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Resources for Speech & Debate Coaches

Thank you to the dedicated coaches at our partner schools! We know coaching is a labor of love and we are so thankful for you.

Team Grants

Grants are designed to create and elevate speech and debate teams in our region’s middle and high schools. Through sponsorship grants, teams can supplement existing fundraising efforts to participate in more competitions. Grant funding is available to schools in Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico, Petersburg, and the City of Richmond.

Grant funding is generally awarded for the following:

  • Supplies and materials
  • Membership fees to speech and debate leagues/associations
  • Entry fees for competitions
  • Travel and meals
  • Other items with pre-approval

Applications for team grants are accepted on a rolling basis based on the availability of funding.

Application Requirements

To be considered for a grant award, the following items are required:

  • Submit a grant application.
  • Provide a student roster and update as students add/drop.
  • Completed media release for all participating students and coach(es) to be emailed or shared with sandra(at)

To maintain eligibility to receive grant funding, teams are required to submit an end-of-year report, due in May.

Professional Development

With help from our partners, we work to remove any financial obstacles that might prevent coaches from being able to take advantage of these and other resources.

Support can take many different forms, including sponsoring coaches to attend conferences and sponsoring and/or hosting conferences and workshops.

We have proudly partnered with the National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA) and the Virginia Association of Forensics, Theater, and Debate Coaches (VAFTDC) to support professional development and networking opportunities. 

“RSFDI and the Forum have opened doors we didn’t even know were available. My team has been given opportunities to grow and challenge themselves every year. Thanks to the initiative my speakers have experienced competitions, travel, events, and comradery that otherwise would simply be impossible. To see strength and confidence build in a young person is a coach’s dream.”

Jessica Sanchez, Speech Coach, James River High

Contact Us

Lucretia Anderson

Speech & Debate Initiative Manager


Sandra Wheeler

Director of Student Programs


Mailing Address

110 South 15th Street, Suite B, Richmond, VA 23219

Support Speech & Debate

With your support, we can make speech & debate programs accessible to all Richmond region students. 

Your generous contribution will help cover tournament entry fees and travel expenses, train coaches and judges, outfit students with professional clothing, support the organization of local tournaments, and much more.

110 South 15th Street
Suite B
Richmond, VA 23219

Office: (804) 330-3993
Office Hours: 9am – 5pm
Program Day: 10am – noon

Presenting powerful voices so Richmond can learn. Empowering local voices so Richmond can lead.

The Richmond Forum and its partners are proud to support the Richmond Forum Speech & Debate Initiative, a community initiative to bring speech & debate programs to all of our region’s public schools.

The Richmond Forum is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational organization.

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