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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.
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.
Learn more about collective giving networks
DECEMBER 17, 2019 — 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
FEBURARY 14, 2022 — In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, SisterFund and Ujima Legacy Fund were honored by Virginia Union University (VUU) during its 44th Annual MLK Jr. Community Leaders Celebration with the “Beloved Community Economic Justice Award.” The two giving circles were recognized for their “unwavering and long-standing commitment to continuing Dr. King’s legacy of uplifting the ‘beloved community’ here in the Commonwealth.”
In a recognition video produced by CBS 6 and VUU, leaders Derrick Johnson and Jill Coleman share how the giving circles are living out Dr. King’s legacy by making a difference in the lives of young people in the community and by “demonstrating the collective impact a few can have on many” by bringing together financial resources to have a greater impact.
The circles were also recognized for their partnership with the Community Foundation for creating the Amandla Fund for Economic and Racial Justice, which mobilizes long-term investments to strengthen the Black community and achieve racial justice.
Watch an interview with the leaders below.
NOVEMBER 3, 2021 — The Community Foundation, in partnership with the SisterFund and Ujima Legacy Fund giving circles, is pleased to announce the inaugural Giving Black RVA Legacy & Ingenuity Awards, which recognize distinguished leaders in local philanthropy. This year’s awards acknowledge two outstanding individuals whose dedication and innovations have been instrumental in strengthening grantmaking institutions and advancing philanthropy as a means of social change, especially for Black communities. The recipients of the 2021 Legacy & Ingenuity Awards are L. Robert Bolling and Veronica Fleming.
From left: Stephanie Glenn, Vice President of Diversity and Engagement with the Community Foundation; Veronica Fleming, Principal with Veronica Fleming Consulting; and L. Robert Bolling, Chief Executive Officer of ChildSavers
L. Robert Bolling - Chief Executive Officer, ChildSavers
Mr. Bolling was instrumental in connecting the Richmond region with the Giving Black® study, which analyzed the trends, impact and capacity of Black philanthropy in Greater Richmond. As an active member of Ujima Legacy Fund, Mr. Bolling served as co-chair of the study’s steering committee and led 30 community members in their roles on the project’s advisory council. He has also acted as a mentor and coach to Stephanie Glenn, Vice President of Diversity and Engagement at the Community Foundation, as she directed the study.
“I wanted Richmond, my home community, to be a space where we recognize that Black folks do in fact give, and our giving is purely collective. We think about ourselves in light of who we are and who we are connected to,” Mr. Bolling said. “I am touched by the fact that we were the third city to focus on Black giving in this way, and I was equally impressed that 600 people came forward to give us some insight on how Black people give. Black giving in its collective form is the giving of time and talent, as well as the giving of our treasure, and Black giving is central to the uplift of our community, but also the uplift of all communities.”
Veronica Fleming – Principal, Veronica Fleming Consulting
Ms. Fleming is a co-founder of SisterFund, known for uniting 75+ civic-minded African American women’s ideas and actions through philanthropy and collective giving. Her long-standing commitment to the wellbeing of Richmond has been demonstrated through numerous leadership roles she has held for some of our region’s excellent nonprofit organizations impacting children and communities of color. Ms. Fleming also lent her passion and expertise to serving as the Giving Black steering committee co-chair alongside Mr. Bolling and as a mentor to Ms. Glenn. Her calming spirit and great intellect have been influential in developing strategies to reshape the current relationship between philanthropy and the Black community, and in developing new connections to strengthen the power of Black philanthropy in our region.
“To receive an award for anything that I think is my obligation and duty is truly amazing,” Ms. Fleming said. “This report was a labor of love. It felt essential to complete this work and share this inspiring story of the legacy of Black giving to this community.”
“This work and this investment must be sustained over time to have any meaningful impact,” Ms. Fleming added. “We must continue building upon the momentum of the study to strengthen Black donor networks, promote the leadership of young black philanthropists, and build resources to enhance the capacity of Black givers to increase their knowledge about building philanthropic wealth and economic equity. We need to amplify Black-led organizations who are deeply addressing the needs of our community, support Black churches as major institutions for Black philanthropy, and invest in programs that teach young people how to shape public policy.”
These awards were first announced during the third annual Black Philanthropy Month Celebration, held each year by the Community Foundation, SisterFund and Ujima Legacy Fund on the last Thursday in August. This event highlights the breadth and depth of Black giving in Greater Richmond through storytelling, education and giving initiatives. The next recipients of the Legacy & Ingenuity Awards will be announced in August 2022. To join the mailing list for future Black Philanthropy Month events, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FEBRUARY 3, 2021 — Despite a rich tradition of giving that spans generations, Black communities tend to be underrepresented in conversations about philanthropy. Through the Giving Black®: Greater Richmond initiative, the Community Foundation has partnered with the region’s African American giving circles, SisterFund and Ujima Legacy Fund, to change the narrative and uplift the power and influence of Black philanthropists.
The Giving Black® study, shepherded by researchers at New England Blacks in Philanthropy, launched in August 2019 as an opportunity to study the trends, capacity and impact of Black philanthropy in Greater Richmond. This study included the analysis of over 350 surveys completed by local Black philanthropists, in addition to numerous interviews and focus groups. In January 2021, the completed report was released during a special online event with 200 attendees from across the nation.
The event summarized several key takeaways from the report, including:
Ranking the most important social issues to Black people
Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents ranked economic equity as the most important social issue.
Do you volunteer your time?
Nearly all Black donor respondents reported volunteering their time.
In the past 12 months, how much did you give philanthropically?
One-quarter of Black donors’ reported donations were at least $5,000 or above.
Economic opportunity by income: Do you think Richmond is a place of economic opportunity for Black people?
Lowest-income Black donors are among the most positive on Richmond as a place of economic opportunity.
Watch: Giving Black® event video
“We implore you to take the findings of this study, and—in addition to working with us on collective strategies going forward—use this study to change the narrative,” said Veronica Fleming, co-founder of SisterFund and Giving Black® steering committee member. “Use this to speak the truth, to inform and direct everything that is done with your dollars within your peer circles, your neighborhoods, the funding community, your advocacy and public policy strategies, and in your churches.”
Read the Giving Black®: Greater Richmond report
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