Local Priorities: Charlottesville, Virginia
The Foundation invests in the growth of social and community capital in Central Virginia by supporting the under resourced through a variety of nonprofit programs. Through various charitable vehicles, the Foundation supports innovative efforts to advance systemic change as well as organizations that provide direct services to address urgent needs.
The Charlottesville City School District’s Walk Program was founded in 2008 with a simple goal: to help struggling high school students earn credits needed for graduation. Today, the program does this and much more. Students may be referred to Walk if they are failing one or more classes, are in danger of dropping out, are recent transfers who need to meet Virginia requirements, have health or trauma-related issues that cannot be managed in a traditional classroom, or require an alternative setting, with its attendant support, in order to be successful in school.
Walk personnel are focused not just on their students’ education, but also on gaining trust and establishing relationships. In addition to providing academic support and counseling assistance, Walk instructors take a holistic approach with their students, assisting them in managing their lives at school, at home, and in the community. Following graduation, Walk continues to serve many former students who need additional support and mentoring.
In Charlottesville and Albemarle, over 5,600 families, or 17 percent, do not make enough money to pay for the essentials of life—food, shelter, clothing, and utilities and the added costs associated with working— childcare and transportation.
PVCC’s Division of Community Self-Sufficiency (CSS) Programs serves these families by connecting them with local employers seeking quality employees for jobs that pay $25,000 or more.
Once they know employers’ needs, PVCC uses neighborhood-based people, known as peers, to identify individuals fit for the job. Neighborhood-based peers are individuals who are well connected and well respected in their communities.
Once the peer network identifies a good match for an available job, Charlottesville Works creates a pathway that identifies the resources the individual needs to secure the job. Charlottesville Works developed a web-based app, N2Work, to coordinate supports with local agencies and nonprofits, such as:
- Work skills (literacy, workplace readiness, or technical)
- Life management (childcare, transportation, stable shelter, or apparel)
- Health (physical, mental, or substance abuse recovery)
Once a job-seeker completes the pathway charted for them, a third-party conducts an “exit interview” as a quality assurance measure to ensure the individual has the skills and resources they need to excel at the job.