Home / Blog

Nonprofit News: Emerging Nonprofit Leaders 2017-2018 Announced

The Community Foundation serving Richmond and Central Virginia (TCF) is excited to announce the selected participants for the 2017-2018 cohort of Emerging Nonprofit Leaders!

The Emerging Nonprofit Leaders Program is a dynamic eight-month experience for the next generation of nonprofit leaders in the metro Richmond area. In this engaging program, participants have the opportunity to foster a deeper understanding of their leadership capacity, advance their understanding and practice of leading in the nonprofit sector, and strengthen their network of nonprofit colleagues.

Now in its eleventh year of operation, the program has demonstrated measurable results, building a cadre of talented leaders for the future of the Greater Richmond community.

In addition to participating in engaging sessions on topics including strategic leadership, organizational change, collaboration, and coaching others, participants:

  • Experience team building through a rigorous and challenging outdoor course setting
  • Increase awareness of their leadership through a thorough assessment process
  • Benefit from individual leadership coaching, provided by professionals with experience in leadership development and nonprofit management
  • Interact with five local exemplary Executives-in-Residence in a forum where they share their experiences and perspectives

The Emerging Nonprofit Leaders Cohort of 2016-2017 on graduation day in June.

Selection Process

Nonprofit applicants were selected based on their potential to make a significant future contribution to the nonprofit community through assuming higher and increased levels of leadership, show substantive history of involvement in the nonprofit sector through employment, volunteerism, or board service and demonstrate a commitment to ongoing professional development, continuing education, and lifelong learning.

In early September, a committee made up of local nonprofit leaders and ENLP Alumni reviewed applications to ensure that the 11th cohort met above criteria and that the group would be diverse and comprehensive representation of the local nonprofit sector.


The 2017-2018 Emerging Nonprofit Leader Participants

Congratulations to all who were selected to be a part of Emerging Nonprofit Leaders!

Read more →


News from the Community: SisterFund Awards $20,000 to Partnership for the Future

In partnership with The Community Foundation, SisterFund recently announced 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.

ABOVE: A video about Partnership for the Future’s whose mission is to provide high-potential high school students from challenging circumstances in the metro-Richmond area with tools and experiences necessary to attain a college degree.

“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.”

What is SisterFund?

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.

Read more →


ConnectVA Spotlight: Janet Starke, Richmond Performing Arts Alliance

Tell us about yourself. 

My name is Janet Starke and I am the Executive Director for Richmond Performing Arts Alliance (formerly Richmond CenterStage Foundation).  Our mission is to provide diverse local and world-class performing arts, transformative arts education experiences for all and inspirational venues—all to strengthen the cultural and economic vitality of the Greater Richmond region.


What is the focus of your work, the need you are addressing?

We SUPPORT today’s artists by cultivating diverse arts experiences, NURTURE tomorrow’s artists through programming and experiences that deepen their connection to the arts, and provide spaces for the arts to THRIVE by supporting Richmond’s premier historical venues.

ABOVE: A video showcasing the mission of RPAA and some of its many programs and initiatives.

What do you find most rewarding about your work?

Connecting with people. Our venues—Dominion Arts Center and Altria Theater—serve as home to a dozen resident companies, including Richmond Symphony, Virginia Opera, Richmond Ballet, Elegba Folklore Society, Latin Ballet of Virginia and Quill Theatre. We’re a partner to the Broadway in Richmond series.

Whether advocating for the productions and programming they do, connecting with others to collaborate on our own artistic and education programming, or working with teachers from our school partners, making connections and working together towards meaningful impact is the most rewarding thing we do.



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

Awareness and understanding of what we do. Many people confuse our organization with the resident companies who call our venues home; others simply don’t know there is a non-profit organization dedicated to fundraising for the operations of the venues themselves and community outreach.


What would someone be surprised to know about your organization?

We have a comprehensive education program—our BrightLights Education Initiatives—which take place both at Dominion Arts Center and out in the schools. Our programs span from an arts-integrated early childhood literacy program (ELLA) to our Wells Fargo OnStage Family Series, to media arts instruction for high schoolers as a pathway to a career.

Virginia Rep and ELLA Teaching Artist Jason Sandahl guides Pre-K students through a lesson in understanding our five senses, as part of a residency at RPS’s Bellevue Elementary.


