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Now in its fifth year, the Ujima Legacy Fund has harnessed the generosity of its 40 members to award two grants of $20,000 each to Higher Achievement and Mega Mentors. Created with the goal to increase the philanthropic impact of African American men in the Greater Richmond region, the Ujima Legacy Fund focuses its grant program on organizations working to empower youth through education-related programs. Cumulative grantmaking now totals $168,000 to 8 area nonprofits.
Higher Achievement closes the opportunity gap for underserved students through intensive after-school and summer programs that provide expanded learning, mentorship and opportunity. Scholars begin as rising 5th and 6th graders and remain in the program through 8th grade. Support from the Ujima Legacy Fund will allow Higher Achievement to grow in response to increased demand and high retention by scaling programming at the newest of their four sites – Binford and Wilder Middle Schools. It means that next school year more than 300 scholars will realize gains equivalent to an extra 48 days of learning in math and an extra 30 days in reading; and most importantly, they will be on track for college with the character, confidence and skills to succeed.
Mega Mentors was created in 2009 when then superintendent Dr. Marcus Newsome asked African American community leaders to be role models for students in Chesterfield County. While intentional about working with African American students, the volunteer-run program is designed to improve academic performance, increase graduation rates and reduce disciplinary issues for all middle and high school students who are underserved or disenfranchised. This year, 150 volunteer mentors work with 500 middle and high school students in 7 schools. Grant funding will support a part-time coordinator to help grow the program to serve more schools and students, provide greater consistency and build stronger partnerships and collaborations.
In 2013, Ujima Legacy Fund launched to make philanthropy engaging and accessible for African American men in the Richmond region. Ujima is named after the third day of Kwanzaa and means collective work and responsibility. One of three giving circles created in partnership with The Community Foundation, Ujima members pool contributions of $1,100 each to generate greater community impact. Together, they select at least one local nonprofit organization annually that they feel best demonstrates the ability to empower youth through education-related initiatives, with emphasis on underserved youth.
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(RICHMOND, VA)…Members of the Ujima Legacy Fund – a giving circle created by and for African American men – announced two new grants of $20,000 each to Richmond Cycling Corps and Excel To Excellence. They honored the recipients at a celebration at the Richmond Cycling Corps Bike Park on June 2, 2016.
The grant to Richmond Cycling Corps will provide employment opportunities for youth who participate in this unique program that uses the bicycle as a tool to help youth in public
housing break free from systemic poverty. While the program has proudly produced the only two inner-city youth cycling teams in the nation, it also offers its youth participants a good dose of tough love. Central to its mission, Richmond Cycling Corps provides a range of case management services to help these young people navigate life and learn personal accountability. This year, with support from Ujima Legacy Fund, 6 young people will be offered summer jobs as assistant coaches, bike patrol members and maintenance staff for a large scale community garden project.
The grant to Excel to Excellence will allow the program to expand from two to four schools in 2016, reaching an additional 60 students. Developed by Richmond native and former NFL player Michael Robinson, Team Excel is an ongoing academic program that encourages youth to excel in the classroom throughout the school year. The program uses a “reverse” fantasy football concept in which students are coached by professional athletes and community mentors. Each week, youth participants receive individual and team scores based on their grades, attendance and community service. Aimed at bridging the achievement gap in Henrico County, Team Excel is designed to help students increase their classroom performance, learn life skills and explore career opportunities.
“Richmond Cycling Corps and Team Excel represent two inspiring examples of what can happen when you believe and invest in the potential of young people,” said Immanuel Sutherland, leadership team member, of Ujima Legacy Fund. “The members of the Ujima Legacy Fund are proud to make a collective investment that will help these organizations continue to grow and innovate and to provide young people from our communities with life-changing opportunities that will help them achieve in school and in life.”
In 2013, The Ujima Legacy Fund was launched as a way to make philanthropy engaging and accessible for African American men in the Richmond region. Ujima is named after the third day of Kwanzaa and means collective work and responsibility. One of three giving circles created in partnership with The Community Foundation, Ujima members pool contributions of $1,100 each to generate greater community impact. Together, they select at least one local nonprofit organization annually that they feel best demonstrates the ability to empower youth through education-related initiatives, with a particular emphasis on underserved youth. Since inception, membership has grown to 43 men and has awarded a total of $128,000 to six organizations.
