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Scholarships & Grants

Educational scholarships available to students and grant funding available to congregations and clergy. 

Ridley Foundation Scholarships

Through the great generosity and charity of Miss Roberta Ridley, an endowed trust was established many years ago to provide financial support for continuing education for qualified members of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Southern Virginia and for residents of Southampton County and the City of Franklin. The Ridley Foundation is managed by a Board of Trustees, members of which are appointed from churches in the Diocese. Board responsibilities include diligent oversight of the Ridley farm and timber operations through professional managers, careful investment and management of the funds contained in the Trust, and painstaking evaluation of applications for scholarship assistance and the subsequent awarding of funds for continuing education to qualified individuals. 


The Board of Trustees meets twice yearly. The Annual Meeting in July is to address any business before the Board and to consider the recommendations of the Scholarship Committee regarding new and/or continuing applications for scholarship assistance for the next academic year. The secondary meeting in February is held to verify continued qualification of first-semester grant recipients and to consider new applicants for the second semester. 


Students are identified in the following categories: Southampton County residents, Franklin, Virginia residents, children of Episcopal clergy, children of diocesan employees, and lay Episcopal residents of the Diocese. Students must be accepted at an accredited college or university and be pursuing a full-time degree program. Scholarships are available for rising freshmen and upper-class students. Although the guidelines focus on undergraduate education, there have been instances, when funds are available, where seminarians have received scholarships.


Those who apply/re-apply in the spring will be considered for the entire school year. Students who apply/re-apply in the winter will be considered for only the spring semester. No application covers a period longer than one year.


Over the years, many students have received Ridley scholarships throughout their college careers. Some families have more than one student receiving a scholarship. 

The Ridley Foundation Board of Trustees of the Diocese of Southern Virginia encourages the youth, their sponsors, and priests to request or download applications so that the Diocese might assist deserving young people in earning their undergraduate degrees. 

The forms below are fillable PDFs. Please download the form to your computer, open and complete it. Once complete, save the changes. 

Questions about Ridley Scholarship applications should be directed to: 

Charlie Pfeifer 

The C. Charles Vaché Scholarship Fund

The Bishop Vaché Scholarships provide funds to assist both low-income and minority undergraduate college students in the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia. First-year students as well as returning college students are welcome to apply. Scholarship awards range from $500-$2500 per academic year. 


Applications for 2023 

To be considered, complete application packets must be postmarked by July 7, 2023. 

Award notifications will be sent by August 4, 2023 and awards will be mailed by August 11, 2023. 

Episcopal Church Women Scholarships

The Episcopal Church Women’s Elise Holladay & Beverley D. Tucker Scholarships are available for college students.

Seeds of Hope Grants

Seeds of Hope grants are available to congregations and diocesan groups (e.g., affiliated institutions, commissions, and task forces) within the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia to support the development or expansion of social justice ministries sponsored by diocesan congregations and organizations as they relate to the Five Marks of Mission. The Five Marks of Mission are an important statement on mission which expresses the Anglican Communion’s common commitment to an understanding of God’s holistic/integral mission. The first mark of mission is really a summary of what all mission is about, because it is based on Jesus’ own summary of his mission. Instead of being just one of five distinct activities, it should be the key statement about everything we do in mission. 


The Five Marks of Mission: 

  • To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom; 
  • To teach baptize and nurture new believers; 
  • To respond to human need by loving service;
  • To transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation;
  • To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth. 

Seeds of Hope grants were the heart of our diocese’s Second Century “Feed My Sheep” campaign. Funds from this drive produce income that is available on an annual basis for social justice ministries proposed by parishes, diocesan departments and commissions. It is envisioned that this seed money will be in the form of matching grants when possible so as to act as a catalyst to help parishes and other diocesan-affiliated groups begin or expand their ministries that reflect the biblical call to care and advocate for the “widow, the orphan, and the stranger.” It also includes the opportunity for special grants for economic justice causes. 


Grants must support the development of new programs or support the expansion of such ministries that are already in action within congregations of the diocese. Requests that do not meet these criteria will not be considered. 

2023 Grant Announcement 

2023 grant applications must be postmarked no later than September 30, 2023. Awards will be announced and distributed no later than December 10, 2023. The grant must be used by July 31, 2024. Recipients must also submit a report, with pictures, if available, before applying for any subsequent grant, but no later than August 31, 2024, describing how the funds were allocated and the results of the project. 

Continuing education grants from the Diocese of Southern Virginia are available to assist lay people with funding for a broad range of continuing education opportunities. Funds are intended to assist lay leadership as they enhance their ministry education and develop skills needed to carry out the ministries to which they are called.  

Click for grant application 

It is desirable that each member of the clergy take a study leave, at time intervals consistent with the policy of the Diocese, for the purpose of his/her continuing education. Clergy are also encouraged to pursue other educational opportunities which do not necessarily require study leave. 


The primary purpose of the grants are to support programs that are essentially theological in emphasis. This does not, however, rule out programs designed for training in special ministries, or those which would in other ways enhance the effectiveness of an individual in his or her ministry. Though structured, disciplined programs are favored, unstructured, imaginative, or unconventional programs will be given due consideration. In short, we attempt to be as flexible as possible to best serve the various needs of the clergy in their efforts to continue their education. 


Applications are due by April 1 or October 1 each year. If the continuing education experience is to occur between November and April, the application will be considered in October. If the continuing education experience is to occur between May and October, the application will be considered in April. 


Grant information and application form 

Grant evaluation form 

Buildings and Grounds Grants from the Diocese of Southern Virginia will be awarded to assist churches in improving the facility’s safety and accessibility for worship and other church activities. Grants are made up to a 50% match with a maximum grant of $5,000. 


Click here for more information and application. 

Grants are available for small churches to assist in meeting compliance standards (i.e., background checks, credit checks, etc.) for the Policy for the Protection of Children, Youth, and Vulnerable Adults.


Small churches who have submitted their Congregational/Organizational Safe Church Annual Audit and have provided the Diocese with the preceding two calendar years’ financial audit reports are eligible to apply to apply for a Safeguarding Grant.


Click here for the application.

Communications Grants from the Diocese of Southern Virginia provide congregations within the diocese with funding for development of digital communications. Grant funds are intended to assist churches that do not currently make use of digital communications methods to create and implement a new digital communication program. Funds may also be used to assist churches with an existing digital communication program that have discovered needs within their congregation or community that can be addressed with a new digital communication initiative. 


Click here for more info and application form. 

The Helen S. and Charles G Patterson, Jr. Charitable Trust Foundation was established to, among other things, to “Provide financial support for the restoration, preservation, conservation and renovations of one or more Episcopal Churches in Virginia that are more than one-hundred years old.” Grant applications are received between Jan. 1 and June 30 each year.


Click here for more information and application.