News & Event
RICHMOND, VA – In partnership with The Community Foundation, SisterFund announces that its second annual grant to empower African American women and girls will be awarded to Partnership for the Future. The grant of $20,000 will be used to provide training, enrichment and mentoring for 179 high school girls and college women working to attain their college degrees.
Partnership for the Future provides highly-motivated local high school students from challenging circumstances with the tools and experiences necessary to attain a college degree. In recent years, the program has expanded from real world training and college prep activities while in high school – such as SAT courses, college tours, cultural experiences and paid internships – to include mentoring and support once students enter college. Most participants are from low-income families and are often first to attend college. Partnership for the Future is designed to help young people unlock their full potential by giving them the road map and support to be successful.
“Our membership was particularly impressed by the resourcefulness and collaboration demonstrated by Partnership for the Future,” said Cynthia Newbille, President of the SisterFund. “The program has achieved remarkable results with the support of its dedicated staff, 70 organizational partnerships and a cadre of 200 loyal volunteers. Since 2007, Partnership for the Future has a 100% matriculation rate and 86% of its students have graduated within 6 years or are persisting through college.”
SisterFund represents the collective wisdom, service and philanthropy of 26 African American women leaders who believe they can make a greater difference together than they can alone. While many of its members have chosen professions in service to their community, the giving circle is an opportunity to come together to broaden their collective awareness about issues affecting African American women and girls and to support nonprofits serving this population through education, workforce and leadership development.
Learn more about SisterFund, its membership and grant program by visiting www.sisterfundrva.org or call The Community Foundation at (804) 330-7400.
In their fourth year of awarding grants to local nonprofits that focus programming on African-American women and girls, in partnership with the Community Foundation, SisterFund announces two awards of $20,000 each, granted to Sport Backers and Assisting Families of Inmates.
SPORTS BACKERS: Fitness Warriors trains African-American women to be Warriors for health equity and teaches them to lead group fitness classes in their communities. Their mission is to inspire people from all corners of the community to live actively. During a one-year timeframe, the organization has impacted 1,964 individuals who engaged in their Fitness Warriors classes for the first time and 87% continue their healthy lifestyle because of their fitness instructors.
ASSISTING FAMILIES OF INMATES: Milk & Cookies Children's Program works to reduce trauma among children and their adult, female caregivers. Their mission is to provide opportunities for regular and meaningful visitation, referrals to community resources, and vital services that help families cope with incarceration and prepare for release and reunification. One hundred percent of their participants are African-American.
“We were so impressed by all of the submissions we received this year. Focusing on smaller grants allowed us to fund two worthy nonprofits and it also allowed us an opportunity to learn about so many organizations working in our focused area, but may not have had the capacity to administer a large grant at this time,” said Evette Roots, Chair of SisterFund. “Our plan is to work with some of these nonprofits to offer guidance to prepare them for future grant opportunities with our giving circle."
SisterFund represents the collective wisdom, service and philanthropy of 68 African-American women leaders who believe they can significantly make an impact on our community by working together. While many of its members have professions of service in our community, the giving circle is an opportunity to come together to broaden their collective desire to improve issues affecting African-American women and girls and to support nonprofits serving this population through education, workforce and leadership development.
Learn more about SisterFund, its membership and grant program by visiting www.sisterfundrva.org or contact Christina Mastroianni, Director of Civic Engagement at 804-409-5620.
RICHMOND, VA – SisterFund, the newest giving circle created in partnership with The Community Foundation, has awarded a grant of $20,000 to Children’s Home Society. The grant will support the Possibilities Project, a collaboration between Children’s Home Society of Virginia and Better Housing Coalition. Funds will be used to provide trauma-informed supports including access to education, safe housing and life coaching for young women aging out of the foster care system.
“We are excited to partner with the women of SisterFund to produce better results for foster care youth in Virginia,” said Nadine Marsh-Carter, executive director of the Children’s Home Society of Virginia. “For youth entering the world without the supports of family or resources, this grant can be the difference between a path to incarceration or homelessness and a future in which they are empowered to live independently and become successful, thriving adults.”
The Possibilities Project addresses the young peoples’ emotional health as well as their critical need for lifelong connections. The long-term goal is to create a model based on best practices that can be replicated across Virginia and across the country.
