In recent months, the Charlottesville community has experienced a series of terrorist acts and intimidation by white supremacists intended to instill fear and send a message of hatred and bigotry. These acts have deeply hurt, shocked and frightened many residents.
The Community Foundation has established the Heal Charlottesville Fund to support both immediate needs and longer-term reconciliation efforts. Heal Charlottesville Fund is currently in the "immediate assistance" phase directly assisting victims who are struggling to pay medical and monthly bills or who are uninsured and reluctant to seek care. The fund is also supporting affordable trauma counselling for those adversely affected by witnessing this summer’s events. Depending on the level of resources available, the Fund will also support some or all of the opportunities below:
1. Immediate Assistance and Stabilization
The Foundation will connect local mental health providers with residents seeking trauma counseling and mental health services, and will support victims of the car attack who may need assistance with medical expenses. Working with law enforcement and leaders of neighborhoods under threat of potential ongoing attacks, we will identify and support areas where additional crisis intervention would be helpful.
2. Acknowledgement, Community Dialogue and Reconciliation
It is critical that the community acknowledges and works to understand what has happened in Charlottesville, not only as it relates to this summer’s rallies, marches, and violent attacks, but also the larger picture of both historical and ongoing white supremacy and systemic and institutional racism in our own community.
We will engage with leading experts and facilitators who can design and guide our conversations to generate honest, two-way dialogue about challenging topics that results in empathy and deeper relationships among people holding different viewpoints. The voices of residents and community leaders, particularly those who have been historically disenfranchised and excluded, will be integral to this community dialogue.
3. Restoration and Healing
Through an authentic dialogue and reconciliation process, our community can identify actions or investments that will meaningfully acknowledge and ease the pain that many have suffered. We will work toward solutions that seek to achieve equitable outcomes and increased opportunities for disenfranchised and marginalized communities, including workforce programs, scholarships and other activities that begin to address disparities stemming from racism and bigotry.
We will make funds available for nonprofits and community organizations to undertake their own efforts to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion within their organizations. The fund is not currently accepting grant applications, but stay tuned for future opportunities to apply.
4. Fund Leadership and Decision-making
A committee of six to eight individuals will oversee the Fund and direct allocations to reconciliation activities and the resulting restoration and healing efforts. The committee will include experts in community reconciliation processes, individuals whose communities may have undergone similar processes, and authentic, local community leaders who are knowledgeable about what different constituencies need and want.
The broader community will receive communications about how work is evolving, who is involved and how people can engage. Additionally, regular progress reports will be provided to donors and key constituencies as the multi-year effort unfolds.