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ConnectVA Spotlight: Matt Morgan, project:HOMES

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Matt Morgan, I am the Deputy Director of Neighborhood Revitalization at project:HOMES. I started as an intern at project:HOMES about five years ago, and have held a variety of positions at the organization.

In my current role, I manage the rehabilitation section of our Neighborhood Revitalization program, where we provide critical home repairs to low-income families in Richmond, Henrico, Chesterfield, Petersburg, Hopewell, Colonial Heights, and Norfolk.

Our project managers assess the needs of a homeowner, ensuring that the home is safe, warm, and dry. I also work on pre-development and closings for the real estate side of our department, where we build up to 25 homes a year which are sold to low-income families. I graduated from VCU in 2012 with a Bachelor’s in History, and got a Master’s Degree in Urban and Environmental Planning from UVA in 2014.

Before and after of a historic home in Richmond through the Neighborhood Revitalization program.

What is the focus of your work?

We are celebrating our 25th year of improving lives by improving homes in the Richmond region. We try to have the largest possible impact on every household we serve by coupling home repairs, energy efficiency, and making homes more accessible.

My department focuses on neighborhood revitalization through the production and preservation of affordable housing. We produce up to 25 homes a year which are then sold to low-income first-time homebuyers. And the preservation of affordable housing comes by ensuring that existing low-income homeowners have homes that are dry, warm, and safe.

People often come to project:HOMES because their roof is leaking, or they have no air conditioning, so we are able to fix their roof, or provide them with cooling assistance through our Keep RVA Cool! initiative every summer. But, what we often find when we get to someone’s home, is that they also need insulation, or a wheelchair ramp to even access their home. Because project:HOMES can provide so many services, that same homeowner who came to us because her roof was leaking can have better access to her home, can see a significant reduction in his or her heating and cooling expenses, and can feel more comfortable and safe in their home.

What do you find most rewarding about your work?

Two of the key components of affordable housing are availability and accessibility. We spend a lot of time thinking about making sure there is an adequate supply of affordable housing, but what we often don’t think about is the accessibility side.

A low-income person who qualifies for a mortgage can find a home somewhere that meets what he or she can afford. However, there are not a lot of options for someone looking for a high-quality, energy efficient home in a growing neighborhood like Church Hill or Carver. Our homes have high-quality finishes, upgraded appliances, are energy efficient, and are always designed to fit the historic character of the neighborhoods we serve. Our model for affordable housing really challenges the standard for what defines an affordable home. There is nothing more rewarding than when we are able to provide just as high quality of a home, sold to a low-income buyer, as the market rate house next door.

I also find it incredibly rewarding to serve the members of our community with needed repairs to stay in their homes. A lot of people don’t recognize how important home repairs related to health and safety can be. Something as simple as replacing someone’s roof can have a huge impact not just on the physical health and safety components of someone’s home, but on their mental and physical wellbeing as well. I like to think about it as what keeps you up at night. If we have the ability to remove something like needing a new roof, or how high a family’s utility bills are, it can really have an impact on someone.

ABOVE: A video by Virginia LISC honoring project:Homes

What are some major challenges you have faced?

The hardest part about what we do is not being able to provide every service each homeowner needs. Different programs have different restrictions, so not every person who calls us is able to receive all of our services.

One way we have worked to get past that is through our Keep RVA Cool! initiative. In 2016 we noticed a gap when it came to air conditioning in the area: heating is considered an emergency repair, but cooling is not. So, we looked around and found programs that could help seniors and some other populations with cooling assistance, but not all low-income households qualified. We realized that under $200 per household, we could provide someone with at least some relief from the heat, by installing a high-efficiency window air conditioner. The trouble was, we underestimated the need for cooling assistance in our area, and we soon had 20 households requesting an air conditioner. In order to fund these units, we had to look outside of our existing supply of funding and reached out to any business we could think of. By the end of the summer we had raised enough to install 40 air conditioners across the region. This has become an annual program, and we will be in our third year this summer.


What would someone be surprised to know about your organization?

project:HOMES offers so many services that it’s common for our partners and clients to think one program represents everything our agency does. While all of our programs have a high-capacity to affect change in the Central Virginia region, it is the combined efforts of our programs that really sets us apart from other housing agencies. We recognize that revitalizing a neighborhood is more than building high-quality affordable homes. Sustained revitalization and neighborhood stability requires the comprehensive services that project:HOMES offers.

