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Musician playing guitar in Charlottesville


As your community foundation, we are honored to be part of a legacy of generosity that is rooted in a keen awareness of our interconnectedness as people sharing a place and time. Our founders were convinced that we all have an obligation to offer our individual resources in order to ensure our neighbors — whose current condition is necessarily intertwined with ours — have basic amenities, opportunity, enrichment, and compassionate care. We consider this our calling.


As your community foundation, we are honored to be part of a legacy of generosity that is rooted in a keen awareness of our interconnectedness as people sharing a place and time. Our founders were convinced that we all have an obligation to offer our individual resources in order to ensure our neighbors — whose current condition is necessarily intertwined with ours — have basic amenities, opportunity, enrichment, and compassionate care. We consider this our calling.

Our core functions enable us to fulfill this calling in response to the needs of our region. We partner with local families and individuals to fund a variety of programs that make our region vibrant, caring, and fun. We offer tools to nonprofits to achieve long-term sustainability for their missions. We provide non-monetary resources that enable community-based organizations to build and grow organizational capacity. And we direct funding toward initiatives that seek to advance equity and ensure our region is a place in which everyone can belong, participate, contribute, and thrive.

Brennan Gould

We also believe we have a critical role to play in times of crisis. Over the past 18 months, our region has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic that has reached all parts of the globe. In the following pages, you will read the stories and data detailing our response, which would not have been possible without the support of so many compassionate community members. I hope you will join me in being inspired by the role that generosity, partnership, and innovation can play during times of unprecedented crisis.

As professionals and members of this community, we remain committed to learning and growing. Our recent experiences have helped us see our work in new ways, and we share those insights in the concluding pages of this report.


With deep gratitude, I say thank you to the many people in our region whose contribution of ideas, talents, money, time, and testimony have strengthened our community bonds and nurtured our interconnectedness. Let’s continue our journey forward, together. 



Brennan Gould 

President and CEO


To thrive together we must value and invest in one another. We envision a region in which everyone can meet their full potential, regardless of the circumstances of one’s birth. We believe that we cannot be the region we strive to be — one in which everyone has fair opportunity to participate in and realize the successes that they desire for themselves and their families — without paying careful attention to systemic causes of inequity. We strive to maintain the courage and discipline to honestly analyze our shared history and present conditions. In doing so, we can clearly and inclusively advance solutions that reverse longstanding disparities, dismantle harmful hierarchies, build power among marginalized people, and expand participation in our communities. 

Two men on benches reading books


Our organization’s continuing equity journey is rooted in humility and compassion. We actively build our understanding of racial and social justice and the systems of power that affect people’s lives. Through all-staff trainings, racial identity group caucusing, and leadership coaching, we are pursuing an anti-racist culture within our organization and aligning our decision making and actions with our equity values.


Additionally, we are applying an equity lens to our governance approach, removing barriers to service, and increasing the diversity of perspectives and lived experiences informing the Community Foundation’s work.

Our discretionary grant making is undergoing constant analysis and refinement. Specifically, we are: 

  • including equity and engagement criteria on grant applications; 

  • shifting power in relationships with grantees to mitigate hierarchies and create true partnerships; and

  • responding to the unique needs of rural and small organizations, and those led by people of color. 

Equity Commitment


Increasing Capacity, Providing Support

Nonprofits and community initiatives need capacity-building support. This was a resounding message we heard through feedback from surveys, focus groups, and conversations with community and grant partners.

This pivotal feedback inspired the Community Foundation to launch a partnership with Catchafire, a web-based platform that connects community-based organizations with highly skilled volunteers. Catchafire provides critical capacity and expertise in areas including COVID-19 support, finance and operations, fundraising, human resources, marketing and communications, program management, and technology.

The Community Foundation’s investment allows participating organizations to utilize this resource at no cost and ensures access to resources critical for their stability, growth, and success. Catchafire helps level the playing field. Many highly effective nonprofit organizations, often led by people of color, experience inequitable access to resources to do their important work. We have prioritized these, along with rural and small organizations, for Catchafire eligibility.

This investment came at a critical time. As organizations pivoted in response to the global pandemic, they needed resources to support virtual programming, changes in fundraising strategies, increased demand for digital communications, and more.


  • More than 9,100 hours donated by volunteers  

  • 99 organizations matched for 626 

  • $1.8 million saved by nonprofit organizations  

  • 12x return on Community Foundation’s investment  

Based on data from November 2020 through June 2021.

Portrait of Shelby Edwards

Shelby Edwards, Executive Director, Public Housing Association of Residents (PHAR)

"I have had a wonderful experience with  Catchafire this year! The ability to find volunteers with expertise outside of PHAR’s current skillset has allowed us to expand our reach and has included an updated logo, a website consultation and translation of community redevelopment updates in French and Arabic."

Catchafire Partnership


Building Solutions Together 

The City of Charlottesville and the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission recently completed housing-needs assessments and the results were alarming.

Regionally, more than 11,000 households are housing-cost burdened, spending more than 30% of their income for housing. Of this number, 2,000 households in the urban core are severely cost burdened, with housing costs accounting for more than 50% of their spending. Additionally, those experiencing homelessness represent some of our most underserved communities, including veterans, individuals with disabilities, and other marginalized groups.


