Libraries and an economic development group were the big winners in the latest round of grants announced by the Cameron Foundation, a private group dedicated to supporting programs that benefit the Tri-Cities and surrounding area.

The first of three grant cycles in 2012 resulted in more than $1 million in new awards for area groups that operate in a region historically served by the hospital now known as Southside Regional Medical Center. The foundation strove to support a diverse range of programs across the seven categories it serves with this $1,077,460 cycle. The overall goal of all $55 million that the foundation has awarded since Oct. 2004 is to improve the health and quality of life of people in its coverage area.

The top three award recipients of the 21-award cycle were the economic development group Virginia’s Gateway Region, with $225,000, the Appomattox Regional Library System, with $175,000 and the southern initiative of the Algebra Project Inc., with $125,000.

This grant cycle also saw a change in the board’s leadership and priorities heading into 2012. Incoming Chairman Larry C. Tucker thanked his predecessor for all her hard work, in a release.

“Ann has truly shown great leadership of this foundation over the last few years,” he stated. “We have seen first-hand her deep commitment to this community, and we’re very fortunate that she will continue to bring her valuable contributions to this board as we move ahead in 2012.”

The board also bid farewell to one of its founding members, Betty Thweatt, who retired after serving since 2003. “She will always remain a part of this Foundation’s legacy,” Tucker said.

Foundation President and CEO Handy Lindsey Jr. stated that the organization was feeling the pinch of the economic downturn, and would have to react accordingly. The Cameron Foundation was formed from the proceeds of the sale of Southside Regional Medical Center by the Hospital Authority of the city of Petersburg in April 2003.

“Given the backdrop of the economic recession, over the last few years it has been the practice of The Cameron Foundation’s Board of Directors to review the Foundation’s grant priorities annually and make adjustments,” Lindsey said.

The board decided to suspend competitive grant applications for the cultural enrichment program area in 2012. The foundation went on to clarify that local groups supporting arts education could still be eligible for technical assistance grants.

The board also decided to lift restrictions placed on the conservation and historic preservation category last year. The round-up of foundation activities did not list any changes to the remaining grant categories: Health care, human services, civic affairs, community and economic development and education. More information on the foundation’s grant process can be found on its website,

For more on grants and grant writing, visit Grant Pros.

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