The Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund (TROF) provides performance-based monetary grants and loans to localities in Virginia’s tobacco-producing regions (34 counties and six cities in southern and southwestern Virginia as defined by the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission) to assist in the creation of new jobs and investments, whether through new business attraction or existing business expansion. These grants and loans are awarded at the Commission’s discretion.

The TROF program is intended to support the goal of the Commission to revitalize and diversify the economies of tobacco-dependent regions and communities. This goal is measured by job creation, workforce participation rate, wealth, diversity of economy, and taxable assets.

Contacts

Stacey Richardson
Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission

Eligibility

Eligible projects must:

  • Locate within the Tobacco Region.
  • Align with the Commission’s Strategic Plan and the objectives and outcomes identified for the TROF program.
  • Be submitted by the locality where the project will be located.
  • Create jobs and invest capital in amounts sufficient that the calculated award is at least $10,000.
  • Have matching funds from non-Commission sources committed to the project and evidence thereof is satisfactory to the Executive Director.

TROF grants and loans are determined by a multi-factor formula and have the following conditions:

  • The Commission determines grant amounts based on local unemployment rates, prevailing wage rates, capital investment levels, industry type, and other factors determined by the Commission.
  • A loan of up to or equal to the grant amount may also be requested. Loans are offered at 0% annual interest for a term of up to 10 years.
  • A performance agreement is required for all grants and loans, and repayment of all or part of grant funds is required if performance is not met.
  • The standard performance period is three years.
  • An acknowledgement of the Commission must appear in any publication, announcement, or significant event related to the project. 

Process

  • A business looking to locate or expand its operations within a Virginia Tobacco Region locality works with the local economic development office or governing body to apply for a TROF grant. The Commission only accepts TROF grant applications from governing bodies, local governments, or their controlled affiliates within the Tobacco Commission Region.
  • The locality contacts the Commission regarding the proposed TROF grant by making an application to the Commission for TROF Grants. Applications are submitted online at any time in the form set forth by the Commission, and contain such information as the Commission may request, including but not limited to:
    • Name and contact information of the applicant
    • Name and contact information of the private entity beneficiary
    • Name of the locality in which the private entity beneficiary is (or is to be) located
    • Number of new and/or saved jobs
    • Average annual wage of new and/or saved jobs
    • Amount of private capital investment in taxable assets
    • North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code of the private entity beneficiary (if applicable)
    • Specific dollar amount requested and an indication as to whether a loan is also being requested in addition to grant funds

FAQ

Who can apply for Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission funds?  

Per the Virginia Constitution, the Commission’s public funds may only be granted or loaned to governmental entities (e.g., local governments) or IRS-designated nonprofits. Funds will not be awarded directly to for-profit or unincorporated entities.

Can funds be requested that will benefit a for-profit? 

Requests that will ultimately benefit a for-profit entity must be submitted by an eligible applicant and must commit to achieving measurable public benefits such as new job creation and taxable private capital investment.

Are matching funds required? 

Only if disbursement is requested upfront.  If in arrears, then TROF does not require this (though other programs do).

How often are funds awarded?  

TROF funds can be approved throughout the year with an approximate 72-hour approval process.

What is the process once funds are approved? 

Once all agreements are signed and returned to the Commission's office with a signed Virginia W-9 by the locality, the locality can request disbursement via email or letter. The Commission will begin monitoring the Company's performance and requires repayment of full or pro-rated grant amount if performance agreement is not met.

How long does a company have to complete the project? 

Commission funds are typically granted for a period of up to three years, and loans for periods up to 20 years. Extensions beyond three years are possible for grants that have faced unforeseen delays but demonstrate substantial progress, subject to necessary approval by the Commission.