Impact Areas

Our Impact Is Everywhere

Hampton Roads Community Foundation does not shy away from tackling major challenges in our region. We work in partnership with generous people and nonprofits through grants and special leadership initiatives.

Since 1950 donors have made possible more than $280 million in grants to area nonprofits as well as more than $21 million in college scholarships. Name a project of importance in South Hampton Roads and you likely will find our community foundation involved. Arts, education, environment, nonprofit facilities, health, human services and many other areas benefit from the generosity of caring donors from all walks of life.

Here are current initiatives and focus areas where we work with diverse partners to make a positive difference in our region.

In 2021, the Hampton Roads Community Foundation in partnership with the EVMS M. Foscue Brock institute for Community and Global Health hosted a virtual forum about the impact of COVID-19 on the mental well-being of families and children and offered strategies to mitigate the effects.

This event was a part of the Understanding Hampton Roads series, which is the Hampton Roads Community Foundation’s effort to advance civic engagement in Southeastern Virginia.

Watch the replay and find resources here.

Find local resources here:

More articles and websites to read:

Antiracist Mental Health Care

CDC information that includes ways to cope with stress and a list of resources available in a crisis and a list of resources for everyone and families and children

Mental Health America link offers a list of crisis resources

Mental Health American links to briefs that are designed to improve coping skills

State of Mental Health

Mental Health Resources

Blog: How Can We Reduce Long-Term impact on children’s Mental Health – Dr. Mary Margaret Gleason

NAMI COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide

American Academy of Pediatrics COVID resources

Other sources of information:

In 2018 the Hampton Roads introduced Understanding Hampton Roads in an ongoing effort to improve civic engagement by bringing key regional issues to the forefront and inspire collaboration to solve them. Public forums are one way the community foundation is expanding understanding about specific topics that impact the lives of people in southeastern Virginia.

  • The first Understanding Hampton Roads forum was a breakfast in Virginia Beach in October 2018 that focused on Disconnected or Opportunity Youth and the impact disconnection has on their lives and the regional economy. Disconnected youth are defined as teens and young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 who are not in school, training, the workforce or the military. Together We Can Foundation -- Smart Transitions partnered with the community foundation on this breakfast forum. Presenter Kristen Lewis, director of Measure of America in New York, presented data showing that in the Hampton Roads region 1 in 8 residents between 16 and 24 are disconnected. Learn more
  • The second Understanding Hampton Roads forum was on April 2, 2019 at 7 p.m. at the L. Douglas Wilder Center at Norfolk State University. The topic was Race, Equity & Education. The community foundation’s partners were NSU and its Robert C. Nusbaum Honors College with Norfolk Southern as presenting sponsor. The forum featured a viewing of the first episode of the America to Me documentary filmed at a Chicago-area high school and a panel discussion moderated by Barbara Hamm Lee, host of Another View on WHRV radio. Learn more
  • On May 15, 2019 the community foundation sponsored a 7:30 a.m.Understanding Hampton Roads breakfast forum on Children’s Mental Wellness at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott in partnership with Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters. The presenter was Gregory K. Fritz, M.D., past president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He recently retired as director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, R.I. Learn more
  • On May 30, 2019 a 7 p.m. Understanding Hampton Roads forum was held at the Chesapeake Conference Center. The community foundation partnered with Virginia Humanities on a Conversation with Dr. Beverly D. Tatum. She a psychologist, past president of Spelman College and author of the best-selling book Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race. After an interview by April Woodard, host of Coast Live, she answered questions from audience members. Learn more
  • On June 25, 2019 the community foundation sponsored a 7:30 a.m. Understanding Hampton Roads breakfast forum at the Chesapeake Conference Center in partnership with the Hampton Roads Workforce Council. The forum will debut results of a workforce gap analysis and present a 2019 Talent Alignment Strategy. It will include a panel discussion featuring regional business and education leaders. Learn more.

In 2018 the Hampton Roads Community Foundation began an initiative focused on improving diversity, equity and inclusion in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia. In 2019 staff member Vivian Oden was promoted to Vice President for Special Projects.

In August 2018 the community foundation spearheaded the Hampton Roads region’s inaugural celebration of Black Philanthropy Month by sponsoring The Soul of Philanthropy photo exhibit at the Slover Library. The exhibit was curated by the Chrysler Museum of Art. Following an opening reception, Barbara Hamm Lee, host of Another View on WHRV radio, moderated panel discussion about generosity in the region’s Black community.
Click here for a recap
Click here for a video debuted at the August event

On April 2, 2019 the community foundation sponsored an Understanding Hampton Roads forum focused on Race, Equity & Inclusion in the region in partnership with Norfolk State University and its Robert C. Nusbaum Honors College. Norfolk Southern Corporation was presenting sponsor. The event featured a showing of the first episode of the America to Me documentary filmed in a Chicago-area high school and debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018. Following the film, a panel moderated by Barbara Hamm Lee explored the topic of race and equity in Hampton Roads’ educational system. Learn more

In 2019 the community foundation formed a partnership with Virginia Humanities. Beneath the Surface: Race and the History of Race in South Hampton Roads to examine race and its history in the region and to facilitate positive transformation to improve lives and opportunities for area residents. A 24-member Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee to guide its work. View our committee list

In partnership with Virginia Humanities, the Hampton Roads Community Foundation sponsored a Public Conversation With Dr. Beverly D. Tatum on Thursday, May 30 at 7 p.m., at the Chesapeake Conference Center in Chesapeake. Tatum, the former president of Spelman College, wrote the best-selling book Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Classroom: and other Conversations About Race. She was interviewed by April Woodard, host of Coast Live and led a public discussion about race and education.

