Funding Interests

The Cameron Foundation’s Board and staff periodically review the Foundation’s grant priorities and make adjustments to reflect what we have learned from past grants and to respond to new sources of information, such as the Foundation’s needs assessments, regarding emerging issues. The Foundation believes that these updates will help applicants gain a clearer understanding of the Foundation’s areas of interest. In turn, the Foundation will be better positioned to focus its grantmaking resources in more impactful ways for the benefit of the community.

Health Care
The social determinants of health (SDOH) are the social, economic and environmental conditions in which people live, learn, work, play and worship that impact a wide range of health conditions, daily functioning, and quality of life. Social determinants of health, such as the built environment, safe and affordable housing, access to education, employment, public safety, access to healthy foods, access to local emergency/health services and environments free of life-threatening toxins can all have an influence on population health outcomes.

Data demonstrates that SDOH account for half of the factors that shape health outcomes. Demographic groups across which health disparities often occur can include gender, race/ethnicity, income, sexual identity and orientation, disability status or special health care needs, and geographic location, including neighborhood and urban-rural disparities (The Cameron Foundation 2023 Community Health Needs Assessment).

The Foundation supports programs that provide access to health services for the poor, uninsured, under-insured and underserved. This program area also provides for capital improvements and technology advancements in healthcare. Our grantmaking strategy is data driven and supports the following priorities:

  • Access to Health Services: Access to clinical care is an important community health indicator and an important factor in how well community members can access preventive services, such as health screenings, routine tests or exams, or vaccinations. The importance of being able to easily access health care can vary widely by the geographic location, availability of health insurance, and the number of health providers within the community. The Foundation supports funding to improve access to primary health care services through community-based clinics and other health support service activities.
  • Behavioral Health: The Foundation supports improved access to community-based behavioral health services for children, youth and adults. Service models that demonstrate integration of primary health care and behavioral health services and promote community collaboration among providers are Foundation priorities in this program area.
  • Prevention Services/Health Education: Health outcomes in communities tend to vary with the level of education of the population. The Foundation supports the integration of primary health care and health education with an emphasis on best practices in the field. Health education programs should demonstrate the ability to evaluate and measure indicators that demonstrate behavior change and improvement in health status outcomes.
  • Child Health/K-12 Health: Poverty creates barriers to opportunities, health services, healthy food, safe and affordable housing, and other necessities that contribute to the poor health status of families. This region has some of the highest rates of children and youth living below the federal poverty level (FPL). The Foundation supports evidence-based programs that demonstrate the participant’s behavior change and increased knowledge, skills and abilities to make good choices that result in positive health status outcomes.

Human Services
The Foundation supports programs that provide basic human needs and promote the development of life skills in children, youth and adults in an effort to improve the quality of life for individuals and families in the service area. Our grantmaking strategy supports the following priorities:

  • Basic Human Needs: The Foundation supports organizations whose primary mission is to provide for the basic needs of residents living in the service area, through the funding of food pantries, emergency shelters, emergency assistance programs, and housing assistance programs. This includes implementation of strategies that promote access to fresh foods, nutrition and wellness initiatives in communities.
  • Family and Youth: The Foundation supports programs that focus on prevention of child abuse, violence and substance abuse. This priority area addresses quality childcare, afterschool programs and summer programming that provide enrichment activities with a focus on youth development, life skills, parental engagement, and improved access to wellness opportunities.
  • Senior Support Services: The Foundation supports programs that improve the quality of life for seniors by focusing on the provision of support services, life skills education, and wellness opportunities. Priority is given to programs that can demonstrate a change in the knowledge, skills and abilities of the participants.

Community & Economic Development
The Foundation supports a holistic approach to community and economic development, including revitalization of distressed neighborhoods; workforce development and increasing workforce quality; and, expanding the capacity of economic development agencies to successfully pursue local and regional economic development opportunities.