Our approach to revitalization includes not only creating affordable homeownership opportunities, but also creating affordable rental options. project:HOMES’ Rehabilitation and Weatherization programs provide existing homeowners in developing areas with desperately needed home repairs and energy conservation advancements – resulting in lower utility bills and improved home-safety and accessibility.



Do you have any interesting initiatives or programs on the horizon?

As a regional provider of comprehensive housing services, project:HOMES staff are out in the areas we serve every day. They see the needs of our communities first hand, and have identified a critical gap in existing services.

The rapidly growing Baby Boomer demographic has dramatically increased the need for accessibility and emergency home repairs. In response to the community need, our Renew Crew Volunteer program recently established the Immediate Response Fund. The Immediate Response Fund’s funding model provides the flexibility necessary to respond to critical needs of area homeowners. Emergency repairs are costly, and quickly addressing hazardous living conditions is critical to household members’ health and safety, as well as preserving housing affordability.

We also just received a Lead Hazards Reduction Grant, where we will work with the Richmond City Department of Economic and Community Development and the Richmond Health District to abate lead hazards in homes where there are children with lead poisoning. This is a really exciting opportunity to not just expand the services we are able to provide in Richmond, but to meet an important need.

Is your organization involved in any exciting collaborations or partnerships?

We are constantly collaborating with community partners to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients. We recently completed our first home with the Maggie Walker Community Land Trust. MWCLT has taken on the challenge of keeping affordable housing in the area affordable in perpetuity.

They do this by selling a home to a low-income homebuyer, while maintaining ownership of the land the house sits on. This creates an opportunity for the buyer to own a home, and build equity on that home, but keeps the price of the land out of the equation when the home is sold to its next buyer. Read this recent article about MWCLT in Richmond Magazine.

We are also passionate about our partnership with several other Richmond area agencies for Green and Healthy Homes. Home repairs can create important health outcomes when it comes to physical safety, asthma, and lead poisoning. We are working with organizations involved in housing, human services, and health to provide comprehensive housing and health services, in as easy as a method as possible for the clients being served.

We are entering into our third year in partnership with Philip Morris, where we work with a team of their engineering interns to build a home in five days. The interns have to take our normal four-month long construction process and figure out how to stack tasks and manage contractors so that they can compress it into less than one week. In our first year our goal was to just build it in under a week. Last year we added the challenge of it being done in five days instead of seven, and to sell the home to a low-income veteran. For this year, people will have to stay tuned to see what challenge we have added for the interns.

ABOVE: Last summer project:HOMES built a house in only 5 days with partners Philip Morris!

Currently, we are wrapping up our year-long 25th anniversary celebration. Our dedicated sponsors have made all 25th anniversary events and programs possible. Visit www.projecthomes.org/25th-anniversary for a complete list of sponsors and upcoming anniversary events.


How are you leveraging ConnectVA/The Community Foundation to achieve your mission?

The Community Foundation is a long-time supporter of project:HOMES’ programs and services. ConnectVA has helped recruit qualified staff, is a resource for professional development opportunities, and also helps stay connected to local nonprofit news and events.

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News from the Community: Winter 2018 Nonprofit Highlights

This week we’re sharing news tidbits from around the community!  We want to make it easy for our ConnectVA audience to quickly digest the big headlines affecting and about our local nonprofit community.  Does your nonprofit have news to share?  Send us an email at admin@connectva.org!  Enjoy!

The Community Foundation Shares 2018 Vision in 50th Year

CEO Sherrie Armstrong shares highlights from the past year and previews what to look for in 2018 – the Foundation’s 50th anniversary year. The Community Foundation celebrates the generosity and vision of the many partners who make this important milestone possible. Armstrong says, “It is our honor to help connect people, ideas and resources to improve the quality of life in our region today, and for generations to come.”  Read more about the Community Foundation’s vision here.

Outstanding Women Awards with the YWCA

In mid-January the YWCA of Richmond announced 9 Community Leaders who will be recognized at their 2018 Outstanding Women Awards on April 27th.  All nine women have strong ties to the local nonprofit community and were selected based on “their impact on the Greater Richmond community, their leadership skills, a high level of personal and professional achievement and commitment to the YWCA Richmond’s mission to eliminate racism and empower women,”.  Read more about the 2018 OWA recipients here.

