The city of Norfolk, Virginia is host to several active philanthropic organizations, including the Aimee and Frank Batten, Jr. Foundation. This is the charitable foundation of Landmark Media Enterprises CEO Frank Batten, Jr., who created a private family foundation with his wife back in 1998. Since this foundation is not overly accessible or transparent for local grantseekers, here are a few important things to know about the couple’s local giving.
A preference for Christian causes
The Batten family has strong Christian leanings, and their philanthropy reflects that. The bulk of Batten Foundation grants go to Christian schools and programs rooted in Bible teachings. For example, Norfolk Christian Schools and Grace Bible Church are recent grantees of the foundation.
To a lesser extent and on a more occasional basis, the foundation also considers giving to support well-established human services, education, and arts and culture programs.
Grants stay local
Frank Batten, Jr.’s company is based in Norfolk, and he has deep roots in the region. In the early 1990s, he was the president and publisher of a daily Norfolk newspaper called The Virginian Pilot, and his MBA is from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.
He has also served as president of the Landmark Foundation, which supports education, the environment and human services in the Norfolk area. He has been heavily involved with local boards over the years, including those of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges and the University of Virginia’s Batten School Foundation. Most of the family’s grantmaking occurs in the state of Virginia, especially in and around Norfolk.
Unsolicited requests unwelcome
Despite the foundation’s well-defined goals and local focus, this is still a challenging grantmaker to get to know without a personal affiliation with the family. The foundation has no website, does not publicly share details about its grantmaking procedures and is not open to receiving unsolicited requests.
Yet it’s still worth getting familiar with the Aimee and Frank Batten, Jr. Foundation because of its large local grant commitments and potential for future expansion. In recent years, it has been awarding between $3 million and $7 million in annual grants. For groups serving Norfolk, this funder is a good one to keep an eye on, and doubly so for organizations with a Christian affiliation.