  • Revitalization of Distressed Neighborhoods: In communities of greatest need, the Foundation supports the implementation of neighborhood-specific plans that include development of quality affordable housing which is architecturally appropriate, and improvements to green spaces, trails and landscaping essential to neighborhood renewal and healthy communities.
  • Workforce Development and Workforce Quality: The Foundation supports programs that address a holistic approach to job training, readiness and placement. Priority is placed on programs that help people obtain and remain in living wage jobs, with an emphasis on programs serving participants that have significant barriers to employment. The Foundation uses the Massachusetts Institute of Technology living wage calculator to determine the pay-rates necessary to meet this standard.
  • Regional Economic Development Capacity: The Foundation supports building the capacity of local and regional economic development agencies. The Foundation has a special interest in supporting organizations that utilize a coordinated approach with economic development partners and local governments which builds upon community assets to attract businesses and investment to Southside communities.

The Foundation supports funding for schools, organizations and programs seeking to improve educational outcomes in ways that support success in school and life. The Foundation’s strategy in this program area places priority on:

  • Early Childhood Education: The Foundation is particularly interested in evidence-based programs that advance early childhood development; importance is placed on efforts to improve access to and the quality of both early childhood education and child care for all families.
  • Improving the Quality of K-12 Education: The Foundation supports work to raise overall student performance and close achievement gaps in public schools. Proposals will be considered for programs and activities that are evidence based, pilots and/or take innovative approaches. A preference is given to system-wide approaches to improving schools.
  • K-12 Teacher Quality: A highly competent teacher workforce is a necessary foundation for improving children’s educational outcomes. The Foundation has a particular interest in recruiting and preparing competent and committed teachers for long-term careers in classrooms within the Cameron service area.
  • College and Career Readiness: Students should graduate from high school ready for college and careers, prepared to pursue the future of their choosing. The Foundation is interested in activities proven to impact students’ post-graduation preparation for college and workforce.

Historic Preservation & Conservation
The Foundation recognizes that the unique history and unsurpassed historic architecture in the region are significant assets which contribute to the quality of life. Historic preservation has an important community development and conservation role by strengthening existing neighborhoods and conserving resources by recycling older buildings. Environmental conservation also plays a critical role in protecting natural resources and ecosystems upon which communities depend. The Foundation has an interest in the following:

  • Significant Historic Buildings and Sites: The Foundation supports the preservation, restoration, and reconstruction of historic buildings and sites that are listed locally, on the Virginia Landmarks Register, or on the National Register of Historic Places, either individually or as a contributing resource in an historic district. Priority is given to projects that are integral to larger community development efforts and can demonstrate broader community and economic benefits.
  • Sacred Landmarks: Historic religious buildings are community assets that help define local history, offer architectural significance, and provide vital space for community-serving programs. The Foundation has an interest in providing grants for the exterior preservation of sacred landmarks. Priority will be given to exterior preservation projects demonstrating urgent repair needs and to historic religious buildings listed locally, on the Virginia Landmarks Register, or on the National Register of Historic Places, either individually or as a contributing resource in a historic district. To apply for a Sacred Landmarks Grant, a separate application process is required. Learn More »
  • Conservation: The Foundation has an interest in open space preservation, planned management of natural resources, and protection of environmental quality, especially programs or projects that connect people to their natural environment.

Arts & Culture
Arts and culture are vital to the health and well-being of individuals and communities and also serve as a catalyst for community revitalization. Equally important is the long-term growth and viability of arts and culture organizations as part of our community. Recognizing the importance of arts organizations, museums and other cultural venues, the Foundation has a special interest in the following:

  • Arts Education: The Foundation supports programs that incorporate arts and culture into education, with particular priority on programs that serve youth.
  • Reaching New Audiences: The Foundation has an interest in supporting innovative approaches of arts and cultural organizations to expand and diversify their audiences in order to achieve long-term sustainability.
  • Community Revitalization: The Foundation supports the catalytic role of arts and culture in community revitalization and economic development, especially creative efforts to make communities more attractive for residents, businesses and visitors.