2022 Giving Back Awards Winners: Ready, Set, Give

Honoring the nonprofit organizations and businesses that impact our Coastal Virginia community for the better

by | Nov 1, 2022

2022 Giving Back Award Winners

Intro by Leona Baker, Editor-in-Chief
The Coastal Virginia Magazine team is honored to present our annual Giving Back Awards recognizing some of the region’s outstanding nonprofit organizations and businesses that make our communities and the lives we lead here safer, healthier, happier and more equitable for all who call Coastal Virginia home.

This year’s honorees were selected by our Coastal Virginia Magazine staff and contributing writers and determined based on nominations submitted by either a representative of the organization or a person familiar with their work. Considerations for selection included the strength of the organization’s mission and specific, timely contributions to the community as described in the nomination.

Featured in the following pages, the final list of honorees includes 15 nonprofit organizations and seven businesses of various sizes and visions. Among them is our selected Nonprofit of the Year, Girls on the Run Hampton Roads. Congratulations to all and thank you for your selfless dedication and tireless service to our community.

A sincere and heart-felt thanks to all of our nonprofits helping in our Coastal Virginia communities.
—CoVa Staff


Of note: All pictures throughout this article were provided courtesy of the businesses and organizations. Descriptions of featured organizations and businesses was compiled using information provided by one or more representatives of those organizations and businesses through their Giving Back Awards nomination forms.


2022 Giving Back Awards Nonprofit of the Year: Girls On The Run

Jennie Spears had strict orders: “You have to sign me up the first day,” Spears remembers her daughter, Makayla, urging her, “because it always fills up.”

Makayla had tried gymnastics, soccer, baseball—each one time. Then in third grade, she found her place with Girls on the Run Hampton Roads, a 10-week program with a structured curriculum created to build healthy habits for body and mind.

Girls on the Run ©Photo by Adam Muller

Girls on the Run ©Photo by Adam Muller

In three months, Makayla blossomed. “She wasn’t afraid to stand out and be a leader,” Spears says.

On her first day, Makayla wasn’t a runner. She didn’t know how vital water and healthy foods are to energizing her body. She learned week by week. At the end, she crossed the Girls on the Run (GOTR) 5K finish line along with hundreds of girls and their coaches. The goal: Complete the course. Run, walk, skip. It didn’t matter. Along the way, people held signs and cheered.

READ THEIR FULL ARTICLE >>

What You Can Do to Help
Volunteer to be a coach for a spring Girls on the Run team. Supporters are also welcome to watch the Girls on the Run 5K Sunday, December 11, at 9 a.m. at the Mariners’ Museum and Park in Newport News.

Learn more at GOTRHR.org.



2022 Giving Back Awards Nonprofit Winners

Tidewater Friends of Foster Care

Tidewater Friends of Foster Care

Tidewater Friends of Foster Care

Tidewater Friends of Foster Care (TFFC) is bringing light into a dark space, affording children who have been placed in some of the most challenging of circumstances and their families the resources they need to not just survive, but to thrive.

Because every child deserves the opportunity to thrive, TFFC is committed to improving foster care outcomes through targeted outreach, increasing the number of available loving family foster homes and closing critical education gaps by providing academic tutoring, enrichment programs and activities beyond public resources that are essential to a healthy, happy and rewarding childhood.

How They Are Making a Difference
• “Foster Care Aware” and other recruiting campaigns for stable, loving family homes
• Professional, one-on-one, in-home academic tutoring for foster youth
• Tutoring participants graduate high school at 92% rate, compared to 50% nationally for foster youth
• Extracurricular activities, “camperships,” birthday and holiday gifts for foster youth

What You Can Do to Help
Consider becoming a foster parent! It is a big choice, but even you are simply interested in finding out more, TFFC will help guide you. You can also make an annual donation, purchase gift cards for families or become a corporate sponsor.

Learn more at TidewaterFFC.org.


