Nonprofits working to advance affordable housing in the Charlottesville area received thousands of dollars in grants on the opening night of the Tom Tom Founders Festival.
Monday’s Grant Night event at Three Notch’d Brewing Co. was organized by Cville Gives, a philanthropic networking club of young professionals. Cville Gives pools its membership dues to make an annual grant to a local nonprofit. This year, the minimum annual contribution was $200 for individuals and $350 for couples.
Cville Gives awarded a $10,000 grant to Charlottesville Abundant Life Ministries, which will go toward the organization’s IDA Financial Literacy Program. The program prepares participants for their first home purchase with financial literacy courses and provides matching funds for money they save for a down payment on a home.
Treatrous Jackson, IDA program assistant for Abundant Life, said she went through the program herself when she moved to Charlottesville’s Prospect neighborhood two decades ago.
“You cannot determine your future if you don’t know what your financial worth is,” Jackson said. “Charlottesville does have a lack of affordable housing. It is much more cost effective for people to purchase than to rent, because rents go up every year.”
Cville Gives chose four other nonprofits as finalists for the grant, and those groups received donations from members of the audience on Monday.
The Albemarle Housing Improvement Program will use its funding from Cville Gives to complete emergency home repairs for low-wealth residents. AHIP helps to pay for the installation and repair of handicap access ramps, heating systems, roofs and other projects that are critical to ensuring the safety of residents in their homes.
“We believe no one should come home to or wake up in a house that fails them,” said AHIP’s executive director, Jennifer Jacobs. “This work is not complicated. Something is broken, and we fix it. Something is not there, and we put it there.”
Donations to The Haven will go toward its Housing2Home program, a partnership with the New City Arts Initiative that gives recently homeless clients free homemaking sessions for their apartments and bedrooms.
Housing2Home was launched in 2015 with a non-renewable grant of $200,000 from ArtPlace America. Local artists and businesses have helped participants find furniture, appliances and artwork that meet their needs and makes them feel more comfortable in their new home.
International Neighbors will use donations to provide home appliances, clothing and furniture to refugee families in Charlottesville through its Brighter Beginnings program.
Kari Miller, founder and executive director of International Neighbors, said her organization is focused on helping refugees continue to rebuild their lives after the initial resettlement process.
“Charlottesville is awesome. But for these neighbors it is difficult to survive and thrive here,” Miller said. “They are in pursuit of the American Dream, but they run into obstacles — some that we all might face, and some that are unique to their situation.”
The Piedmont Housing Alliance will use donations to send young residents of Friendship Court to the KidsCollege summer program at Piedmont Virginia Community College.
PHA is working to get input from every resident of Friendship Court as it prepares to redevelop the subsidized housing community without displacing any residents. Construction is set to begin in 2020.
“We need to be providing as many opportunities for kids on site, here and now,” said Sunshine Mathon, executive director of PHA.
Last year, Cville Gives awarded $10,000 to City of Promise, an organization promoting academic success, personal development and health among young people in Charlottesville’s Westhaven, 10th and Page and Starr Hill neighborhoods.
The 2017 grant night celebration raised about $15,000 in additional grant funding from audience donations and matching contributions from Posner Wealth Management, which was distributed to five other youth-serving nonprofits.
Cville Gives hosts representatives from local nonprofits at happy hour events throughout the year. Members vote to determine the theme of their annual grant and to choose the winner.
Maggie Thornton, incoming president of Cville Gives, said affordable housing was a fitting theme for 2018, a year in which Charlottesville residents have brought attention to inequity and historical injustices in the wake of a white supremacist rally last summer.
“We got applications from 16 nonprofits doing amazing work in Charlottesville,” Thornton said.