Williamsburg Health Foundation Reaches 25 Years of Grantmaking and Learning

On Monday, December 6, 2021, the Board of Trustees of the Williamsburg Health Foundation (WHF) approved $876,000 in grants to 14 organizations for 16 programs to improve the health of the Greater Williamsburg community.

Since it was established in 1996, the Williamsburg Health Foundation has provided $94 million dollars in grants to the community and grown its overall worth to 151 million dollars. “The foundation staff and trustees are proud to serve our community and to continue its legacy of improving community health,” said Carol L. Sale, WHF President and CEO.

“Understanding of what it means to be a community that fosters the health of its residents has evolved over the past 25 years, and we have evolved with it,” said Sale. “Our grants illustrate that fostering health goes beyond providing healthcare, and physical health is not all that is required for well-being.”

Pointing out that Williamsburg is a place with a volunteer spirit and significant cooperation among sectors, Sale adds, “Our trustees want to know that we are not applying band-aids. Community collaboration is a powerful vehicle for change, and our grants can provide the fuel necessary for that change.”

Sale cites a new grant requested by James City County on behalf of the City of Williamsburg, York County, and James City County for a program to assist those individuals serving as legal guardians for residents no longer able to care for themselves. “Guardianship is most often a voluntary role, and it can be a hard one. The social service departments of the localities will work together to increase the number of available legal guardians and provide them the tools they need to be the best guardians they can,” Sale explains.

The localities sought support for a pilot project that will serve legal guardians so they, in turn, could better serve those under their guardianship. “This is an untraditional way is to improve the health of adults. We believe if we fuel improvements in the role of legal guardians, we can help older adults now and in the future.”

“Nothing has better proven how deeply connected we all are than COVID-19. Individual and community health is a web of so many interconnected parts, which is why our funds go to a wide variety of agencies and work,” said Sale. All WHF’s grants advance one or more of WHF’s strategic goals. The first goal is to advance organizations, systems, and public policy crucial to community health and well-being. The second goal is to target behavioral and social risk factors that influence the health of individuals throughout the life span. The third goal is to strengthen the healthcare safety-net for uninsured and underinsured individuals.

Being a grant maker in this community is an honor and a challenge. We see many more needs than we can meet. “Our job is to be as strategic as possible. Sometimes that means we support existing programs and sometimes that means helping new efforts.”

WHF has a vision of “individuals making healthy choices with health opportunity for all.” For information on grants from the Williamsburg Health Foundation, including how to apply for a grant, visit click here.. Grants made in December are listed below.

Community Capacity Building
NetworkPeninsula Nonprofit Management Institute (NMI) $22,500
United Way of the Virginia Peninsula Greater Williamsburg Trauma Informed Community Network (GWTICN) $22,500
Organizational Capacity Building
One Child Center for Autism One Child Capacity Building $10,000
Healthy Eating Active Living
The Arc of Greater Williamsburg Fitness Program $35,000
One Child Center for Autism Kids’ Night $4,000
Virginia Peninsula Foodbank Mobile Food Pantry: Fresh Produce Program $35,000
Williamsburg House of Mercy, Inc. Food Project $6,000
Healthy Aging
James City County Greater Williamsburg Guardianship Navigator $73,000
Peninsula Agency on Aging PAA Rides Program $120,000
Peninsula Agency on Aging Nutritious Noontime Meals $65,000
Williamsburg Area Faith in Action In-Home Support Services $30,000
Advanced Primary Care
Olde Towne Medical & Dental Center Support for Clinic Operations $225,000
Behavioral Health Services
Center for Child and Family Services, Inc. The Reboot Program $103,000
College of William & Mary, New Horizons Family Counseling Center Youth and Family Counseling Program $95,000
Postpartum Support Virginia, Inc. Healthy Perinatal People, Healthy Babies $15,000
The Doorways Support for Operations $15,000

Local Nonprofits Receive Over 1M in Services

“We give organizations a variety of resources to improve their operations,” said Carol L. Sale, President and CEO of WHF. Over the past two and half years, WHF has helped nonprofits by sponsoring membership in Catchafire.