“With so many compelling proposals, this was a hard choice,” said Evette Roots, founding member and marketing chair. “Ultimately, we were inspired by The Possibilities Project’s comprehensive approach and its long-term goals to affect systems change statewide. We felt we could make a difference financially, but also by staying informed and engaging in public policy.”
SisterFund was founded in October 2015 by several committed and passionate individuals including Veronica Fleming, The Honorable Cynthia Newbille, Greta J. Harris, Evette T. Roots, The Honorable Ellen F. Robertson, and The Honorable Delores McQuinn. Its purpose is to unite women around the power of collective philanthropy. In its inaugural year, 26 members came together to broaden their collective awareness about issues affecting African American women and girls and to support nonprofits serving this population through opportunities in education, workforce and leadership development.
“SisterFund is an experience that embraces all aspects of philanthropy. We are learning together, giving together and celebrating the joy of achieving greater impact together,” said Roots. “Now that we have made our first grant, we are extremely motivated to grow our circle and expand our support for community initiatives.”
Anyone who would like to join SisterFund or learn more about its grant program is encouraged to visit www.sisterfundrva.org or call The Community Foundation at (804) 330-7400.
(RICHMOND, VA) – The Community Foundation and the R.E.B. Foundation recognize 30 outstanding public school teachers selected as finalists for the 2017 R.E.B. Awards for Teaching Excellence. Considered among the best in their field, these exceptional instructors demonstrate a sincere passion for teaching while also serving as mentors, coaches and champions for their students. Selected from 112 nominations submitted by students, parents and colleagues, 16 winners and 14 finalists will receive cash grants totaling $180,800.
The R.E.B. Awards provide opportunities for area public school teachers to continue their own love of learning as they pursue adventures of a lifetime. For Minh Jergens, an 6th grade history teacher at Bailey Bridge Middle School in Chesterfield, an R.E.B. Award of $10,000 will allow her to return to her home country of Vietnam, which she left to come to the United States with her father at the age of 9. While there, she will visit war sites to deepen her understanding of this chapter of American history that affected millions of lives, including her own.
Christine Muse, the lead teacher at Richmond Career Education and Employment Academy, is driven to expose her students with significant cognitive disabilities to activities and experiences that will help prepare them for fully independent lives beyond the classroom. With her award of $9,500, Christine will research entrepreneurial opportunities for her students by visiting a business that employs individuals with intellectual disabilities in North Carolina, traveling to Grenada to explore an emerging program of the Grenada Downs Syndrome Association, and attending the 2018 World Downs Syndrome Congress in Glasgow, Scotland.
Connected by a desire to make their lessons relevant, all the 2017 awardees will have a chance to collect real-life experiences, stories and artifacts to refuel their passion for teaching and enhance their ability to bring subject matter to life for their students.
2017 Henrico County Finalists
Tiana Addai-Mensah, Miles Jerome Jones Elementary School (Richmond)
$12,000 to visit libraries across the globe with the purpose of exchanging ideas to elevate students’ love of reading for pleasure.
Helena Agnew, Cosby High School (Chesterfield)
$12,000 to study Native American crafts at the Taos Art School in New Mexico by taking classes taught by renowned Hopi, Navajo and Acoma artists.
Heather Andre, Cosby High School (Chesterfield)
$12,000 to travel to Italy and England, where a cappella music originated, to gain a greater appreciation for and understanding of how to teach and perform this popular style of choral music.
Karen Barber-Olajuwon, George Mason Elementary School (Richmond)
$12,000 to attend workshops in the U.S. and Barbados that promote the art of poetry writing, the use of poetry as an instructional tool, and poetry as a constructive outlet for traumatic experiences.
Alicia Broughton, Laurel Meadow Elementary School (Hanover)
$10,500 to explore the ancient civilizations and architecture of Greece and Rome to make relevant elementary STEM connections; and to attend the 2018 ISTE conference in Chicago, Illinois.
Michaela Dismann, Chesterfield Career and Technical Center (Chesterfield)
$12,000 to gain perspectives from former students and experts at rural colleges, universities and places of rural employment to encourage student interest in large animal veterinary careers; and to gain hands-on experience with stockmanship at a Wyoming Working Ranch.
Jerome Fleming, Short Pump Middle School (Henrico)
$10,300 to explore America’s historic cities and create a photo/video diary of each city to illustrate the culture and history that has made America into the diverse nation it is today.
