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Freedom First Credit Union

Grants & Community Investments

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Branded Star Mark

Helping People Prosper — Helping Communities Thrive


Our award-winning Community Grants program supports projects that give special consideration to working families of modest means.

Freedom First supports the work being done by community organizations to break down barriers, enable people to fully participate as local citizens, and help families achieve economic success and a better quality of life. For 2021, Freedom First will provide additional grant funding to support community organizations who demonstrate a direct response to COVID-19 relief efforts.
 
We are no longer accepting applications for the 2021 Community Grants program.

Our Focus Areas

Community and Household Economy

Activities, programs, and initiatives designed to improve the economic well-being of our local community and its citizens. Examples include poverty reduction, affordable housing, and financial education.


Health and Human Services

Activities, programs, and initiatives that contribute to an individual’s functioning in the local community addresses or prevents the onset of social, psychological, or physical problems or disabilities; or extends an individual’s ability to be independent or productive in our local community.


Arts and Culture

Activities, programs, and initiatives that increase access to and promotion of the arts and the development and enhancement of cultural identities in the local community. Examples include arts programs, diversity initiatives, and cultural events.


For more information, contact our Community Development Team below.



In 2018-2019, Freedom First awarded $561,442 in Community Investment Grants, scholarships, and event sponsorships.


2021 Winners

Freedom First awarded $70,000 in annual Community Grants in 2021 to support the vital programs offered by eight local nonprofit agencies.

Nonprofit Amount Awarded
Supporting Program
Kid's Soar $6,000 Funds will be used for multi-generational afterschool and summer programming including teaching children about saving, spending, budgeting, and making smart purchasing decisions. There will also be financial literacy workshops for parents that will raise awareness of available financial resources and demonstrate how they can be used.
Blue Ridge Literacy $6,000

Funds will support in-person and online Citizenship Preparation Services. BRL offers beginner-level English and Civics classes for lawful permanent residents at the earlier stages of their immigration journey as well as high intermediate/advanced level citizenship preparation classes and citizenship study groups for foreign-born adults who have started their naturalization process.

Mill Mountain Theatre $5,000

With this grant funding, Mill Mountain Theatre will provide two or three special student performances of its production In the Heights in April 2022. These events encourage discussion in schools about race, cultural differences, and inclusive communities. The performances, post-show talk-backs, and classroom materials are designed to raise issues about diversity in communities where there has been significant growth of Hispanic populations over the past decade.

$6,000

Grant funding will go towards supporting the Finance Education Program, which provides a series of interactive workshops geared to helping entrepreneurs strengthen their personal finances, manage their business finances, plan for taxes, and prepare for lending opportunities.

Restoring Hope Roanoke $5,000

Grant funding will be used to fund the Individual Development Grant offered to graduates of Faith & Finances classes. The ID Grant will be awarded within one year of completing the class in November 2021 (no more than $1,000). Applicants for the ID Grant must set a long-term savings goal that will improve their net worth and they will meet with a case manager or ally regularly to show their progress.

Roanoke Valley Speech and Hearing Center $5,000 The funds will be used to provide low-cost/free speech and hearing screenings, as well as therapy, to low-income children in the Roanoke Valley. The objective is to support effective communication for young children in the Roanoke Valley so they can enter Kindergarten with the skills needed to learn and thrive.
NRV CARES $6,000

Grant funding will support NRV CARES Parenting Young Children, an eight-week course which leads participants through a series of concepts to improve knowledge of child development and behaviors, coping and problem-solving skills, and communication skills, with the goal of strengthening a family’s resiliency against adversity.

Opera Roanoke $2,000

Grant funding will support Cycles of My Being, a performance series in which a contemporary classical music piece is created and performed by internationally acclaimed Black artists. The project specifically explores the challenges, struggles, aspirations, and dreams of the Black man in this country and provides avenues for discussion by a diverse audience.

Family Service of Roanoke Valley $6,000

 

Funding will support mental health services provided on-site in at least two Roanoke Redevelopment Housing Authority sites. By embedding mental health services in these sites, Family Service will address both the high level of need for mental health services and the barriers to accessing these critical services in the neighborhoods most likely to be underserved. The residents of these neighborhoods face increased COVID-19 impacts due to the risks of front line employment, food and housing insecurity, the shutting down of many community and natural supports, and financial stressors, leading to high rates of mental health issues.

 

New Freedom Farm $6,000

Funding will be used to construct a new storage room to store the Farm's Color Guard gear and basic supplies for veterans. This will expand the existing facility and services in order to serve additional veterans, first responders, and their families.

Commonwealth Catholic Charities $5,000

Grant funding will be used to positively impact the lives of five refugee families who have recently arrived to Roanoke. CCC will direct these funds towards affordable housing, transportation to and from work, utilities, and items such as furniture and basic necessity items. The goal is to ensure these families are set up for success and are integrated successfully into our community.

A Tree Planted Counseling $6,000

Funds will be used to begin a new program specific to Spanish-speaking community members, and specifically, to hire a native Spanish speaker with a background in mental health to run much needed groups for processing sexual trauma and domestic violence situations.

Salem Ministers Conference Community Food Pantry $6,000

Funds will be used for the Snack Buddies Program. The program is designed to provide nutritional snacks for school children that might have to go without due to family financial situations. They supply all 21 preschool programs in Roanoke County and all 20 elementary schools in Salem and Roanoke County with at least one bag of 100 snacks each month, a total of 7,100 snacks each month.

Learn about our Community Investment Grants from Tim Cerebe.
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