About Our Foundation

Our history, people and finances


One Donor's Huge Impact

Philanthropy changes lives. The late Florence Smith is proof of that. It's impossible to count the lives changed by the scholarships created by a bequest from this Norfolk resident who died in 1952. Her scholarship fund has sent hundreds of physicians to medical school and is still at work this year providing scholarships for 15 Virginia students.

Hampton Roads Community Foundation has a proud history. We began in 1950 as The Norfolk Foundation with total donations of $2,350. Despite the city-focused name, we were always regional -- giving scholarships and grants across southeastern Virginia to ambitious students and essential nonprofits. Over the past 69 years we have put more than $344 million into action through grants and scholarships -- more than $20 million in 2021 alone.

Two years after our founding, Florence Smith's estate established in 1952 a remarkable scholarships for Virginia medical students that is going strong today. In 1959, we awarded our first big grant of $100,000 to help build a library. In 1987, The Virginia Beach Foundation formed, and in 2010 it merged with The Norfolk Foundation to create the Hampton Roads Community Foundation -- our region's largest grant and scholarship provider.

We've always been led by board and staff members with integrity and wisdom and follow a clear and compelling mission. As the first community foundation in Virginia we are among more than 750 community foundations across the United States (30 in Virginia alone) and another 100 in other countries. Our focus is on partnering with donors from all walks of life to improve life in southeastern Virginia. We do that through grants, scholarships and leadership initiatives.

In this section you will find contact information, directions, our latest news and other basics. You also will see that we are transparent when it comes to our finances. You will find recent audits, Form 990s and information about our investments.

Whether you are a prospective donor, a current fund holder, a nonprofit staff member, a community leader, a reporter, or a student looking for a scholarship, we're happy to help you learn more about how to connect with our community foundation.

Learn more about the Foundation from our Fact Sheet.