Photo Credit: The Richmond Time’s Dispatch


Goochland Free Clinic & Family Serivces Changes Name and Opens New $7M Facility

After almost a year of construction and a $7.1 million-dollar capital campaign, Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services announced the opening of their new facility at 2999 River Road West and organization name change to “Goochland Cares”.  Their “ALL.HERE.NOW” campaign funded the conversion of the current Family Services building into emergency housing and established a $1.5 million endowment to ensure sustainability.

The new 20,000-square-foot facility will house 11 clinic programs, a food pantry, medical and dental care, financial assistance, and domestic violence and sexual assault services.  On their website, the organization says the name change to “GoochlandCares” is the continuation of a history of caring and responding to the needs of the community today and into the future.  Read more about the facility opening and name change on their website.


The Capital Region Collaborative and The Valentine Align for Richmond History Makers

This year, the Richmond History Makers Celebration and the Capital Region Collaborative’s (CRC) Community Update are taking place under the same roof on March 13th.  This will allow locals the opportunity to honor and support hometown heroes at the 13th Annual Event, while learning more about regional progress.

The Valentine’s nominating categories for the “History Makers” are aligned with the CRC’s regional priorities to better recognize the region-wide impact of these hometown visionaries and to get to know the faces behind the data.  The History Maker categories include:  Creating Quality Educational Opportunities, Demonstrating Innovative Solutions, Encouraging Regional Collaboration, Championing Social Justice, Promoting Stronger Communities and Advancing Our Quality of Life.  Learn more about the Honorees and purchase tickets here.

Safe Harbor and Bon Secours Open Region’s First Human Trafficking Transition Shelter

Last week Safe Harbor and Bon Secours announced they will open the first transition shelter for human trafficking victims in late February – the latest service addition to Safe Harbor’s human trafficking program. The shelter will provide transitional shelter, counseling and case management in a single location to adult female human trafficking victims in an undisclosed location.

In a recent Richmond Time’s Dispatch article Toni Ardabell, CEO of Bon Secours Virginia and Richmond Health Systems said, “One of the long-term needs of human trafficking survivors is acquiring a new lifestyle.  They need to acquire professional skills so that they can move toward jobs and independence and careers that will give them a steady income and create stability in their lives. In order to achieve and master these necessary skills, most women need resources and care beyond the emergency care they’re getting in the shelter.”  You can read more about the shelter here.

Photo Credit: Richmond Time’s Dispatch

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ConnectVA Spotlight:  Angela Patton, Girls For A Change

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Angela Patton. I am the president and chief executive officer of Girls For A Change (GFAC) and the founder of Camp Diva. I have a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from ECPI University and have been in the nonprofit sector for 20 years. I’ve served in various roles and supported diverse communities – marginalized children, the arts, those living with HIV and AIDS and mothers, as a former doula.

What is the focus of your work?

GFAC’s mission is to support Black girls and other girls of color and inspire them to visualize their bright futures and potential through discovery, development and social change innovation in their communities.

We support them by providing them with premier educational opportunities; problem-solving proficiencies to recognize societal challenges and create solutions to address those challenges; and professional development through internships and informational sessions with top-tier businesses. We present them with opportunities that they are not typically offered.

I like to say that we are preparing Black girls for the world and the world for Black girls. Through this exposure, we are creating structural and narrative changes. We want our girls to be skilled, positive contributors and change agents in their communities and for communities at-large to recognize their value.

ABOVE: Virginia Currents Special on Girls For A Change.

What do you find most rewarding about your work?

The most rewarding component of my work is seeing girls achieve their dreams despite systemic and personal hurdles. Many of our girls have economic challenges and often come from single-parent households. When pairing those challenges with racial and gender inequities, we know that these girls will have an uphill battle. But, we’re right there with them. It is inspiring to witness these girls go on to become college graduates and gainfully employed women even with cards stacked against them.

It’s a huge component of what fuels my drive to continue this work.

ABOVE: A powerful video where girls and parents talk about the impact that Camp Diva and other GFAC programs have made on them and their lives.