Members of the Ujima Legacy Fund – a giving circle created by and for African American men – announce two new grants of $20,000 each to The Literacy Lab and FRIENDS Association for Children. They will honor the recipients at a celebration on December 19th at the 1717 Innovation Center located at 1717 E. Cary Street.
The grant to The Literacy Lab will fund the first full school year (2019-20) of its Leading Men Fellowship in Richmond. The Fellowship recruits, trains and coaches local young men of color to serve as pre-K literacy tutors in high-need classrooms.
With seed funding from the mayor’s office, The Literacy Lab launched the Leading Men Fellowship in Richmond in Spring 2019. Fellows become full-time literacy tutors in pre-K classrooms across Richmond, providing daily research-based and evidence-proven interventions to 75 children who are not on track to be ready for Kindergarten. Each Fellow is embedded in a single pre-K classroom for the entire school year to implement a multi-tiered instructional strategy by providing one-on-one, small group and whole group literacy interventions. Before the school year, Fellows attend a 40-hour summer training institute led by Early Literacy Coaches with extensive experience in early childhood literacy. They also receive an additional 50 hours of professional development throughout the year along with ongoing coaching and classroom observation.
The grant to FRIENDS Association for Children (FRIENDS) will provide new kitchen appliances so the organization can continue serving meals in their centers for the next decade, ensuring that hunger is never a barrier to learning.
FRIENDS operates nearly 250 days per year, serving 3 meals to nearly 200 students each day, resulting in over 130,000 meals per year. Currently, the appliances at both centers are decades old and well beyond their life expectancy. Funds will be used to replace and upgrade equipment in the kitchens with high quality, energy-efficient, industrial kitchen appliances that will increase meal service efficiency, reduce kitchen operating costs and eliminate the risk of catastrophic failure. Additionally, the grant allows FRIENDS time to implement a life-cycle plan that includes 5, 10, and 15-year replacement objectives, along with the opportunity to secure funding for future upgrades.
Derrick Johnson, President of Ujima said, “These two organizations are great examples of the kind of nonprofits Ujima was created to support. Each in different ways exists to create a better world for the populations they serve. The men of Ujima are proud to fund projects that will positively impact underserved youth.”
In 2013, The Ujima Legacy Fund was launched to make philanthropy engaging and accessible for African American men in the Richmond region. Ujima is named after the third day of Kwanzaa and means collective work and responsibility. One of three giving circles created in partnership with the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond, Ujima members pool contributions of $1,100 each to generate greater community impact. Together, they select at least one local nonprofit organization annually that they feel best demonstrates the ability to empower youth through education-related initiatives, with an emphasis on underserved youth. Since inception, membership has grown to 50 men and has awarded a total of $248,000 to 12 organizations.
Members of the Ujima Legacy Fund – a giving circle created by and for African American men – announced two new grants of $20,000 each to Children’s Home Society of Virginia and Partnership for the Future. The recipients were honored at a celebration held on June 12, 2018 at the 1717 Innovation Center located at 1717 E. Cary Street.
Jadien Jones Photography
The grant to Children’s Home Society of Virginia will support The Possibilities Project (TPP), a collaborative endeavor between Children’s Home Society (CHS) and the Better Housing Coalition (BHC) to address the needs of Richmond area youth aging out of foster care. By using trauma informed best practices, TPP provides: 1) safe, stable housing; 2) transportation; 3) employment and job/vocational training; 4) access to education; and 5) a variety of wrap-around services that help participants acquire the knowledge, skills and competencies needed to become self-sufficient adults, maintain healthy lifestyles, and successfully pursue their dreams. This is an innovative program that is having a transformational impact in the lives of youth aging out of foster care in our region.
The grant to Partnership for the Future (PFF) will support the PFF Institute, a week-long program which prepares rising sophomore high school students for successful internships and college by building their business and expected etiquette skills. Through a structured curriculum hosted by Randolph-Macon College, PFF students develop basic employment and communication skills for their summer internships. Time management, conflict resolution, business ethics, money management, and team building are some of the topics covered during the program. Students also participate in an intensive Microsoft Office training program that gives them the skills many employers will require when they participate in their internships the following three summers. During the PFF Institute week, the students also become familiar with the expectations future college peers, professors, and employers will have of both their business savvy and their social expertise.