Eliza Gemmill, South Anna Elementary School (Hanover)
$8,500 to participate in conferences, tours and interviews to learn how companies encourage innovation and how educators can connect business frameworks and philosophies to educational strategies.
Jennifer Gradwell, Chesterfield Juvenile Detention Home School (Chesterfield)
$11,400 to explore the connections between poverty, education and students’ hope for the future in Niger, Uganda, and Kenya; and to gain perspective through stories of resilience in parts of Africa with the lowest literacy rates in the world.
Minh Jurgens, Bailey Bridge Middle School (Chesterfield)
$10,000 to visit war sites in Vietnam to deepen the understanding of a chapter in American history that impacted millions of lives.
Jonathan Lauder, Mills E. Godwin High School (Henrico)
$6,500 to explore the ideas of the Enlightenment and the social and political revolutions brought to the western world by travelling to Paris, Vienna, Munich, and Philadelphia.
Christine Muse, Richmond Career Education and Employment Academy (Richmond)
$9,500 to study entrepreneurial opportunities for people with disabilities by visiting and networking with other organizations in North Carolina, Scotland and Grenada.
Lindsey Pantele, Glen Allen High School (Henrico)
$12,000 to study the Heroic and Classical Greek, Renaissance, and Modern literary periods through visits to several European cities.
Todd Ritter, Henrico High School (Henrico)
$10,600 to participate in Commedia Dell’arte and mask-making workshops in Florence, Italy and to visit several theatres spanning from ancient Rome to modern day.
Frenishee Smith, J.E. B. Stuart Elementary School (Richmond)
$9,000 to visit schools across the country that use innovative ways to engage students living in poverty; and to attend The International Conference on Urban Education in Nassau, Bahamas.
Gregory Townsend, Douglas Freeman High School (Henrico)
$12,000 to explore the culture, archaeology and geology of Central and South America while learning the Spanish language in an immersive setting.
All finalists not chosen for a professional development grant will receive a $750 unrestricted cash grant in recognition of their achievements in the classroom.
Learn more about the R.E.B. Awards for Teaching Excellence
This November, SisterFund awarded the largest grant in its history — $40,000 — to support Girls For A Change, a youth development organization empowering black girls and other girls of color to advance their 21st Century skills and visualize their full potential. This award will fund the Girl Ambassador program, which prepares 9th–12th grade girls of color for 21st century jobs, especially in the STEAM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics). Participants will work with top employers, build their skills and widen their professional network.
"I am full of gratitude for the SisterFund and all they have done to support black women and black girl initiatives,” said Angela Patton, CEO of Girls For A Change. “To have black women come together in this way and support organizations who are intentional about advancing black girls is priceless to me. These women have jumped over unimaginable hurdles to be the successful women they are today. I want my girls to be like them.
“Beyond receiving the grant, I am most excited about being in this amazing sister circle and giving my girls a chance to benefit from having these women in their lives. A girl can't be what she can't see, which is why this partnership is so important."
SisterFund is a giving circle that provides a forum for philanthropic-minded African American women to pool their time, talent, and treasure to support organizations that are working to transform the lives of African American women and girls in the Greater Richmond Metro Region. Click here to learn more about SisterFund and how you can get involved.
(RICHMOND, VA) – The Community Foundation and the R.E.B. Foundation recognize 30 outstanding public school teachers selected as finalists for the 2016 R.E.B. Awards for Teaching Excellence. Considered among the best in their field, these exceptional instructors demonstrate a sincere passion for teaching while also serving as mentors, coaches and champions for their students. Selected from 102 nominations submitted by students, parents and colleagues, 17 winners and 13 finalists will receive cash grants totaling $185,850.
This year’s awards are bittersweet with the recent loss of the program’s benefactor, Rudy Bunzl. Together with his wife Esther, Rudy was a faithful champion for public education and believed that strong teachers are pivotal to its success. The R.E.B. Awards for Teaching Excellence is among their most notable and continuous contributions in philanthropy, distributing $3.4 million in professional development grants to over 740 public school teachers since 1988.