What are some major challenges you have faced and how you handled them?

The intersectionality of being a woman and Black while leading a nonprofit is extremely challenging. The constant having to prove myself to get even the most modest amounts of funding for items or programs can be exhausting.

But, here’s what I know to be true – Girls For A Change is not for everyone, and that is okay. We accept that and continue to help girls even if we don’t have the same annual budgets as other organizations. We make the very best of what we have.

We are intentional about our mission, and we attract those people who recognize the needs of Black girls and other girls of color. These are typically progressive people, and they are our biggest supporters. We don’t force people to believe in what we do. We stick to our mission and the right people seem to find us and stay with us. Recently, Virginia’s new First Lady, Pam Northam, has publicly supported us, which is encouraging.

Angela with GFAC participants and First Lady Pam Northam.

Further, I am a huge believer in self-care when things seem to get rough. I enjoy going to the spa, fitness, traveling and attending concerts. Self-care helps me recharge and get back out there.

Unfortunately, when nonprofit leaders and activists focus on unpopular causes with limited resources, the stress level is high and disappointment and rejection tend to knock you down. It is easy to lose hope, compassion and inspiration. You can easily start to question why you’re doing this. Self-care, sharpening skills, networking, developing a caring, family-oriented team within the organization and having your own personal support system are ways to survive the challenges.


What’s one misconception the public has about your organization?

Because GFAC is intentional about serving Black girls and other girls of color, other racial groups may feel as if they cannot come to the program or do not qualify for various reasons. We do NOT exclude any girl.

Participating in GFAC is a great opportunity for all girls to address any misconceptions they may have about Black girls or other girls of color and develop healthy friendships. Our nationally-recognized social action teams provide solutions to societal issues and today’s girl – no matter her race – overwhelmingly want to be part of the shift that is happening to create a more inclusive future. The training the girls receive from GFAC will help them as adults continue to move this country forward. Our curriculum is excellent for helping all girls recognize injustice and/or how to advocate for change and even advocate for themselves.

Our coding program is a good example of this. Parents don’t care if their daughters don’t look like the girls who are at the center of our work, they just want their girls to excel in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields.

Camp Diva provides opportunities for teen girls to prepare themselves spiritually, physically, socially, emotionally, intellectually, and culturally, for their passage into womanhood.

Do you have any interesting initiatives or programs on the horizon?

I think we’re still on the horizon! We finally have our own center, which means we can work outside of school hours where we typically offer our signature program, Girl Action Teams. The center allows us to start working with girls at an earlier age and measure our impact far longer. Sustaining a brick and mortar program is costly and challenging; however, we know safe and nurturing spaces for girls help them build confidence to face the world. Our space also offers girls the opportunity to enjoy diverse experiences and program offerings. Our diverse offerings coupled with structured programs are key to keeping our girls connected, resourceful and engaged.

We do have one new program that will roll out soon, which is our upcoming Girl Ambassador Program. We will work with companies to provide them with talented girls of color seeking internships and employment. This will allow employers to get to know the girls and help cultivate them for future employment. We strongly believe that these internships help confront and eliminate bias, boost the girls’ confidence and skills, widen their network and generate income for them and their families.

Target is a partner of our Girl Ambassador Program, and Capital One gave us a grant for the early development stages of this program.


Is your organization involved in any exciting collaborations or partnerships?

Yes, we are. Some of our partners include MathScience Innovation Center, 804RVA, Richmond Public Schools, Chesterfield Public Schools, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Union University, Virginia State University, Girls Who Code, Girl Talk and the Boys and Girls Club. They are extremely important to our mission.

As we move forward, I encourage more women of color to partner with us. Culturally, I know people of color are challenged with time and resources, but I would like to see them contribute more. It is important for our girls to see women in their image giving back and providing emotional support. Don’t get it twisted. ALL volunteers matter and make the world go around!  GFAC welcomes all caring volunteers ready to make a difference!

ABOVE: GFAC partnered with Virginia Credit Union to create a vibrant and powerful mural in Jackson Ward.

How are you leveraging ConnectVA/The Community Foundation to achieve your mission?

Through a grant from a Community Foundation donor, we were able to purchase our van. We needed transportation for the girls and now we have a van that can transport them to our afterschool program and other events. I am confident that this is just the beginning of our relationship with The Community Foundation.

