The Virginia Institute of Government was established in 1994 by the Virginia General Assembly to increase the training, technical services and information resources available to the Commonwealth's local governments.
Although the Institute operates with a small permanent staff, its capabilities are enhanced by its affiliation with the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia. John Thomas, the Center’s director, also serves as the Institute’s director, and the Institute draws regularly on the Center’s intellectual and technological expertise to develop and deliver services.
Local governments that join the Institute make annual contributions based on population. The Institute began with 60 members and now has a membership roster of over 200 localities.