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Mary P. Blalock Fund

The History

With Mary Blalock’s passing in April 2019, Hampton Roads Academy lost a beloved and special friend. Mary worked at HRA for 15 years, most recently as Director of Advancement, and her dedication to the school and its students was extraordinary and an inspiration to us all.

In memory of Mary, and with the blessing of her husband Ward and her daughters Nora and Marnie, HRA has established a permanently endowed fund. This fund is unique, both in the way it operates and in the way it recognizes Mary’s dual passions for HRA and for the community at large. The Mary P. Blalock Philanthropy Fund will use investment proceeds to bestow grants not just for the needs of HRA, but for other area nonprofits as well. A student advisory committee will make funding recommendations.

Student Philanthropy Committee Grants

The student-led philanthropy committee helps provide for a healthy and thriving community through its competitive grant making process, offering small grants to area nonprofits.  This program is funded by the Mary P. Blalock Philanthropy Fund at HRA.

List of 5 items.

  • How to Apply

    All proposals must be submitted through the online grants system.  The submission deadline is at 3pm on March 7, 2023. 
  • Eligibility

    • Proposals are accepted from 501(c)(3) charitable organizations serving the Greater Hampton Roads area.  Eligible organizations must primarily serve at least one of the following counties or cities: Chesapeake, Gloucester County, Hampton, Isle of Wight County, James City County, Mathews County, Middlesex County, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Surry, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg, York County
    • Organizations are required to upload a balance sheet or statement of financial position, and a recent IRS Form 990.  If you are an organization that does not have these documents, please contact Jaik Henderson at
  • Grant Priorities

    The Committee is focused on five areas of interest
    •  Arts and Culture
    •  Economic development
    •  Education
    •  The Environment
    •  Health and Wellness
  • Grant Amount

    • Grants range from $500 to $1,500
    • Up to four grants will be awarded this first year
    • Proposals accepted for partial funding of projects/programs
  • Timeline

    • Proposals are due by March 7 at 3:00 pm.
    • Awards presented on April 28

Promoting Student Philanthropy

Students solicit and evaluate grant proposals from nonprofits and make funding recommendations. Students award grants to nonprofit organizations with programs focused on 5 areas that promote the aims of the endowment fund: 
  • Education
  • Health and Wellness 
  • Culture 
  • Economy 
  • Environment 

Goals and Outcomes

Pair with existing HRA community service initiatives and HRA and CNU’s Symposium in Public Service and Civic Engagement to:
  • Enhance students’ awareness of social needs and the community nonprofit organizations that address them.
  • Influence students’ attitudes and behaviors related to social responsibility and civic engagement.
  • Increase students’ knowledge of philanthropic processes.
  • Develop student skills and understanding of: Math, financial literacy, creative and analytical thinking, written and verbal communication, decision making, consensus and compromise, team work and leadership. 

Structure and Roles

List of 3 items.

  • Advancement Staff

    • Works with Division Heads to select students for the HRA Student Philanthropy Advisory Committee
    • Trains and guides students
  • HRA Endowment Committee

    • Manages Fund
    • Approves distributions
  • Student Advisory Committee

    • Solicits and evaluates nonprofits
    • Makes recommendations to the Advancement Team for onward submission to the Endowment Committee
If you have any further questions, please contact the Office of Advancement at (757) 884-9149.
The Mary P. Blalock Fund was established with an initial gift from Susan Bryant ('74) and her husband Randy.  Leadership gifts have also been generously given by Smithfield Foods, James (Jay) and Tara Joseph, Charles (Charlie) R. Spencer, Jr. and Dr. Julian (Ward) H. Blalock, Jr. 

Hampton Roads Academy

HRA is accredited through the Virginia Association of Independent Schools, a member of the National Association of Independent Schools and is a National Blue Ribbon School.