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

This year, we are expanding  ELLA (Early Literacy Learning through the Arts) to the MLK Pre-K Center, which is exciting—to work with an entire school of teachers to introduce strategies for using the arts to teach across the curriculum. Through artist residencies in the classroom, Teaching Artists are providing embedded professional development by demonstrating concrete ways to use music, movement and theatre to teach early literacy skills. There’s also a parental involvement component. Through our Digital Arts Lab, we are teaching video production to high schoolers as a pathway to college and career. Since our opening in 2009, more than 60 students have gone through the program and many have gone on to leading film studies programs across the country and are working in the field.

Is your organization involved in any exciting collaborations or partnerships?

Our partnerships with area schools—particularly RPS—are exciting, as we continue to find ways to apply the arts to meaningful outcomes that positively transform our schools. Also, being a part of groups like Chamber RVA and others who rightfully see the arts as part of a broader community solution; seeing the potential impact we can have in helping to improve community challenges, is exciting to explore together.

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

We really appreciate the networking, resources and support towards a larger community outcome. At times, we’ve convened with other organization education directors to discuss strategy towards program evaluation. We’ve had wonderful opportunities to share our work with donor-advised funds. Very practically, we’ve used ConnectVA to list jobs and identify resources for staff development and equipment. TCF has been a wonderful thought partner and supporter of the work we strive to do.

Anything else you would like to share?

We feel strongly that the work we have done in the community, at Dominion Arts Center and Altria Theater, has created positive outcomes for a broad range of the community. Children and teachers have gained new ways to look at things through opportunities for learning in and through the arts. Together, they have gained new understandings that will carry them through learning and life. Parents are finding concrete ways to engage with their child to strengthen their child’s learning and develop positive relationships with their child’s teacher. Downtown revitalization has been realized through an increasingly thriving Grace Street corridor. Altria Theater is the largest theater between New York and Atlanta, and makes Richmond a destination for commercial tours. Altogether, we are a wiling and grateful partner in the cultivation of thriving arts community, and we continue to aim to find ways that the arts can not only entertain and inspire, but can also provide transformational change for our schools and communities.

Read more →


Help Somebody Spotlight: Allen Earehart, Volunteer, Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services

ConnectVA and The Community Foundation are excited to share another shining example of a great person doing great work in our community, through the Help Somebody Hall of Fame – meet, Allen Earehart, active volunteer and board member for Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services (GFCFS) ! Diane Reale, Director of Volunteer Resources for GFCFS, reached out to us to share more about the firm commitment and incredible impact Allen has in the Goochland community.

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

Allen Earehart inspires others to do good through his vision and example. Allen’s vision for our community includes improving the lives of impoverished and at-risk individuals and families. He sets an example through his volunteer service at Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services in both hands-on roles and leadership positions. It’s not only the number of hours that Allen donates — over 400 in 2016 — it’s his selfless commitment to providing assistance to our neighbors in need that makes him someone who demonstrates the spirit of the “Help Somebody Hall of Fame.”

Allen is a frequent figure at the Food Pantry, which provides food for over 170 households on a weekly basis. Twice a week he carries bags of food for our clients, many of whom are elderly and/or disabled. One morning a week he does a “food run” to FeedMore, the regional food bank, and once a month he leads a team to pick up food donations from local grocery stores. Allen puts our clients first. He is always looking for ways to improve how we deliver services to our clients. When it’s raining, he pitches a tent for our clients to stay dry while waiting for their turn in the Food Pantry. He was also instrumental in moving the Food Pantry into a temporary location while a new building is being built. During the move, Allen helped ensure that clients did not miss one day of food distribution. Allen worked on a team to implement a plan to double the number of days the Food Pantry distributes food in the new space. If Allen sees a gap, he looks to fill it.

Food donations for the GFCFS Food Pantry come from local residents, grocery stores, neighborhoods, corporate groups, faith organizations, schools, FeedMore, and others.

When Allen noticed that Clothes Closet volunteers and staff members had to stand on a hard floor for long periods of time, he donated anti-fatigue mats. When he saw that more handicapped parking spots were needed for clients, he designed temporary handicapped spots for Food Pantry distribution days. When the temporary space needed equipment for cleaning and painting, Allen brought ladders, a shop vac and other tools. Allen selflessly helps so many somebodies: clients, fellow volunteers, and staff members. He would prefer to go unnoticed, but we believe he is a great candidate for the “Help Somebody Hall of Fame.”