“In our first two years with Catchafire, the nonprofit organizations we sponsored received over one million dollars’ worth of completed projects or consultations from skilled professionals,” said Sale.

What is Catchafire? Catchafire is a web platform where nonprofits can find, interview, and select skilled volunteers to do what they need done. Catchafire.org states, “We’re on a mission to mobilize the world’s talent for good.”

  • United Way of the Virginia Peninsula has completed seven projects worth nearly $26,000 on Catchafire. Chief Operating Officer, Charvalla West, writes, “Catchafire provides access to high-level executive professionals willing to share their skills and expertise. In addition to quality products . . . the knowledge that staff gain during these projects in invaluable and further builds our agency’s capacity.”


    Charvalla West,
    COO of United Way of the Virginia Peninsula
  • Natasha House, which serves homeless, female-headed households, has done 17 projects and calls worth over $50,000 on Catchafire. In September 2021 alone, Natasha House completed three projects: an infographic, a donor letter, and graphic design for a long-term impact report.


    Karen Brown,
    Executive Director of Natasha House

Projects on Catchafire are carefully scoped so everyone knows what to expect on timing and deliverables. Catchafire even helps nonprofits and volunteers match up their schedules and reach each other.

  • Another star performer on Catchafire is FREE Foundation For Rehabilitation Equipment & Endowment whose website was done by a volunteer from Catchafire. FREE has done 10 projects and calls worth $67,000. “They’ve actually done much more than shows up in their records,” said Sale. “One of those projects is a long-term, long-haul project of creating an inventory system with client and donor integration. They have a great consultant.”


Robin Ramsey,
Executive Director of Foundation for Rehabilitation Equipment and Endowment

“While we love to see numbers like this,” said Sale. “The stories we hear from nonprofits are what compels us to continue this work. Executive Directors just keep telling us that they cannot believe they got translation services, an employee handbook, or HR consultations at no cost.”

“I think the most productive consulting phone calls usually have to do with organizational strategy or HR questions,” said Allison Brody, Director of Community Engagement at the Williamsburg Health Foundation. “Most nonprofits cannot afford an in-house expert on retirement plans or COVID-19 policies. Catchafire has HR experts from Fortune 500 companies who would love to volunteer.”

“It used to be that nonprofits could only get volunteers based on who they knew in their immediate geographic area. Now, there is an equitable world-wide marketplace for all volunteers regardless of a nonprofit’s size, age, or mission. Catchafire.org is truly revolutionary.” said Brody.

Not every nonprofit agency can be a member of the Catchafire program. The Catchafire business model is to have foundations like WHF purchase memberships for nonprofit agencies. WHF and the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters Foundation (BFSF) have created a shared site – Virginia Peninsula Catchafire. Currently WHF supports 56 health and human service agencies that serve Williamsburg, James City County, and York County; BFSF sponsors 50 agencies that fit its mission and service area.

Sale said, “One day, we would love to see a world in which all nonprofits have access to Catchafire.org. For now, we hope that all those who currently have it are thinking about everything they need to do and asking themselves, ‘Can we Catchafire that?’”

For more information on the Williamsburg Health Foundation visit the website at www.williamsburghealthfoundation.org.

Williamsburg Health Foundation Presents Its Annual Awards

Each October the Williamsburg Health Foundation (WHF) presents its annual awards to highlight someone or some organization that helps to make Greater Williamsburg a healthier community. WHF has presented awards in the Fall each year since 1999. “On the one hand this year is no different than years past. On the other hand, this year is completely different,” said Glenda Turner, WHF Board Member and Chair of the Annual Awards Committee.

This year’s annual awards are no different than years past because there are honorees that promote the health of the community and there is a video about those honorees. For 2021, the annual awards are presented to James City County’s Emergency Management Department; The City of Williamsburg’s Office of Emergency Management Team; and York County’s Office of Emergency Management. “We honor their innovation and collaboration in response to the pandemic,” said Turner. Each department has received a letter of commendation, an etched-glass award, and $5,000.”

