The Women United in Philanthropy (WUP) Grants Committee has selected finalists for the 2021 Grant Awards. Join us at 5:45 pm on May 19 to learn how a grant award would allow each of our non-profit finalists to magnify their impact on local women and children. Register HERE to receive a link for the interactive Zoom presentation prior to the event. Those who are not able to view the live presentation will be able to view a recording the next day. This is a free public event. Everyone is welcome – invite your friends!

To celebrate 15 years of grant awards and in response to the pandemic that has greatly impacted our community, Women United in Philanthropy is excited to offer an additional grant opportunity in 2021, for an organization that can benefit from a smaller grant award. It is our intent to support a diverse base of organizations that may be led by active minority community members. This year we will award two grants of $17,500 each, and a third grant of $5,000, for a total of $40,000 in grant awards.

Congratulations to our seven finalists, who were carefully chosen by our Grant Committee from 26 submissions.

The five finalists for the $17,500 grant are:

All Blessings Flow is a local faith-based organization that collects, refurbishes, and redistributes medical equipment and supplies free of charge to those in need in Charlottesville, Albemarle, and all surrounding counties. Clients are permanently or temporarily disabled and primarily low-income individuals and families who are uninsured or underinsured. Their primary mission is to address inequitable access to healthcare services for low-income people with disabilities, representing many underserved groups in our community, including seniors, rural residents, and people of color. All Blessings Flow is requesting a $17,500 grant to assist with increased operating expenses due to an expansion in their facility and program services. The facility expansion will allow them to expand services in their pediatric, wheelchair repair, and hospital bed programs. To sustain their growth, they also plan to add a part-time development associate position to help with fundraising.”

PHAR’s mission is to educate and empower low-income residents to protect and improve their own communities through collective action. They provide educational opportunities for residents, support for housing redevelopment, and community organizing events across the seven public housing neighborhoods. They are the duly recognized and federally mandated representative of public housing residents at the jurisdiction level. PHAR is the only non-profit in Charlottesville whose Board is 100% reflective of the demographic that they serve as all the Board leaders are low-income and this year the Board is also 100% made up of women. PHAR is requesting a $17,500 grant to provide support to all of their programming, which includes the PHAR internship program, which is a paid learning opportunity for public housing and section 8 residents; on-going housing redevelopment, which is resident lead and resident focused; and on-going community organizing efforts, which include events at their sites, such as the Westhaven Community Day. The sites served are Westhaven, South First Street, Madison Ave, Michie Drive, Crescent Halls, Sixth Street, & Riverside.                                                                                                                                                   

Cultivate Charlottesville engages youth and community in building equitable, sustainable food systems through garden-based experiential learning, growing and sharing healthy food, amplifying community leaders, and advocating for food justice. They work with over 3,850 youth in public schools and 500 adults living in public and subsidized housing. It aims to build a healthy and just food systems personally, through City Schoolyard Garden initiatives, in community through Urban Agriculture Collective community farms and markets, and in systems and structures through Food Justice Network advocacy. Because of this systems approach, the programs overlap and intersect with each other. Cultivate’s From the Ground Up program is a collaborative community approach to building long-term equity in our food system and expanding food access for youth and their families facing food insecurity through integrating healthy school meals, urban farms, and community leadership and healing. Cultivate Charlottesville is requesting a $17,500 grant to employ 20 youth Food Justice Interns and 10 adult Community Advocates, working together to build food equity in gardens, urban farms, and advocacy efforts. From the Ground Up will employ a cadre of Youth Food Justice Interns who will partner with a core group of Community Advocates to advance food equity practices in Charlottesville and across their three programs. A core strategy of this program is amplifying youth and community voice, choice, and leadership.

