Our History

making a difference in our community for over 50 years

The Southeast Virginia Community Foundation is a nonprofit corporation led by a board of community leaders that manages funds for more than 80 like-minded, local individuals, families, companies and nonprofits connected by their passion for making a difference in their community.

In 1965, community and civic leader, Frank Kirby, founded Portsmouth’s first community foundation in the same tradition of community foundations across the United States. Mr. Kirby understood the power that pooled philanthropic funds could have in helping to build a sustainable and thriving community. From that vision, a $500 gift from Arthur Kirk gave birth to the Portsmouth Community Trust, which later became the Portsmouth Community Foundation.

Likewise, a group of civic and community-minded individuals formed Chesapeake’s Heron Foundation in 2008, with the same goal of building a strong and viable City by raising funds to support smaller non-profit organizations in the community.

As the Foundations evolved, so did their name. In 2010, the Portsmouth Community Foundation merged with the Heron Foundation to create what we know today as the Southeast Virginia Community Foundation. Throughout this change, the Foundation’s common goal has remained the same; continuing to improve life for all in the community by promoting a legacy of meaningful, philanthropic giving, not only for today, but for generations to come.

For more than 50 years, SEVACF has been the bridge that connects donors to the issues and causes they care about through personalized service, local expertise, and leadership to our region. The Foundation is committed to investing in the long term, by convening diverse voices to address local issues and opportunities, while monitoring all areas of the community to help identify the necessary resources to shape it.

Community foundations continue to represent one of the fastest growing areas of philanthropy. Donors who include the Southeast Virginia Community Foundation in their philanthropic vision benefit from multiple giving options, low fees, knowledgeable staff, and personal assurance that legal and accounting issues are managed under one cost-effective and efficient organization.

The types of nonprofit organizations we support vary in size, mission and vision. However, they all are working toward a common goal of creating a better, livable southeast Virginia. The Foundation offers a viable source of community funding to provide critical resources and beneficial services in all areas of need, including health and human services, housing, youth development, education and the environment. We also provide scholarships to local high school graduates from over 15 designated Scholarship Funds. Our investments enable organizations to provide effective programs and respond to the needs of people in the neighborhoods and communities they serve.

As a steward of over $13 million in charitable assets, we look forward to continuing our legacy of service by connecting donors with causes that benefit our community. We invite you to join with us in our mission to have a positive impact on changing lives and building a better tomorrow.