How it Began

Created as an affiliate of The Norfolk Foundation, which was renamed the Hampton Roads Community Foundation in January 2010, the Eastern Shore of Virginia Community Foundation (ESVCF) was established to provide a flexible way for a variety of donors to build an endowment to improve the quality of life in Accomack and Northampton counties.

As conceived, the foundation would make grants from foundation assets to nonprofit organizations serving Eastern Shore residents. Scholarship assistance for area students also would be awarded through endowed scholarship funds invested with the Foundation. These activities would be undertaken on a perpetual basis.


ESVCF traces its genesis to an October 2004 financial challenge issued to Eastern Shore citizens by The Norfolk Foundation, which had become acquainted with the needs of area nonprofits through years of Eastern Shore grantmaking. Per the terms of the challenge The Norfolk Foundation would dedicate $2 million of capital for a new community foundation on the Eastern Shore if the local community could raise an additional $4 million within four years. Energized by the challenge, Eastern Shore citizens organized and, working with a consultant, crafted the terms of an affiliate relationship with The Norfolk Foundation.


Concurrently with this activity, The Norfolk Foundation conducted an Eastern Shore community assessment, which confirmed wide-ranging needs relating to healthcare, education, and poverty. After months of work by a dedicated organizing committee, ESVCF was launched in October 2004 as a limited liability company (LLC) captive to The Norfolk Foundation. In September 2006 ESVCF was granted 501 (c)(3) status, which significantly improved ESVCF’s flexibility to accommodate donors.

In the early years ESVCF served as advisor to The Norfolk Foundation on grant requests received from Eastern Shore applicants. In 2009 ESVCF initiated its own grantmaking program.