Dorm Fairies

Dorm Fairies

Dorm Fairies

Each Dorm Fairies awardee has a unique story and journey to their college experience, but whatever struggles they have faced along the way—personal, social or financial to mental and physical—“we are giving them small things to help get through the big things.”

Established in 2019 with a laser-focused mission to address a very practical need, Dorm Fairies provide dorm room essentials to selected college students, more than 70% of whom demonstrate high financial need, to lessen their financial burden and support them in a successful college transition. What began as a mission to “help one student at a time,” has translated to $20,000 in donations to approximately 40 college students.

How They Are Making a Difference
• Each awardee uses an online registry to receive at least $500 in essential dorm items
• Awardees credit “home away from home” provided by Dorm Fairies for allowing them to focus on academic success
• Addressing a need that falls outside of scholarships, tuition, fees and housing
• $20,000 in donations to approximately 40 students since organization’s founding in 2019

What You Can Do to Help
Help Dorm Fairies provide for even more deserving college students, including military dependents, by donating via their website.

Learn more at DormFairies.org.


Blankets for the Homeless

Blankets for the Homeless

Blankets for the Homeless

Through rain, snow, pandemic and unforeseen challenges, Blankets for the Homeless has remained faithfully dedicated to making a difference in the region’s homeless community for the last 10 years.

When she was just 17, Mariah Smith encountered a homeless person for the first time and decided to reach out to help. A decade later, Blankets for the Homeless, the organization she founded as result of this experience, continues to make an immediate impact for those living on the streets, in vehicles or hotels by providing essential items like blankets, backpacks, shoes, tents, clothing, toiletries and nonperishable food.

How They Are Making a Difference
• Providing blankets, backpacks, shoes, tents, clothing, toiletries and non-perishable food to the homeless
• Delivering directly to the people on the streets, those not fortunate enough to get into a shelter
• Connecting homeless to vital resources to assist them in getting the long-term help they need
• Assisting struggling families that were enduring the negative consequences of COVID-19

What You Can Do to Help
Donations are the organization’s primary need, but you can also help by liking their Facebook page, @BlanketsForTheHomless757, which lost its followers and other content due being hacked earlier this year.

Learn more at BlanketsForTheHomeless.org.


Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center Foundation

Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center Foundation

Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center Foundation

It is our mission to inspire locals and travelers alike to learn about the importance of preserving the marine environment—an ecosystem that is so prevalent here in Coastal Virginia—and the ways in which they can participate and make a difference.

Locals and visitors know and love the Virginia Aquarium, home to more than 7,000 animals and welcoming approximately 600,000 human guests annually. The Aquarium’s nonprofit foundation procures and maintains the Aquarium’s collections, fish and other animals, habitats and interactive exhibits, and is responsible for fundraising for the Stranding Response Program, conservation and scientific research efforts, and mission-related education programs.

How They Are Making a Difference
• Approximately 600,000 guests, engaging more than 50,000 students in marine science and contributing more than $278 million in economic impact annually
• Stranding Response Program responded to 75 marine mammal and 231 sea turtle strandings in Fiscal Year 2021
• 2021 opening of cutting-edge Darden Marine Animal Conservation Center
• Instrumental in helping Virginia become the first state to ban balloon releases

What You Can Do to Help
Become a member, donate to the foundation or volunteer for a variety of positions from animal care to boat tours to creek cleanups.

Learn more at VirginiaAquarium.com.


THRIVE Peninsula

THRIVE Peninsula

THRIVE Peninsula

In the last two years, THRIVE has doubled its services, growing with community needs brought forth by the pandemic. The organization focuses on providing services with dignity, accessibility and quality.

THRIVE is a volunteer-driven organization that provides emergency financial assistance to families in need to assist with housing costs, transportation or child care to keep them housed and employed. Recipients are connected with trained volunteer financial coaches as well as tools to help build long-term financial stability. The organization also houses an on-site food pantry that partners with several community gardens and grocery stores to offer healthy foods.