What’s the impact of Allen’s generosity?

As a direct result of his leadership, Allen has done much to improve the lives of the disabled and needy in Goochland County. His impact can be seen at the construction site of the GFCFS new building, in the number of people who get food every week at the Food Pantry, and in the direction he provides as a Board Member.

Progress on the new GFCFS building as of August 2017. The new building will be located at 3001 River Road West and expected completion is winter 2017.

Allen is a member of the Building Committee and IT Committee. He meets with the Owner-Architect-Construction team on a weekly basis. He uses his expertise to advocate for best solutions for the new building where our clients will be able to have all 11 GFCFS programs under one roof. Currently, Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services is located in four separate buildings. In the Food Pantry, Allen fills many roles to ensure that the 170 families who come to Food Pantry every week have a selection of healthy food choices. His concern for our clients is paramount. He carries bags of food to our clients’ cars, picks up food from grocery stores, and makes sure that our clients have a safe and dignified experience at the Food Pantry.

A rendering of the new GFCFS building. The 20,000-square-foot facility that will provide space for 11 programs currently offered at three separate sites by GFCFS. It will combine critical assistance programs including medical and dental clinics, a food pantry, and an initiative to provide clothing to those in need. The existing main building at this location will be converted into emergency housing.

As a Board Member, Allen is on the Finance Committee. Keith Reynolds, Past Board President and current Board Member describes Allen as “an active board member whose enthusiasm and business perspective have been instrumental in making GFCFS’s vision of a ‘one stop shop’ for our clients possible.” If there is something that can be done to help our vulnerable neighbors, Allen is there to help.


About the Help Somebody Hall of Fame

The Help Somebody Hall of Fame is a platform to express gratitude for a person in the community who acts selflessly to improve the lives of others.  We want to share these stories in hope of inspiring more people in Greater Richmond to act with generosity.  There will be random drawing from those who are honored, and two honorees will select a nonprofit of their choice to receive $1000.  Read more about how to nominate someone here.

Read more →


ConnectVA Spotlight: Rex McCoy, project:HOMES

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Rex McCoy and I am the Weatherization Crew Leader at project:HOMES. I bring 26 years of construction experience to project:HOMES, and am a master tradesman of ten different trades.

ABOVE: A clip about the Weatherization Program from project:HOMES in partnership with Dominion EnergyShare.

What is the focus of your work and the need you are addressing?

project:HOMES is a 501(c)(3) housing nonprofit serving Central Virginia, and expanding to include areas in the Tidewater region. We offer comprehensive services that serve through the following programs:

  • Revitalization program that builds affordable housing to revitalize historic neighborhoods
  • Rehabilitation program that repair existing homes to preserve affordability
  • Renew Crew volunteer program that improves the safety and accessibility of existing houses through accessibility modifications
  • Weatherization programs that improve the energy efficiency of existing homes

As part of the Weatherization team, I provide energy efficiency improvements to cost-burdened households. A big part of what I do is educating homeowners on energy conservation techniques and home maintenance.

The work we provide increases the efficiency of a home, conserves energy resources, and provides savings to homeowners on their energy bills. Our goal is to increase the overall health of a home and the comfort of our clients.


What do you find most rewarding about your work?

The most rewarding thing about my work is the positive impact it has on the people we serve. I’m proud of the quality of work my team & I provide every day.


What would someone be surprised to know about your organization?

There is so much paperwork and certifications that go into serving one home! A lot of tests, reports, and overall paperwork are required before actual work can begin on a client’s home. Also, Weatherization staff have numerous qualifications and certifications required to complete our critical services.

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

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

I am helping lead our efforts to strengthen our presence in rural communities like Amelia and Charles City. We are reaching out to local government leaders to discuss how to best meet area residents’ needs. Additionally, we are partnering with area organizations like Senior Connections to identify individuals and families in rural areas in need of services.


Is your organization involved in any exciting collaborations or partnerships?

Over the past few years we have had the opportunity to partner with Dominion Energy’s utility programs. At the end of the month we are completing an exciting project made possible through Dominion Energy’s support and volunteers for the McShin Foundation.  We are highlighting this project as a part of our year-long 25th anniversary celebrations. Visit www.projecthomes.org/25th-anniversary for a complete list of events.


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

The Community Foundation is a generous supporter of project:HOMES’ programs and services. ConnectVA has played a vital role in recruiting some of our staff, and is a resource for staying connected to local nonprofit news and events.

