Apply For A Grant

General Discretionary Grants (Guiding Principles for Grantmaking)

Guiding principles assist the Eastern Shore of Virginia Community Foundation’s Board of Directors with all of its discretionary grantmaking decisions. These principles deal primarily with:

  • Eligibility
  • Funding Priorities
Eligibility (Geographic Focus)

The Foundation concentrates its resources geographically to provide the most benefit to residents of the Eastern Shore of Virginia. The highest priority will be given to requests for grants from nonprofit organizations that benefit the counties of Accomack and Northampton.

What We Don’t Fund

Unrestricted funds are generally not available for:

  • Organizations not tax-exempt under section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code
  • Individuals
  • Fundraising events (such as tickets, raffles, auctions or tournaments), annual fundraising appeals, or agency celebrations
  • Ongoing operating support
  • Political, fraternal or religious activities
  • Endowments
  • Existing obligations, debts/liabilities or costs that the agency has already incurred
  • Scholarly research
  • Scholarships, camper fees, fellowships or travel
  • National or international organizations, unless the grant is restricted to benefit Accomack and/or Northampton counties
  • Hospitals and similar health-care facilities, excepting Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital
  • Projects normally the responsibility of government
  • Organizations that have been awarded discretionary funding from the Foundation within the preceding three years
  • Private primary or secondary schools or academies other than those whose primary purpose is for special needs, unless there is a significant opportunity for community use of, or collaboration with, the facility or project
  • Capital campaign requests exceeding 5 percent of campaigns valued at $1 million or more
Funding Priorities (Long-Term Community Benefit)

The Foundation focuses its resources on projects and programs that are likely to continue to strengthen the community beyond the period of funding. As a result, highest priority will be given to requests for specific capital projects, such as buildings, renovations and equipment needs that meet the Foundation’s grantmaking goals.

Broad-Based Grantmaking

As a community foundation, the Foundation strives to strengthen the fabric of the Eastern Shore community and to reflect the diverse interests of its donors. We award grants in a wide range of program areas:

  • Family, Child and Social Welfare – Goal: Improve the quality of life for families and communities, particularly in the areas of basic human needs.
  • Public and Civic Life – Goal: Preserve and increase access to our unique community assets.
  • Arts & Culture – Goal: Promote broad-based participation in arts and cultural activities.
  • Education – Goal: Improve students’ readiness to learn and ability to succeed in school and in life.
  • Health – Goal: Support healthcare services and wellness education through community-based organizations.
  • Environment – Goal: Support environmental preservation and education.
Special Initiatives

From time to time, the Foundation may participate in special initiatives that focus on a priority community need. These initiatives may involve one-time collaborative funding or a special program that continues for a prescribed time period.

How To Apply
Step One:

Organizations seeking a general discretionary grant from the Eastern Shore of Virginia Community Foundation must first submit the following materials:

  • A concept proposal of no more than two pages describing the organization’s mission and the proposed project. A contact person should be named. If the organization is faith-based, described how the project is principally non-religious in nature.
  • A project budget showing both the project’s expenses and sources of income.

Concept proposals may be submitted at any time. Foundation staff and/or the Grant Review Committee will review the proposal materials to determine whether the project meets current grantmaking priorities and guidelines. Following board review the contact person listed on the Concept Proposal will be notified regarding whether the proposal has been selected for further consideration.

Step Two:

If the proposal is selected for further consideration, Foundation staff will contact the organization to discuss the additional materials required for a full application and to discuss a date for board consideration.

Step Three:

The Foundation Grant Review Committee will conduct site visits, if appropriate, and perform its investigation of the application. The committee recommendation will be submitted to the Board of Directors for consideration. Grantmaking decisions for each calendar year will be made prior to the end of the year. The Board reserves the right to consider an application at any time during the year to address a need requiring timely action.

What Is Considered

The Foundation considers numerous criteria in reviewing grant proposals. For example, does the organization:

  • Benefit a meaningful number of people through the project in relation to its cost?
  • Assist those whose needs are not met by existing services?
  • Obtain matching gifts or additional funding from other sources to implement and sustain the project?
  • Promote collaboration among agencies?
  • Strive to strengthen or improve agency self-sufficiency or efficiency?
  • Evaluate the outcomes of its programs?

The foundation makes grants on an equal opportunity basis without regard to race, color, religion, sex, marital status, disability, national origin or age.

Evaluation Of Outcomes

The Foundation considers project evaluation an important element of each grant it makes. Our goal is to evaluate the implementation of projects awarded a grant so that the Foundation and the grantee organization can both learn from the process. Specific evaluation requirements will vary based on the type and size of grant awarded and will be clearly defined in the grant-award agreement. Site visits by ESVCF staff may be required.

3-Year Time Limit

Any organizations that have received a discretionary grant from the Foundation in the past three (3) years will be precluded until 3 years have passed from applying for another discretionary grant.

Relationship With the Hampton Roads Community Foundation

The Hampton Roads Community Foundation, founded as The Norfolk Foundation in 1950, and with which the Eastern Shore of Virginia Community Foundation is affiliated, engages in discretionary grantmaking on the Eastern Shore of Virginia as part of its grantmaking program supported by its own financial resources. Organizations in financial need may apply directly to both the Eastern Shore of Virginia Community Foundation and the Hampton Roads Community Foundation for grant assistance. Grant applications to the Hampton Roads Community Foundation are governed solely by the grantmaking policies and guidelines of that foundation.