Higher Achievement to grow in response to increased demand and high retention by scaling programming at the newest of their four sites – Binford and Wilder Middle Schools. It means that next school year more than 300 scholars will realize gains equivalent to an extra 48 days of learning in math and an extra 30 days in reading; and most importantly, they will be on track for college with the character, confidence and skills to succeed.
Mega Mentors was created in 2009 when then superintendent Dr. Marcus Newsome asked African American community leaders to be role models for students in Chesterfield County. While intentional about working with African American students, the volunteer-run program is designed to improve academic performance, increase graduation rates and reduce disciplinary issues for all middle and high school students who are underserved or disenfranchised. This year, 150 volunteer mentors work with 500 middle and high school students in 7 schools. Grant funding will support a part-time coordinator to help grow the program to serve more schools and students, provide greater consistency and build stronger partnerships and collaborations.
In 2013, Ujima Legacy Fund launched to make philanthropy engaging and accessible for African American men in the Richmond region. Ujima is named after the third day of Kwanzaa and means collective work and responsibility. One of three giving circles created in partnership with The Community Foundation, Ujima members pool contributions of $1,100 each to generate greater community impact. Together, they select at least one local nonprofit organization annually that they feel best demonstrates the ability to empower youth through education-related initiatives, with emphasis on underserved youth.
Learn more about collective giving networks
(RICHMOND, VA)…Members of the Ujima Legacy Fund – a giving circle created by and for African American men – announced two new grants of $20,000 each to Richmond Cycling Corps and Excel To Excellence. They honored the recipients at a celebration at the Richmond Cycling Corps Bike Park on June 2, 2016.
The grant to Richmond Cycling Corps will provide employment opportunities for youth who participate in this unique program that uses the bicycle as a tool to help youth in public
housing break free from systemic poverty. While the program has proudly produced the only two inner-city youth cycling teams in the nation, it also offers its youth participants a good dose of tough love. Central to its mission, Richmond Cycling Corps provides a range of case management services to help these young people navigate life and learn personal accountability. This year, with support from Ujima Legacy Fund, 6 young people will be offered summer jobs as assistant coaches, bike patrol members and maintenance staff for a large scale community garden project.
The grant to Excel to Excellence will allow the program to expand from two to four schools in 2016, reaching an additional 60 students. Developed by Richmond native and former NFL player Michael Robinson, Team Excel is an ongoing academic program that encourages youth to excel in the classroom throughout the school year. The program uses a “reverse” fantasy football concept in which students are coached by professional athletes and community mentors. Each week, youth participants receive individual and team scores based on their grades, attendance and community service. Aimed at bridging the achievement gap in Henrico County, Team Excel is designed to help students increase their classroom performance, learn life skills and explore career opportunities.
“Richmond Cycling Corps and Team Excel represent two inspiring examples of what can happen when you believe and invest in the potential of young people,” said Immanuel Sutherland, leadership team member, of Ujima Legacy Fund. “The members of the Ujima Legacy Fund are proud to make a collective investment that will help these organizations continue to grow and innovate and to provide young people from our communities with life-changing opportunities that will help them achieve in school and in life.”
In 2013, The Ujima Legacy Fund was launched as a way to make philanthropy engaging and accessible for African American men in the Richmond region. Ujima is named after the third day of Kwanzaa and means collective work and responsibility. One of three giving circles created in partnership with The Community Foundation, Ujima members pool contributions of $1,100 each to generate greater community impact. Together, they select at least one local nonprofit organization annually that they feel best demonstrates the ability to empower youth through education-related initiatives, with a particular emphasis on underserved youth. Since inception, membership has grown to 43 men and has awarded a total of $128,000 to six organizations.
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