May 28, 2020

Cameron Foundation awards more than $450,000 for organizations affected by COVID-19 crisis, continues to offer technical assistance

PETERSBURG, VA — The Cameron Foundation has awarded $458,535 in funding to support local nonprofits and school divisions affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds were provided through the Foundation’s two emergency grant programs that were recently established in April. The Foundation also continues to offer technical assistance for groups seeking federal funds through the CARES Act and to consider requests through its two annual responsive grant cycles.

“The emergency grants that The Cameron Foundation is making in response to this public health crisis reflect the breadth of impact that COVID-19 is having on our everyday lives,” said Cameron’s Board Chair Pam Martin Comstock. “Our nonprofits and school divisions have adapted in remarkable ways to continue to serve our community, and it is important to the Foundation’s Board and staff to support their efforts in such unprecedented times through these special emergency fund programs,” she added.

To date, the Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Grants program has provided $194,180 to 18 nonprofits in four key areas: Health and Safety, Education, General Operating Support, and Technology. Applicants must demonstrate the need for emergency assistance based on the impact of COVID-19 on their organization as well as on the services provided. “This program is designed to support the nonprofit sector as a whole in serving the Tri-Cities area, so we are responding to a range of needs, from arts and culture organizations losing revenue due to cancelled shows, to human service organizations needing additional sanitation supplies and protective equipment to serve clients,” explained Cameron’s President J. Todd Graham.

A companion emergency fund also was launched specifically for school divisions. The Foundation’s School System Technology Infrastructure Grant program offers one-time financial assistance to school districts within The Cameron Foundation’s service area to help with the technology required to continue delivering instruction to students once physical schools closed. The Foundation has awarded $264,355 to six school divisions across the Tri-Cities area, almost entirely for Chromebooks and internet hotspots for students who otherwise do not have full access to online instruction.

Among these grant recipients, the Foundation awarded $50,000 for the purchase of internet hotspots for students in southern Chesterfield County. “Broadly speaking, there has been a greater need for this type of support during the pandemic,” explained Dr. Mervin B. Daugherty, Superintendent of Chesterfield County Public Schools. He continued, “And, we are mindful of the potential for learning loss among students with limited access to the internet under these circumstances, especially in rural areas and communities with concentrations of poverty. By working together with The Cameron Foundation and Chesterfield Education Foundation, we have been able to provide greater learning opportunities for students in their homes across the southern area of our school district.”

Additionally, the Foundation is offering technical assistance for groups seeking financial relief through the CARES Act, including the Small Business Association’s Paycheck Protection Program. Cameron has engaged 501Advisors to offer this professional expertise to current and past Cameron grantees that may qualify for these loan and relief funds. Organizations are asked to email to discuss their individual needs.

Graham also noted, “We will continue to work with our grantees through the Foundation’s two responsive grant cycles during the year to address more long-term needs that organizations may have in serving our region.” One such cycle will result in grant awards next month, and the other will conclude in October.

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