Community Programs & Education
The VTSF is committed to involving Virginia’s communities in the effort to prevent tobacco use by youth. Local community programs provide direct interaction with young people throughout their childhood, and are a key element in changing youth attitudes about tobacco use. This change in attitude will ultimately help prevent the initiation of tobacco use by young people.
This year, the VTSF is providing over $3.5 million in funding to 70 grant programs throughout the Commonwealth. There are many different types of grant recipients, including non-profit organizations, faith groups, schools, and other community groups that reach children of all ages.
When applying for funding, these organizations wrote their grant applications based around a program of their choice selected from the Foundation’s Compendium of Tobacco Use Prevention Programs for Youth. This Compendium contains programs that address issues relative to tobacco use prevention, including primary tobacco use prevention education, tobacco cessation, early tobacco intervention and reduction, advocacy, youth empowerment and social skills building. Many of these science-based programs are recognized as model, promising, or effective tobacco prevention programs. At the same time, the range of programs found in the Compendium allows grantees to choose a program that best fits their communities.
A local community connection is extremely important to the Foundation. As a result, the Board of Trustees approved members for nine Regional Advisory Boards, each comprised of 10 – 15 local community volunteers that oversee the program grant review process and make funding recommendations to the Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
Foundation staff conduct in-depth evaluation of the community programs throughout implementation to ensure that each program is being completed as designed. VTSF staff review each grant as it is administered, including evaluating quarterly reports and conducting site visits to see the programs in action. In addition, the Foundation contracted with Virginia Commonwealth University to evaluate the programs on a statewide level to gauge their effectiveness, and to identify factors that will assist in developing and selecting effective youth tobacco use prevention programs in the future.