The RAFT Funding Sources

The first year of research for The RAFT was conducted in the 2015-2016 academic year by the Institute for Engagement & Negotiation at the University of Virginia (UVA) in collaboration with the Virginia Coastal Policy Center (VCPC) at William & Mary Law School. The RAFT was officially launched by a 2016 Restoration and Community Stewardship grant by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). This grant enabled completion of the Scorecard and testing The RAFT process with three pilot communities in three different coastal planning districts. Since then, the project has received a variety of grants: 

  • Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2017- Present  
  • Virginia Environmental Endowment, Virginia Program, 2017- Present  
  • University of Virginia Environmental Institute, formerly Environmental Resilience Institute, 2018- Present  
  • Natural Hazards Center, Public Health Disaster Research Award Program, 2022- Present 
  • Virginia Sea Grant Adaptation and Resilience Program, 2017-2024 
  • Jessie Ball duPont Fund, 2019- 2024 
  • Agua Fund, 2022-2023 
  • University of Virginia School of Architecture, Faculty Summer Research Program, 2018, 2022 
  • Commonwealth Center for Recurrent Flooding Resiliency, 2021-2022 
  • Anonymous, 2018-2019  
  • National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Restoration and Community Stewardship Grant, 2016- 2018 

The RAFT FUND Micro- and Mini-Grant Program with support from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund

14 mini and micro-grant awards were granted to build resilience in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula regions of Virginia. These proposals were awarded as part of the Micro- and Mini-Grant Program, with $150,000 in funding generously provided by the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. The funded projects had a strong community involvement component, were cost-effective, and contributed to social and economic success in the regions. Summaries of each project are available below: 

Bay Aging financially assisted twenty-three (23) households in attaining permanent housing. These households consisted of four (4) adults aged 62 and over, twenty-six (26) adults age 25 – 61 years old, two (2) youth age 18 -24 years old, and seventeen (17) children under the age of 18, totaling forty-nine (49) individuals. 

Couple Fire Department established a monthly networking meeting among local businesses, fostering collaboration and building future partnerships, which led to the creation of a social media site and development of a directory of participants, held five training classes with participation from 12 different volunteer fire departments in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula, and conducted a community assessment that helped to secure $100,000 over three years in grant funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency to promote local training of first responders. 

Essex Emergency Services created the framework, identified space, and sourced technology for an Emergency Operation Center and engaged stakeholders to develop a one-year plan to rewrite the County’s Emergency Operations Plan.  

Friends of the Rappahannock (FOR) was selected by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to work on a community based social marketing pilot project for shoreline management that complements the RAFT Fund deliverables as well as the Northern Neck Planning District Commission’s commitments for shorelines. 

Friends of the Rappahannock (FOR) explained the issue of failing / failed septic systems and who to contact for more information to thousands of residents and homeowners in Essex and Middlesex Counties by creating: 2 radio ads ran for a month on 107.5 River Country and 105.5 WRAR; 4 print advertisements, 1 digital advertisement and 1 article that ran for multiple months in the Rappahannock Times and Southside Sentinel; 3 social media posts; a rack card distributed at outreach events and to partners; and a postcard to be mailed to septic hotspots identified by VIMS. 

Gloucester United Emergency Shelter Team (GUEST) expanded the Motel Voucher Program to Essex County residents experiencing homelessness, who would previously have had to travel to Gloucester for shelter, by providing thirteen households (26 individuals) experiencing homelessness with vouchers from January to June 2023, which contributed to the total of 131 weekly motel vouchers issued between January and June 2023. 

Healthy Harvest Fresh staff members have utilized the instructional technology components to engage in the following: Northeast District meeting of Family and Consumer Science Agents as well as Virginia Tech Specialists, The Healthy Harvest Fresh Advisory Council meeting, Healthy Harvest Food Bank/ Healthy Harvest Fresh Board meeting, Jessie Ball DuPont Fund Grantee reception, Healthy Harvest staff group trainings, and a greenhouse camera livestream. 

Just Harvest harvested approximately 100 pounds of produce from its Caroline County garden for its first harvest in July that was distributed door to door to 15 households in Essex County and received approval for an additional garden in the historic district of Essex County, which will be an outdoor classroom to provide trainings and make connections between foods, environment, culture, and history. 

Mattaponi Indian Tribe and Reservation provided maintenance on the fish hatchery (i.e decking, well pump, HVAC – the basic systems for the Hatchery to open for the spring American Shad season) and established a brick and mortar Environmental Office that will house 2 full time employees to continue our environmental resilience and capacity building projects that will have a lasting impact on the tribal community. 

Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission staff drafted the RAFT application for septic pumpout assistance as well as related notifications and announcements resulting in a total of 131 applications distributed to homeowners (96% of the homeowners that applied for RAFT assistance receive social security as their source of income), 78 applications received and reviewed, 65 vouchers issued on a first-come first-served basis, 13 approved applicants placed on the waitlist, 63 invoices and vouchers from participating haulers processed for completed septic pumpouts including: (20) Essex County, (6) Gloucester County, (4) King & Queen County, (10) King William County, (5) Mathews County, and (18) Middlesex County. 

Richmond County Fire Department purchased a new Sparky mascot outfit for the fire department to teach fire safety and attended the Richmond County Fair (20,000+ in attendance for the week), several events with the YMCA (300+ in attendance for soccer camp), The Richmond County Schools (K-4th grade), and the annual trunk or treat in downtown Warsaw (1,200+ in attendance for the night). 

Thrive Virginia developed a community garden in King & Queen County with the Fox Moon Farms Project, which included two in-ground beds and one grow tunnel, to grow organic produce, including butternut squash, corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, yellow onions, zucchini, kale, okra, bell peppers, and many more vegetables, distributed approximately 1,500 pounds between May and October 2023 directly to clients through Cornerstone Development, Mattaponi Healing Eagle Clinic, and Spirit Rising, and transitioned the project to Just Harvest to continue to provide fresh seasonal produce to King & Queen County. 

Woodville Rosenwald School Foundation purchased and installed two exterior doors for the Woodville School that were custom manufactured to be consistent with the historic doors used in the original school, and, at the same time, meet the requirements of the building code currently in force to provide the first impression of the building for visitors and will ensure building security and safety when it opens to the public. 

This website, Task # 92.03 was funded by the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program at the Department of Environmental Quality through Grant # NA17NOS4190152 
of the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, under the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended. The views expressed
herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA, or any of its subagencies.

This project is currently a partnership between the Institute for Engagement & Negotiation at the University of Virginia, the Institute for Coastal Adaptation and Resilience at Old Dominion University, and the Center for Coastal Studies at Virginia Tech. The former Virginia Coastal Policy Center at the William & Mary Law School participated in this partnership from 2015 until June 2023.


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