The Charlottesville Area Community Foundation has awarded Community Recovery & Catalyst Grants to 124 area nonprofit organizations totaling $2,218,250. These grants are made possible through generous contributions from the Bama Works Fund of Dave Matthews Band, the University of Virginia Health System, the Twice Is Nice Fund, Dorothy Batten, and Enriching Communities, which is managed by the Community Foundation. While these four grant programs typically hold independent grant rounds in the fall, this year they have combined into one effort to maximize resources dedicated to community recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic and to help address continued racial injustice.
“The pandemic has had a significant impact on our nonprofit sector and has laid bare longstanding racial inequities in our communities,” Brennan Gould, president and CEO of the Community Foundation, said. “Out of a deep dedication to our region, these four grant programs provided all of their available grantmaking resources to this special grant round. The Bama Works Fund also gave an additional amount, for a total of $1 million, to make these grants possible.”
The Community Response & Catalyst Grants program was designed to help organizations recover, sustain, and build their services. Grants from this round will support organizations that are addressing topics such as mental health care, affordable housing, opportunity youth development and mentorship, accessible childcare, food insecurity, and racial equity in the arts.
“What we love about these projects is that they are about catalyzing change,” Gould said. “They look to the future not as a return to normalcy but as an opportunity to create something better for our community.”
In addition, 182 area nonprofits were awarded subscriptions to a capacity-building organization called Catchafire. Catchafire connects organizations with talented professionals looking to give back, allowing them to access expertise in areas such as marketing, web development, operations, strategy, and more.
“We are really excited to partner with Catchafire to offer this unique opportunity. At the Foundation we know support beyond grantmaking is critical to driving the impact that we want to see in our region. We look forward to learning from this pilot program,” Eboni Bugg, the Community Foundation’s director of programs, said.
The grant round was the third major effort associated with the Foundation’s Community Emergency Response Fund, established on March 13, 2020, as a means of providing resources to households and organizations in Central Virginia impacted by the pandemic and subsequent economic crisis. An outpouring of generosity from large and small donors alike contributed more than $5.5 million in eight weeks. The Community Resource Helpline, operated in partnership with Cville Community Cares, United Way of Greater Charlottesville, the city of Charlottesville, and Albemarle County, disbursed $4.56 million in emergency financial aid to more than 5,000 households in Central Virginia. A special round of Rapid Response Grants distributed almost $900,000 to twenty-eight nonprofit organizations providing essential health and social services.
After listening to the needs of the community and nonprofit organizations, the Foundation along with its funding partners, launched the Community Catalyst & Recovery Grant program in July.