Grant Guidelines

The Cameron Foundation strives to transform the Tri-Cities and surrounding counties into a healthy, vibrant, and economically vital region by strategically leveraging resources for community impact. This service area includes the cities of Petersburg, Colonial Heights, and Hopewell; the counties of Dinwiddie, Prince George, and Sussex; and the portion of Chesterfield County lying south of Route 10.

Grants from The Cameron Foundation

Before You Apply – Each grant has a step-by-step application process, as well as steps that must be taken after the grant is awarded. Prior to applying for a grant from The Cameron Foundation, please review our grant guidelines to make sure your organization and proposed work are eligible for funding. The full set of guidelines, including deadlines, frequently asked questions, and other details can be downloaded here.

General Grants information and application instructions – The next Letter of Intent deadline is January 2, 2018. After reviewing the Foundation’s general guidelines, the Application Procedures section of the guidelines can orient you to the process, with instructions and links to access the online application and reporting system.

Our grantmaking focus is on nonprofit organizations holding 501(c)(3) designation by the IRS. Recognizing that area governmental agencies may provide a variety of services in tandem with nonprofit organizations, the Foundation views these agencies as vital partners to the nonprofit sector and is open to supporting a limited set of activities of public entities.

Duration: As a general rule, grants will be made on a year-to-year basis, with each grant requiring an application and a formal review. However, applicants may seek annual renewal of support for a previously funded project or purpose. Regardless of the duration of a grant, no grant funds may be used for expenses incurred prior to the date of grant approval by The Cameron Foundation’s Board. Additionally, each grant approved by the Foundation will require periodic reporting on the use of the grant. Only one grant will be approved per organization per year, and only one proposal can be submitted per organization per grant cycle.

Special Considerations
The Cameron Foundation strives to assure that its limited resources are allocated to their highest valued uses. Therefore, in approaching the Foundation with requests, prospective applicants should be aware of these considerations:

  • The Foundation supports organizations and activities that employ creative responses to problems that address root causes rather than symptoms and which build upon community strengths.
  • The Foundation pays particular attention to efforts that expand access to opportunities for people from low-income and otherwise disadvantaged communities and that demonstrate a commitment to diversity and inclusiveness in the targeting and delivery of services.
  • The Foundation endeavors to foster communication, cooperation, and coordination among service providers and, therefore, will seek to encourage and reward collaborations and partnerships among its grantees.
  • The Foundation seeks to build programs and services that are sustainable and that encourage strong and engaged board, staff, and/or volunteer leadership.
  • The Foundation supports demonstrated, effective approaches to problem-solving over untested trials.

Eligible Organizations
The Foundation makes grants to both new and established organizations that are exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

To be eligible for Cameron funding:

  • At least 51% of those served by your organization or proposed work must reside within the Foundation’s service region. This area includes the cities of Petersburg, Colonial Heights, and Hopewell; the counties of Dinwiddie, Prince George, and Sussex; and the portion of Chesterfield County lying south of Route 10.
  • Your organization must be governed by an all-volunteer board of directors that consists of at least five unrelated persons. No paid staff member can participate as a voting member of the governing board. When this is the case, the organization is generally ineligible for funding from The Cameron Foundation.

Ineligible Organizations and Purposes
The Foundation will not make grants to or for:

  • Organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, creed, gender, sexual orientation, or disability
  • Private foundations
  • Supporting organizations
  • Endowments
  • For-profit organizations
  • Individuals
  • Expenses incurred prior to grant approval by the Foundation’s Board of Directors
  • Medical research or national health agency appeals
  • Academic or scientific research projects
  • Religious organizations seeking support for programs to which access is restricted by religious affiliation or programs that promote a particular creed
  • Organizations or groups that carry on propaganda or otherwise attempt to influence legislation or political campaigns
  • Other grant agencies or foundations for ultimate distribution to organizations or programs selected by such agencies or foundations
  • Purchase of tickets to fundraising events or for advertising
  • Solely for publishing, producing, or distributing audio, visual, or printed material
  • General operating expenses of neighborhood health centers or clinics or day care centers for children, except in exceptional circumstances
  • Solely for attendance at conferences, seminars, or meetings
  • Reserve funds or debt elimination


Divisions Within Organizations, Institutions or Government Entities

Grant requests from different divisions of an organization, institution and/or government entity will be treated as having been submitted by a single entity.

In general, state and federal governmental entities are ineligible for funding from The Cameron Foundation. However, local governmental entities are eligible for program-specific and special project purposes, excluding overhead and other administrative or operational costs.

Proposals for individual schools must be approved by and submitted through the central administration or local school district. Additionally, the central administration of a school district may apply for division-wide projects that affect multiple schools and other subunits.

