John Randolph Foundation issues $400K in grants to local orgs Including First Connections VA

HOPEWELL – Much of the work done by small nonprofits occurs behind the scenes, but at the John Randolph Foundation’s 41st Semi-Annual Grant Awards Ceremony held Jan. 19, those labors took center stage.

With 27 organizations applying for grant assistance in this cycle, the foundation celebrated what Grant Committee chairwoman Linda Ault called “an awesome response that we fully embrace.”


In total, the John Randolph Foundation handed out almost $400,000 in grants to 17 organizations. Funds went not only to well-established community groups such as the American Red Cross, but also to younger organizations such as Southside Transformation Opportunities for Residents and Youth (STORY).

Quoting former president John F. Kennedy statement that philanthropy is “truly a jewel of an American tradition,” John Randolph Foundation Director of Programs Kevin S. Foster asked the audience of dozens of community members and elected officials, “Where would our community be without giving?”

Certainly, the 17 grant recipients present would have been a little less flush. Among them, the largest grants went to Friends of the Lower Appomattox River ($50,000), Prince George County Parks and Recreation ($46,912) and Greater Richmond Fit4Kids ($45,000).

Emphasizing the John Randolph Foundation’s focus on health and education, 69.5 percent of the total $391,074 in grant awards went toward health programs, 19.2 percent went toward educational programs and 11.3 percent went toward quality of life initiatives.

Two programs – the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Central Virginia and First Connections VA – were spotlighted during the ceremony.

 NAMI-CVA, a grassroots organization founded in 1980, serves the estimated 23,000 people in the Tri-Cities region who suffer from mental illness.

“People living with mental illness need services, and they often aren’t available,” said past organization president Kathy Harkey. To fill that gap, NAMI-CVA works to provide support and information to individuals with mental illness and their families, advocate for the rights and care of those suffering from mental illness, reduce the stigma associated with such illness through public education and advance research of and resources related to mental illness.

“We hope that working together and bringing all those systems together will result in ready children,” said executive director Alison Noble.

The John Randolph Foundation was founded in 1991 as a supporting organization to the then-nonprofit John Randolph Medical Center. In 1995, after the sale of the hospital to the private Columbia/HCA corporation, the foundation became a standalone nonprofit with a $25 million endowment. Since then, it has given over $16 million in grants to organizations within the Tri-Cities area.

Sarah Vogelsong may be reached at or 804-722-5154.