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 »


Lessons learned from CIG top 5 finalist: Groundwork RVA

Founded just two short years ago, GroundWork RVA is a nonprofit organization looking to transform the physical environment and community spirit within Richmond’s emerging neighborhoods.The organization uses community gardens, parks, trails and greenways to beautify neighborhoods and cultivate young conservation leaders. group2Last year, GroundWork RVA was one of the top five finalists for our inaugural Community Innovation Grant with their 1st Generation Initiative, which hopes to make this generation the last generation of poverty and the first that will be self-sufficient.

The 1st Generation Initiative focuses on two goals:

  1. Establishing activities for children
  2. Creating wealth building opportunities for residents of all generations that promote health, enhance quality of life and increase financial stability

GroundWork’s application stuck in our minds because of their innovative and collaborative partnerships with Kinfolk and Renew Richmond. Together we felt that these organizations could create real transformative change in the North Church Hill area, Mosby to be exact.


5 pieces of Advice from Giles Harnsberger, Executive Director of GroundWork RVA

  1. Consider how many “moving parts” you really want to introduce in your Robins Foundation Innovation Grant proposal. Keep it focused!
  2. Try as hard as you can to fully develop your project or program components. This is a critical element in order to make it to any of the interview stages with Robins Foundation staff and board members.
  3. Have your board engaged, because they can really help you develop ideas along the way, and help hone your CIG pitch.
  4. Do the prep work for the different types of presentations – for the various rounds in the application process – on the front end, so that you will be ready to present before RF staff, on site, and with the RF Board.
  5. Create a CIG proposal team to support you in writing your proposal, creating a proposal budget, and assessment matrix. It will bog you down if you try to do it alone!

If you have an innovative project serving children in emerging Richmond neighborhoods, learn more about what we’re looking for or start your application today, the deadline for applicants is September 1 at 5:00 p.m.

How to become our next Community Innovation Grant winner

In RVA, two out of every five children are born into poverty. It’s a staggering statistic and one of the key drivers behind why we launched our Community Innovation Grant (CIG) last year.
what if

We’re looking for something bold and risky. At its core, this grant opportunity forces applications to answer the question, what if? What if we had $500,000 to transform the community? What project could we bring to life? How can and will my organization make a seismic difference in the neighborhoods we serve?

CIG focuses on projects or ideas that are innovative and collaborative, address an unmet need, support an emerging neighborhood and have a high potential for impact on children ages 0-18.

Beyond just a great project or idea we’re also looking for what we call the “Fab 5”:

  1. Governance – Has your board bought into the idea? How involved and excited are they?
  2. Management – Who are the key players that are going to make this project real?
  3. Program – What is your BIG idea? Does it address social and economic issues facing our communities?
  4. Relationships – Who are your collaborative partners? How do they add to the value of the project or program?
  5. Finance – How will the $500,000 be allocated over the next one to three years?

At the end of this process, an organization in our community will be granted half a million dollars and other wraparound series like additional training and professional development. If you have a great answer to “What if I had $500,000 to transform the community?” we want you to apply. Applications are open from August 1 to September 1 at 5:00 p.m.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email info@robinsfdn.org. And to begin the application process now, click here.