“Children’s Home Society and Partnership for the Future are two inspiring examples of what can happen when you believe and invest in the potential of young people,” said Immanuel Sutherland, leadership team member, of Ujima Legacy Fund. “The members of the Ujima Legacy Fund are proud to make a collective investment that will help these organizations continue to grow and to provide young people from our communities with life-changing opportunities that will help them achieve in life.”
Learn more about the Ujima Legacy Fund
The Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund, created by the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond and the Emergency Management Alliance of Central Virginia, is a regional, coordinated campaign that has raised more than $4.6 million to support organizations providing and coordinating response and recovery activities during this crisis. The fund launched with contributions from local foundations and corporations but has found new momentum in recent weeks as individuals, small and large businesses, and faith congregations have joined the effort.
United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg, which is managing online donations for the fund, has committed to matching up to $100,000 in donations made through their website – a milestone that was reached on Tuesday, April 28.
“I am thankful for all of the donors who helped us meet the $100,000 milestone,” said James Taylor, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg. “However, there is still a lot more work to be done. I encourage everyone to help us keep momentum going.”
“Demonstrated by a high level of partnership, this fund was built upon the belief that we can do more good when we come together.” said Sherrie Armstrong, CEO of the Community Foundation. “Whether its Maggie Walker Governor’s School students offering donation-based reading groups and trivia games to elementary students, or the Flying Squirrels sharing a portion of money raised from their 500 Bases of Love event, we see our community generously stepping up to help each other during this critical time.”
Virginia Green Lawn Care has contributed $5,000 to the COVID-19 Response Fund to spread their support to organizations across the region. On Wednesday, they are launching a social media campaign asking people to “Share the Love” by creating a heart on their lawn out of toys, gardening tools, pets or people – anything they might have on hand. For every picture posted and tagged with #VirginiaGreen and #ShareTheLove, the company will donate an additional $10 up to $1,000.
“We at Virginia Green have been fortunate to safely continue our work from home and from our trucks. This has allowed us to not only serve our customers and keep our team working, but also to give back to our community,” said Gil Grattan, President of Virginia Green Lawn Care. “We are proud to support the COVID-19 Response Fund, combining our gift with others to help organizations helping our neighbors who are most impacted right now.”
An advisory committee from the philanthropic, business and public sectors are reviewing and distributing grants from the COVID-19 Response Fund on a rolling basis. Initially focused on emergency response, the fund previously announced $1.1 million in a first round of grants to organizations helping to mitigate the health impacts of the pandemic, with special focus on food access, healthcare, shelter and support for seniors.
With a second round of grants awarded this week, total grantmaking from the fund now exceeds $2 million to 52 organizations and localities in the Central Virginia region. The latest grants are helping to expand food distribution to more rural jurisdictions and address increased need for mental health services and housing support.
To view a full list of grants awarded to date, click here. To learn more about the fund or to donate, go to www.togetheroneregion.org.
The Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund continues to grow with an outpouring of support from individuals and businesses from across the region, including contributions of stimulus checks and from individuals who have fought COVID-19 themselves. Notably, the fund received a significant boost through recent gifts from two national companies with a local presence – The Humana Foundation and Facebook.
Providing a generous gift of $500,000, The Humana Foundation has designated Richmond as one of its 11 Bold Goal communities across the country. Through this program, they have adopted a population health strategy to improve the health of local residents by investing in programs that address food insecurity and social isolation among seniors – two areas of focus for the Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund.
“The Humana Foundation understands the far-reaching strain the pandemic has placed on many organizations working on the frontlines to provide healthcare, food and employment for those disproportionality affected by the COVID-19 health crisis, and our aim is to remove barriers and help them respond, recover and rebuild,” said Walter D. Woods, Chief Executive Officer of The Humana Foundation. “We are supporting the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond because of the role they play in helping Central Virginia community organizations and public agencies assist people most affected by COVID-19.”
Facebook awarded $100,000 to the COVID-19 Response Fund as part of its overall response to the pandemic. This is in addition to their $250,000 investment in the RVA Small Business Relief Fund, established in partnership with Chamber RVA, and a grant of $280,000 to Henrico County Public Schools through the Henrico Education Foundation. Facebook has been part of the greater Richmond community since breaking ground on their data center in 2017.
"Henrico is our home, and we are invested in the long-term vitality of the community,” said Amber Tillman, Community Development Regional Manager, Facebook. “We are happy to be a part of the Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund and to help provide resources to those who need it most during this difficult time."
