Announcing Twelve New Grants

Grants  •  News

Bolivian dancers, Columbia Pike Festival,
Arlington, Virginia.
Bolivian dancers, Columbia Pike Festival, Arlington, Virginia. PHOTO BY LLOYD WOLF.

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (VFH) announces $65,200 in recent grants to twelve nonprofit organizations in support of public humanities programs for audiences throughout the Commonwealth and beyond.

The VFH Grant Program responds directly to the interests and concerns of local communities in Virginia, as well as to the needs of the educational organizations that serve them. Since 1974, VFH has awarded more than 3,500 grants, bringing scholars and citizens together to promote a greater understanding of the humanities.

VFH grant projects reach an estimated annual audience of 1.5 million, with an average 4:1 dollar match. Matthew Gibson, VFH executive director, comments: “Virginia Foundation for the Humanities’ work has touched every city, county, and district across the state and beyond. Our grants are often the initial source of funding, helping ambitious projects find a foothold and supporting small organizations that encourage connections and discoveries at the most local level.”

As a result of VFH grant funding, exhibits, public forums and discussions, media programs (film, video, radio, and digital media), publications, research, teachers’ institutes and seminars, oral history projects, lectures and conferences, and other kinds of programs have harnessed the power of the humanities to address important issues and enrich the cultural life of the state.

The following organizations received grants from VFH in June 2017

1882 Foundation (Fairfax): $7,000—A series of film screenings and discussion programs on the history of Asian Americans, particularly Chinese Americans, in Virginia and the United States.

Americas Media Initiative (Arlington): $2,700—A multi-media documentary on the lives of Bolivian immigrants from the Valle Alto region of Bolivia now living in Northern Virginia; and on the complex connections between immigrant communities and their place(s) of origin.

Center for Community and Family Development (Onley): $7,000—A project to catalog, digitize and make available to public audiences and researchers a large collection of documents related to the history of African American life on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, the result of 30 years of research by one of Virginia’s leading community historians.

Eastern Shore Training and Consulting, Inc. (ESTACI) (Exmore): $3,000—Planning for a new “African American History Tour” of sites on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, with an initial focus on the story of Outlaw’s Blacksmith Shop in Onancock.

Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Museum (Wytheville): $5,000—An exhibit and related public programs focusing on the life, leadership, and historic contributions of Wytheville native and former First Lady of the U.S. Edith Bolling Wilson.

Field Studio (Richmond): $7,500—Production of a documentary film on John Dabney, a legendary chef and caterer who worked at the highest levels of Richmond society and began building his skills and reputation while he was still enslaved.

Red Dirt Productions (North Garden): $7,500—Research, script development, and pre-production of key Virginia stories to be included as part of a feature-length documentary film exploring the intersection of Native, African, and European food traditions in the American South.

Jefferson School African American Heritage Center (Charlottesville): $7,500—A series of sixteen filmed interviews exploring the personal impact and experience of race and racism among long-time residents of Charlottesville.

Old Church Gallery, Ltd. (Floyd): $5,000—A multi-faceted project to promote and facilitate public access to a trove of oral history interviews and primary documents – the result of a nine-year effort to collect the stories of Floyd County residents who came of age during the Great Depression and World War II.

Richmond Jazz Society (Richmond): $5,000—An interpretive exhibit on the early years of Jazz in Virginia (1900 – 1949), with an emphasis on the musical culture of the Richmond area during this period.

Virginia Symphony Orchestra (Norfolk): $4,000—A public discussion and print publication on the history and musical traditions of the African American Spiritual, presented in conjunction with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra’s “Songs of Freedom” concert.

William King Museum of Art (Abingdon): $4,000—Production of a documentary film on the late 18th and 19th century material culture and decorative arts of southwestern Virginia and Northeastern Tennessee, designed to complement a permanent exhibit at the new Betsy K. White Cultural Heritage Gallery.

About VFH Grants

The Open Grant Program welcomes proposals on a wide range of subjects, for projects in any format, with awards up to $10,000. Deadlines are April 15th and October 15th. Draft proposals are strongly encouraged. The Discretionary Grant Program provides smaller grants of up to $3,000. There is no deadline for this program, but applicants should contact VFH staff in advance before submitting a proposal. For more information, visit

About VFH

The mission of Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (VFH) is to connect people and ideas to explore the human experience and inspire cultural engagement. VFH reaches an estimated annual audience of 23 million through community programs, websites and digital initiatives, grants and fellowships, radio programs and podcasts, the Virginia Folklife Program, and the Virginia Center for the Book. To learn more, visit