While we constantly visit ConnectVA for grant opportunities, programs, events, etc., I think we can be more deliberate in using it to promote our programs and announcements. We have amazing events happening all the time.


Is there anything else you would like to share?

Yes, there are few things I’d like to add.

A significant amount of people in the community have this idea that this program is for girls with behavioral problems. Black is not synonymous with bad. Minimizing our girls and their families to this devalues them. Our girls come from all socioeconomic backgrounds, but the common shared experience is that they feel invisible and devalued.

We know that a higher income bracket does not directly negate this experience of feeling invisible. GFAC is trying to shift these feelings and that is why our approach is extremely unapologetic about serving girls of color. We know the barriers these girls face and will face as adults — no matter their income.

This country is starting to see how Black and Brown girls are bold and brilliant but are often untapped and unheard. We’ve known from the beginning just how dynamic these girls are and can be with the right resources. While the “Time’s Up” campaign is flooding the headlines, we have our own two-word phrase – “Make time!” Making time is the special sauce that works for our girls. We make time to see them through success as they enter womanhood, and importantly, in the way they define success and happiness for themselves.

We don’t have all the answers, but I think we are doing our best to be a consistent resource for girls of color. I know the community appreciates our work; we have no shortage of public relations. But, we need our visibility to correlate with our funding. We don’t want to be behind the margin of our potential. We want to give our girls greater opportunities and deeper relationships and that comes from increased financial giving.

When the #BlackGirlMagic and #HireBlackWomen headlines fade away, we’ll still be here doing the work and we’ll need the help to do it.

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Get to Know YNPN RVA’s Leadership Team 2018

Meet the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network RVA (YNPN RVA) Leadership Team and Committees for 2018! You may have seen our “introduction” posts on social media with the hashtag #MeetYNPNRVA2018 – here is the full list of our teams and some of our favorite things!  All illustrations were created by Erica Mendez Babcock.

For those unfamiliar, YNPN RVA is the region’s local YNPN chapter focused on engaging and supporting future nonprofit and community leaders through professional development, networking and social opportunities that are designed for young people involved in the nonprofit community.  The YNPN RVA Leadership Team drives programming, communication and membership for the network, led by an Executive Team.

If you’re interested in joining YNPN RVA as a member in 2018,  check out our affordable membership rates and all the benefits that come with it!

You can expect monthly opportunities to learn, connect and socialize through our lunch time career advancement series “Nonprofits at Noon”, panel discussions on hot topics, facilitated discussions from professionals in the field, opportunities to meet seasoned nonprofit professionals, social opportunities at the coolest bars and breweries in RVA and Signature Celebration Events, like our “Great Nonprofit Bosses” recognition event in November.

RSVP to our first event of the year – the 2018 Nonprofit YP Kickoff Social at the Veil Brewing Company in Scott’s Addition and get to know all of the incredible young nonprofit professionals in our network!

Executive Team

Board Chair: Laura Pilati, Volunteer and Special Events Manager at St. Andrews School

  • Favorite snack/dessert? brownie a la mode
  • Favorite movie/tv show? Anything by Wes Anderson, Grace and Frankie on Netflix
  • Favorite musician/band/type of music? I am a huge fan of 60s/70s funk and soul. But I also love simple acoustic folk music. Noam Pikelny is a love right now.

Board Vice Chair: Mollie Brooks, Corporate Social Responsibility Specialist at Genworth

  • Favorite snack/dessert? Banana bread
  • Favorite movie/tv show? Clue
  • Favorite musician/band/type of music? Needtobreathe

Board Secretary: Michael Parsons, Information Coordinator at Peter Paul Development Center

  • Favorite snack/dessert? Oreos
  • Favorite movie/tv show? Seinfeld
  • Favorite musician/band/type of music? Joni Mitchell

Communications Committee

Staff Liaison, Communications Chair, Treasurer: Liz Lungut, Communication Officer, ConnectVA at The Community Foundation

  • Favorite snack/dessert? Tortilla chips and salsa
  • Favorite movie/tv show? The Walking Dead
  • Favorite musician/band/type of music?  Dave Matthews Band

Communications Committee: Katie Bowman, Communications Officer at The Community Foundation

