March 27, 2020 Update

Robins Foundations Launches the Family Crisis Fund

In service to our neighbors and in line with our founders’ values, we are doing everything we can to address the impact of the COVID-19 crisis for children, families and the larger community we are so proud to serve and call home.

This includes contributing to the Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund, and easing restrictions on grants from 2019 and in 2020, by allowing funds to be used for general operating expenses.

There is still one group in our community hit particularly hard by the current COVID-19 crisis and in need of immediate help in the form of direct financial assistance: families with children.

To address those needs, Robins Foundation today launched the Family Crisis Fund.

Robins has contributed $500,000, and many of our peer funders and individuals will also contribute. We hope to work with over 1,000 families.

Funds from this initiative will be disbursed to families soon as April 3rd, allowing for immediate and direct relief for families and immediate impact on the local economy while our neighborhoods and communities prepare for the federal stimulus and state unemployment benefits to be activated within in the next 30-45 days.

Every commitment makes a difference in addressing a pandemic of this magnitude. We are thankful for the strategic, adaptive and collaborative efforts between philanthropy, the nonprofit sector and our local government partners to contribute to relief efforts across Richmond and the Commonwealth through initiatives like this and the many others that have launched in response to the impact of COVID-19.

More information about the Family Crisis Fund, its benefits, our partners, and how families can access these funds, please stay tuned for updates, to be announced on Monday 30,2020. #VirginiaTogether

March 23, 2020 Update

Board approves $500,000 Contribution to The Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund

As the greater Richmond region works together taking unprecedented action to flatten the infection rate for COVID-19, many institutions, organizations, and businesses are adjusting their practices, or closing altogether. While this will help reduce or slow the spread of the virus it will also create challenges for our most vulnerable children and families. We continue to focus on how that will impact the children who attend area public schools, especially those who attend Richmond Public Schools.

The Robins Foundation board has approved a $500,000 contribution to The Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund – a regional emergency response fund that will support the immediate and ongoing needs of local nonprofit organizations as they respond to the implications of COVID-19 in our community. The fund was activated by The Community Foundation for a greater Richmond, in partnership with the Emergency Management Alliance of Central Virginia and PlanRVA.

The fund will be administered as a public/private partnership between philanthropy, local government, and the nonprofit sector. Seeded with a $500,000 contribution from the Community Foundation, the fund has quickly grown to $3 million (as of this posting) with additional contributions from Altria, Atlantic Union Bank, Bank of America, The Cabell Foundation, Capital One, CarMax Foundation, Dominion Energy, Genworth, Mary Morton Parsons Foundation, VCU Health System, Wells Fargo and several individual donors.

For more information about the fund, please CLICK HERE to read the full announcement released by the Community Foundation.

The board made other decisions as well.


Robins Foundation’s Spring/Summer Competitive grant cycle of 2020 to open on Friday, May 1, 2020.

In light of needs that have arisen from the COVID-19 pandemic, Robins Foundation is opening our grant cycle to proposals that respond to new needs within the education continuum.

Please note that approved grants from this cycle will not be deployed until September. For assistance with immediate needs related to COVID-19, please find information about the Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund, here.

Our competitive grants cycles are for organizations seeking funding for programs and projects that make the Richmond region the best place for children to learn, grow and thrive.

Grant applications will be available one month before the submission deadlines below.

2020 Submission Deadlines:

Monday, June 1 at 5:00 pm
for notification in September

For more information please visit HERE.

March 18, 2020 Update

We want to be as responsive to our community as possible during this time. As we continue to gain a greater understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on our region and what we as a Foundation can do to support our partners and neighbors, we will provide important updates frequently. We invite you to do the same.

Navigating a pandemic is unfamiliar territory for all of us, but what we’ve already seen come together is the leadership, innovation, and collaboration among community partners, grantees, colleagues and community members that we need in order to find effective solutions to the educational, social and economic issues that are coming to light each day.

We are thankful to be a partner in a community that is working, with fierce determination, to mitigate immediate harms facing our communities, while also looking ahead to the work we need to do to ensure more equitable and just solutions to these issues which predated the pandemic and left unchecked will continue in the future.

While our staff is working from home, we are together in spirit and resolve as we work together to respond to the multitude of questions, concerns, and suggestions we are receiving. We continue to plan with our community partners for the solutions needed for relief, recovery, and rebuilding of our community from what we anticipate will be far-reaching impacts of COVID-19.

To our grantee partners: we stand ready to work with you to support the community and your capacity to do it. We will be in touch as soon as we have confirmed our next steps. Until then please check out the opportunities for capacity and emergency funding via the Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund at the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond.

To our peers in philanthropy: we salute your ongoing efforts and remain committed to our work together.

Feel free to contact any of our staff by email and we will reply to you as soon as we are able.

And please click here for links to helpful COVID-19 resources, including up-to-date information from our area’s school systems.

Please take care of yourselves, and each other and we will do the same.

-The Board and Staff of Robins Foundation


March 13, 2020

With the latest developments related to COVID-19, the greater Richmond region is taking unprecedented action to flatten the infection rate. This means that many institutions, organizations, and businesses may be closed for an unforeseen amount of time. This is likely to reduce or slow the spread of the virus but will also create challenges for our most vulnerable children and families.

At the Robins Foundation, we are dedicated to upholding the values of our founders, Lora M. and E. Claiborne Robins, Sr. They were compassionate, empathetic and accessible leaders who valued integrity, ethical practices and generosity. As thoughtful philanthropists and visionaries, they used their wealth to improve the quality of life for residents of the Richmond community, especially the most vulnerable.

Areas of Impact

Given the emerging regional approach to COVID-19, and the newly declared State of Emergency in Virginia there is increasing conversation about how to mitigate the economic impact on companies and workers. There is however one group being hit hard by this crisis which needs direct and immediate help: families with children. We are anticipating the region’s schools moving to virtual (remote) learning. We are focusing on how that will impact the children who attend area public schools, especially those who attend Richmond Public Schools.

We believe there are several inter-related areas of potential action that require swift collaboration and equitable solutions to support all children and families and ensure they continue to thrive:

  • Education – The change in educational format and access to resources (such as a laptop, broadband internet) can put academic progress at risk
  • Childcare – Many families rely on schools and afterschool programs to provide safe environments for their children while they work
  • Transportation, Sick Pay and Lost Wages – Parents may not be able to work due to lack of childcare, businesses closing, transportation not being available, or more widespread containment measures such as quarantine
  • Food security – A significant number of students receive two free meals daily at school
  • Healthcare – Maintaining or increasing access to medication, urgent and primary care, and even basic supplies that can help fight the spread of infection, are dependent on being able to maintain employment

The Community Response

Together with our philanthropic partners, we will continue to learn more about the emerging needs of our community and do our best to respond as quickly as possible.

We are also determining the necessary steps to develop a common fund all partners can contribute to in order to deploy financial resources quickly into the community as needed.

We ask members of the greater Richmond community to consider taking one of the following actions:

  • Contact local school districts or youth organizations directly to see how you can be helpful in this time of need
  • Identify ways in which your organization or company can help address these unforeseen needs of children and families
  • Contact us if you’d like to contribute to the common fund once up and operating

We will continue to be in close contact with our key philanthropic and nonprofit partners, and share more updates to our progress, as we have them.