Held on November 6, the first-ever regional Civic Impact summit brought together people from all sectors of our civic ecosystem – including individuals from education, corporate, nonprofit, faith-based and community groups – for a robust and interactive day celebrating all the ways people and institutions get involved and make a difference in our region. Here are a few key photos and quotes from this collaborative and impactful event.
"Listen with the same passion that you want to be heard. We can all get really fired up on something that we believe in, and it’s great to have a strong opinion and a passion, but when that makes you deaf to the strong opinion, passion or deeply held belief of the other person, then that is not a conversation – friends, that’s a monologue."
— Dr. Paula Pando, President of Reynolds Community College
"Even in the most rigged situations, even in the most zero-sum-seeming, fixed, unequal context, it is entirely possible to generate brand new power out of thin air through the magic act of organizing. Organizing generates power where it did not previously exist. ...
"So for those of us who are gathered here, at a gathering that’s not called the 'Volunteerism and Service Summit,' but the 'Civic Impact Summit,' it behooves us to get comfortable learning the language of power and thinking about how each of us is going to practice power, how each of us is going to work against the hoarding and concentration of power, work against narratives of self-justification, and work toward reminding more and more folks of their capacity to generate brand new power out of thin air through that magic act of organizing."
— Eric Liu, CEO of Citizen University
"Hopefully when you look at [The Guiding Principles], you know these values and you believe in these values – but we felt it was important to call them out because pausing, taking note and reflecting about how we work together and how we can aspire to a higher standard is really important. When we exhibit these qualities, we can more meaningfully affect change and we can inspire collaborative action among citizens and institutions. These are attributes that we can leverage to make Richmond a better place to live."
— Kelley McCall, Vice President of Leadership, Community and Resource Development at ChamberRVA
"It’s really important that we own up to and claim our mistakes. We all make mistakes, don’t we? But it’s also really important that we move on, that we push forward to keep making that good change in this community, right? As we learn about those mistakes that we’ve made, remember there’s a community in this room and beyond that can help to guide us on how to do this work well if we lean on each other. We are still tasked with doing this good work, and it takes every single one of us individually and collectively."
— Tiffany Terry, Director of Community Engagement at CARITAS
"There’s a lot of untapped innovation and ideas that we have in Richmond, Virginia, because there’s so many of us who don’t feel comfortable about speaking our truth authentically. I think, for some, it’s because we haven’t used our power in the right way, and I think for us now – now that we understand we all have [power] and we can be comfortable talking about it – let’s explore how to communicate with one another and how to share power and use it in the most effective way."
— Albert R. Walker III, Director For Health Equity & Community Building at Richmond Memorial Health Foundation
"We are more than the sum of our parts, and when you get people together from different walks of life, different sectors, and you break bread with them, it breaks down walls. You start to see … maybe these invisible lines on the map that separate us, maybe they’re not so powerful after all."
— Kevin Wilson, Director of Community Engagement at Dominion Payroll
"We are the tenders of each one of the relationships that we have in this room, of our organizations and our neighborhoods, and we all have the control to build our paths forward. Today was about laying the groundwork for each one of us to move a little bit farther down the line. We all want action – we want more out of this world and out of this life, and we want us all to be able to cultivate and build that community of active and engaged people. I want to aim not just for any action, but informed action.
"We’ve been talking in our office a lot about this idea: What is a civic IQ? How does a community have a civic IQ and better understand our community’s issues, so that when we choose to take action – whether it’s with our time, or ideas, or our dollar – we know how, we know why and we understand the context of the world that we’re in? What kind of conversations will you have with your colleagues, your neighbors, your families? What kind of action do you want to take?"
— Vanessa Diamond, Sr. Vice President of Civic Innovations with the Community Foundation
"[Christina Mastroianni] and the team all curated a wonderful slate of speakers and I’m still on a civic high from Eric’s civic sermon. I was also impressed with the table seat assignments. To be honest, I initially did not want an assigned seat, but I made new friends and was better off for it."
— Civic Impact Summit Attendee
"I thought the summit went really well and Eric Liu was an amazing communicator as well as empowerer for each of us professionally and personally."
— Civic Impact Summit Attendee