  • Favorite snack/dessert? Dark chocolate anything
  • Favorite movie/tv show? Obsessed with Downton Abby (even visited the castle in Newbury, England)
  • Favorite musician/band/type of music? JohnnySwim

Communications Committee: Erica Babcock, Marketing & Communications Officer at Better Housing Coalition

  • Favorite snack/dessert? Pistachio ice cream
  • Favorite movie/tv show? Korean dramas
  • Favorite musician/band/type of music? Adele

Communications Committee: Gabrielle Jones, Digital Marketing Manager at the Community Idea Stations WCVE

  • Favorite snack/dessert? My favorite dessert is a warm chocolate chip cookie.
  • Favorite movie/tv show? I love documentaries.
  • Favorite musician/band/type of music? Stevie Wonder is my favorite musician.

Communications Committee: Holly Gordon, Programs and Operations Manager at HandsOn Greater Richmond

  • Favorite snack/dessert? Anything with Oreo in it.
  • Favorite movie/tv show? The West Wing
  • Favorite musician/band/type of music? I like steel drums—they remind me of the beach.

Communications Committee: Lataunda Beasley, Guest Services Associate at the Science Museum of Virginia

  • Favorite snack/dessert? Tiramisu
  • Favorite movie/tv show? Walking Dead
  • Favorite musician/band/type of music? Linkin Park

Communications Committee: Lauren Martin, Manager, Program Development & Engagement at Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA)

  • Favorite snack/dessert? Green grapes and Colby cheese cubes
  • Favorite movie/tv show? Anything by Shonda Rhimes
  • Favorite musician/band/type of music? #BeyonceForever

Programs Committee

Programs Committee Co-Chair: Omi Eaddie, Director of Admissions and Graduate Support at St. Andrew’s School

  • Favorite snack/dessert? Ice cream, cupcakes, frosted flakes cereal
  • Favorite movie/tv show? Romcoms, comedy, campy horror movies
  • Favorite musician/band/type of music? Pop, hip hop, gospel

Programs Committee Co-Chair: Devan Colley, Development & Communications Coordinator at Peter Paul Development Center

  • Favorite snack/dessert? One of my favorite snacks is Utz Party Mix
  • Favorite movie/tv show? My favorite movie is No Country for Old Men
  • Favorite musician/band/type of music? One of my favorite bands currently is Vulfpeck

Programs Committee: Catherine Estevez, Assistant Director at Communities in Schools of Virginia

  • Favorite snack/dessert? Just about anything from Shyndigz
  • Favorite movie/tv show? My all-time favorite is The Wire
  • Favorite musician/band/type of music? My go-tos are oldies (motown) and country music.

Programs Committee: Jessica Horswell, Program Manager at GRASP (GReat Aspirations Scholarship Program, Inc.)

  • Favorite snack/dessert?  caramel popcorn (delicious)
  • Favorite movie/tv show?  Right now… anything science fiction.
  • Favorite musician/band/type of music:  I love different music depending on what mood I’m in!  Recently I have been listening to a lot of Violent Femmes.

Programs Committee: MckenZie Walker, Membership Coordinator at Virginia Association of Museums

  • Favorite snack/dessert? a quesadilla
  • Favorite movie/tv show? Friends
  • Favorite musician/band/type of music? Johnny Cash

Programs Committee: Meg Petruney, at Lush Handmade Cosmetics

  • Favorite snack/dessert? anything with hummus
  • Favorite movie/tv show? crime shows and history documentaries
  • Favorite musician/band/type of music? podcast obsessed but favorite band is Lake Street Dive

Membership Committee

Membership Committee Co-Chair: Diana Villarreal, Volunteer and Community Engagement Manager at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Richmond

  • Favorite snack/dessert? any type of dumpling
  • Favorite movie/tv show? almost all reality TV (don’t judge me!)
  • Favorite musician/band/type of music? any music from the early 2000’s

Membership Committee Co-Chair: Kathy Greenier, Consultant at Floricane

  • Favorite snack/dessert? Popcorn with Sour Patch Kids
  • Favorite movie/tv show? Netflix is always recommending to me “dramas with a strong female lead,
  • Favorite musician/band/type of music? I unabashedly love pop music

Membership Committee: Elise Kindya, School Counselor at St. Andrew’s School

  • Favorite snack/dessert? milk chocolate and peanut butter fudge swirl ice cream cone with toasted marshmallow fluff from Charm School
  • Favorite movie/tv show? The Office always puts me in a good mood
  • Favorite musician/band/type of music?: Kathleen Hanna will be my forever music crush

Membership Committee: Heather Farber, CASA Volunteer Coordinator at Greater Richmond SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now)

  • Favorite snack/dessert? Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • Favorite movie/tv show? Gilmore Girls
  • Favorite musician/band/type of music? Christmas music (I don’t care if the holidays are over. I wish we could listen to it all year!)

