The Elizabeth Kates Foundation

Water us with knowledge and watch us grow

  • Variety of plants at the greenhouse
  • Plants from the sale
  • Getting Ready for the Sale

The Elizabeth Kates Foundation is a small, all-volunteer organization that has helped thousands of women incarcerated in state prisons in Virginia improve their chances of a successful return to the community. With our focus on education, we provide financial support for on-site community college courses, correspondence courses, and vocational courses.

The Kates Foundation is an efficient provider of rehabilitative services to women incarcerated in Virginia and has positively impacted the lives of these women, their families, and the communities to which they will be returning.

This non-profit 501(c)(3) organization offers incarcerated women a chance to be better and stronger than when they arrived.

Won’t you take the opportunity to become a part of this honorable effort and help continue this legacy?

Click below to witness the effects of The Elizabeth Kates Foundation

Make a Donation today

The Elizabeth Kates Foundation, Inc is a 501(c)(3) charity. Donations are tax deductible.

These are just some of the places where your donations go.

The Foundation supports other projects that are approved by the Board. These have included:

  • a speaker system for the space used as the auditorium where program graduations take place
  • a book club for GED students and classroom materials to help GED students
  • computers and televisions for educational purposes
  • books for children whose mothers were participating in a recorded audio reading program
  • art programs and other special projects


Kates Day

On a smaller scale, the prison has become known for horticulture. A greenhouse, stocked with everything from large tropical plants to tiny regional seedlings and restroom doors labeled “pistils” and “stamen,” is ground zero for Kates Day, named for the prison’s first warden. Entering its 78th year, the Kates Day plant sale is held the first Wednesday of May with profits going toward scholarships for inmates pursuing college and nonacademic degrees while being incarcerated, funded by The Elizabeth Kates Foundation. Visitors buy all manner of foliage nurtured by inmates, who can earn certifications in landscaping, nursery care and other career fields through the horticulture program.

Kates Scholars

The Foundation provides the funding for on-site college classes and correspondence college courses. Those interested apply and are subject to educational criteria to qualify. The Foundation provides the course materials, including textbooks and class supplies. The Commercial Food and Horticulture programs receive financial support from The Foundation. These vocational programs provide the women with valuable workplace skills. In addition, through a dual enrollment program, the Kates Foundation provides funds to allow students to obtain certification and college credits upon successful completion of the Commercial Foods program.

Kates Readers

Kates Readers functions as a book club format for those inmates working on achieving their GED. Each in the group is given a copy of the book to read independently after the book is introduced, then comes to the group to express ideas. The Foundation purchases the books and Foundation volunteers lead the discussion.

Kates Kloset

Through the generous donations of community organizations and individuals, The Foundation provides clothes appropriate for a workplace, shoes, coats, purses, and accessories so that the ladies returning to the community will be ready for employment.

Read More about Kates Programs

A Chance to Become