The Collaboration to End Homelessness, a strategic partnership of housing-related nonprofits, is responding to this dilemma by integrating housing solutions across a spectrum of household in-comes and conditions, using evidence-based models for short- and long-term affordability. The centerpiece of their efforts is the Premier Circle Redevelopment. This innovative housing approach provides a medium-term safe haven for those experiencing homelessness, while also addressing the region’s historically intractable homelessness challenges.  


Catalyzed by a first-of-its-kind $4.25 million grant from the Community Foundation — the largest in our organization’s history — the project is driven by a belief that housing is a fundamental human right and that the lack thereof constitutes a public health crisis. Of the grant, $3.6 million is recoverable and will be returned to the Community Foundation to be reinvested in future projects that benefit the region.

Anonymous Donors (4), the Bama Works Fund of Dave Matthews Band, and the University of Virginia

Residents of the Premier Circle Redevelopment

Residents of the Premier Circle Redevelopment

Annually it costs the community $30,000 to serve a homeless individual, but it only costs $10,000 for permanent supportive housing



Reimagining solutions to our
most pressing problems for the near and long-term


​Project Overview

  • ​Will initially create an emergency shelter of up to 100 single-occupancy rooms (March 2021 – June 2023)

  • Will build up to 60 affordable apartments (June 2023 – June 2025) 

  • ​Will build up to 80 permanent supportive housing units (June 2025 – December 2026) 

  • ​Project partners are People and Congregations Engaged in Ministry, Piedmont Housing Alliance, Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless, and Virginia Supportive Housing


  • No significant outbreaks of COVID. 

  • Increased connection to holistic, wraparound services. 

Ending Homelessness
Portrait of Eboni Bugg

Eboni Bugg, Director of Programs, Community Foundation 

"By listening to the community and thinking creatively, we can invest in new ways to achieve a deep and lasting impact. This collaboration with regional housing nonprofit partners is a community-centered approach that seeks to bring the number of people experiencing chronic homelessness to zero. By helping the most marginalized among us, the entire community benefits."

Portrait of Sunshine Mathon

Sunshine Mathon, Executive Director, Piedmont Housing Alliance 

"The Premier Circle Project was not fundamentally achievable without the necessary financing. The Community Foundation became the key. With a transformed funding approach, they embraced the collaborative vision of mission-focused nonprofit partners and unlocked the doors for our most vulnerable neighbors." 


The Community Emergency Response Fund (CERF) was established in March 2020 to provide flexible resources to households and organizations in Central Virginia that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to an unprecedented global pandemic, we received an outpouring of generosity. In eight short weeks, the community contributed 1,000 gifts and $5.5 million to our response efforts. 


CERF included both a temporary Rapid Response grant program and Community Recovery & Catalyst grants to support nonprofits providing critical services, and a COVID-19 regional Resource Helpline to disburse emergency financial aid to households impacted by financial instability. 


Rapid Response 

In April 2020 we quickly made grants to bolster nonprofit organizations providing critical services such as food, healthcare, personal protective equipment, and rent abatement during the onset of the pandemic. 

Community Recovery & Catalyst Grants

In September of 2020 we launched a special grant round dedicated to community recovery and to help address continued racial injustice, which was designed to help organizations recover, sustain, and build their services. Grants supported areas such as mental health care, affordable housing, youth development, childcare, food insecurity, and the arts.

Recovery & Catalyst grants were made possible through generous contributions from the Bama Works Fund of Dave Matthews Band, the University of Virginia Health System, the Twice is Nice Fund, Dorothy Batten, and Enriching Communities, which is managed by the Community Foundation. 



Resource Helpline

In March 2020 the Community Foundation joined with Cville Community Cares, United Way of Greater Charlottesville, the City of Charlottesville, and the County of Albemarle to create the Resource Helpline, a mechanism to distribute funds to households experiencing hardship due to the pandemic. The helpline, which served Charlottesville and seven surrounding counties, operated until May 6, 2020.

Resource helpline

Funds Administered by the Community Foundation

Parent support groups launched The Reopening Fund (Charlottesville City Schools) and Families Helping Families (Albemarle County Public Schools) to support students and families during the 2020-21 school year. The initiatives centered equity in their efforts and, combined, contributed more than $200,000 directly to schools.


The Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Fund was established to provide mental health support to healthcare providers.  After receiving more than 1,750 contributions totaling $230,000, Dr. Breen’s family established a foundation to continue this critical support for clinicians and their families.

Portrait of Brennan Gould

Brennan Gould,
President and CEO,
Community Foundation 

"As a region of interconnected people, we have the responsibility to care for one another. Our COVID response provided critical care to our community, while also bridging the gap between the immediate needs of families affected by the pandemic and state and federal assistance."