While in Hampton Roads, Tatum will facilitate conversations with education, city and law enforcement representatives.

In the fall of 2019, the Hampton Roads Community Foundation and Virginia Humanities will continue its Beneath the Surface work by hosting community workshops similar to events held in Richmond in 2016 (#UnmaskingRVA) and Charlottesville in 2018 (#UnmaskingCville). South Hampton Roads workshops will feature shared meals, film screenings and discussions, facilitated roundtable-style dialogues and exercises that help participants recognize racial biases and the effects of systemic racism in their own lives.

The Beneath the Surface work will lead to a grants program focused on improving diversity, equity and inclusion in the region.

Minus 9 to 5 was a community foundation initiative started in 2016 after a year of study. In 2018 this initiative transitioned to Eastern Virginia Medical School as part of its M. Foscue Brock Institute for Community and Global Health. Minus 9 to 5 focuses on improving life for South Hampton Roads’ youngest residents from conception until they reach kindergarten.

By aligning resources, Minus 9 to 5 has underpinned a Sleep Tight Hampton Roads program that focuses on safe sleep habits for infants and united five area school districts for a kindergarten registration campaign. It also spearheaded a regional campaign with five school districts so parents of upcoming kindergartners know to sign their children up early so they are at school on the first day ready to learn.

Minus 9 to 5 started in 2016 after interviews with 100 childcare workers, community leaders, parents and other experts led the community foundation to incubate this initiative.

This collective impact effort builds on the nearly 10 years and $8 million the community foundation invested in collaborative work with help from the Batten Educational Achievement Fund. Much of that was done through Smart Beginnings South Hampton Roads (now Elevate Early Education) to benefit children in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach.

Minus 9 to 5:

  • Focuses on families expecting babies plus those with children through age 5.
  • Creates opportunities for cross-city collaboration to advocate on behalf of area children.
  • Helps economically disadvantaged families and improves systems for all area children and their families.
  • Emphasizes a holistic range of positive outcomes for children.
  • Improves skills, support and the well-being of parents and the provider community.

Here is how the community foundation helped incubate this initiative:

  • In 2016 Jane Elyce Glasgow, Ph.D. of Chesapeake was hired as executive director of the Early Care and Education Collective Impact Initiative and Beth Parker, M.S. Ed. of Norfolk joined her as program coordinator. Until early 2018 they worked out of the community foundation's downtown Norfolk office.
  • A Steering Committee with connections to area families and young children oversees the initiative.
  • The initiative has convened more than 100 representatives from child care, government, medicine, nonprofits, education, business and philanthropy, as well as parents. Most have joined working groups.
  • Funding from the Batten Educational Achievement Fund administered by the Hampton Roads Community Foundation underpinned the initiative during its incubation period.The community foundation continues to be a funder of Minus 9 to 5.
  • It continues to have a Family Council and a Leadership Council plus five strategy working groups: Healthy Homes/Healthy Babies, Family Empowerment/Childcare Business and Impact Model, Community Connections, Data and Knowledge Sharing, and Policy and Advocacy.

To learn more or get involved visit

This effort launched in 2016 as Reinvent Hampton Roads after nearly four years of incubation at the community foundation. It focuses on economic competitiveness as a driver of whether Hampton Roads expands its job base, becomes an innovation center and attracts college graduates to live, work and raise families.

The warning signs are here for our regional economy. Since the 2008 recession, Hampton Roads has lagged behind the rest of Virginia and the United Sates in rebounding. As a region that has long depended on government and military jobs, the port and tourism, which are declining, we are working with many partners to add new economic anchors.

As a catalyst for Reinvent Hampton Roads, we convened study groups of more than 100 regional thinkers to tackle four key areas:

  • civic leadership,
  • entrepreneurship,
  • industry clusters and
  • workforce development.

Their work led to several projects:

  • Starting the Regional Export Accelerator Program (REAP) to help businesses export products and services beyond our region
  • Prioritizing industry clusters to pinpoint areas with growth potential
  • Finding strategies to engage the next generation of civic leaders
  • Working to increase operational efficiency within and among local jurisdictions
  • Serving as a conduit for GO Virginia funds for collaborative economic development projects in the region
  • December 2016 gatherings at Christopher Newport University and Old Dominion University that drew hundreds of community leaders for an update on the state of the initiative.