“The Williamsburg Health Foundation believes unequivocally that the emergency management efforts of the City of Williamsburg, James City County, and York County saved lives and prevented illness and immense suffering by lowering the number of cases of COVID-19 through their vaccination efforts,” said President and CEO, Carol L. Sale, RN, MSN.

This year’s awards completely depart from award presentations in the past because this year’s WHF’s annual awards will not happen at a breakfast at a local venue. Instead, the event will happen solely on YouTube.

In another departure from its traditions, WHF this year produced more than one video for the event. WHF created five other “shorts,” short videos under two minutes, about lasting innovations from the pandemic that apply to education, local government, healthcare, recreation, and food service for both for-profit and nonprofit organizations.

In all the videos, WHF focused on “lasting innovations” that will continue “beyond the pandemic.” “We want to highlight not only what happened, but to look forward and highlight what will continue to happen, what changes will stick around,” said Sale.

“It’s completely different for us to have our Annual Awards be 100% virtual and to premiere on YouTube,” said Turner. “

To view the individual videos and the entire awards program described above, visit youtube.com/user/WburgCommunityHealth.

Williamsburg Health Foundation Announces New Application Requirement for 2022 Grants

On September 9, 2021, the Williamsburg Health Foundation informed current grantees of a new requirement for grant applications starting in 2022.  With exceptions for new or discretionary grants as well as government agencies, grantees must obtain the Platinum Seal of Transparency at GuideStar by Candid, a national database of all IRS-registered 501(c)3 organizations.

WHF President and CEO, Carol L. Sale says, “WHF strives to have fair, consistent, and high standards for grantees.  At the same time, we do not want to impose overly burdensome standards or standards which must be met solely for WHF. We believe that Platinum Seal is a relevant standard for all.” The standard also comes with multiple benefits for organizations that meet it.

According to GuideStar research, “Nonprofits that earned a GuideStar Seal averaged 53% more in contributions the following year than organizations with no Seal. The research also found organizations that elect to be more transparent had stronger performance across a range of governance, financial, and operational dimensions.”

GuideStar’s data is the backbone of the donation portion of websites like AmazonSmile, Facebook, and Network for Good. GuideStar has found that non-profit profiles with Gold or Platinum Seals also get twice the views as other profiles.  “GuideStar enhances fund development opportunities,” said Sale. “It will also simplify the application process for our grants.”

With this Seal, applicants will no longer need to attach as many documents (such as the Form 990 or an IRS Letter of Determination) to complete a WHF Letter of Intent (LOI) or grant application.  Once information is at GuideStar, Program Officers will find organizational information there.

WHF has obtained Platinum status at GuideStar. We found that completing the application was not overly burdensome, and the process made us ask ourselves some important questions,” said Sale.

WHF provides flexible capacity-building opportunities to health and human service agencies that serve the Greater Williamsburg community.  Catchafire.org allows organizations to speak with consultants and accomplish projects on their own timeframe. As the experts are volunteers, the meter is never running.   WHF partners with NetworkPeninsula to provide tuition reimbursement for  staff or board members at the Nonprofit Management Institute.   “We want organizations to focus on their growth as their leaders direct,” said Sale. “At the same time, we need to be sure we have consistent standards for all.” For questions or additional information, write info@williamsburghealthfoundation.org

New Grants for a New Plan: 22 Grants worth 3.5M

On Monday, June 7, 2021, the Board of Trustees of the Williamsburg Health Foundation (WHF) met and approved 22 grants worth nearly 3.5 million dollars.  “This is the first year of implementation of a new strategic plan. We are excited to see not only the plan in action but also funded programs returning to their pre-COVID, in-person work again,” said Carol L. Sale, WHF President and CEO.