Membership Committee: Michelle Hulme-Lippert, University Educator at Randolph-Macon College

  • Favorite snack/dessert? Chips and guacamole
  • Favorite movie/tv show? Dramas, including This is Us, Parenthood, Friday Night Lights, The Honourable Woman, and Alias
  • Favorite musician/band/type of music? Folk / Americana Rock

Membership Committee: Meet Tiffany Slaughter, Minister of Family Life at Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church

  • Favorite snack/dessert? UTZ BBQ chips
  • Favorite movie/tv show? Love romantic comedies
  • Favorite musician/band/type of music? Backstreet Boys

Don’t forget to RSVP to our first event of the year – the 2018 Nonprofit YP Kickoff Social at the Veil Brewing Company in Scott’s Addition and get to know all of the incredible young nonprofit professionals in our network!

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Help Somebody Spotlight: Michelle Smith, World Pediatric Project

At the Community Foundation and ConnectVA, we are so excited to share more stories of individuals in our community lending a hand to help another through the Help Somebody Hall of Fame.  As in 2017, we are accepting nominations from the community at large and will highlight a compelling submission each month.  Once a quarter, we will select (at random) two people to receive a $1000 grant made in their name to give to a local nonprofit of their choosing.

This month we are highlighting Michelle Smith, a volunteer at World Pediatric Project.   World Pediatric Project (WPP) heals critically ill children and builds indigenous healthcare capacity in developing nations. Michelle was nominated anonymously by a WPP staff member, who says, Michelle is “one in a million” and wanted to thank her for her service.  Here’s more about Michelle’s incredible contributions to this local nonprofit and our community:


 How does Michelle demonstrate the spirit of the “Help Somebody Hall of Fame”?

Michelle is a volunteer for our organization and selflessly gives her time as though she were a full-time employee. If she is welcoming a new patient at the airport she will stay and wait for them even if their flight is delayed, or, if it starts snowing!

Michelle not only selflessly gives her time, she also gives her heart to the families we serve through her good humor and her friendly and open demeanor. Our families arrive from other countries scared and unsure. Michelle instantly makes them feel at ease. She warms them with her smile and interacts with their child as if they were her own – to the point she has been made a godmother many times over. If she knows a child is going to be having a birthday during their stay here, she will bring them to her house and throw a party. Similarly, she makes sure every child has a chance to experience Sweet Frog and other American wonders, like Walmart and Dollar Tree. No task is too big or too small for Michelle.


What is the impact of Michelle’s generosity?

Michelle’s impact goes beyond words and is further multiplied by the number of families she has touched. Michelle meets and assists with almost every single family for whom we facilitate surgical care in a year; that’s close to 50 children a year since 2010.

When she traveled to the Caribbean island of St. Vincent last year (where most of our patients are from) the patient families threw a party for her attending by at least 60 former patients with whom she had connected. Her kindness in some of their darkest moments with a child suffering from a major medical problem is not something they ever forget and something for which they continue to show gratitude and keep in touch with her over.

Michelle in St. Vincent at a party the families put on for her. There were about 50 families in attendance whose lives she had touched.

Michelle not only serves our organization selflessly, but does so in the rest of her life as well. When she met a young woman studying to be a doctor while traveling abroad, she invited her to live in her home for six months to learn English. She is the first one to take in any stray animal needing of a home. She also faithfully served the public school system for over 20 years as an art teacher. Michelle demonstrates her love and compassion for others in everything that she does.

We have a list of close to 400 volunteers, and Michelle’s dedication is unparalleled. She is the first to offer help and the last to go home at the end of the day. Our patients have needs 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Michelle doesn’t shy away from late nights or early mornings, but rather always asks me “what can I do to help?” Our program would not be the same without her.