Nearby Baby’s mission is to provide culturally-sensitive postpartum doula support to families of newborns, particularly those from at-risk communities. Adjacent to this mission is a training program, which helps women from the communities they serve obtain the professional skills necessary to do postpartum doula work. They seek to mentor and empower parents to provide excellent care for their babies. Nearby Baby is requesting a $17,500 grant to provide reduced or pro-bono direct services and support to newborn babies and their families in the Piedmont. The intended beneficiaries are newborn babies and their mothers from black, brown, Latino, and/or low-income white communities, including teen mothers.  These funds will be used to serve families who are at risk of not receiving the kind of support necessary to allow their babies and families to thrive in the first months after the birth of a child. The clients will be women who would not otherwise receive support or instruction in: newborn care; early infant development best-practices; breastfeeding; incorporating babies into family and community life; awareness of postpartum depression and infant failure-to-thrive. Early, direct, personal and highly customized support and intervention will greatly improve outcomes for newborn babies, their mothers and families. The funds will also be used to provide direct training and ongoing support to women from these same communities who wish to pursue a postpartum doula vocation. They will offer a full training program in May-June 2021 and provide follow-up mentoring to the women who complete this training. The goal is to have newborns and their families served by doulas from their own communities.

The first mission of The Free Book Bus is to give books to local children and families. They take the book bus to those who cannot easily afford and/or access books in Charlottesville, Albemarle, and the surrounding areas. The second mission is to encourage and support reading for all. The Free Book Bus is uniquely positioned to give out books for several reasons: they operate year-round; give out books across all school districts and areas in and around Albemarle, Charlottesville and Nelson; give out 2-4 books per child; and are well-positioned to serve Nelson County, which does not currently have a bookmobile or many of the family services available in Charlottesville and Albemarle. They are requesting a $17,500 grant to 1) Publish a bilingual coloring book titled “Hello, Charlottesville!” in five languages (English, Arabic, Dari, Farsi, and Pashto); 2) Purchase a larger and more diverse selection of books that are hard to find used (and rarely get donated), such as books with diverse characters, graphic novels (perfect for reluctant readers), board books, and bilingual books in Arabic, Dari, Farsi, Pashto and Spanish; 3) Purchase a new bus with a lift; and 4) Establish a dedicated budget for art and education supplies: coloring books, crayons, colored pencils, and educational games such as UNO are some of our most requested items. Their demographics are almost exclusively targeted towards disadvantaged populations in Charlottesville, Albemarle, and Nelson. They have also traveled to Greene, Madison, and Orange counties to visit Boys & Girls Clubs.

The two finalists for the $5,000 grant are:

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is dedicated to inspiring a love of reading by gifting books free of charge to children from birth to age five, through funding shared by Dolly Parton and local community partners in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Republic of Ireland. The Charlottesville Rotary Club/Rotary Foundation works with the Dollywood Foundation to deliver this program to pre-school children ages birth to five who are residents of zip code 22901, 22902, or 22903 in the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County. While the program is available to any age-eligible child in these zip codes, the Rotary Club has actively promoted the program in partnership with organizations specifically serving lower income families and families with potentially limited access to early childhood literacy resources. They are requesting a $5,000 grant to support 200 new local children receiving one age-appropriate book per month for one year. The targeted enrollment for this group of children could be identified in conjunction with the United Way or other partner organizations to ensure that the funds would be spent to support those children/families with the most need in terms of access to early childhood learning opportunities. Expected outcomes include increased access to quality reading materials in the home, hands-on opportunities to engage with books, and ultimately improved literacy which has been proven to improve academic outcomes for children in elementary and secondary schools.

Yellow Door Foundation’s mission is to provide free, long-term, “sanctuary” lodging for the families of immunocompromised pediatric patients undergoing treatment at UVA Children’s Hospital. Lodging is in one of five apartments at Stone Creek in Charlottesville. Families, who come from all regions of Virginia, become members of our community while here, sometimes as long as 10-11 months. The families shop at our businesses and their children attend our schools. The physicians at UVA Hospital say that single dwelling lodging, where patients are able to be with their families, is instrumental in their recovery. Yellow Door Foundation is requesting a $5,000 grant to support a consortium of donors for one of the apartments which had difficulty meeting its commitment due to COVID-19 circumstances. The $5,000 would cover rent and utilities for one apartment for one fiscal quarter.

All 2021 WUP Members may cast their vote for the grant recipients and profoundly impact their work. Voting will take place May 20 – June 3. Voting instructions will be emailed to all members. Our goal is for at least 80% of our membership to vote this year.

You must join by noon on May 19 in order to be eligible to vote for our 2021 grant recipients. If you are not a current member, join or renew today to be part of this amazing process!

In order to maintain the integrity of the grant selection process, please do not attempt to influence the vote of any other WUP member.