Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation Grants

OVERVIEW: This funder supports collaborative grants in the field of education, health and community engagement/community building. It also funds basic needs and arts & culture causes, however, all funding is limited to the six-county region of the Greater Kanawha Valley.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, Health, Civic Engagement & Community Building, Basic Needs, Arts and Culture

IP TAKE: It’s a good idea to discuss your idea with a program officer well before submitting an application. Education and health grants tend to be the largest with this funder, but it’s broad funding categories leave a lot of opportunities for local groups.

PROFILE: The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation (TGKVF) was established in 1962 by residents of the Greater Kanawha Valley area of West Virginia. It limits grantmaking to the following six counties in the state: Kanawha, Putnam, Boone, Clay, Lincoln and Fayette. This is the largest community foundation in the state of West Virginia and an excellent grantmaker to know for nonprofits in the region.

TGKVF has two discretionary grantmaking tracks: (1) proactive collaborative grants in education, health and civic engagement/community building and (2) responsive grants for basic needs and arts and culture. Only nonprofits that serve these six counties are eligible for foundation grants.

The foundation’s education program encompasses building opportunities for early childhood through post-secondary education. TGKVF funds programs that increase access to out-of-school tutoring and mentoring and that get families involved in child development. It also supports efforts for post-secondary guidance and career advisory to train students for jobs.

TGKVF’s health program is all about connecting communities to healthy recreation and expanding locally-grown healthy foods. One health initiative is called Local Foods Value Chain, which brings locally-grown produce and herbs into the kitchens of the Charleston Area Medical Center. Other health grants go to expanding public green space and promoting preventative, behavioral, and dental healthcare in underserved communities.

The foundation awards civic engagement and community grants to groups working to increase equality, diversity and inclusiveness in West Virginia. Through this grantmaking program, it also awards early childhood and youth program grants, as well as matters related to voting and civic participation.

Meanwhile, responsive grants are made to basic needs and arts and culture projects in the valley. Basic needs grants typically go towards food, shelter and clothing--particularly to organizations that show potential for expanding their impact and take a long-term view. Arts and culture grants are awarded to groups that increase opportunities for marginalized communities to participate in the arts. The foundation likes to see partnerships among the nonprofit, public and private sectors here too.

The foundation encourages grantseekers to contact the program officer that best fits their project, as indicated below. It uses an online application system and accepts unsolicited applications from qualified nonprofits. There are generally three or four application cycles per year, and the deadlines are nicely laid out on the foundation’s Timeline page.

In a recent year, the foundation reported over $224 million in total liabilities and net assets. There have been a wide range of grant amounts funded in past years, but most of the recent ones have been between $10,000 and $75,000. Take a look at the recently awarded grants page to get a sense of what this foundation funds and for how much.

The foundation’s president and CEO, Michelle Foster, stepped into the leading role in February 2016. Each program officer has a specific focus area and can be reached directly by email. General questions can be directed to the staff at or 304-346-3620. Keep up with what the foundation is doing on its What’s New and Press page.


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