“The Bunzls have touched countless lives through this unique program,” said Sherrie Armstrong, President and CEO of The Community Foundation. “In a profession that is often under-recognized, their vision has made dreams come true. By gifting opportunities of a lifetime through travel or continued education, teachers return to the classroom with innovative ideas and a renewed sense of energy that inspires both their students and fellow educators.”
This year’s recipients will build on the lasting legacy of Rudy and Esther Bunzl. Connected by a desire to make their lessons relevant, all of the 2016 awardees will have a chance to collect real-life experiences, stories and artifacts to refuel their passion for teaching and enhance their ability to bring subject matter to life for their students.
Hanover County Winners
LIST OF 2016 WINNERS
Sarah Anzelmo-Steele, Lucille Brown Middle School (RI)
$11,000 to explore the classic tale, Anne of Green Gables, including a visit to Poland where Anne played a significant role in the Polish Resistance.
Whitney Wells-Cornfield, John M. Grandy Elementary (HA)
$10,500 to explore the rich culture and landscape of New Zealand while capturing images of fractals for use in math and science lessons.
Mindy Dobrinski, Holman Middle School (HE)
$11,000 to explore the diverse climates, cuisines, and cultures of the four corners of the United States.
Alfonso J. Favale, Springfield Park Elementary (HE)
$8,000 to create a series of videos that compare and contrast the cultures, landscapes and ecologies of Alaska and Hawaii.
Tiffany Floyd, James H. Blackwell Elementary School (RI)
$12,000 to travel to Finland during the winter season.
Lisa Grossman, Maude Trevvett Elementary School (HE)
$8,000 to explore of the furthest corners of Virginia – from Williamsburg to the Eastern Shore, Northern Virginia to the Valley, the small towns of Southwestern Virginia and beyond.
Micheal Harvey, Chesterfield Career and Technical Center (CH)
$9,800 to learn about alternative and emerging energy sources through visits to various plants in the United States including the Hoover Dam, Copper Mountain Solar Facility and Kodiak Electrical Company’s wind turbines.
Terry Lautzenheiser, Chesterfield County Technical Center (CH)
$11,000 to study hybrid and heirloom breeding techniques and explore community-supported agriculture by touring community gardens, small farms and markets.
Lisa R. Mitchell, William Fox Elementary School (RI)
$12,000 to travel to Portugal and England to experience and research the food traditions of her ancestors through cooking classes and food workshops.
Robert Motrynczuk, Spring Run Elementary School (CH)
$11,000 to travel to Hawaii and New Zealand to study and experience the math and science of extreme sports by Heli-boarding, Kiteboarding, and Bungee Jumping.
Amy Petersen, Midlothian High School (CH)
$11,000 to journey to Southern France where she will participate in an immersion language course and tour ancient sites related to the Roman expansion in Gaul.
Richard (Paul) Rozecki, Atlee High School (HA)
$8,000 to attend the 2017 Spirit of America Visual Design Retreat and study Pyware and Pygraphics, which will help him design new and innovative band drills.
Tonya Sikkar, South Anna Elementary School (HA)
$11,000 to participate in the MOVE Program, an international program that focuses on movement as a way of life for individuals with disabilities.
Eugene Streett, Cosby High School (CH)
$11,000 to visit Rome, Istanbul and Jerusalem – three cities at the intersection of history and religion.
Kevin Trent, Patrick Henry High School (HA)
$10,800 to explore history and culture of South America by connecting with a former exchange student in Brazil and visiting the family of an Argentine friend in Argentina.
Sara Vogt, Glen Allen High School (HE)
$10,000 to participate in the High School Teacher Program at CERN, The European Organization for Nuclear Research, and to travel to Southeast Asia.
Kyla Zabala, Highland Springs High School (HE)
$10,000 to tour historical theatres to compare current and historical trends by focusing on the lives of several famous poets and playwrights.
The Community Foundation and the R.E.B. Foundation are pleased to recognize 28 outstanding public school teachers selected as finalists for the 2019 R.E.B. Awards for Teaching Excellence. Considered among the best in their field, these instructors demonstrate a sincere passion for teaching while also serving as mentors, coaches and champions for their students. Selected from 129 nominees submitted by students, parents and colleagues, 19 winners and 9 finalists will receive cash grants totaling $210,000.
On November 11, the region celebrated these educators at an awards ceremony at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture, where the winners were announced. The First Lady of Virginia, Pamela Northam, spoke words of encouragement and congratulations, along with local nonprofit leader Damon Jiggetts, who delivered the keynote address.
