The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was signed into law by President Biden on March 11, 2021, enacting one of the largest economic relief programs in U.S. history. Of the bill's $1.9 trillion, nearly $7 billion is designated for Virginia to help alleviate the pandemic's financial burden on residents and families; expand access to affordable health coverage; address students' learning loss and mental health challenges; provide assistance to small businesses and local governments, and more. About half of this historic investment – $4.3 billion – has been allocated directly to Virginia's counties and municipalities – those local communities where Virginia's philanthropic organizations focus the majority of their work. The other half of the funding will be allocated by the General Assembly at its special session scheduled to start August 2, 2021. In addition to funds specifically designated for states and local governments, there are expected to be funds allocated programmatically through federal agencies for which many community-based programs may be eligible.
ARPA's investment in the Commonwealth has the potential to reduce pandemic-related hardships experienced by many Virginians and begin to set the stage for a strong recovery that benefits all. At the Virginia Funders Network, we believe that philanthropy has an opportunity to work in partnership with local and state government officials, as well as with business and nonprofit leaders, to support the equitable and strategic allocation of these public dollars and to improve and expand the quality of community resources available to help Virginians thrive.
The purpose of this document is to help philanthropic leaders:
- ensure the allocation, distribution, and use of funds in the Commonwealth addresses top community needs
- advocate for accountability and help to track and document the use of these public resources
- leverage these public funds with foundation and corporate support and other private funds
- build stronger relationships with government at all levels across the Commonwealth, and
- enhance opportunities for all Virginians to thrive.