CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va (CBS19 NEWS) -- Community Climate Collaborative, or C3, is one of 17 Charlottesville-area groups to receive a Sentara Cares grant.

Its grant is $15,000, which is part of the $5 million that will be distributed among 97 groups in Virginia and North Carolina.

"As we're working toward climate solutions, we know that underserved communities are the first to feel the impacts of climate change and are the least to have the access to the solutions," C3 Executive Director Susan Kruse said.

She said their mission has a direct correlation with community health and she's grateful Sentara recognizes that.

With the grant money, C3 plans "to hire climate ambassadors in neighborhoods where folks are feeling the impacts of high housing costs, high transportation costs, and using those ambassadors in partnership to help us build climate solutions and reach out to their neighbors to hear what people's concerns are and find out how we can help."

Sentara Martha Jefferson President Rita Bunch said she's grateful to be a part of the local impact.

"It's really why we're all here. To be that servant leader and kind of be the hands and feet out there to our community. And, that's really what a lot of these grants are doing," Bunch said.