January 17, 2014

Cameron Foundation approves two year-end grants for 2013

Petersburg, VA – At its December meeting, The Cameron Foundation’s Board of Directors approved two end-of-year grants, including a $500,000 award to Better Housing Coalition and $300,000 to the Petersburg Library Foundation. Cameron grants are regularly decided by the Board during other times of the year, but because of the time-sensitivity and significance of these two projects to the larger community, the Foundation approved the grants at its last Board meeting of the year.

The award to Better Housing Coalition (BHC) supports the organization’s community development efforts in partnership with other nonprofits and local government to begin Phase II of work that has been under way in the Halifax corridor of Petersburg. During Phase I, BHC and local partners had developed Claiborne Square, a 47-unit, affordable community residence for active adults 55 and over. “The Cameron Foundation invested in Phase I with grant funding, and we were pleased with the success that resulted from that collaborative effort,” said Board Chair Larry C. Tucker. “The Better Housing Coalition’s stewardship of those resources supported our decision to invest in Phase II,” he added.

Phase II of this project entails building affordable family housing in the block south of Claiborne Square. The site plan proposes construction of 40 garden apartments, a green space, play area, and parking. The Cameron Foundation funds will be used for onsite improvements such as lighting, grading, curb cuts for handicapped ramps, a playground, rain gardens, and landscaping. “The Foundation’s commitment demonstrates local support to aid BHC in a highly competitive process for Low Income Housing Tax Credits that will take place during the first quarter of 2014,” President J. Todd Graham explained. The tax credits, if awarded, will provide most of the equity for the development.

Petersburg Library Foundation’s award will assist the organization in closing out its $12.7 million capital campaign to construct a new library for the City of Petersburg. When complete, the 45,000-square-foot facility will offer expanded programs, computer banks and community meeting spaces. There will be dedicated areas for teens and children, as well as a reading room, café offering healthy foods, and drive-thru window providing easy access for patrons picking up materials they have checked out. The $300,000 year-end grant brings Cameron’s total funding for the project to more than $2.7 million. Graham noted, “The community has really rallied around this project with its financial support, underscoring just how important it is. We hope this additional grant helps Petersburg Library Foundation quickly wrap up the campaign, open the doors to the new library, and begin providing the many valued services to the community that it has planned.” The library foundation projects a grand opening in April of this year.

Graham also commented on the larger importance of the two projects, saying, “Even though these two projects may seem very different on the surface, they both will significantly contribute to the quality of life in Petersburg.”

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