How They Are Making a Difference
• In the last 12 months, distributed more than $1 million to Peninsula families
• Partnering with 80 churches, hundreds of donors and volunteers to help families stay afloat
• Level Up program incentivizes financial milestones like opening a bank account, building savings or reducing spending
• Last year, initiated grocery delivery program for families quarantined or with transportation barriers

What You Can Do to Help
Give funds to help provide a vital safety net for Peninsula families, donate food or shoes for their Walk a Mile in Their Shoes program. Volunteer as a financial coach, food pantry helper and more.

Learn more at THRIVEPeninsula.org.


Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg

Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg

Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg

We see firsthand how decent and affordable homes build better futures for our community’s families. We see kids of our Habitat homeowners doing better in school, living healthier lives, and being more confident in themselves and where they come from.

This local affiliate of the national nonprofit is dedicated to building homes, communities and hope. By investing in families who qualify for Habitat’s first-time Homebuyer Program, the organization makes home ownership an affordable goal and changes lives in the process. Last fall, they built the nation’s first-ever 3D printed Habitat house in Williamsburg. The home has earned national recognition and may serve as a model for efficient and timely affordable housing.

How They Are Making a Difference
• Eight homes built in 2021, seven under construction, nine to be built in 2022, all being sold to qualifying families
• Long-term partnership with Newport News Shipbuilding resulting in 19 homes, with a 20th to be completed in 2023
• Home Repair Program helps low-income homeowners make repairs
• Habitat ReStores sell gently used furniture, appliances and contracting supplies with proceeds helping build more Habitat homes

What You Can Do to Help
Help build a home, donate or volunteer at a restore.

Learn more at HabitatPGW.org.


VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads

VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads

VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads

VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads (VHR) is the only organization in the region with the technology, experience and reach to recruit and manage as many volunteers for as many organizations as needed at the same time.

VHR is the premier, comprehensive volunteer center of Hampton Roads, connecting nonprofits with traditional and skilled volunteers by providing training, facilitating volunteerism and coordinating large-scale projects. VHR supports other nonprofits by connecting, equipping and mobilizing volunteers to create a more vibrant community. Its members recruit and manage volunteers through a system and website that reaches the entire region.

How They Are Making a Difference
• Identifying the volunteer needs and finding the individuals and groups who want to fill those gaps through service
• In 2021, VHR provided 14,500 volunteers to serve the Hampton Roads community, donating 62,250 hours of work, a total contribution of over $1.7 million
• Worked with FEMA to recruit and manage 2,000 local volunteers to help with a COVID-19 vaccination clinic, administering 83,500 vaccines
• Serving as the regional volunteer reception center in times of emergency or disaster, working closely with state and community partners to provide relief

What You Can Do to Help
Become a volunteer or fund volunteers for your nonprofit mission and show your support by making a donation.

Learn more at VOLUNTEERHR.org.


Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute

Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute

Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute

One in three Americans will be diagnosed with cancer. Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute (HUPTI) works towards a healthier community, easing human misery and saving lives.

Through advocacy, education and precision medicine, HUPTI has been treating breast, brain and spine, prostate, head and neck, ocular, GI, lung and pediatric cancers for 12 years. With cutting-edge proton therapy radiation treatment, patients—both children and adults—experience minimal side effects, no hospital stays and the sparing of healthy surrounding tissue. HUPTI was the eighth proton therapy center in the U.S. and remains the only one of its kind in our region.

How They Are Making a Difference
• Treating cancer with cutting-edge proton therapy, helping to save more than 3,500 lives
• Giving cancer patients the opportunity to be treated with minimal side effects and without hospital stays
• Addressing one of the highest rates of prostate cancer deaths in the U.S. here in Coastal Virginia
• Maintaining safe operations during COVID-19 and advocating for patients on insurance claims

What You Can Do to Help
Make a difference in the lives of cancer patients by donating or attending a seminar or special event to learn more about proton therapy.

