On December 5, 2022, the Board of Trustees of the Williamsburg Health Foundation (WHF) approved 13 grants worth nearly $700,000 for local organizations that improve the health of the Greater Williamsburg community. “These recent grants raise the total of grants awarded by the Foundation over the past 25 years to over 100 million dollars,” said Carol L. Sale, President & CEO of WHF.
“This is an important milestone for the community,” said Sale. “It represents careful stewardship by current and past trustees and staff to make sure this community asset grows while distributing critical funds to improve the health of our community.”
In this latest round of grants, the emphasis has been on children’s mental health. “In our community, our commonwealth, and our nation, there is a mental health crisis, especially a children’s mental health crisis,” said Allison Brody, director of community engagement. “This made our program team take a hard look at ways to help more young people.”
“One thing we do is to try to disrupt the cycle of family violence which traumatizes children,” said Brody, referencing a grant to the Center for Child and Family Services. “We granted money to support Bacon Street Youth and Family Services to provide individual and family counseling services to clients experiencing mental health and substance use issues.”
WHF increased its support of Postpartum Support Virginia and its program Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies which it provides in partnership with Child Development Resources and their Motherhood program.
The Foundation also continues to support community understanding of trauma and its many lifelong repercussions through the
Greater Williamsburg Trauma Informed Community Network, or TICN, which is administered by United Way.
“We are also helping children mental health in the simplest way of all – getting children out to play,” said Sale. In the past few years, WHF has given small grants of $20,000 to Virginia Legacy Soccer to provide soccer to the community in various ways, including, most recently, offering it free of charge through the James City County Department of Recreation. Participation in the soccer program has exploded. It has gone from a couple hundred participants to over 700 in the last season.
Virginia Legacy Soccer Club estimates that 1,000 children will participate in the recreational soccer league each soccer season, and it just received $80,000 to support their play, “So much of what makes a child healthy emotionally and physically is having the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities. Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, so we see a diverse group of children taking advantage of this opportunity,” said Brody.