 Anything else you would like to share?

It’s a pleasure working at project:HOMES and with the people here.

Read more →


News from the Community: RVA Community Fund for Standing Together Launches with Mini Grants for Nonprofits

The Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities is pleased to announce a new resource for Richmond-area nonprofit organizations.  Thanks to initial funding from the Robins Foundation and fund management from the Richmond Jewish Foundation, the RVA COMMUNITY FUND FOR STANDING TOGETHER was launched on August 21st, 2017.


This funding opportunity supports Richmond-area nonprofit organizations with financial support for rapid response services after incidents of bias, discrimination, or bullying. These incidents often require immediate interventions that are not covered by traditional funding mechanisms. As such, this fund ensures that nonprofit organizations will have greater capacity to meet needs that are increasingly urgent in today’s climate.  Nonprofit organizations are invited to apply for mini-grants of $500, $1,000, or $1,500 to support interventions including facilitating, convening, counseling, and coaching.

Jonathan Zur, President and CEO of VCIC, says that he encourages organizations to apply for funding to support community-wide solidarity events after incidents of bias or discrimination, schools that need professional development or student workshops after bullying etc.

The grant application form is can be found online at http://www.inclusiveva.org/standing-together-rva/fund/.  Completed application forms can be submitted at any time to communityfund@inclusiveVA.org.  Applications will be reviewed by an objective, diverse committee on a weekly basis, and approved requests will be funded within two weeks.

This RVA Community Fund for Standing Together will exist until all resources are expended.


Individuals or foundations interested in donating to support this effort can go here http://tinyurl.com/rjf-donate and select “RVA Community Fund for Standing Together” in the “Fund Designation”.

Contact the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities by emailing jzur@inclusiveva.org with any questions and please spread the word about this opportunity!

To learn more about Standing Together RVA go here.

Read more →


News from the Community: The Region Will Come Together for Day of Service with New “Give a Day RVA”

HandsOn Greater Richmond is calling on Richmond residents to volunteer for the region’s largest day of volunteer service. Over 1,300 volunteers are needed to help transform the region by participating in one of over 55 service projects on Saturday, September 23, 2017. With a new name and a new date, HandsOn is reinventing the region’s largest day of service with exciting new partnerships and opportunities.

One of these new elements is partnering with the Capital Region Collaborative. The Collaborative brings together local government, business, and our community to achieve a shared vision for the Richmond Region by measuring indicators in eight priority areas. When you volunteer with HandsOn for an issue that you care about, you join the Collaborative’s network of people dedicated to improving quality of life in the Richmond Region.

Give A Day RVA has support from the City of Richmond and surrounding localities, starting with their leadership. Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney frequently calls upon citizens and government to participate together in building our neighborhoods and place, adding, “Richmond residents are part of our region’s success, and we welcome this wonderful opportunity to join our neighboring jurisdictions in volunteering for our regional community.”

A wide range of service projects are open to members of the community of all ages and skills to better the region by helping local nonprofit organizations, schools, and parks. In addition to projects hosted by local nonprofits and community organizations, for the first time, projects will also be hosted by government municipalities.

Volunteers can choose from a variety of ways to give a day and give back – from painting and gardening to neighborhood cleanups and facilities improvements. Give A Day RVA will also feature Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects and “Drop-In” projects, so volunteers who can’t attend in person or can’t commit all morning can still participate. Following their service project, volunteers are invited to attend the RVA Street Art Festival at the Diamond to continue celebrating our vibrant community.

Vanessa Diamond, Director of HandsOn, encourages a culture of volunteerism in our region, saying “for 10 years HandsOn Greater Richmond has hosted an annual day of service connecting volunteers to local nonprofit organizations. For the first time, the region’s localities will also host projects, engaging residents in our community’s momentum forward. This collaborative effort is an exciting opportunity to showcase the power that volunteers can have when we work together.”

Registration is now open for Give a Day RVA – you can sign up here:  https://www.handsonrva.org/giveadayrva

Read more →


ConnectVA Spotlight: Rich Schultz, Executive Director, Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Rich Schultz and I serve as Executive Director of Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond. We are a broad-based early childhood coalition with the vision that all children from birth through five in the Richmond Region will be healthy, well-cared for, and ready to succeed in school, work and life.