The R.E.B. Awards provide opportunities for area public school teachers to continue their own love of learning as they pursue adventures of a lifetime. Connected by a desire to make their lessons relevant, all 2019 awardees will have the chance to collect real-life experiences, stories and artifacts to renew their passion for teaching and enhance their ability to bring subject matter to life for their students.
John Barclay, Franklin Military Academy (RI): $12,000
To chase Global Solar Phenomena including the Aurora Borealis in Iceland and Solar Eclipses in Africa, Southern Asia and the Southern Pacific Ocean.
Caroline Bare, Hanover High School (HA): $11,900
To study the Transatlantic Slavery Triangle through the prisms of history, memory and reconciliation in relation to Richmond, England and Ghana.
Caitlyn Carpenter, Glen Allen High School (HE): $9,000
To travel the United States to visit mentorship models for youth and gain insights into the collective understanding of historically marginalized communities.
Mandelia Fisher, Chimborazo Elementary School (RI): $10,300
To attend the National Conference for Creating Trauma-Sensitive Schools in Atlanta and explore the architecture, culture and cuisines of New York, Egypt and Singapore.
Nicole Fleming, Miles Jerome Jones Elementary School (RI): $11,200
To make text-to-self connections through children's literature by traveling to New York, Alabama and California.
Amy Gregory, Chickahominy Middle School (HA): $12,000
To discover and explore geographical features and biomes across the United States and Canada.
Amanda Hach, Glen Allen High School (HE): $9,000
To cultivate empathy and community by visiting historically significant and culturally relevant sites relating to the African American experience in the United States.
Adam Hawkins, Chesterfield Technical Center (CH): $12,000
To travel the country in an RV visiting technical centers that offer work-based learning, with a focus on the culinary industry.
John Holland, John B. Cary Elementary School (RI): $11,500
To understand the life and work of Leonardo da Vinci as an example of STEAM in action by visiting Portugal, Spain, France and Italy.
Kimberly Jackson, Echo Lake Elementary School (HE): $9,000
To study the animals of the Galapagos, the Islands’ intricate ecosystem, and the importance of reducing the environmental footprint on the Islands.
Heather Leise, Atlee High School (HA): $11,900
To compare and contrast benevolent dictators of the past and present by traveling to Singapore and the former states of Yugoslavia.
Christopher Morris, Swift Creek Middle School (CH): $10,000
To explore the music and sounds of Spain.
Elizabeth O'Shea, L.C. Bird High School (CH): $9,000
To explore the western front of World War II Europe.
Rachael Pifer, Robious Middle School (CH): $11,700
To obtain the Children's Yoga Teacher Certification with an emphasis on making yoga and mindfulness inclusive and accessible to children of diverse abilities.
Kathryn Regan, J.A. Chalkley Elementary School (CH): $11,500
To engage in immersive and authentic experiences in Mexico and southern Europe.
Beth Sawyer, Evergreen Elementary (CH): $11,500
To expand knowledge of learning through play by observing innovative play and outdoor-based instructional programs in China and Switzerland.
Natasha Thomas, Southampton Elementary School (RI): $11,300
To embark on the African-American experience through the lens of Black artistry in Los Angeles, and to make heritage connections in South Africa.
Timothy Towslee, Glen Allen High School (HE): $10,800
To obtain certification as an outdoor ethics master educator and to apply these skills by backpacking through the Alaskan wilderness.
Denise Yancey, William Fox Elementary School (RI): $8,300
To experience Spanish immersion in Panama and to observe the ecosystems and biodiversity of Panama, Costa Rica and Mexico.
About the R.E.B. Awards for Teaching Excellence
The awards program, which is a partnership between the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond and the R.E.B. Foundation, recognizes excellence in public education by awarding cash grants to outstanding public school teachers from the City of Richmond, the counties of Chesterfield, Henrico, and Hanover, and the Department of Correctional Education. Since its inception in 1988, the program has awarded nearly $4 million to over 800 public school instructors as recognition for their outstanding classroom performance.
3409 Moore Street
Richmond, VA 23230
P.O. Box 76495
Baltimore, MD 21275-6495
P: (804) 330-7400
F: (804) 330-5992
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