Rapid Response grants
Community Recovery and Catalyst grants

The Rapid Response grants and Resource Helpline would not have been possible without 1,000 gifts from our community, including large gifts from the following: 

Adiuvans Relief Fund

Aerojet Rocketdyne Foundation

Alexandra Summer Fund

Anonymous (3)

Bama Works Fund of Dave Matthews Band

Bank of America Charitable Foundation

Barbara Fried

Batten Family Fund

Bonnie and Wick Moorman

Charles Heiner

Crane Charitable Fund (Fidelity)


Dave and Emily Luebke
Heiner Family Fund

Hilltop Foundation
James and Patricia Atkins 
Charitable Fund (Fidelity)

Jeff and Jody Hesler

Lilly Anne Bechtel

Madwoman Project Fund

Manning Family Foundation

Micron Opportunity Fund at the Northern Virginia Community Foundation

Molly and Robert Hardie

Nicholson Family Fund (Fidelity)

Quad-C Management

Quantitative Foundation

Saraswati Fund

SEG Family Fund

Sterba Family Fund

Dr. Lorna Breen and her sister Jennifer Feist

Dr. Lorna Breen (left) and her sister Jennifer Feist

COVID Response


The Bama Works Fund of Dave Matthews Band has given back to the Charlottesville region for over two decades. In times of crisis, the band shows incredible generosity and partnership. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the band has contributed more than $11.5 million and other forms of support to local initiatives and ongoing work, including the following:

Dave Matthews Band
Bama Works


The Community Foundation is committed to responding during times of crisis in a nimble and equitable manner, partnering with community-based organizations, and leveraging the philanthropic spirit of the region. At the same time, we have continued delivering core grant programs — Bama Works Fund, Enriching Communities, Shaping Futures, Strengthening Systems, and other standard grant rounds.

Our recurring grant programs distributed $4,818,741 to 365 organizations.

Together with donors, the Community Foundation helps build a thriving community that is healthy and vibrant for everyone. Impact areas supported include:

Foundation focus areas
Ongoing Grant Programs



To improve the quality of life for those living and working in the city of Charlottesville and counties of Albemarle, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Nelson and Orange. We believe that strong community relationships, collaborative problem-solving and broad engagement are powerful forces for change.    


The Community Foundation, in collaboration with donors and community-based organizations, facilitates effective and impactful grant making, philanthropy, and scholarships while being responsive to the ever-changing needs of our region. 



We work with others in the community to address significant challenges and opportunities and to achieve better results. 


We connect to the lived experiences and perspectives of residents across our service area to ensure that our work is appropriate and meaningful. 

We seek results that are measurable, demonstrable, and relevant to the people in the region. 


We communicate clearly and frequently about the priorities, decisions, activities, and performance of all parts of the Community Foundation.

Who We Are


While the eighteen months captured in this update have been challenging for all of us, they’ve also revealed the best of what our community can offer.  

Self-analysis and stakeholder feedback contribute to the Community Foundation’s enduring ability to be agile, highly responsive to community needs — in times of crisis and during periods of relative calm — and deeply impactful through our programs and services.

Here are some themes that have emerged since the beginning of 2020 and continue to inform our path forward. 

Always Learning



Our people, places, needs, and systems are interconnected — we are stronger together. Responding to the region’s most pressing challenges requires supporting one another through partnership, trust, and generosity. The pandemic has shown that when we collaborate creatively and pool our resources for a common good, our entire community benefits and becomes stronger. 



In addition to the pandemic and its disparate outcomes, there continues to be discrimination and violence against Black and other communities of color. We have a moral obligation to challenge and dismantle systems of oppression that seek to concentrate power and privilege. Our obligation is to create the conditions in which those most marginalized can self-determine. Equity is a requirement, not an option.



Donors and grant makers have an opportunity and obligation to reimagine philanthropy. Through creative and flexible funding mechanisms, along with reduced burdens for applications and reporting, we can provide better access to resources. This
allows community-based initiatives to focus fully on improving lives.  



Nonprofits and community-based organizations serve as a social safety net for our region, providing critical services and support to our most vulnerable community members. This is honorable, yet challenging, work and they need increased capacity to sustain their work for the benefit of our community.


Make a gift to the Community Endowment Fund

Join us in responding to the ever-changing needs of our region.

Donate to the Vision Fund
Support the flexibility and sustainability of the Community Foundation’s operations.  

Include the Community Foundation as part of your estate planning

Create a legacy of community impact.  

Open a fund
Receive personalized service, benefit from our expertise, and maximize your philanthropy to impact the causes that matter most to you.  

For more information about how to get involved, please contact Katie Kling at 434-220-3473 or

People gathered for an event
Ways to Get Involved


Donors to the Community Foundation have demonstrated incredible compassion since the start of 2020, a trend that extends a legacy of generosity in our region. This outpouring of support from a vast and varied group of contributors reinforces our core belief that as a region of interconnected people, we have the responsibility to invest in and care for one another. 


Each gift we receive is accompanied by stories of people who are deeply committed to their neighbors and their community. 

Our philanthropy is well-positioned to be creative, nimble, and responsive. We could not do any of it without you.


We are grateful for your trust and partnership. 

Thank you for supporting us. 

Thank you for supporting our community. 

Thank you for standing in solidarity as we continue working together to ensure that our region becomes one where all can belong, contribute, and thrive.

Thank You
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