The Commission achieves its statutory charge through its indemnification program and seven grant programs that are intended to accomplish the economic revitalization and diversification of Virginia’s tobacco-growing region. The grant programs provide project funding to implement economic development activities that are consistent with the Commission’s mission, Strategic Plan and each program’s guidelines. To date, the Commission has awarded 1,764 grants totaling more than $1 billion.
Eligible applicants include local governments, economic development organizations, and IRS-designated nonprofits (funds that will ultimately benefit a private entity must have a public purpose and flow through a public or nonprofit grantee, based upon terms of a performance-based agreement). Our document "Funding Policies for Grant Awards: Information for Applicants and Grantees" provides insight on how funds are awarded and administered.
If your organization is interested in discussing a potential grant application, please use our pre-application to describe your project, and submit it to our Grants Staff for feedback (email@example.com or fax to 804-786-3210).
Grant application cycles are announced annually. The Commission staff reviews applications for feasibility and the potential to positively impact the regional economic base, then provides recommendations to the Commissioners serving on the respective program Committee. Committee recommendations are determined in public meetings and are then forwarded to the full Commission for final action at one of its quarterly meetings.
Grant Program Objectives:
Select a program name below to access application materials:
Economic Development Program
- building regional economic development capacity to diversify the economic base through creation or improvement of sites, buildings and utility infrastructure, workforce training facilities, tourism infrastructure etc. Two economic development committees exist, one for each region (note that Southside Economic Development funds are distributed under a formula that allocates the funds based on tobacco employment, warehousing and quota in each locality).
- implement projects that are innovative in nature and regional in their impacts
Special Projects - Megasite
- The Special Projects Committee also provides funds for the development of large industrial real estate (“megasites”) in order to attract major job-creating private industries projects to the Tobacco region.
- prepare citizens for new-economy employment through GED and workforce development, higher education scholarship programs for the two regions and competitive grants to community colleges and other educational entities.
- encourage regional efforts that reduce dependency on tobacco and provide value-added crops, livestock, products, facilities, etc.
Commission dollars were used to attract non-Commission dollars (e.g., federal stimulus) to projects in Southside and Southwest Virginia. However, applications are no longer being accepted.
Research and Development
The Commission has determined that applied research with significant commercialization potential in the tobacco-dependent region is a key element of revitalization and seeks to provide grant funding to governmental or non-profit entities working with private partners to conduct research.
- Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund (TROF) -
provides performance-based monetary grants to tobacco region localities to assist in the creation of new jobs and investments, whether through new business attraction or existing business expansion.
The Commission staff includes a grants program director and two regional grant administrators who serve within each region to provide technical assistance to applicants and grantees, conduct review of grant proposals, and monitor the progress of grants.
Funding Partners - Commission funds are often blended with other public and private sources of project financing, and applicants are expected to pursue these matching funds in order to leverage Commission funds to the maximum extent. See our Resource Links, and/or contact the grants administrator for your region, who will advise and direct applicants to appropriate sources of funds and technical assistance.