            Under the strategic goal to “Target behavioral and social risk factors that influence the health of individuals throughout the life span,” WHF invested more than 1.5M dollars.  WHF’s largest program continues to be SHIP, the School Health Initiative Program. Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools partner with WHF, teachers, students, parents, and other community partners to build life-long, healthy habits in schools. Activities led by SHIP in the schools encourage healthy eating and active living.  Examples include after-school “challenge” clubs like running, cooking, and soccer; “try days” in cafeterias to sample local farm produce; teaching nutrition education; and movement in the classroom.  An investment since 2005, SHIP has become a model for school programs through the Commonwealth.

            “While we greatly value our partnership with the schools to reach the majority of students in WJCC Schools during their time in school, we know that home is the most critical place for child development and early childhood is the most critical moment in that development,” said Sale.  For that reason, WHF also focuses on “Two Generation Services” which promotes family well-being by intentionally and simultaneously working with children and the adults in their lives. Grants in this area include unrestricted support for Child Development Resources and program-specific funding of the Child Health Initiatives in the City of Williamsburg and James City County.

            At the other end of the lifespan, the Foundation supports healthy aging. Grants to local agencies will support medical transportation for older adults and Williamsburg’s Aging and Disability Resource Center.

            The largest portion of grants for the this first wave of foundation grants goes to the strategic goal “Strengthen the healthcare safety-net for uninsured and underinsured individuals.” This goal encompasses the following three areas: advanced primary care, behavioral health services, and medication access. “We made grants in each of these areas,” said Sale. “Problems like accessing prescription medication continue to challenge individuals who are uninsured or underinsured.”

            The third of the three strategic goals is, “Advance organizations, systems, and public policy crucial to community health and well-being.” While there is one grant in this category for the Greater Williamsburg HEARTSafe Alliance, Sale says, “Our work in this area is ongoing and most often involves more holistic approaches than individual grants.”

Grants for June 2021

Bacon Street Youth and Family Services The Bridges Project $18,000.00
Center for Child and Family Services, Inc. Multicultural Counseling and Outreach Program $70,000.00
Child Development Resources Basic Operating Support $200,000.00
City of Williamsburg Child Health Initiative $265,000.00
Colonial Behavioral Health Chronic Care Collaborative $170,000.00
Colonial Behavioral Health Greater Williamsburg Child Assessment Center $271,000.00
Colonial Behavioral Health Intensive Outpatient Program $50,000.00
Colonial Behavioral Health Greater Williamsburg Network of Care (NOC) $30,000.00
Community Housing Partners Mobile Food Pantry $5,000.00
F.R.E.E. Foundation For Rehabilitation
Equipment & Endowment
F.R.E.E. of Williamsburg $26,000.00
Gloucester Mathews Care Clinic Chronic Care Collaborative $300,000.00
Greater Williamsburg Heartsafe Alliance Greater Williamsburg HEARTSafe Alliance $10,000.00
Honoring Choices Virginia Educating Advocates for Advance Care Planning $15,000.00
James City County Child Health Initiative $265,000.00
Lackey Clinic Chronic Care Collaborative $520,000.00
Literacy for Life at the Rita Welsh Adult Learning Center HEAL Program in Williamsburg $40,000.00
Olde Towne Medical & Dental Center Chronic Care Collaborative  $355,000.00
Peninsula Agency on Aging Greater Williamsburg Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) $80,000.00
Rx Partnership Basic Operating Support $60,000.00
Virginia Health Care Foundation Greater Williamsburg Medication Access Program $47,000.00
Williamsburg Area Faith in Action Medical Transportation $25,000.00
Williamsburg-James City County
Public School Division
SHIP – School Health Initiative Program $670,000.00
Total $3,492,000.00

            The Williamsburg Health Foundation was founded in 1996 with proceeds from the partnership between Sentara Healthcare and the former Williamsburg Community Hospital. The foundation has awarded approximately 94 million in grants to date. The foundation has a vision of “individuals making healthy choices with health opportunity for all.”  For information on grants from the Williamsburg Health Foundation, including how to apply for a grant, visit www.williamsburghealthfoundation.org.