News & Event
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.
Just weeks after the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond and the Emergency Management Alliance of Central Virginia activated the Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund as a way to rapidly raise funds and align resources where they are needed most, the fund announces its first round of grants totaling $1.1 million to 25 organizations providing immediate support to those most impacted by the pandemic.
While the region is in the early response phase of this crisis, the fund is initially focused on ensuring support for those most likely to contract the virus or those whose health could be further compromised during this time because of barriers to food access, healthcare or stable shelter.
“While the pandemic has impacted the operations of virtually every organization in our community,” says Scott Blackwell, Chief Community Engagement Officer at the Community Foundation, “We are currently targeting those on the frontline that need to pivot and adapt quickly to an ever-increasing demand for their services. Some organizations have repurposed their buildings, others require additional staffing to make up for fewer volunteers, and others need to purchase additional cleaning supplies and PPEs to ensure the safety of their staff and clients.”
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. The first round of grant recipients includes:
For a full list of grants awarded thus far, click here.
“By working in collaboration with local officials and our many fund partners, we are tapping into deep community knowledge to ensure we are doing the most good for the most people throughout every phase of this crisis,” said Ben Ruppert, finance chair of the Emergency Management Alliance and a fund advisory committee member. “As funds are available, we will remain flexible to the evolving needs as the situation continues to unfold.”
To date, the Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund has raised $4.25 million in contributions from foundations, businesses and individuals across the region. This includes a $100,000 matching grant from the United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg to incentivize new donations made through their website.
“Organizations stepping up to help will continue to need funding,” said James Taylor, President & CEO of United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg. “We are pleased to support this first round of grants, but we know there is a lot more to do. I encourage everyone in our region to join our local United Way in donating to the COVID-19 Response Fund.”
The campaign to raise funds and enlist support from the public continues as the impact from the crisis will likely stretch out for weeks and months. To learn more about how the fund works and how you can help response efforts, please visit www.togetheroneregion.org
The Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday is a national day of service — and a time to re-commit to serving each other and our communities. The MLK Day of Service calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems. It empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, creates solutions to social problems, and moves us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a beloved community.
Over the MLK weekend, the Community Foundation and its partners want to harness the power of individual and collective action through a series of events celebrating MLK Day. In 2020, the convergence of a global pandemic and a movement towards racial justice highlighted both selfless acts and shared humanity, but also deep divisions and disparities. In 2021, MLK Day takes on greater importance as we seek to move forward with intention and resiliency. Sign up to participate in the following activities and make this “a day on, not a day off” for you, your friends and family. More details and registration can be found on our MLK Day webpage.
Tuesday, January 12th, 1:00 pm
Education is a key step in the fight to end racism. Anneliese A. Singh, Ph.D., LPC, author, professor and Associate Provost for Diversity and Faculty Development at Tulane University, will help raise our race-consciousness by challenging stereotypes, reframing the history of racism and its impact on our lives, and share why healing from racism is an integral part of dismantling it. Click here to register.
Sunday, January 17th, 2:00 pm
Hear from the storytellers in “Heard,” a documentary about five people who grew up in Richmond’s public housing communities. Breakout sessions will explore the importance of sharing stories and listening to people with firsthand experience before taking civic action. Prepare for this event by watching "Heard" at the VPM website and click here to register for the discussion and breakout sessions led by Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities.
All weekend (Saturday – Monday)
Sign up to participate in on-site or virtual service projects with community organizations serving the region. All in-person projects will enforce safety protocols as recommended by the CDC. Register for a community service project here.
Join our social media campaign to encourage more of our community to participate in service this year. Fill out a "Pledge to Serve" template with an act or type of service you plan to complete in 2021. Share your commitment as well as a blank template on your social media channels, encouraging others to make their own pledge. Use hashtags #MLKDayRVA and #PledgeToServe and tag and follow us at @cfrichmondva.
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
In celebration of Earth Day 2021, the ConseRVAtion Fund has announced five new grants totaling $90,000 to support organizations and projects in Greater Richmond that focus on benefiting the environment, conserving natural resources and enhancing regional sustainability. Grants support a wide array of projects, from the Virginia Oyster Shell Recycling Program to the 12,000 tree giveaway program during Arbor Day 2021.
“What makes this grant process exciting for me is seeing the different ideas that the community can come up with,” said Ron Felmus, a ConseRVAtion Fund advisor. “We try to give applicants a lot of room to get creative in finding new solutions for environmental sustainability.”
Darquan Robertson, Groundwork RVA’s landscaping crew chief, tends to a garden plot. Groundwork RVA is a local nonprofit that works with Richmond youth to facilitate environmental, economic and social wellbeing in neighborhoods by transforming blighted, neglected open spaces into public assets
This year marks the second grant cycle from the ConseRVAtion Fund, a donor advised fund of the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond. Grant recipients and descriptions are listed below:
Click here to learn more about the ConseRVAtion Fund.
(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
3409 Moore Street
Richmond, VA 23230
P.O. Box 716495
Philadelphia, PA 19171-6495
P: (804) 330-7400
F: (804) 330-5992
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