2021 was a busy year for giving circles at the Community Foundation. These collective giving programs bring donors together around common interests and, each year, members pool their resources and make grant decisions together.
The Community Foundation supports four local giving circles: ouRVA Collective, SisterFund, Ujima Legacy Fund and Impact 100 Richmond. In total, the circles awarded 13 grants in 2021, totaling $255,000 and had a total of 271 members across all circles. To learn more about membership or grant guidelines, please click on giving circle name below. Here are some highlights from this past year:
ouRVA Collective was launched in June of 2021 to inspire the next generation of philanthropists to make an impact in the Richmond community through education, volunteerism, community building, and collective giving. The group was able to successfully recruit 40 members and provide a $10,000 grant in October. The membership chose Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond as their first recipient. Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond collaborates with all entities critical to ensuring our region has a cohesive, sustainable, and high-quality early childcare system.
SisterFund is a grassroots donor education and grantmaking initiative that unites African American women's ideas and action through philanthropy. Grants are focused on nonprofits that help African American women and girls build a positive future through gains in education, workforce, leadership development, and health. The group supported two grant recipients in 2021: Virginia Repertory Theatre and Black Girls RUN!. Virginia Repertory Theatre received $25,000 to support a 6-week summer theatre arts camp experience and year-long mentorship program for 20 African American girls from low socioeconomic status families in Richmond Public Title I Schools. A $20,000 grant to Black Girls RUN! will fund a 10-week training program that prepares African American women ages 35 to 55 to run their first 5K or a half marathon. Since 2016, SisterFund has granted $260,000 to 11 community organizations.
In late December, Ujima Legacy Fund, a forum of civic-minded African American men, held a virtual grant celebration to honor three organizations who empower underserved youth through education-related initiatives. Grants of $20,000 each went to Assisting Families of Inmates, Broken Men Foundation and Virginia Community Voice. The grant to Assisting Families of Inmates will support the new MAC Boys Retreat program designed for local elementary school students impacted by the incarceration of a parent or caregiver. Support going to the Broken Men Foundation will be used to initiate a new program called Coach Them Up and Over, which will create extensive youth development experiences for at-risk boys by pairing them with positive, supportive mentors from the community. The grant to Virginia Community Voice will help create educational programs so young people are empowered to reach their fullest potential, by putting youth at the center of designing those programs.
Since inception, Ujima Legacy Fund has awarded a total of $388,000 to 18 organizations.
Impact 100 Richmond is a local women's philanthropy group. In response to the challenges Richmond’s nonprofits have been facing during the pandemic and to better serve the community, the giving circle modified their 2021 grants process from strictly transformational grants to unrestricted operational grants. During their annual “Big Give” event in May, the Impact 100 members chose REAL LIFE and Urban Hope to each receive $50,000.
The three runners up – Blue Sky Fund, Housing Families First and Partnership for the Future also received $5,000 grants.
In 2018, the group launched a place-based Neighborhood Catalyst Grant, which offers a $25,000 annual investment for four years, in one Richmond neighborhood selected by the membership. The current recipient is the Greater Fulton Neighborhood, and the 2021 grant was split between Innovate Fulton ($9,000) and Fulton Montessori School ($16,000). Innovate Fulton will use their grant to create a Fulton-based Maker’s Market, further develop the Launch Fulton entrepreneurial support program, and provide seed money for the second neighborhood-wide Fulton Fest. Fulton Montessori School will use the grant to build out their toddler room and program.
Impact 100 Richmond was recognized this year by Philanos for their Neighborhood Catalyst Grant model. Since 2009, Impact 100 Richmond has awarded more than $1.8 million to 24 local nonprofits by targeting high-impact projects aimed at improving the lives of local families.