The Community Foundation Invests to Strengthen Systems in Our Region

The Charlottesville Area Community Foundation is pleased to announce the recipients of its fifth round of Strengthening Systems grants. The Strengthening Systems grant awards up to $300,000 over three years to organizations that present a viable proposal to strengthen how services and activities are delivered and accessed in the community. This year’s grantees are The County of Albemarle and The Montpelier Foundation. 

The County of Albemarle: $300,000 
This grant will fund a full-time Program Coordinator for the Yancey School Community Center (YSCC), a significant and historical community hub, to successfully provide integrated service delivery from YSCC and ensure consistent and authentic engagement with the rural, Southern Albemarle community. Funds also support infrastructure for a community garden and programming to improve resident outcomes by focusing on increasing access to physical and mental health services. The overarching goal is to move the Yancey program services from an autonomous model to coordination of community services over the three-year period of the grant, and ultimately to full integration of services.

The Montpelier Foundation: $299,500
Initiated by Albemarle County Public School (ACPS) teachers, this grant will support teachers to partner with James Madison’s Montpelier to create a restructured social studies curriculum to improve the teaching and learning of “hard history” at ACPS. This system of learning will reimagine teacher and student engagement and offer historical context to address systemic racial inequities at ACPS. Participants will engage in professional development, curriculum design and implementation, and experiential learning resulting in improved content knowledge as well as attitudinal and behavioral changes among both teachers and students.

“We are inspired by these creative solutions to reimagine how our community systemically engages with our region’s history,” said Brennan Gould, President and CEO of the Community Foundation. “The Montpelier Foundation will model how a partnership between an exhibition and a school district can transform curriculum and student experiences. The County of Albemarle will create a community-based approach to redesign a critical, historical resource in a rural community. Both projects model how telling and preserving a more complete history can transform how services and activities are delivered and accessed in our community.”

The Community Foundation has awarded more than $2,000,000 through its Strengthening Systems grant track since the track was introduced in 2015. Based on the idea that communities are best served when systems work well and services and activities are available to all, these multi-year grants help improve the functioning of community systems and access to those systems. These grants are all made possible thanks to the generous support of donors and an annual contribution to the Foundation’s discretionary grantmaking from Dorothy Batten.

For more information about the Community Foundation, visit To inquire about the Strengthening Systems grant, email programs manager, Aiyana Marcus: