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Event Recap: Building Strong, Strategic, Sustainable Nonprofits.

Do you know that moment when you have a sense of a concept, but then someone comes along and clarifies it with a spot-on phrase or illustration? You think, “A-ha, if only I had thought of it this way.” Last week, many local nonprofits had that moment while listening to guest speaker Steve Zimmerman, co-author of Nonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability, who shared insights into managing the sustainability of nonprofits.

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News from the Community: Local Foundation Award Updates

We caught up with the largest local foundations to get an update on their awards so far, this year!  See what initiatives are being funded and check out ConnectVA’s tools and resources for connecting with local grantmakers and information.

John Randolph Foundation

John Randolph Foundation awarded its latest grants on Thursday, July 20th in front of a crowd of 125 partners, donors, and grant recipients. Responsive grants from the Foundation’s Mission Fund were awarded to 17 nonprofits totaling $403,369. The Foundation also awarded grants from endowment funds to eight organizations totaling $123,090, and finally two local educator awards totaling $4,000.   As the Tri-Cities area’s only community foundation, John Randolph helps donors create enduring investments and currently manages nine endowments, 60 scholarships, and three educator award programs.


  • Alamo Recovery Center $11,625 for community-based substance abuse counseling in the Tri-Cities area
  • *Bensley-Bermuda Volunteer Rescue Squad$4,070 for ambulance child restraints
  • Central Virginia Health Services$100,000 for the Hopewell-Prince George Community Health Center
  • City of Hopewell Fire & Rescue$22,500 for Lucas chest compression devices
  • Conexus$13,424 to correct student vision problems in 35 schools in the Tri-Cities area
  • *Crater Community Hospice$6,625 to provide quality hospice care to people in the Tri-Cities area
  • *CrossOver Healthcare Ministry$14,875 for the Access to Care Program for Residents of Southern Central Virginia
  • FeedMore$20,000 for the Comprehensive Children’s Nutrition Program in Hopewell
  • Hopewell Food Pantry$40,000 to support access to healthy food for people in need in the City of Hopewell
  • Metropolitan Richmond Sports Backers$17,500 for Kids Run RVA and Fitness Warrior programs in the Tri-Cities area
  • Prince George Emergency Crew$35,000 to purchase a Zoll Cardiac Monitor and AutoPulse chest compression device
  • Reach Out for Life$20,000 to support the Free Mammography Outreach Program in the Tri-Cities area
  • SwimRVA$20,000 to support the Learn to Swim program in Hopewell
  • Virginia Dental Association Foundation$12,500 to support Donated Dental Services in the Tri-Cities area
  • YMCA of Greater Richmond$30,000 for Teen programs at the Petersburg and Chester YMCA centers


  • Alzheimer’s Association-Greater Richmond Chapter$5,000 to improve quality of life for people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
  • *Appomattox Regional Library System$22,659 for general operating expenses of all eight branches of the library system
  • *Beacon Theatre 2012, LLC$42,804 to support the purchase of sound equipment and lighting upgrades
  • *City of Hopewell Parks and Recreation$1,329 for the City Point 5K Kid’s Fun Run and Fit for Life challenge
  • *Historic Hopewell Foundation$41,549 for renovations at Weston Manor
  • Joseph’s Villa$15,000 to support the Flagler Housing Resource Center
  • The James House$22,500 for children and teens impacted by domestic violence and stalking


  • GReat Aspirations Scholarship Program (GRASP)$7,500 for In-School Financial Aid Advising at Hopewell High School
  • *Drs. Singh and Bhuller Tri-Cities Outstanding Educator of the Year Award$3,000 to Ms. Rebecca Stroop, an art educator from JEJ Moore Middle School in Prince George County
  • *Preston and Anne Leake Teacher Recognition Award$1,000 to Ms. Antonia Thompson, a special education teacher from Carter G. Woodson Middle School in the City of Hopewell

*Grant provided in part or in whole through an endowment, a permanent fund created by a donor.

Read more about John Randolph’s recent award announcements here.

Robins Foundation

Reflecting the organization’s focus on helping transform the broad continuum of education in the Richmond region, Robins Foundation selected 12 local nonprofits to share in nearly $1 million in grants designed to improve educational outcomes for children in the Greater Richmond area.

The following is the complete list of June 2017 grantees:

  • CIS Richmond $125,000 for Integrated Student Support K-12
  • Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis $50,000 for Policy Improvements to Advance Educational Opportunities in Greater Richmond
  • CodeVA $100,000 for Building the Digital Dominion
  • FRIENDS Association for Children $45,000 for Stronger with FRIENDS
  • Greater Richmond Chamber $75,000 for Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond
  • Greater Richmond Fit4Kids $50,000 for Wellness Integration Programming and Advocacy
  • Sacred Heart Center $100,000 for Responding to Critical Needs of the Latino Community
  • Storefront for Community Design $40,000 for 6PIC Operations
  • Virginia Early Childhood Foundation $50,000 for Establishing and Sustaining a Shared Services Alliance Model in Richmond
  • Voices for Virginia’s Children $75,000 for Engaging Advocates to Speak Up for Children & Families
  • YMCA Richmond $125,000 for Support for Oak Grove-Bellmeade Out-of-School Time Program
  • YWCA Richmond $125,000 for Sprout Preschool Initiative

Read more about their recent grant announcements here.

The Community Foundation serving Richmond and Central Virginia (TCF)

TCF and its partners awarded $24M in grants through June 30th in 2017.  The majority of grantmaking from The Community Foundation is done at the direction of donors who chose to partner with them on their philanthropy. TCF is privileged to work with hundreds of individuals, families and businesses who enjoy the opportunity to focus on how they want to make a difference, while TCF takes care of the administrative details. Their collective generosity has resulted in $18 million in donor-directed grants for a variety of causes so far, this year!

Through June 30th, The Community Foundation and its funding partners – including the Jenkins Foundation, Pauley Family Foundation and REB Foundation – awarded $6 million in competitive grants. These are grants provided through an application process to support initiatives that address important community issues and build the capacity of organizations and their leaders.

Highlights of Competitive Grants through June 30th:

  • 4 outstanding public school principals recognized by the REB Foundation
  • 3 emerging nonprofit leaders recognized by the Stettinius Awards for Nonprofit Leadership
  • 184 scholarships awarded for post-secondary education
  • $1.7M for local organizations advancing cultural vibrancy, educational success and economic prosperity
  • $1.6M in health-related grants from the Jenkins Foundation
  • $600,000 to strengthen TCF’s affiliate communities in Mathews and the Middle Peninsula/Northern Neck

For a full list of the Competitive Grant Awards in TCF’s 4 Focus areas of Cultural Vibrancy, Economic Prosperity, Educational Success and Health and Wellness go here.


Cameron Foundation

The Cameron Foundation’s Board recently approved new grants totaling $1,421,406 to benefit residents of the Tri-Cities area. The funding supports the work of 25 organizations providing services across the region. The awards result from the first of the Foundation’s two annual responsive grant cycles, with the second cycle concluding in October.

Among the larger awards this cycle, the Foundation approved $105,000 in renewal funding to Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Virginia for its ongoing work to stimulate economic development in the City of Petersburg.

The complete list of responsive grants for the June cycle includes:

  • Alzheimer’s Association–Greater Richmond Chapter – $22,300
  • American Red Cross–Southside Area Chapter – $25,000
  • Battersea Foundation – $100,000
  • Central Virginia Health Services, Inc. – $296,000
  • Chesterfield CASA, Inc. – $20,000
  • ChildSavers–Memorial Child Guidance Clinic – $33,351
  • City of Colonial Heights Department of Recreation, Parks & Tourism – $49,975
  • Communities In Schools of Petersburg – $90,000
  • CultureWorks, Inc. – $15,000
  • Dinwiddie County Division of Planning and Community Development – $20,000
  • FLITE Foundation – $39,000
  • GReat Aspirations Scholarship Program, Inc. (GRASP) – $10,000
  • Greater Richmond Fit4Kids, Inc. – $45,000
  • Historic Petersburg Foundation, Inc. – $38,555
  • Hopewell Food Pantry – $35,000
  • HumanKind – $10,000
  • The Literacy Lab – $40,000
  • Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Virginia – $105,000
  • Meadowview Biological Research Station – $10,000
  • NAMI Central Virginia – $26,120
  • Petersburg Garden Club – $40,500
  • Rawls Museum Arts, Inc. – $20,000
  • Southside Virginia Emergency Crew, Inc. – $30,605
  • Virginia’s Gateway Region, Inc. – $250,000
  • YMCA of Greater Richmond – $50,000

You can read more about the initiatives Cameron is supporting here.

Richmond Memorial Health Foundation

Richmond Memorial Health Foundation (RMHF) announced $259,000 in grants to 13 nonprofits in the Richmond region. The spring cycle brings total grants and awards by RMHF to $1,697,318 for the 2017 Fiscal Year, which began on July 1, 2016.  RMHF’s Spring 2017 Grantmaking Cycle is designed to give nonprofit leaders in the Richmond region the resources to consider strategic questions confronting their organizations. In keeping with the Strategic Framework adopted last year, RMHF Trustees’ decisions were guided by each applicant’s alignment with the Foundation’s mission of fostering an equitable and healthy Richmond region.

Trustees also gave priority to organizations working in the oral and behavioral health fields, as well as those serving new populations, such as immigrants and refugees, who face significant barriers to basic health care.

The following grants were approved by Trustees at their May meeting:

  • Daily Planet – $25,000 to address strategic questions surrounding capacity needed to provide oral health care to Hispanic patients and pregnant women.
  • Sacred Heart Center – $25,000 to develop a strategic plan for improving outreach and communication in its role as a community hub providing services for the growing immigrant population that include hosting a medical clinic and food bank, and offering parenting classes that support good health.
  • Virginia Supportive Housing – $25,000 for development of a multi-year sustainability plan guiding training, capacity and systems to support a Medicaid reimbursement model for services.
  • Voices for Virginia’s Children – $25,000 to strengthen the organization’s communications capacity to increase public awareness statewide and ensure effective advocacy for children’s behavioral health services.
  • YWCA Richmond – $25,000 to develop a master plan guiding the organization’s capacity needs in response to expanding programs and growth in the number of clients and staff.
  • Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services – $20,000 to guide staff communications and development strategies aimed at ensuring a smooth transition from a group of separate locations to one common facility.
  • Health Brigade – $20,000 for a facilitated exploration of how to best serve the older adult LGBTQ population in the Richmond Region.
  • Armstrong Priorities Freshman Academy – $15,000 to support a behavioral specialist in a pilot program that could serve as a model for classroom management in other high schools.
  • Family Lifeline – $15,000 to explore diversification of program-generated income, an issue identified in the organization’s strategic business planning process.
  • Gateway Homes – $15,000 to improve efficiencies in reimbursements for behavioral health services and to ensure that procedures remain up to date in response to changes in Medicaid policies.
  • Central Virginia Health Services – $14,000 to train behavioral health staff to ensure a consistent and effective approach to behavior management for all patients.
  • Virginia Dental Association Foundation – $10,000 for development of a strategic communications strategy to strengthen education on the need for dental care and oral health, and to improve collaboration with program partners to build capacity.

Read more about Richmond Memorial Health Foundation’s Grant Announcements here.

Check out ConnectVA’s Funding Resources page to learn about local funders, funding databases and charity registries and evaluators and subscribe to our Community Discussion Forum “Grants and Funding Opportunities” to get the latest updates on  grant, sponsorship, scholarship, fundraising and other funding opportunities, announcements and deadlines for nonprofits.

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News from the Community: New Local Platform Launched for Virtual Restaurant Fundraising

RVA has a new online platform to help nonprofits raise funds with the help of restaurants that goes beyond the traditional “Give Back Night”.

Serving Up Change is a platform that allows community organizations to connect with restaurants to fund raise with a “Virtual Spirit Night”. Instead of requiring attendance on a specific date and time, Serving Up Change and its virtual fundraiser allows supporters to purchase eGift cards from their phones or website, to be used at any time. The nonprofit organization earns the percentage back (determined by each restaurant) as fundraising profit. Supporters can also make flat donations through the same fundraising page.

ABOVE: Video of how Serving Up Change connects nonprofits with local restaurants to host virtual fundraisers.

Johnathan Mayo was inspired to start Serving Up Change because he felt that, “society in general was too reactive to community issues and he wanted to explore ways to encourage more people to stay engaged.”   Through his relationship as a silent partner in Mama J’s, he knew that restaurants had a unique opportunity to touch hundreds and thousands of people daily. From his work in the nonprofit world managing Excel to Excellence, he also fully understood the demands of fundraising.

Founder of Serving Up Change, Johnathan, pictured with his family.

“We wanted to create a better way to fund raise with restaurants that would make the process easier for the organization and restaurant, and substantially raise more money! The virtual fundraiser uses technology to make the process more efficient and provide convenience to the donor or supporter. This leads to higher returns for fundraising profit.”

Currently when an organization wants to fund raise or request a donation from a restaurant, they typically cold call or stop by the restaurant to determine the contact person. Then they make the fundraising or donation request and wait. Serving Up Change allows organizations to quickly identify restaurants with a community mindset and that are likely to support their cause, since restaurant profile pages list the types of causes they support.

A virtual fundraiser for Team Excel supported by Mama J’s Kitchen. The organization exceeded their $500 goal.

Mayo says, “For the traditional spirit night or give back night, it’s often tough to get people out, because we all have demanding schedules. The virtual spirit night allows people to lend their support from wherever they are, and then enjoy at good meal at their convenience.”

Furthermore, “some restaurants that may not have participated in these events in the past will now participate due to the efficiency and ease for connecting.   It also provides organizations with data on their supporters to allow them an opportunity to follow-up and say thank you. This is difficult to do with the traditional spirit nights.”

Benefits for restaurants using the Serving Up Change platform include saving time, marketing for their brand, a tracking and reporting mechanism and a more focused donation strategy.

Some organizations currently using the platform are Heart of Virginia Council of the Boy Scouts, Flying Squirrels Charities, Excel to Excellence, Hope for Families, Youth Sports, Inc., Linwood Holton PTA, William Fox PTA and several other local and statewide PTA units. Restaurants using the platform include Mama J’s, Q Barbecue, Stir Crazy, Home Team Grill, and many more.  There is a $29 campaign fee for each virtual fundraiser campaign (deducted from the total campaign revenue generated). If the campaign does not make enough revenue to cover the fee, the organization is not charged the campaign processing fee, creating no financial risk to the organizations

The process for setting up a virtual fundraiser for your nonprofit. Visit servingupchange.com for more directions!

To sign-up, nonprofits can visit www.servingupchange.com and click on Create Account at the top right corner of the homepage. There is no cost for organizations to create an account. There is also a great short video and additional information when you click “How it Works” from the homepage.

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News from the Community: TCF Announces Grant Awards

The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia (TCF) awarded over $2 Million to 47 local organizations through their community grant making program along with The Jenkins Foundation, a supporting foundation that focuses its grant program on improving health care in the region. Each year, a portion of The Community Foundation’s grant making is awarded through a competitive process, in which local organizations apply for funding for programs and operations. The process is guided by a framework in which the Foundation identifies nonprofit partners that are effectively, and many times collaboratively, working to lift up Richmond as a place where all of its residents can thrive.

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Tips for Getting Started in Fundraising in RVA


Laurie Rogers shares her “Top Tips” for getting started in fundraising – don’t forget to register for the Fundraising Crash Course coming up to get more insights on fundraising fundamentals and how to best go about your role as a development professional in RVA!

  1. Get to know the donors to your agency. Fundraising is relational and donors are not ATMs. Find out why people give (I will provide a list of opening questions to get that kind of conversation started in my class). To do that, you have to talk less and listen more……
  1. How does your agency tell its story? Is it all about your agency and what you do and how you do it? If that’s the case, time to change it up to appeal to the donor. WHY should a donor invest with you?
  1. For RVA in particular, that “seven degrees of separation” thing does not work here! It will soon appear to you that everyone in this town is related to everyone else. Be careful when discussing anyone or any situation, especially in public.
  1. Remember that the first word in fundraising is “FUN” so enjoy your new position, be curious and take every opportunity to learn via workshops, classes, webinars, etc. and welcome to the BEST vocation you could ever imagine.

Join the Fundraising Crash Course on 1/10/17!

Fundraising Crash Course provides a working map of the terrain for people new to fundraising, whether you’re an employee at a small nonprofit newly tasked with raising funds or a board member who wants a better big-picture understanding of what’s going on. We review the basics of fundraising, including

  • sources of funding;
  • the essential elements of a fundraising plan and how to go about creating one that works for your situation;
  • why donors give and why it’s important that you communicate with them in a variety of ways so that they’ll give again;
  • the role of boards in development, and how to engage your board in the fundraising process;
  • tapping into the powers of your existing networks and constituencies;
  • viewing fundraising from the perspective of a funder
  • other tips to help small Development offices maximize the impact of their work.

You’ll leave this session with a better understanding of fundraising and the ability to continue developing your own fundraising plans.

TIP: Check out the Fundraising Resource page for local grant-making information, databases and more!

Laurie Rogers has been a development professional for 25 years in Richmond. She has served as a Director of the Annual Fund, Director of Development and Director of a $30 million Capital Campaign. For the past 21 years, she has served as an independent grant writer for an array of nonprofit agencies in the metro area. She has taught fundraising classes in Richmond and Charlottesville for most of that time and continually participates in webinars and workshops to ensure her own skills are current and honed. She has a BA in Political Science from Sewanee and a Master’s of Public Policy from Duke University.

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Call for Nominations: The Help Somebody Hall of Fame


Nominate outstanding people for the “Help Somebody” recognition!

