October 26, 2023

Cameron Foundation awards more than $1 million in October grant cycle

The Cameron Foundation’s Board has approved $1,011,434 in new funding for 31 organizations serving the Tri-Cities area. The Foundation regularly hosts two responsive grant cycles per year, which result in awards in June and October. These newest decisions were approved by the Foundation’s Board in its October grants meeting. Funds are directed to serve people in the Tri-Cities area, including Petersburg, Colonial Heights, Hopewell, Dinwiddie, Prince George, Sussex, and southern Chesterfield County.

In the largest single grant of this cycle, Cameron continued one of its community development investments with a renewal grant of $100,000 to LISC Virginia, the Central Virginia office of the national organization Local Initiatives Support Corporation. LISC Virginia uses a multifaceted approach to bolster affordable housing and homeownership, facilitate small business development, and advance financial opportunities for families. Cameron is renewing its funding for the organization’s Comprehensive Community Development Initiative.

Over the last year, LISC Virginia has brought over $5.5 million in lending to the Tri-Cities area. It also is deploying a $7.5 million grant it received from Wells Fargo to generate 5,000 new homeowners of color across Central Virginia – including the Tri-Cities – by 2025. It has expanded its partnership with Southside Community Development & Housing Corporation to provide digital navigators and homeownership assistance to clients, in addition to career and financial counseling, at the Petersburg Financial Opportunity Center. LISC Virginia also continues to have a central role in the Cameron-facilitated initiative, Partners for Neighborhood Renewal – Poplar Lawn.

Noting the impact of LISC Virginia’s long-term work in the Tri-Cities area, Cameron Board Chair J. Tolleison Morriss, VI, explained, “This support will allow LISC Virginia to continue capacity-building for the local community development sector; facilitate collaboration among developers; and, ensure the implementation of important community development projects across the region.”

The Foundation makes grants across six different funding interest areas, ranging from health care to human services, community and economic development, education, historic preservation and conservation, as well as arts and culture. This grant cycle, 59% of awards were directed to health care and human service providers.

One of these grants, a $50,000 award to Dinwiddie County Department of Social Services, supports a new pilot program for that county – the 2 Generational Programming Initiative, or 2GEN. Based on a best practice model that is being implemented in several other states, 2GEN seeks to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty by providing comprehensive support and services targeting the whole family unit.

“By addressing the needs of both children and parents or guardians concurrently, this program will allow for a more comprehensive and proactive approach to meeting the needs of these families,” explained Cameron’s Grants Committee Chair, Jeff Geisz. “This grant offers a good example of how Cameron can support innovation with promising best practice programs,” he noted.

This grant cycle marks the 19th anniversary of The Cameron Foundation’s philanthropic work in the Tri-Cities area. To date, the Foundation has invested more than $108 million in the region, including 1,514 grants to 341 different organizations. During a ceremony to commemorate the milestone, Morriss said, “These are impressive numbers, but the stories behind the numbers are equally important. The stories behind Cameron’s total grantmaking include collaboration and strategy, and tireless commitment by all of us to serve this community.”

Because Cameron also published a new, comprehensive community health needs assessment this year, President Nadine Marsh-Carter underscored the importance of tapping that data to tell the stories of need and opportunity in communities across the region in her remarks. “Essentially, we want to use the Community Health Needs Assessment as our ‘community compass’ to transform our region into a healthy, vibrant and economically vital region,” she explained. Ultimately, Marsh-Carter reminded the audience, “A healthy community is the cornerstone of a thriving community.”


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