October 27, 2016

Cameron’s October grant cycle marks 12th anniversary of work in the community

With approval of its latest round of responsive grants, The Cameron Foundation marks its 12th anniversary of work in the Tri-Cities area. The Foundation was formed in 2003 from the proceeds of the sale of Southside Regional Medical Center and began grantmaking in October 2004. The most recent group of awards were made to 25 different organizations and total $904,441.

The Foundation commemorated its 12th anniversary at a ceremony on Thursday, October 27. During the event, Board Chair Pam Martin Comstock summarized the Foundation’s cumulative work by saying, “Through its grantmaking, both responsive and proactive, as well as its capacity-building investments, the Foundation has made 999 different awards to 282 different organizations to date.” Cameron’s service area includes the region historically served by the hospital and 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. “Our contributions to these communities now exceed $80 million and answer to many broad and diverse needs,” Comstock added.

Among the October 2016 awards, Grant Committee Chair Cleveland A. Wright noted a combination of two grants in particular that stood out because of the ways that the two groups worked together in coordinating applications to the Foundation. A $25,600 grant was made to a new 501(c)3 organization, Southside Transformation Opportunities for Residents and Youth (STORY) to support the organization’s ML2: Math, Literacy and Reading afterschool program. STORY provides safe and affordable after-school programming and is available to approximately 255 children living in the City of Hopewell’s public housing. The organization began as a program of the Hopewell Housing and Redevelopment Authority prior to securing its nonprofit status.

In tandem with this grant, Virginia Mentoring Partnership (VMP) secured funding to provide technical assistance to STORY to increase mentoring to the students participating in the after-school programming. VMP will further explore the feasibility of developing mentoring programs elsewhere in the Foundation’s service area with its grant. Wright said, “We encourage organizations to collaborate with each other, and STORY and VMP offer an example of how it can be done.”

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

Al-A-Mo Recovery Center Inc. – $28,000
Art on Wheels – $16,000
Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond – $60,000
Butterwood United Methodist Church – $25,000
Colonial Heights Food Pantry Inc. – $60,000
Crater Community Hospice Inc. – $37,500
Crisis Assistance Response Emergency Shelter, Inc. (CARES) – $40,850
District 19 Community Services Board – $25,000
Equal Justice America Inc. – $5,500
Family Lifeline – $45,000
Feed More Inc. – $75,000
Gateway Homes Inc. – $45,000
Girl Scout Commonwealth Council of Virginia Inc. – $20,000
Greater Richmond Aquatics Partnership – $7,000
Greater Richmond SCAN – $35,000
Legal Aid Justice Center – $70,000
Petersburg Public Library Foundation – $61,490
Push Faith House – $5,000
Quill Theatre – $20,000
Serenity – $40,000
Smart Beginnings Southeast – $65,000
Southside Transformation Opportunities for Residents and Youth (STORY) – $25,600
St. Joseph’s Villa – $65,000
Virginia Dental Association Foundation – $12,500
Virginia Mentoring Partnership – $15,000

The Foundation’s 12th anniversary ceremony featured the Foundation’s 2016 Cleveland A. Wright Lecturer, Rick Lowe. Originally trained as a painter, Lowe shifted his work in the early 1990s to address some of the pressing social, economic, and cultural needs of his community in Houston. He is best known for his work to organize the purchase and restoration of a block and a half of derelict properties in his neighborhood and to turn them into Project Row Houses (PRH) in 1993. The organization has since become a vital anchor for the neighborhood, and Lowe has undertaken a number of other community-based revitalization projects across the country and internationally.

Cameron President J. Todd Graham explained that the lecture series is a new capacity-building offering designed to contribute to a culture of excellence in the region. “Featuring expert speakers or panels, the lecture series is designed to expose outside thought leaders and those influencing the nonprofit sector to our local organizations, community leaders, and funding peers. During his visit to Petersburg, Mr. Lowe has toured neighborhoods and met with a number of local stakeholders to gain a deeper understanding of our challenges in revitalizing neighborhoods in this community,” he said. Graham’s remarks in the ceremony also underscored the importance of collaborative work. “To have a meaningful impact, we, too, must collaborate with others and leverage our grant dollars by attracting other funding and resources to our service area.” He added, “We hope that Lowe’s experiences working in other communities will help to stimulate our thinking about how to work together more effectively in our own community revitalization efforts.”

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