Home VCU Massey seed grants strive to create ‘partnerships to reduce Virginia’s cancer burden’
Health, Virginia

VCU Massey seed grants strive to create ‘partnerships to reduce Virginia’s cancer burden’

Rebecca Barnabi
Photo Credit: RFBSIP/Adobe Stock

VCU Massey Comprehensive Cancer Center is accepting applications for 2024 seed grants.

The $5,000 awards make up the first level of Massey’s Community Grant Initiative, which aligns the center’s community outreach and engagement (COE) efforts and research discoveries with community-led initiatives.

“Massey’s seed grants aim to create community-academic partnerships to reduce Virginia’s cancer burden,” Dr. Vanessa Sheppard, associate director for Community Outreach and Engagement and Health Disparities at Massey, said. “These organizations share Massey’s commitment to improve and save the lives of all Virginians, with an emphasis on the most vulnerable communities.”

Deadline for submission is 11:59 p.m. on January 18, 2024. A panel of Massey-affiliated community partners, recruited from 501(c)(3) organizations, will then review the applications for eligibility, completeness and merit of the proposed plan. Massey expects to announce up to five seed grant recipients on Feb. 13, 2024. Awards are dependent upon the merit of the project and strength of the application submitted.

The 2024-2025 Massey seed grant cycle prioritizes initiatives working:

  • to implement evidence-based interventions to eliminate cancer disparities and influence patients’ health outcomes
  • to develop sustainable cancer health promotion, prevention and survivorship education
  • to promote and amplify efforts targeting human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, tobacco cessation, screenings for colorectal, breast and lung cancer, prostate cancer awareness and cancer prevention related to obesity and/or physical exercise
  • to increase awareness of racial and ethnic disparities in clinical trial participation, moving beyond the description/definition of the problem and towards deploying evidence-based methods to engage diverse populations in research
  • to assist cancer survivors in increasing their self-efficacy and knowledge
  • to develop and launch policy-changing initiatives at the local and/or state level that will improve cancer outcomes for Virginians

“With these seed grants, Massey aims to foster community integration by exchanging ideas for real-world applications solving complex problems,” Sheppard said. “We also realize the importance of building trust by infusing the community’s voice and priorities into Massey’s infrastructure; it lays the foundation for continued partnerships that move beyond traditional episodic models.”

Eligible for a seed grant requires an organization:

  • address emerging ideas in performance improvement, capacity building and collaborative partnerships that address cancer health promotion, prevention, early detection and/or health equity
  • fully or partially serve Virginia residents who live within the 66 localities served by Massey, defined as the catchment area
  • be in the state of Virginia and be recognized by the IRS as a non-profit, being either a government agency, a recognized house of worship or an organization exempt from income tax with a 501(c)(3) public charity designation; including community and faith-based organizations, advocacy groups, coalitions, neighborhood associations or service providers
  • not be a political or lobbying organization
  • not discriminate based on age, sex, race, color, sexual orientation, national/ethnic origin or disability
  • be an organization that is not a previous Massey grant recipient; no one named in the proposal has managed a previous Massey community grant-funded project
  • agree to nominate one person from the organization to serve on the Massey Cancer Community Connection Coalition upon successful selection as a funded project

Massey will host a virtual technical assistance webinar to answer questions for organizations that plan to respond to the seed grant RFA. Interested applicants in rural communities with unstable broadband access may also schedule a technical assistance telephone appointment prior to submission. To inquire about these opportunities, groups may reach out to Massey’s COE team at [email protected] or (804) 628-0896.

The Community Grant Initiative awarded seven $5,000 seed grants in 2022. In 2023, Massey provided $5,000 seed grants to six organizations and $20,000 cultivate grants to two organizations over two years, as part of the initiative’s second funding level.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.