I began my career as a journalist, working for a weekly newspaper, The Shenandoah Valley-Herald, in Woodstock, Virginia in 1985 where I worked as a reporter and eventually became Editor and General Manager. I moved to the nonprofit sector in 1991 when I took a role as Community Director for the March of Dimes and relocated to Charlottesville. There I discovered my passion for nonprofit work when I took a job at the American Heart Association as an Area Director. My next career changing role came in 1995 when I joined the team at Meals on Wheels where I served as President and then became Senior Vice President of FeedMore in 2008.

In 2011, I became Chief Development Officer at United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg. In 2012, I became the Executive Director of SupportOne where I served until I came to Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond in 2015.

What is the focus of your work?

Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond is a nonprofit organization that works to unite parents, service providers, funders and other key community partners in education to ensure that every child in our region has the best chance for success.

We are a regional partnership of public and private organizations, businesses and individuals serving the cities of Richmond and Colonial Heights, as well as Charles City, Chesterfield, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent, and Powhatan counties.

The mission of Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond is to lead the transformation of the early childhood system by building regional partnerships and capacity for change.


What do you find most rewarding about your work?

In my nonprofit career, I came to truly understand the importance of servant leadership and embraced a culture of values-based leadership in many of the organizations I’ve served. The most rewarding part of my current work with Smart Beginnings is the opportunity to bring together a wide and diverse network of partners to solve problems at a systems level. By working together – and across different sectors – we realize the strength in our diversity and the great assets we can leverage to create real and lasting change in our region.


Rich Schultz and Smart Beginnings staff pictured with Richmond City Council. On June 24th, 2017 each member of Richmond City Council was named as co-patrons of the resolution of support for the Regional Plan for School Readiness!

What’s a major challenge you have faced and how did you handle it?

As President of Meals on Wheels, we faced the tragic loss of our previous President to cancer. As I stepped into the role after her death, it was a pivotal moment in our history. The organization was not only working through that very difficult and emotional loss, but it was also embarking on a campaign to construct a Community Kitchen in partnership with the Central Virginia Foodbank.

We harnessed all the exceptional talent of our leadership teams, staff and volunteers to raise $7.8 million in the capital campaign to build the kitchen, which we dedicated to our former Meals on Wheels President. The Community Kitchen project ultimately led to the creation of FeedMore, the umbrella organization for Meals and Wheels and the Central Virginia Foodbank.


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

People can more easily grasp the work of our partners providing very important direct services for our community – such as child care programs, preschools or early intervention programs such as home visitation or parenting support.

Our work requires us to work at a different level – connecting these many different types of services and providers – to create change and innovation that creates a more connected and efficient system. That means bringing together policy makers, school division, health departments, social services and for profit and nonprofit providers who are all working within this birth to five system.

Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond provides the “glue” that brings all these systems together.


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

Last year, members of the Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond partnership came together to update the Regional Plan for School Readiness, recommitting to the 2010 vision that “all children from birth through five in the Richmond region will be healthy, well-cared for, and ready to succeed in school, work and in life.” Participants took stock of what had transpired since 2010 and charted a path forward to address the disparities and challenges faced by families with young children.

One of the strengths of the Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond partnership is its power as an organizing force. Its members share and advance a common purpose. The new Regional Plan will continue this history of success as it emphasizes children and families most in need. A child’s early years are too important not to invest in them, and this three-year plan provides a guide to where these investments are needed most.

The resulting Regional Plan for School Readiness 2017-2020 addresses the region as a whole and builds on the premise that a strong start for children of all incomes is good for the economic vitality and well-being of the region. The plan emphasizes children and families most in need. Its goals focus on areas where there are disparities between children of color and non-minority children, where school districts have not made progress, and where economic insecurity has increased the emotional, social, and physical barriers to accessing care.

Smart Beginnings will coordinate roles of its partners in execution of the plan, as well as initiatives the backbone organization will lead as the plan moves to implementation.

Here are just some of the key initiatives Smart Beginnings will lead in the new Regional Plan:

  • Business Innovation: Goal 4 of the plan focuses on strengthening both the workforce and organizations in the early childhood sector. Strong organizations need sustainable business models to ensure high quality and affordable early childhood services. Smart Beginnings is working closely with other partners in the community to establish the state’s first Shared Services Alliance among early care providers. This innovative model establishes a “Hub” organization to provide critical business functions for child care providers, allowing them to focus on delivering high-quality programs. It launched on July 10, 2017 – you can read more about the Richmond Area Service Alliance here.