Learn more at HamptonProton.org.


Norfolk Botanical Garden

Norfolk Botanical Garden

Norfolk Botanical Garden

The importance of connecting to nature was never more apparent as it was during the height of the pandemic. As one of the only attractions open in our area, the Garden offered much needed peace, tranquility and hope.

Norfolk Botanical Garden (NBG) serves to immerse visitors in a world of beauty, lead through environmental action and inspire through education and connection to nature. Established in 1938 by a Works Progress Administration grant, NBG began when 220 African-American gardeners, mostly women, cleared 25 acres of tree-filled swampland with pickaxes, hoes and shovels. It is now Virginia’s largest botanical garden dedicated to environmental education, conservation and outreach endeavors.

How They Are Making a Difference
• Record-breaking 500,000 visitors last year to 65 gardens, natural areas and exhibits
• Three-acre hands-on adventure Children’s Adventure Garden introduces children to gardening, the environment and world cultures
• Offering educational programs to underserved students, investing in community beautification projects, donating edible plants to food banks and more
• Capital campaign to build “The Garden of Tomorrow” to provide more accessibility, educational opportunities, green space and connections to nature

What You Can Do to Help
Help run, fund and grow the garden by becoming a member, donating or volunteering.

Learn more at NBGS.org.


Tidewater Jewish Foundation

Tidewater Jewish Foundation

Tidewater Jewish Foundation

No matter the challenge, large or small, the Tidewater Jewish Foundation (TJF) has always risen to the occasion and stands as one of the most important organizations in the Tidewater Jewish community.

Honoring the values of tzedakah and tikkun olam, TJF educates individuals, families and its affiliates on the rewards of philanthropy and facilitates the philanthropic process through planned giving and endowments. Its grants and distributions serve the needs of our region, the United States, Israel and nations worldwide. TJF’s programs, with the help of donors, allow Jewish students to travel to Israel, provide scholarships to new collegiate students, fund new programs and activities at affiliate organizations, and much more.

How They Are Making a Difference
• Serving as philanthropic pillar of the Tidewater Jewish community and instilling importance of philanthropy across generations
• $58 million in legacy gifts for the Jewish community anticipated
• Recently established Feldman Family Medical & Health Professions Student Scholarship to award up to $10,000 a year to Jewish students
• $540,000 raised in Jewish Tidewater, directed to partner agencies working on the ground in war-torn Ukraine

What You Can Do to Help
Make an impact on future generations through TJF’s Life & Legacy program.

Learn more at JewishVA.org.


ForKids

ForKids

ForKids

At the new Sokol Place shelter, one mom, who had been living in her car and bunking with friends, cried happy tears as her young daughter played with toys found in the room saying, “This is the best day of my life.”

With a mission of breaking the cycle of homelessness and poverty for families and children, the ForKids team is committed to doing whatever it takes to nurture strong families in safe and stable homes. Each year, the team promotes positive change in the lives of more than 400 families recovering from crisis, providing housing solutions and holistic support services that lead to lifelong self-sufficiency.

How They Are Making a Difference
• Housing Crisis Hotline operates in 14 cities and counties, connecting callers with 400+ community resources
• Opened in 2021, Landmark Center in Chesapeake includes a 96-bed family shelter, Sokol Place, doubling capacity and reducing wait times
• Children’s Education team strengthens academic achievement while building social and emotional skills for children
• A.I.M. Achievement Inspired Mentoring provides diverse range of extracurricular activities and community involvement

What You Can Do to Help
Become a mentor, host a drive for school supplies, volunteer for a community service project or donate funds.

Learn more at ForKids.org.


Alzheimer’s Association Southeastern Virginia

Alzheimer’s Association Southeastern Virginia

Alzheimer’s Association Southeastern Virginia

Alzheimer’s is a fatal disease. It ruins lives, not just of those who receive a diagnosis, but their caregivers, families and loved ones. We must continue to relentlessly work towards a cure.

