Williamsburg Community Foundation Awards $53,054 in Grants to 19 Nonprofits

March 28, 2024, Williamsburg, Va:   Williamsburg Community Foundation awarded $56,754 in grants to 19 nonprofits during its first grant round of 2024. Each nonprofit grantee spoke for a few minutes about how their grant will benefit residents of the foundation’s service area: the City of Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Rick and Lara Overy of Compass Wealth Strategies generously sponsored the Grant Awards Luncheon today, which gathered over 125 community members including both donors and leaders from the nonprofit, business and government sectors.

“We are excited to support the work of these diverse organizations,” said Alison Lennarz, newly elected chair of the WCF board of trustees. “Collectively, they are addressing some of the most critical issues in our community – from basic needs such as eye glasses through Lackey Clinic or fresh food from Williamsburg Community Growers, to investments in more long-term impacts such as adult education at Literacy for Life, and supporting healthy families at CDR, Made 4 Connection, and Echo Orphancare Partners.”

                The Foundation’s competitive grants are made possible by local donors who over the past 25 years have given to the Foundation’s Community Endowment and Field-of-Interest Funds, which have grown over time to provide grants to area nonprofits twice a year. Several grants awarded today were made possible by partnerships with individual WCF donors.

                The foundation supports all areas of community life through its grants program. The grants awarded today are broken out below according to the foundation’s five key priority areas. Each grant allows the nonprofit to implement a specific program or project to benefit our community.

Arts & Culture

Grove Christian Outreach Center ($1,050). The Stories from the Grove art gallery project will seek to encourage artistic minded residents of the Grove neighborhood who may not have access to art resources. This project will allow residents to create original works of art to tell their stories of life in lower James City County as well as how the Grove Christian Outreach has had an impact on their lives for the past two decades. This grant is made possible by An Occasion for the Arts Fund.

Williamsburg Choral Guild ($1,600) will use its grant for their Spring 2025 Collaborative Concert with a local high school choir, to include a pre-concert lecture. The grant will help offset the cost of accompanists and soloists, as well as venue rental. This grant is made possible by the Genevieve McGiffert Memorial Fund for the Musical Performing Arts.

Williamsburg Contemporary Art Center ($1,050) will use its grant for the 2024 Regional Juried Art Show (September 18 – November 1).  This show will be open to all artists of all mediums throughout the Greater Williamsburg and Hampton Roads region. This grant is made possible by An Occasion for the Arts Fund.

The Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra ($5,000) will use its grant to bring 12-15 performances of Prokofiev’s “Peter & the Wolf” to all nine WJCC public elementary schools in January 2025 as part of WSO’s 40th anniversary celebration. They aim to impact over 5,000 students in grades K-5 and introduce them to the magic of live symphonic music. This grant is provided by the John & Julia Curtis Endowment.

The Williamsburg Youth Orchestra ($2,500) will use its grant to participate in the American Friends of Lafayette’s 2024-2025 initiative, commemorating Lafayette’s Bicentennial. WYO’s musical tribute during the Bicentennial’s Farewell Tour in Yorktown presents a once-in-a-lifetime experience for WYO students who will get to perform as part of the celebration.

Children & Young Adults

Child Development Resources ($4,000) will use their grant to train their staff in a curriculum for home visiting and parent education classes, helping young families understand their baby’s body language to prevent and solve problems around eating, sleeping, crying and parent-child interaction and promoting breastfeeding duration. This grant is made in partnership with Mary & Hunt Berryman.

Friends of the Williamsburg Regional Library ($5,000) will use their grant for the Natural Playground at the Croaker Road library branch. The playground’s innovative and accessible outdoor environment is designed not just for play but for educational and social development, fostering a sense of exploration and discovery among kids.

Made 4 Connection ($3,600) will use the grant to provide Trust-Based Relational Intervention training for Colonial CASA staff and volunteers to increase their skill set that helps them connect with and support the foster children they serve.

Economic Mobility

The Arc of Greater Williamsburg ($2,000) will use their grant to support a part-time staff member who would focus on the vocational training aspect of preparing Arc clients for meaningful employment with local business partners. This grant is made possible by Linda T. Baker.

Echo Orphancare Partners ($5,000) will use this grant to support CarePortal implementation in greater Williamsburg. CarePortal helps prevent the need for children to be placed in foster care or other out-of-home placements.  CarePortal enables churches and organizations to step in and offer assistance to families in crisis, whether it be through financial support, mentoring, or connecting them with community resources.

FISH, Inc. ($1,000) will use this grant to support the purchase of hygiene supplies to provide to residents who visit the food pantry. This grant is made possible by Mary & Hunt Berryman.

Literacy for Life ($5,000) will use their grant for the TechConnect program to increase the digital resilience and inclusion of learners served by Literacy for Life. The outcomes and impact of digital skill attainment as well as access to broadband and devices increases opportunities and broadens access to many aspects of work, home, and community.

Environment & Conservation

James River Association ($4,600) will provide 4 field experiences for the RF Wilkinson Family YMCA (summer 2024). Approximately 200 youth will learn through hands-on environmental education. Youth will travel aboard JRA’s floating classroom, The Longview, and learn about the working watermen of the region, and utilize water quality equipment to explore river health.

Williamsburg Community Growers ($3,879) will use its grant for a greenhouse expansion to increase fresh produce donations to the community, as well as plant sales. This will extend the growing season, and the farmland will be more intensively planted to increase the harvest.

Health & Community Wellness

Dream Catchers Therapeutic Riding Center ($2,275) will use their grant to start a therapeutic carriage driving program so that individuals unable to ride a horse can have an interactive and physically and/or cognitively therapeutic experience working with the movement of a horse. 

Faith Recovery ($1,000) will use their grant to support equipment needed at the newly renovated counseling center office. Faith Recovery is an accredited clinical addiction treatment program and recovery residence for men. This grant is made possible by Mary & Hunt Berryman.

Lackey Clinic ($5,000) will use this grant to cover the cost of specialty lenses and frames to patients who medically need specialty eyeglasses and to cover the nominal application fee for the lowest income patients who would not be able to pay the fee.

Peninsula Pastoral Counseling Center ($1,000) will use their grant to meet the demand for mental health counseling by developing and training future counselors through their training program.

Senior Services

Peninsula Agency on Aging ($2,200) will use their grant to implement a Crochet Social Circle to allow seniors to come together to learn a new skill and make new friends. Through a growing shared love of learning, the Crochet Social Circle will reduce social isolation, improve quality of life and allow older adults to enjoy the company of others while creating beautiful, useful items.

How to Apply for a Grant

The Foundation typically awards competitive grants of up to $5,000 twice a year. The next opportunity to apply for funding is for fall 2024, with a deadline of June 15, 2024. All application materials and guidelines can be found at WilliamsburgCommunityFoundation.org; click “Receive” then “Apply for a Grant.”

If the organization has never received a grant from WCF, they should contact the Foundation office for guidance before beginning a new application. Contact Ginny Gasink, Program Officer, at 757-259-1660 or email vgasink@williamsburgcommunityfoundation.org. WCF will also offer a Nonprofit Coffee on May 17, 9am, at the WCF office at 1323 Jamestown Road, Suite 103. This will be geared towards nonprofits that have never applied before, or nonprofit staff who are new to the WCF grant process. Please RSVP to let us know you plan to attend: 757-259-1660.