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The Williamsburg Community Health Foundation is a private, non-profit organization working to improve the health of citizens in Williamsburg, York County, James City County and surrounding areas. It focuses on serving medically underserved or uninsured populations.
It was created in September 1996 through an agreement between Williamsburg Community Hospital and Sentara Healthcare. Since then it has provided more than $44 million in grants to non-profit agencies, which range from primary care clinics to behavioral services to housing for seniors. Programs with a high likelihood of sustainability are given priority.
WCHF serves as the steward of an endowment of approximately $115 million. The funds are invested by professional advisors in a combination of instruments designed to produce an annual return of five percent (after accounting for inflation). At this time, the foundation does not receive contributions from individuals, corporations or government entities, though it does encourage support for community health organizations.
The Foundation's work falls into two main categories:
Foundation-Directed Grants. WCHF currently supports four initiatives designed to pro-actively address areas with potential for long-term benefit to the region.
- The School Health Initiative Program (SHIP), an ongoing partnership with Williamsburg-James City County Schools that fosters a culture of wellness in schools and throughout the community
- The Chronic Care Collaborative, whose member clinics provide exceptional healthcare for the uninsured and underinsured through over 1,300 patient visits each month
- The Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative, which supports the professionals and agencies that provide behavioral health services to children, adolescents, and their families
- The Greater Williamsburg Medication Access Program (GWMAP), which helps uninsured and underinsured residents obtain the prescription medications they need.
Responsive Grants. Twice each year the Foundation accepts letters of intent from area non-profit organizations. Programs with potential to be funded are invited to support formal proposals for review. In 2010 the Foundation awarded competitive grants to 13 organizations.
In 2010, WCHF’s endowment was the fourth largest among the 13 “conversion” health foundations in Virginia. These foundations were created as a result of not-for-profit hospitals converting to for-profit status. Conversion health foundations now serve about 32% of the state’s population. The 11 foundations reporting to the General Assembly in 2010 listed endowments totaling $854 million.