In 2016 Reinvent Hampton Roads became its own nonprofit organization with former Virginia Beach City Manager James K. Spore as president and CEO. The community foundation remains one of the initiative's key supporters along with Greater Peninsula NOW, Hampton Roads Business Roundtable, Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance and the Virginia Port Authority.

Learn more at

Since 2011 the Hampton Roads Community Foundation has worked to make the historic Park Place neighborhood in Norfolk a neighborhood of choice. We have partnered with the City of Norfolk, Old Dominion University, Landmark Foundation and Place Civic League to revitalize the neighborhood. Efforts helped bring the Y on Granby and New E3 School to Park Place, along with new businesses and an emphasis on caring for homes and public places.

Efforts also led in 2014 to the start of Healthy Neighborhood Enterprises, a community development corporation focused on Park Place and other older city neighborhoods.

The community foundation is an ally in a regional effort to combat homelessness. We've been honored by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for "innovative public-philanthropic collaborations designed to address housing and community development challenges."

We are an ally and funder involved in regional plans to end homelessness. Since 2005 we have invested more than $2.2 million in the country’s first regional, permanent supportive housing communities for homeless adults, helped start a housing broker program to increase the number of affordable housing units, and provided funding for the Regional Taskforce to End Homelessness. We also have funded efforts to help area homeless shelters shift to a Housing First concept. The goal: find permanent housing for homeless people and help them remain there.

Nonprofits need constant, affordable training so they can meet their missions to improve life in our region. The community foundation is a key player in three ways:

1. Academy for Nonprofit Excellence

The community foundation founded the Academy for Nonprofit Excellence in 2005 in partnership with Tidewater Community College; we continue to underwrite it to keep class costs low. The academy regularly brings experts to teach one- and two-day nonprofit courses on topics ranging from board development and fundraising to communications and human resources.

Since the academy opened, more than 2,180 individuals from nearly 900 different nonprofits have taken classes – most again and again. As of 2018, more than 130 participants have taken enough courses to each earn a Certificate in Nonprofit Management.

2. In-House Training

The community foundation offers at least one free training session every month. Topics usually relate to applying for grants here or to any funder. Topics may include how to collect data and complete program logic models. All sessions are held in our office and led by staff experts. Learn more

3. Building Excellence

Through our Building Excellence training grants program, area nonprofits can improve their long-range fundraising plans. Currently Edmarc Hospice for Children and Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) are in the midst of 42 months of hands-on training from The Curtis Group consulting firm. (Sorry, we are not presently accepting applications for new participants.) Current and past Building Excellence recipients come to quarterly meetings for updates.

Building Excellence participants have included:

  • Alzheimer’s Association, Southeastern Virginia Chapter
  • Armed Services YMCA
  • Eastern Shore of Virginia Barrier Islands Center
  • Edmarc Children’s Hospice*
  • Eggleston Services
  • Habitat for Humanity South Hampton Roads
  • Horizons Hampton Roads
  • Judeo-Christian Outreach Center
  • Norfolk SPCA
  • Park Place School
  • Places & Programs for Children (Children’s Harbor)
  • Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Virginia
  • Suffolk Cultural Center for the Arts
  • Tidewater Arts Outreach
  • Tidewater Winds
  • The Up Center
  • Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)*
  • Western Tidewater Free Clinic
  • Young Audiences of Virginia
  • YWCA of South Hampton Roads

*Current Building Excellence recipient

In 1987, the community foundation led a coalition that created the Business Consortium for Arts Support. The consortium's provides operating support for area arts and culture organizations. Operating support pays the essentials for arts organizations – programming, rent, utilities and staff but often is the most challenging type funding for arts groups to raise.

Each year the consortium provides unrestricted grants to help 33 visual and performing arts groups bring great music, dance and visual arts to South Hampton Roads. Over the decades the consortium has provided more than $20 million to 45 different organizations.

The consortium operates from the community foundation's offices, and we remain among the largest of its nearly 25 annual funders. Learn more

Since 2010, Community Leadership Partners have directed more than $1.9 million to our region's most vulnerable children. In 2018, for example, the Partners awarded $225,000 to 17 organizations that serve middle or high school-age youth from lower-income families or disconnected youth from ages 16 to 24. Disconnected youth are not in school, the workforce or the military.

Who are the Community Leadership Partners? They are community-minded people who enjoy being part of an active giving group focused on helping some of our region's most vulnerable children. The nearly 250 members contribute annual donations, explore where their money can do the most good and then put their money to work through area nonprofits working with children and families.

Our community benefits most when nonprofits work together to tackle specific issues. The community foundation convenes nonprofits in the same sectors several times a year in Conversation Groups. Participants learn what each other is doing, avoid duplication and identify gaps in service they can fill.

We currently host meetings that deal with K-5 education, middle-school enrichment, transitions to college and careers, disability services, domestic violence, mental health, child abuse and services for older adults. To learn more about them contact Linda Rice, vice president for grantmaking at or (757) 622-7951.