James River Association

More than one-third of all Virginians rely on the James River and its tributaries for water, commerce and recreation. After generations of nurturing its people, the James River needs nurturing itself. More »

Sports Backers

The Sports Backers produce and support nationally recognized quality sporting events and programs that motivate locals and visitors alike to be more active. More »

Better Housing Coalition

AMAZING things happen when you revitalize a neighborhood. Crime and blight decrease, investment increases and community pride swells. The Better Housing Coalition, a non-profit community development corporation, transforms communities through high-quality, eco-friendly affordable housing. More »


June Focus Area Grants – Now Accepting Applications

We are now accepting proposal applications for June 2015 Focus Area grants.

The Robins Foundation has a strong interest in investing in programs that enrich the whole family (and whole neighborhoods) in order to alter intergenerational poverty in greater Richmond’s emerging neighborhoods.

Robins Foundation will support organizations and projects for children ages 0-18, and their parents/caregivers to ensure children are prepared for kindergarten, are engaged in school, thrive academically, and graduate on time with the necessary skills and opportunities for success.

To be eligible for consideration for the June 2015 Focus Area Grant cycle please be sure of the following:

1. Your proposal is in alignment with one of the Focus Areas: Strong Nonprofits, Thriving People or Dynamic Community as mentioned above.

2. You have met with a Program Officer to discuss your project PRIOR to submitting a grant application. To discuss your request, please contact:

Chris Chin – Director, Community Partnerships

Robert Dortch – Director, Community Innovation

3. Your proposal will improve the life of residents  within the Greater Richmond area. This includes:  the city of Richmond, the Tri-Cities, and the surrounding counties: Charles City, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico,   New Kent, Powhatan and Prince George.

4.  Your organization is NOT already under review for a grant.


For an inquiry regarding the submission process and/or registration with SmartSimple, our grants management system, please contact us by email: info@robinsfdn.org

Guidelines can be found on the “What We Fund” page.  A link to the SmartSimple login page is available on our website under “How to Apply”.

Application submissions are due by March 1.

Robins Foundation Awards Inaugural $500,000 Community Innovation Grant to Church Hill Activities and Tutoring (CHAT)


Funds will support The Young Entrepreneurs of Richmond Project

RICHMOND, Va., Dec. 4, 2014 – One of the largest – if not the largest – human services grants in Central Virginia has been awarded by the Robins Foundation to Church Hill Activities and Tutoring (CHAT) to support a pioneering program designed to increase job training, marketable skills and employment opportunities for youth in North Church Hill.

The inaugural Lora M. and E. Claiborne Robins, Sr. Community Innovation Grant, a new funding category created to spur collaboration and innovation within Richmond’s underserved communities, will provide $500,000 toward CHAT’s Young Entrepreneurs of Richmond Project, an innovative initiative that includes the purchase of Captain Buzzy’s Beanery as a community and entrepreneurial hub. The project also includes elements intended to enhance the mental and nutritional health of participating youth.

“With this new grant category, we challenged the human services community to think creatively and collaboratively and to dream dreams bigger than they could have imagined,” said Juliet Shield-Taylor, the Robins Foundation board member who chaired the selection committee. “More than 60 organizations responded with a range of impressive ideas, and after several rounds of evaluation, including a site visit and presentations to our board, CHAT’s Young Entrepreneurs Project rose to the top. We were impressed with CHAT’s creativity, passion and the potential for making a real difference in the lives of Church Hill’s youth, and we look forward to witnessing the transformation within that community.”

The Young Entrepreneurs of Richmond Project is a multifaceted initiative with a broad scope of elements. A key component involves the purchase of Captain Buzzy’s Beanery, whose space will be utilized for a variety of retail, training and other entrepreneurial activity. The acquisition will allow for the expansion of CHAT’s existing entrepreneur teams, which are currently involved in woodworking, urban farming and screen-printing. A second piece of the plan involves the development of a work-study program called Project First Job, a program designed to introduce participating youth to marketable job skills through paid positions with partner businesses. A third component focuses on addressing the mental and nutritional health needs of the community’s young people through education, evaluation and counseling.

In addition to funds to pay for the acquisition of the coffee shop, grant monies also will go toward the purchase of pickup trucks and a tractor to support the urban farming elements and two 14-passenger buses to transport students to small businesses as part of their entrepreneurial education. The grant also will support work stipends for participating youth as well as salaries for new staff positions.

“We couldn’t be more grateful to the Robins Foundation, not just for this grant but for creating this process that invited us to dream big and take risks for our community,” said Caitlin Barnes, communications and development director for CHAT. “It is particularly notable that CHAT students helped develop this dream, presented to the selection committee and were an integral part of helping leverage $500,000 for their community.”

The runner-up proposal was submitted by CodeVA to support a program called Building the Digital Dominion, an initiative that seeks to create greater digital literacy – or computer science literacy – among Virginia’s public school students.

For more information about the Robins Foundation, including other grant categories and deadlines, please visit the foundation’s website at www.RobinsFDN.org or the foundation’s Facebook page.

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