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 www.williamsburghealthfoundation.org/grants-center. Grants made in December are attached here.