A commitment to positive change
Through our grantmaking, we seek to amplify initiatives that center the communities most impacted by unequal wealth accumulation and extraction in the region. While we see ourselves as stewards of resources-both monetary and non-monetary- into community control, we are most invested in the work of changing community conditions for all. Here is a preview of some initiatives which have had measurable impact on the communities served.
Birth Sisters: Addressing Maternal and Infant Health in Charlottesville
The Birth Sisters of Charlottesville, recipients of a $500,000 Shaping Futures grant co-funded by Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital, are making a profound impact on maternal and infant health in Charlottesville. Established in response to systemic maternal health disparities, this Black-led doula collective has trained local women of color as certified doulas, providing culturally sensitive care to reduce the rates of preterm births, low birth weights, and infant mortality among Black mothers and babies. Evolving into an independent nonprofit with support from the foundation, Birth Sisters now offers wraparound services, mutual aid, mental health support, advocacy, and collaboration with medical students. Notably, their efforts have influenced the foundation’s grantmaking practices, emphasizing solidarity and trust, and empowering grassroots movements for lasting change.
Uncovering Areas of Need: Food Insecurity in Louisa County
The Charlottesville Area Community Foundation played a pivotal role in addressing the challenge of food insecurity in Louisa County through its support of the Louisa County Resource Council (LCRC). In 2015, LCRC identified a gap of approximately 3,000 underserved individuals in need of hunger relief services, with an anticipated 3% annual growth if left unaddressed. The foundation’s grant enabled LCRC to collaborate with the UVA Center for Survey Research to design and implement a comprehensive household survey, revealing that 22.3% of households, or 8,433 individuals, were experiencing food insecurity in Louisa County. Mapping these households uncovered concentrated areas of need not reflected in traditional poverty rates, incentivizing LCRC to enhance its operations, implement a client database system, inventory control, and innovative programs like off-site distribution points and senior visitation programs.
Greenway Initiative Connects Outdoor Spaces in Charlottesville and Albemarle County
The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC) and the Piedmont Environmental Council collaborated on a two-year initiative, supported by the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation, to address the disconnected nature of outdoor spaces in Charlottesville and Albemarle County. This community-led effort aimed to create an interconnected greenway system, enhancing bicycle and pedestrian paths between residential, commercial, and recreational areas. Through extensive community engagement and technical planning, the project resulted in the approval of an action-oriented Bike and Pedestrian Plan and sparked the formation of the Piedmont Active Mobility Alliance, demonstrating public support for a more connected and accessible Charlottesville and Albemarle.
View our most recent impact report, which highlights the work and impact of the Community Foundation.