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Program Updates 2018 – HandsOn Greater Richmond, Stettinius Awards and a New Learning Center

The Community Foundation is excited to share new updates for 2018!  Read on to learn more about our work as it evolves and changes to meet the needs of our Greater Richmond community!

  • HandsOn Greater Richmond joins The Community Foundation – Working in partnership for more than 10 years, the two organizations have come together to bring an enhanced focus to civic innovations. HandsOn Greater Richmond, the region’s volunteer hub, will expand to develop new models for shared learning, service and philanthropy to encourage greater community participation in shaping and advancing regional solutions. Read more
  • Stettinius Awards for Nonprofit Leadership – In 2018, the awards program is changing to simplify the application process and expand the benefit to more people. Funds will be used to support capacity building grants to nonprofit organizations that wish to send two or more members of their leadership team to a management or leadership training. Read more.
  • New Learning Center – The wait is over. You may now register for classes scheduled for the early part of 2018. Before you get started, we hope you will read this blog to better understand our philosophy and values, as well as some new elements of our programming. Access the new learning center here.

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ConnectVA Spotlight: Gabrielle Jones, Community Idea Stations

Tell us about yourself I'm Gabrielle Jones, Digital Marketing Manager at the Community Idea Stations. My educational background is in journalism and I worked in marketing and management for a for-profit company in Washington, DC before coming to the Community Idea Stations almost three years ago. I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA and have lived in Raleigh/Durham, NC, Detroit, MI, and Washington, DC. I'm happy to call Richmond my new home and love having the opportunity to go to work on this city's Sesame Street each day.

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2018 Course Catalog is Live: What You Need to Know

The wait is over. You may now register for classes scheduled for the early part of 2018. Before you get started, we hope you will read this blog to better understand our philosophy and values, as well as some new elements of our programming. We hope you share our excitement for the year ahead and we look forward to seeing you soon. Continuous Learning In 1998, The Community Foundation was a co-collaborator and co-investor in the creation of Especially for Nonprofits, a program designed to meet the unique professional development needs of our local nonprofit sector. It quickly became an important resource for those working for, or on behalf of, community based organizations. Over the years, the program has evolved – in name, content and format – in response to changing dynamics in our community, as well as input and insight from course participants, nonprofit leaders and education professionals. What remains consistent is our belief that strong, skilled leaders – regardless of position or tenure – are essential in building strong, sustainable organizations and a healthy, thriving community. We will continue to help nonprofit staff, boards and volunteers build knowledge and skills through affordable, high quality learning events. Through diverse programming and partnerships, the sector can bring greater efficiency and effectiveness to its mission-driven work.

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ConnectVA Spotlight: Patricia Bradby, Leadership Metro Richmond

Tell us about yourself My name is Patricia Bradby and I am the Communications and Events Manager for Leadership Metro Richmond. I grew up in New Kent County just outside of the city and moved away to New York City for college where I began my career in the live music industry. I have a B.M. in Music Business from New York University as well as an M.B.A from the University of Texas at Austin.  Since moving back to RVA in the fall of 2015, I have found many fun and exciting ways to utilize my skill sets for the betterment of the community. Outside of my work at LMR, I also lead the community team for TEDxRVA (we launched TEDxRVASalons in January 2017) and I have my own small business (Miss Priss Tea) which encourages face-to-face intergenerational communication over afternoon tea. My specific knowledge around live music event production has also been utilized to help the Richmond Symphony produce three of their Big Tent festivals in Jackson Ward and the East End.

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ConnectVA Spotlight: Charles Dyson, The Community Foundation

What do you find most rewarding about your work? I love challenges, and there’s never a shortage of those in nonprofit work. I also love the wide breadth of experiences that a nonprofit professional automatically gets through wearing all of the hats we wear. I’ve been intentional in my career about seeking positions that give me a well-rounded perspective. I’ve managed a program, served on marketing teams, engaged in donor stewardship, sat on nonprofit boards, and done these in both small and large organizations. Finding solutions to larger community needs from the viewpoint of a funder, or leading the work of a direct-service agency affecting individual’s lives, are both challenging. I’m passionate about working toward solutions at all those levels and love that I get to do that in my current role.

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