Additional Information about Funding for Government Entities
The Foundation generally will not make grants to governmental entities for:

  • Activities that were historically funded by that entity through local funds in previous years and for which funding was cut at the discretion of the locality;
  • Activities that are customarily part of the functions of governmental entities in other jurisdictions of comparable size and scope;
  • Activities that are currently performed by a viable non-governmental entity;
  • Activities that are mandated as local obligations by state and/or federal authorities, except where state/federal authorities stipulate private matching funds for support of a particular effort; and,
  • Activities eligible for funding through issuance of municipal bonds by state and/or local authorities.

Selection Criteria
The Cameron Foundation has established grantmaking objectives that are intended to assure that its limited resources are allocated to their highest valued uses. In pursuit of these objectives, the Foundation supports organizations and activities that empower people through the employment of creative responses to problems that address root causes rather than symptoms and which build upon community strengths. The Foundation pays particular attention to efforts that expand access to opportunities for people from low-income and otherwise disadvantaged communities and that demonstrate a commitment to diversity and inclusiveness in the targeting and delivery of services. Furthermore, The Cameron Foundation seeks to foster communication, cooperation, and coordination among service providers, build programs and services that are sustainable, and encourage strong and engaged board, staff, and/or volunteer leadership.

The Foundation funds work across six different program areas.

The Cameron Foundation provides funding through the General Grant program. Each grant has a step-by-step application process, as well as steps that must be taken after the grant is awarded. It is important to review the general guidelines of our grants. The Cameron Foundation’s General Grants include:

Project or Program Grants – support the mission of the recipient organization and are intended to support a specific, connected set of activities that have explicit objectives. Whereas project grants have predetermined time frames and costs, program grants support ongoing activities of the organization. Applicants may include relevant administrative and overhead costs as long as those amounts are proportional with the prospective activities.

General Operating Grants – intended to fund the ongoing operations of an organization, including the regular personnel, administrative, fundraising, and office expenses of existing agency programs. This type of funding is also known as “core support.” The Cameron Foundation will only provided general operating support for nonprofit organizations holding 501(c)(3) public charity status that are indigenous to and headquartered in the Foundation’s service area. The Foundation will not make grants to fund the operations of organizations based outside of The Cameron Foundation’s service region, or those whose primary services support clientele outside of that region. Government agencies are not eligible for general operating support.

For General Operating Grants, The Cameron Foundation limits the proportion of an organization’s annual budget that it will provide to the following amounts:

  • For an annual budget less than $100,000, the Foundation will not make operating support grants exceeding 50% of that budget
  • For a budget between $100,000 and $500,000, operating support grants will not exceed 35% of that budget
  • For a budget greater than $500,000 but less than $1 million, operating support grants will not exceed 20% of that budget
  • For an organization whose annual budget is greater than $1 million, the Foundation generally will not make general operating support grants

Exceptions to this provision will only be extended — at the Foundation’s discretion and invitation — in situations where alternative financial resources are not adequately available and the community or constituency served would suffer greatly from the loss of the nonprofit’s services.

Requests for general operating support predicated on the loss of a major source of funding will be subject to the following additional restrictions. The organization should demonstrate that:

  1. There is significant and ongoing demand for the programs and services provided by the organization
  2. The organization lacks the capacity to respond to the loss of funding and such loss would result in a cessation or reduction of the programs and/or services offered by the organization, and
  3. A strategy to preserve the programs and/or services in the future has been clearly identified

Capital Grants – intended to facilitate the purchase of land, construction of and repairs to physical facilities, and the acquisition of equipment by an organization. Capital grant requests for construction projects may also include the costs of related technical services, such as legal, architectural, and engineering activities. Periodically, the Board sets priorities for capital grants in specific program areas and/or suspends capital funding altogether. Please refer to this website for related updates. For capital grants, priority currently is restricted to the following funding areas: Health, Historic Preservation & Conservation, and Community & Economic Development.

Additionally, the Foundation will consider applications by 501(c)(3) organizations for capital projects for buildings and other property owned by governmental entities, subject to the following specific conditions:

  • The 501(c)(3) organization must be in existence for at least two years prior to the date of the application.
  • With the application, the 501(c)(3) organization must furnish a copy of the signed lease, contract, memorandum of understanding or other formal agreement between the organization and the governmental entity that provides for the use of the building or other property by the 501(c)(3) organization.

Elements of a Good Proposal

  1. All required information is included.
  2. The organization has demonstrated its capacity and/or experience to implement the proposed project.
  3. The project is consistent with the mission of the applicant.
  4. The problem or need to be addressed is clearly defined and documented, the constituency to be served is identified, and the manner in which the proposed project will address the need is clearly defined.
  5. The proposed project is consistent with the mission of the Foundation.
  6. The anticipated short-term and long-term results of the project are clear and realistic.
  7. A realistic timetable for implementation is provided.
  8. A complete, detailed budget for the project is provided, and any other sources of funding for the project have been identified.
  9. If the project is to extend beyond the grant period, a plan for sustaining the project has been developed.

This general guidance also is taken into consideration by the Board of Directors of the Foundation. It may be modified by the Board of Directors in any manner and at any time at the sole and absolute discretion of the Board of Directors.