Have you witnessed someone selflessly going out of their way to improve the life of another?  Do you seek a simple way to recognize and commend them for their benevolence?  The Help Somebody Hall of Fame is a platform to express your gratitude for this person and share stories that may inspire others to act with generosityA nonprofit organization could also receive $1000 in honor of the person you nominate (see below).



The inspiration behind the Help Somebody Hall of Fame is Thomas Cannon, a retired postal worker who gave away more than $150,000 over three decades, mostly in thousand-dollar checks, showing that small gestures can make a big impact. He gave to people who demonstrated remarkable courage or generosity, or who experienced a challenging time, often reading about them in the Richmond Times Dispatch.  According to a 2005 Richmond Times Dispatch article published shortly after his death, Thomas Cannon did not want to attach his name to any efforts to carry on his philanthropy.  “What he wanted in his honor and memory, he told the Times-Dispatch, was simple: ‘Help Somebody.’”



Nominations can recognize a nonprofit staff member, client, volunteer, neighbor.…anyone residing in Greater Richmond who you want to commend for making a positive difference.  We’ll add a new name to the Hall of Fame two times each month, and feature their story on ConnectVA.org and through social media.

Take a few minutes to share their name and story by completing a simple nomination form and answering three questions:

1)  How does this person demonstrate the spirit of the “Help Somebody Hall of Fame” – acting selflessly to improve the life of someone else?

2) What is the impact of their generosity?

3) Is there anything else you want to share about your nominee that makes them unique and/or a model for making a positive difference (optional)?



The Nomination form can be found here: http://bit.ly/HelpSomebodyForm



Each quarter, a random drawing will be held and two $1,000 awards will be made to a nonprofit organization, in honor of a nominated outstanding community member (chosen by the nominee).  The award is made possible by an anonymous donor through The Community Foundation serving Richmond and Central Virginia.



Email us at admin@connectva.org

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Campaign Closeup: $5k for RVA

The Better Housing Coalition (BHC), a non-profit community development corporation, transforms communities through high-quality, eco-friendly affordable housing. They offer social services that help residents become more self-reliant, seek higher education and age in place. Their portfolio includes 16 residential communities – 8 for lower-income seniors – as well as 180 single-family homes for low- to moderate-income first-time buyers. BHC is known for the many collaborative partnerships they’ve created with financial and commercial organizations, public agencies, other non-profits, private individuals, grassroots community leaders, and builders and developers in order to scale and manage their mission of revitalizing the community.

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Campaign Closeup: Close The Gap

Over the course of four days – from September 26th to 29th – Shalom Farms held an online giving event called “Close the Gap”, with a goal of raising $20,000. The slogan for the campaign was “closing the healthy food gap, together” and Shalom conveyed that “all funds raised during the event will go to directly to our goal of providing over 400,000 servings of fresh produce along with nutrition resources, food-skills education and support to over 7,000 people. The Nutrition Distribution Network, Prescription Produce Plan, Youth Run Farm Stand, Healthy Corner Store Initiative and Community Mobile Market are all made possible by these donations.” They ended up surpassing the $20,000 goal and reached over $36,000 in donations from 182 gifts. We caught up with Shalom Farms, who gave us more insight into their campaign.

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Campaign Closeup: The Amazing Praise

On September 13th four local Christian nonprofits held The Amazing Praise – a 48-hour online giving event with a goal of raising $100k. Participants included Boaz & Ruth, Richmond Christian Leadership Initiative (RCLI), Sweet Monday and Youth Life Foundation of Richmond. The four organizations had individual goals based on their previous success in the Amazing Raise; RCLI - $55k, Youth Life Foundation - $20k, Sweet Monday - $12.5k and Boaz & Ruth - $12.5k. The online giving event ended up bringing in $55.5k.

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News from the Community: TCF Grant Announcement

In early October, The Community Foundation serving Richmond and Central Virginia announced the award of $877,500 to local nonprofits through their community grant making program and over $1M in support through TCF affiliated partners - the Jenkins Foundation, Medarva Foundation Fund and Sheltering Arms Fund . The community grants program is supported by unrestricted and field of interest funds created by donors who had the foresight to ensure that TCF would have the flexibility to meet the changing needs of the Greater Richmond region over time. Twice a year, TCF makes grants that advance our goals of cultural vibrancy, economic prosperity, educational success, and health and wellness. In addition, there are special funding opportunities that invite proposals at different times of year. Learn more about the community grant making process here – the next round of competitive grant applications are due November 7th.

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