The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research—accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support for every generation. The organization provides direct services in-person and through its helpline and website, education programs, support groups and early-stage social engagement. The Southeastern Virginia Chapter serves our local communities through these programs and more.

How They Are Making a Difference
• Reached over 2,100 local families, providing consultations, referrals, disease and caregiving education, support groups and engagement programs
• Southeastern Virginia Chapter committed to decreasing health care disparities faced by underserved and high-risk communities
• Secured local support and benefits from Alzheimer’s Association’s Fiscal Year 22 increase in federal research funding to an unprecedented $3.5 billion
• Addressing aging population in Coastal Virginia’s rural communities where limited health care access presents unique challenges

What You Can Do to Help
Participate in an Annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s, make a donation or volunteer as a community representative, educator and more.

Learn more at ALZ.org/SEVA.


Peninsula Community Foundation of Virginia

Peninsula Community Foundation of Virginia

Peninsula Community Foundation of Virginia

Imagine if every child born on the Peninsula was healthy and received the love, nurturing and education they need. Imagine if every person living here had a safe and secure place to call home. These are the types of things the Peninsula Community Foundation (PCF) is committed to.

The PCF exists to make the Virginia Peninsula a better place for everyone who lives there. Working in partnership with those who share that vision, the organization inspires philanthropy and takes a leadership role to build permanent resources to meet community needs. They identify families and businesses that want to support charitable programs, make it easy for them to do so through strategic investments in community projects that matter to Peninsula citizens.

How They Are Making a Difference
• Contributions to charitable funds reinvested into the community over the last two years totaled $3,409,273
• Give Local 757 raised $3.6 million for 200+ area nonprofit organizations in 48 hours
• Children’s Holiday Fund raised $150,000 for organizations providing for families in need during the holidays
• Greater Peninsula Impact 100 raised and granted $300,000 to organizations serving the Peninsula

What You Can Do to Help
Establish or donate to a fund to support Peninsula causes.

Learn more at PCFVirginia.org.


Toby’s Dream Foundation

Toby’s Dream Foundation

Toby’s Dream Foundation

We were able to provide dream experiences for several of these “Rush” dreams and in all cases, we helped the families create memories to last a lifetime as their child earned his or her angel wings shortly thereafter.

From Disney trips to one 12-year-old cyclist’s special request for a Tour de France-worthy bike, Toby’s Dream Foundation was created to offer children with life-threatening illnesses the opportunity to imagine and experience their most fantastic dream. Children from our region and beyond with cancer, brain tumors, rare syndromes or awaiting transplants are referred primarily by doctors at Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters and Naval Medical Center Portsmouth before Toby’s Dream interviews them and makes their dreams a reality.

How They Are Making a Difference
• Putting joy into children’s lives that have been changed by a medical diagnosis
• Since November 2009, served over 550 children with dreams of a lifetime
• Providing “Rush” dreams to children whose doctors determine time is limited
• Overcoming COVID-19 challenges (working with children with compromised immune systems)

What You Can Do to Help
Sponsor or volunteer for a fundraising event, support a child’s dream or make a general donation.

Learn more at TobysDream.org.


2022 Giving Back Awards Business Winners

The Smile Group

The Smile Group

The Smile Group

“To our company, giving back means spreading smiles to our communities.”

Heathy, beautiful smiles aren’t the only things shining at this Williamsburg-based family and cosmetic dentistry practice. Every year they add more nonprofits and community-focused events to a growing list they’ve supported—from the Fear 2 Freedom Donation Drive to the Here for The Girls Sweetheart Gala, the March of Dimes Signature Chef Auction to the Natasha’s House Fundraiser. Searching out organizations with emergent needs that may otherwise go overlooked, they have helped youth sports camps, ballet performances, festivals, charity golf tournaments, veterans, first responders, animals, homeless shelters and more.

