Grants & Projects

Our Grants Program

The application period for the 2020-21 Sister City Grants program has ended.


Announcing the Winners of the 2020-21 Sister City Grants! 

Peace and Creative Connection Through Arts (Huehuetenango): This project, led by Rachel McLaughlin of Mountainside Arts (Arts School), will bring children and teens from Charlottesville’s new Friendship City, Huehuetenango, together with Charlottesville youth through portraiture and creative expression. Participating youth will create portraits of each other that will be shared in an all-virtual format until the finished portraits are mailed and distributed. 

Pen & Paper Makes ‘Sisters’ Write (Winneba): Libby Edwards-Allbaugh is partnering with the mentoring committee of the 100BWCMA to facilitate a letter-writing exchange between young African-American girls in Charlottesville and young African girls in Winneba. This pen-pal project is envisioned to become an ongoing part of the 100BWCMA mentoring program for girls in the Charlottesville area. The ultimate goal is to prepare some of the participants to visit Ghana on a potential 2022 or 2023 Sister City trip to Winneba.

Huehuetenango & Ixtatán Internet & Introductions (Huehuetenango): The Ixtatán Foundation (Elías Alonzo, Director of Development) is leading a project to provide a set of tools to better connect Charlottesville with its new Friendship City, Huehuetenango. The Ixtatán Foundation will establish stable internet connectivity for cultural, economic, and civic purposes. Working with Code for Cville, the project will provide a website for Huehuetenango with a Spanish back end and front end to allow local businesses and nonprofits to create business listings and advertise their services. 

Face to Face: Portraits of our Sister Cities (Besançon, Huehuetenango, Poggio a Caiano, Winneba): The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative (Alan Goffinski) in partnership with Speak! Language Center (Christina Ball) will lead a portrait project to connect talented local 2D artists working in varied mediums with residents of all four sister cities with the purpose of making connections through the very personal nature of portrait-making. For four years, The Bridge has used its Face to Face portrait program to connect artists and community members one-on-one, resulting in an ever-growing collection of portraits showcasing a diverse and vibrant Charlottesville through the eyes of its artists. Cities will each be invited to select two participants to be paired with expert Charlottesville artists chosen from a pool of applicants by a selection committee

View Previous Grants Summaries 



About the Grants Process 

Annual Grants Process. Once per year, the Charlottesville Sister Cities Commission awards grants that range in size up to $4,000 to individuals, nonprofits, arts organizations, schools, and businesses.

Successful Proposals. Grants are awarded for a wide variety of cultural, economic, educational, and humanitarian activities that support the CSSC's mission to promote understanding and foster relationships between citizens and organizations in the Charlottesville area and our Sister Cities of Besançon, France; Winneba, Ghana; Poggio a Caiano, Italy; Huehuetenango, Guatemala (new “Friendship City” to Charlottesville, Sister City status pending).

Reimbursement & Reporting. Funds are available as reimbursements or through an approved fiscal sponsor.  Requests for reimbursement must be made within one year of notification of award, with expenditures detailed in a year-end report to the CSCC. A midpoint progress report is also required. 

Application. Submit completed applications by email to or mail to Charlottesville Sister Cities Commission c/o Kyna Thomas, P.O. Box 911, Charlottesville, VA 22902. Applications are limited to a maximum of four pages. 

Projects We Have Sponsored

Four cities. Infinite possibilities. Find inspiration in these CSSC-sponsored projects.

Community Radio (Winneba, Ghana). Charlottesville nonprofit radio station WTJU established a sister radio station relationship with Peace FM in Winneba, Ghana. Peace FM's station manager traveled from Winneba to Charlottesville. He was interviewed on WTJU, shared musical programming, met Charlottesville area residents at a public reception, and served as a guest lecturer in two different University of Virginia classes. The project achieved its aim of comparing experiences as community broadcasters, discussing strategies for serving their communities through media, and sharing programming between stations.  


Thomas Jefferson and Filippo Mazzei (Poggio a Caiano, Italy)

A 13-year-old boy researched and wrote a presentation about Charlottesville native Thomas Jefferson and Poggio a Caiano native Filippo Mazzei—how they became friends and how Mazzei impacted the culture of Charlottesville and the founding of the United States. He then traveled to Poggio a Caiano to present an interactive lesson with the help of his younger brother. In preparation, he conducted research at Monticello and the Jefferson Library and met with Monticello’s Education Department. to select items to use in his presentation.  ssisted by his younger brother, he presented the lesson to children in Poggio a Caiano.  Upon his return from Italy, he presented the lesson to elementary school students in Charlottesville. Children in both cities were invited to participate in a blog on our shared history.


​Art Exploratioon and Expedition (Pleven, Bulgaria) 
Charlottesville artists Roger Williams and Victoria Long received a Charlottesville Sister Cities Commission grant in support of their visiting Pleven and depicting its cultural landscape in text, drawings, photography, and film.  In January 2015, their works were exhibited at the Garage gallery in Downtown Charlottesville. New City Arts sponsored a public artist talk with them in conjunction with the exhibit.They also produced a limited edition book with the Virginia Art of the Book Center. Like many CSSC grants, this one covered part but not all the recipients' project expenses; the artists also sought funding via a Kickstarter campaign, among other sources.

A Tale of Two Cities: Sharing a Cultural Comparison (Besancon, France) Hailing from Montebeliard, France, Loic Mazet, 22,  received a Charlottesville Sister Cities grant to explore similarities and differences between our two cities and prepare video presentations to acquaint local residents with French culture. He found similarities in our mountain ranges, rich histories, and proximity to major cities: Drive 2.5 hours from Besançon and you'll arrive in Paris. Drive 2 hours north from Charlottesville, and arrive in Washington, D.C.

Jackson Via & Clark Elementary School Positive Behavior Interventions &Supports Initiative (Besancon, Pleven, Poggio a Caiano, Winneba).

Designed to connect local elementary school students with students in all four Sister Cities, this program provides students and staff with cultural and educational experiences that enhance cultural understanding, promote unity through diversity, and foster positive relationships. This ongoing grant funds travel to cultural events, materials to create student passports, materials for promotional posters, food for a cultural food fair, and T-shirts. It also supports the Jackson-VIa Sister Cities Houses projects.