December 7, 2018

Cameron Foundation makes awards on 14th anniversary of grantmaking for Tri-Cities area

The Cameron Foundation’s Board Chair, Pam Martin Comstock, opened the Foundation’s 14th annual celebration with the announcement that Cameron’s total giving to date exceeds $86 million. Photo credit: Caroline Martin Photography

Celebrating 14 years of philanthropy in the Tri-Cities community, The Cameron Foundation approved new grant funding for 25 organizations in October. The awards total $867,400.

In the ceremony to celebrate its 14th anniversary, Board Chair Pam Martin Comstock announced that the latest funding from this October cycle brought the Foundation’s total giving to more than $86 million. The Foundation was formed in 2003 and began grantmaking in October 2004.

During her remarks, Comstock also reflected on the ways the Foundation has diversified its work over that time. Cameron primarily began as a responsive grantmaker in the early years. “This process of reviewing and responding to requests from nonprofit organizations and government agencies remains still an important cornerstone of our philanthropic work 14 years later,” she said. Simultaneously, the Foundation has benchmarked against peers to develop other philanthropic tools. In addition to responsive grantmaking, Cameron now applies proactive grantmaking, capacity-building programs and impact investing to its strategic work. “In combination, these strategies aim to increase the Foundation’s ability to transform the Tri-Cities and surrounding counties into a healthy, vibrant and economically vital region,” Comstock said.

The full list of responsive grants for the October cycle includes:

Alzheimer’s Association–Greater Richmond Chapter – $22,600
Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond – $58,000
CARES, Inc. – $49,350
Colonial Heights Food Pantry Inc. – $52,000
Colonial Heights Public Schools – $15,125
Crater Community Hospice Inc. – $50,000
Downtown Churches United Inc. – $37,025
Family Lifeline – $35,000
FeedMore, Inc. – $67,500
First Baptist Church—Harrison Street – $25,000
Gateway Homes Inc. – $40,500
Greater Richmond SCAN – $15,000
Legal Aid Justice Center – $80,000
Lucy Corr Foundation Inc. – $10,000
NAMI Central Virginia – $24,440
Old Brick House Foundation – $29,800
Petersburg Library Foundation Inc. – $55,000
Pretty Purposed – $9,660
Rawls Museum Arts Inc. – $10,000
Serenity – $50,000
Southside Transformation Opportunities for Residents and Youth (STORY) – $25,600
St Joseph’s Villa – $58,500
Swift Creek Mill Theatre Inc. – $25,000
Virginia Dental Association Foundation – $13,000
Virginia State University Foundation – $9,300

The Foundation’s 14th anniversary ceremony also spotlighted Cameron’s major proactive investment in Petersburg City Public Schools through a partnership with Virginia Commonwealth University. Cameron is committing more than $350,000 to the university for a five-year effort to launch and sustain a teacher residency program in Petersburg City Public Schools (PCPS).

The Foundation’s president, J. Todd Graham, explained how the decision to pursue a teacher residency program was born out of the Foundation’s research as well as its work with the school system to craft a comprehensive, five-year strategic plan, Innovate 2022. Research showed that nearly one out of every five teaching positions in PCPS previously had been filled by a substitute teacher. By comparison, the statewide average was only 0.3%. Innovate 2022 identifies “the need to improve and recruit educators as PCPS’s most urgent priority.” Graham concluded, “In large part, we believe that the success of Innovate 2022 hinges on having a solid teacher workforce.”

Dr. Kim W. McKnight, director of the RTR-Petersburg Teacher Residency program, included the inaugural cohort of Petersburg teacher residents, coaches and principals to make a presentation on the launch of the program this academic year. Each year for five years, RTR-Petersburg will bring in a new cohort of teacher residents, with an estimated 60 new teachers incorporated into the Petersburg school system by the close of the five-year period. Dr. McKnight noted, “We help recruit, train, and retain high quality teachers for years to come in PCPS. What sets us apart is that we are not just preparing teachers, we are preparing extraordinary teacher leaders who will commit to the Petersburg community for at least four years.”

During The Cameron Foundation’s 14th anniversary ceremony, Dr. Kim W. McKnight, director of VCU’s RTR-Petersburg Teacher Residency program, presented on this year’s launch of RTR-Petersburg’s research-based teacher residency program in Petersburg schools. Photo credit: Caroline Martin Photography

The three teacher residents from the Cameron-funded pilot program at Chesterfield’s Ettrick Elementary School also joined the presentation. “We were the first three who were willing to take a risk and join a program that was piloted last year, and we couldn’t be happier we did it,” said Ettrick teacher Sydney Lilly.

Petersburg teacher residents, coaches and principals, as well as graduated teachers who continue to work at Chesterfield’s Ettrick Elementary School, helped to make the presentation on RTR-Petersburg’s teacher residency program at The Cameron Foundation’s 14th anniversary ceremony. Photo credit: Caroline Martin Photography

In addition to the presentation by RTR Petersburg Teacher Residency, the Foundation’s ceremony featured Emiko Atherton as The Cameron Foundation’s 2018 Cleveland A. Wright Lecturer. Atherton is director of the National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America. She draws from her expertise in transportation policy, public health, land use, economic development, and legislation to consult with communities across the country on how to create better transportation networks. Atherton’s lecture underscored the integral connections between the built environment, public health and health equity.

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