Learn more at SmilesofWilliamsburg.com


Support Services of Virginia

Support Services of Virginia

Support Services of Virginia

“To our company, giving back means we realize our success when we help others realize theirs.”

As a provider of community services to people with developmental disabilities, Support Services of Virginia (SSVA) plays a critical role in helping some of the most marginalized people in the community live good lives. A private, mission-based organization, SSVA is committed to turning any profit gained into wages, benefits, incentives and professional development. Many of its employees enter the field with limited education, experience and options. The extensive, professional training enables them to develop skills and certifications that are steppingstones to a meaningful career.

Learn more at SSVAInc.org.


Coastal Fermentory

Coastal Fermentory

Coastal Fermentory

“To our company, giving back means working with the best organizations to help as many people here in the 757 as possible.”

At Newport News-based brewery Coastal Fermentory, raising a pint glass just might raise up the community, too. Through their Wednesday night Drink Beer & Do Good events, they donate 10% of sales, plus 100% of tips to a selected local nonprofit each week. Partnering with other businesses including Newport News Shipbuilding and various food trucks to increase the total donation, they have worked with 30+ charities and donated more than $6,000 in 2022 spread across 16 different organizations—from animal rescues to food banks, art festivals to child abuse prevention.

Learn more at CoastalFermentory.com.


C5 Merchant Solutions

C5 Merchant Solutions

C5 Merchant Solutions

“To our company, giving back means sharing our blessings.”

Founded with community in mind, C5 is a payment processing brokerage that sets out to help small businesses and nonprofit organizations grow by providing a personal, tailored approach to each business. Honoring the motto “relationships matter” and its commitment to community impact, C5 chooses a different charity each month and gives back through volunteering, donating and in-kind contributions. This past year, employees and contractors at C5 have assisted organizations helping children, adults and animals including Samaritan’s Purse, Ping Pong for Charity, Virginia Beach SPCA and many more.

Learn more at C5MerchantSolutions.com.


Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group

Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group

Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group

“To our company, giving back means putting people over profits.”

With every loan closed, Atlantic Bay contributes to its community collaborators like the Roc Solid Foundation, building hope for kids and families fighting pediatric cancer, and the Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Virginia, paving the way toward a better tomorrow for the region’s youth. In 2021, The AB Cares team donated more than $30,000 to more than 20 organizations in the region. In 2022, the committee has supported many more local organizations—from An Achievable Dream to Virginia Musical Theatre, Smart Beginnings to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Learn more at AtlanticBay.com.


The Breeden Company

The Breeden Company

The Breeden Company

“To our company, giving back means our communities are enriched.”

The Breeden Company’s pillars of philanthropy include the arts, education and animals. Through its property management and general contracting arm, time, energy and monies are donated to various organizations including Moms on a Mission, YouthBuild, Habitat for Humanity and Eggleston. For 11 years, the company has also been the presenting sponsor of the Neptune Festival’s annual Symphony by the Sea series. Most recently, they began a partnership with CHKD and their buddy brigade and facility dog programs. Community service has been integral to the organization since its founding in 1961.

Learn more at TheBreedenCompany.com.


Splash2o Express Car Wash

Splash2o Express Car Wash

Splash2o Express Car Wash

“To our company, giving back means the opportunity to be fully invested in our local community by creating and cultivating lifelong and meaningful relationships.”

Virginia Beach-based Splash2o takes the classic car wash fundraiser to a whole new level. The company is dedicated to giving back to local schools, clubs and charitable organizations and donates $5 from each of its top washes in support of each fundraiser hosted. Through its residual fundraising programs, hosted car washes and additional donations, the company has raised more than $20,000 in charitable contributions since 2020, including for causes like the Sentara Foundation, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Operation Smile and the Senior Chief Scott DeCoste Memorial Scholarship.

Learn more at Splash2oCarWash.com.

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