As a demonstration of what a community can do when it comes together, the Fund has now raised in excess of $5.5 million dollars. Since its launch in mid-March, it has also distributed $2.5 million in grants to approximately 80 local nonprofit organizations and government agencies. An advisory committee from the philanthropic, business and public sectors are reviewing and distributing grants on a rolling basis.
Established in partnership between the Community Foundation, the Emergency Management Alliance of Central Virginia and Plan RVA, the fund was created with the dynamic nature of disaster situations in mind and, therefore, was designed to remain flexible to changing needs. Early phase grants from the COVID-19 Response Fund focused on emergency response strategies to ensure the health and safety of our community. However, as the region begins to reopen, the fund is expanding its scope to include longer term recovery, primarily through grants to organizations providing eviction prevention remedies, rental assistance and employment support services.
“While the fund will continue to accept emergency requests related to food and health care, we are beginning to look at the longer term, economic impact on individuals and families,” said Scott Blackwell, Chief Community Engagement Officer for the Community Foundation. “Philanthropy often plays a significant role in in lifting up people who face barriers to financial stability, but the pandemic has only amplified and exacerbated the need. Through partnerships with contributors like The Humana Foundation and Facebook’s Henrico Data Center, we are in a stronger position to help residents in need remain in their homes and return to work.”
While challenges continue and new needs emerge, the Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund continues to demonstrate a deep commitment from all sectors to remain attentive, collaborative and solution oriented. The fund is anticipated to continue providing support to local organizations for several more months, or until funds are depleted.
Individual online donations to the fund are processed through United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg. United Way also provided $100,000 in funds to encourage online donations, a milestone that was reached last month.
“Our region’s needs are increasing, but so is the community’s response,” said James Taylor, President & CEO of United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg. “I am glad to see the Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund expand to meet a broader range of needs and am grateful for the additional support from The Humana Foundation and Facebook’s Henrico Data Center.”
This volunteer led organization has increased fundraising and strategic efforts in recent years and are now awarding two $100,000 grants each year, investing a cumulative $1 million in five years.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to be a grant recipient of Impact 100, and to work with the women that are part of the organization,” said Tanya Gonzalez representing 2016 grant recipient, the Sacred Heart Center. “A year ago, in an amazing act of solidarity, we received the infusion of funds to begin our immigration work. Because of the funding, we are now providing access to pro bono immigration legal services for families where there previously was none in Richmond. In addition to that, we have developed a deep partnership with the women of Impact 100, who are now engaged in the issue, willing to learn, and to be advocates for the families that we serve. That partnership extends far beyond the funding, and we are very grateful.”
Impact 100 Richmond isn’t just about writing the check and raising the grant funds. Throughout the giving season, the organization hosts member networking events, community learning opportunities and members are encouraged to get involved in the grant proposal process with the participating non-profits. “Most Impact 100 members join because they want to be a part of transforming Richmond’s community, said Impact 100 Chair, Jill Lemon. “Most of our members stay because they recognize a transformation in themselves. From day one to present, my membership experience has provided me with so much more than I could have expected for my financial investment. Education, camaraderie, connection, self-discovery, confidence and leadership skills are just a few of the unexpected benefits of being an Impact 100 member. Being a part of Impact 100 has transformed my perspective, my views and shifted my estimation of just how powerful a group of smart, committed women can be when given an opportunity to belong.”
Although Impact 100 Richmond is led by a member-volunteer Board, it relies on a partnership with the Community Foundation that provides administrative support and thought leadership. “Impact 100 is an inspiring example of what happens when passionate people unite for a common purpose,” said Sherrie Armstrong, CEO of the Community Foundation. “As a champion for collective philanthropy, the Community Foundation applauds these dedicated women for growing and sustaining a movement that allows nonprofits to dream big and creates a ripple effect of good throughout the region.”
In May 2018, Impact 100 Richmond concluded its ninth season, awarding two $100,000 grants to Conexus and ChildSavers for their work with juvenile vision care and mental health services, respectively. Following an 18-month strategic planning process, the Impact 100 leadership team will kick-off milestone Year 10 with a new membership structure and additional grant program. At the Big Give event, Incoming Chair, Carol Anne LaJoie, announced a new “Neighborhood Catalyst Grant” initiative aimed at awarding small increment “seed” funds to nonprofits who are actively supporting a neighborhood selected by the Impact 100 members.
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