Grants & Scholarships

Innovation Fund

To Recognize and Promote Innovation

Community Investment Funds
InnFund LogoThe Innovation Fund at the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia promotes inventiveness, creativity and new design, seeding a more innovative ecosystem in the region. Established in 2012, it became a component fund of the Permanent Fund for Northern Virginia in 2016 when community donors contributed $500,000 to create an endowment that will forever allow this fund to seed innovation throughout the region.

Make a donation to seed innovation in our region.

The Innovation Fund uses a venture philanthropy model of grant making in which donors to the Innovation Fund, in partnership with the Community Foundation board and staff, find investment opportunities in Northern Virginia that help diversify the local economy and promote grass roots innovation and entrepreneurship.

Since it was launched, the Innovation Fund has awarded more than $370,000 in grants to support makers (2021 grant to NOVA Labs), launch a Food Depot at Mason, develop cyber security courses in our public school systems (for example, Prince William and Fairfax counties), and support the establishment of a social enterprise-based indoor urban farm to provide meaningful employment for young adults with behavioral health needs in our Northern Virginia communities.  See more stories about the impact of our Innovation Fund.

The venture philanthropy model goes far beyond the writing of checks to address an immediate need. Grants from the Innovation Fund are truly “venture” in nature, supporting nascent programs that, but for the Innovation Fund support, may not have launched. The Fund invests in community to help solve local problems, strategically partnering with local nonprofits and schools to launch promising, innovative programs and initiatives that have the potential to transform our region.
Lisa Gring Pemble“The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia’s investment has allowed the George Mason University Honey Bee Initiative to leverage innovators, educators, student teams and community partners to address a critical food security issue, namely the honey bee crisis. This grant funded the development and launch of student run sustainable businesses, innovative beekeeping co-curricular programming, and community involvement in our educational apiaries.”
— Lisa M. Gring-Pemble, Ph.D., Director, Social Entrepreneurship and Global Impact, Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship School of Business, George Mason University, Innovation Fund Grantee

Nonprofits: Learn More

The Community Foundation is not running competitive grant cycles through the Innovation Fund, but instead invites donors to partner with us for greater impact.

In 2022, however, the Innovation Fund is investing in Smart City Works for its 2022 Smart City Challenge by sponsoring a Mental Health Innovation track to award a cash prize for an innovative solution to mental health access across our region.  The competition is from May 2 to June 16.

All investments in local innovation through the Innovation Fund are informed by both the donors to the Innovation Fund and Community Foundation board and staff.

To be added to future grant cycle announcements, please sign up here:




Please contact Sari Raskin, Vice President of Grants and Community Leadership.
703 879 7641 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.