Smart Beginnings is also working closely with local school divisions and private providers to pilot a mixed delivery preschool model, which brings together schools and the private sector to provide quality preschool in private settings. This model overcomes some of the most significant barriers to expanding public preschool –  space limitations and lack of local matching funds –  that inhibit expansion of public preschool to low-income families.


Is your organization involved in any exciting collaborations or partnerships?

A clear strength of the Smart Beginnings partnership is its power as an organizing force. Its members share and advance a common purpose.  More than 110 organizations were involved in the creation of the Regional Plan. Some key partners have already committed to taking on a leadership role in the execution of goal areas, and include: ChildSavers, Greater Richmond SCAN, Partnership for Families and Peter Paul Development Center/Richmond Promise Neighborhoods.

In addition, we have partnerships with local schools, museums, libraries, health departments, and the extensive private provider network serving families and children in our region. Together we are working to ensure that all our region’s children arrive to school ready to learn and ready for life.

Smart Beginnings worked closely with partners to establish a Richmond Area Service Alliance among early childhood providers in Greater Richmond. This innovative model established a “Hub” organization to provide critical business functions for child care providers, allowing them to focus on delivering high-quality programs.

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

The new Regional Plan for School Readiness 2017-2020 aligns closely with The Community Foundation’s Educational Success Logic ModelThe Community Foundation’s vision that children begin school ready to learn and are supported academically and socially throughout their educational experience captures the essence of the new Regional Plan for School Readiness 2017-2020.

Anything else you would like to share?

Since the first Regional Plan was launched in 2010, Smart Beginnings has increased public awareness, leveraged new resources for quality services, and built strong cross-sector representation and relationships. Smart Beginnings partners have developed a shared agenda focusing on service delivery and system change, cultivated trust and better communication within the provider network, and served as a bridge between schools, localities, and programs. The Regional Plan for School Readiness 2017–2020 takes into account the region’s past successes and focuses attention where action is most needed.

We’d like to invite members of the community who are interested in partnering with Smart Beginnings and its early childhood coalition to contact us to learn more. Visit www.smartbeginningsrva.org to learn more about how you can get involved!

Read more →


ConnectVA Spotlight: Molly Smith, Volunteer Program Manager, CrossOver Healthcare Ministry

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Molly Smith and I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and graduated from St. Louis University in Missouri with a B.A. in History. I then moved to Puerto Rico, where my husband and I established a family. During my 15 years on the island, I learned the language and developed a deep appreciation for the culture. I miss being able to spend a random day in Old San Juan or at one of my favorite beaches.

Shortly after my husband’s job brought our family to Richmond, I began working at CrossOver Healthcare Ministry as the Vision Clinic Coordinator. I was then promoted to Volunteer Program Manager, where I put my unique skills to work by managing CrossOver’s cohort of volunteers, including recruiting and training new volunteers. Working at CrossOver has given me a front row seat to the giving nature of the Richmond community where volunteerism, philanthropy, and putting others first are second nature.



What is the focus of your work?

Volunteers are the backbone of CrossOver’s daily operations. The focus of my work specifically is the recruitment and training of new volunteers, whose service ultimately supports CrossOver’s mission to provide high-quality health care, promote wellness, and connect community talents and resources with people in need in the name of Jesus Christ.

As new personnel needs arise at CrossOver, I also develop new volunteer positions and seek qualified candidates to fill those positions. In FY 2017, CrossOver volunteer base was made up of 587 volunteers who gave 32,435 hours of service.  Among our volunteers are hundreds of licensed healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, counselors, and eye-care professionals. Thanks to our volunteer-driven model of care, CrossOver can maintain a low cost-per-patient-visit and provide the greatest amount of specialty care to low-income, uninsured patients in greater Richmond.

The demand for CrossOver’s services continues to grow. CrossOver’s patient population is comprised of those who are uninsured and whose incomes are at or below the 200% of the Federal Poverty Line (FPL). Our patient population consists of two groups: those who fail to qualify for Medicaid as an adult in Virginia due to stringent eligibility criteria, as well as a large multi-cultural immigrant population. For the region where most of our patients reside, if a single parent of two children earns more than $7,908 annually, they do not qualify for Medicaid in Virginia. CrossOver’s patient population is incredibly diverse and includes immigrants and refugees from over 100 different countries of origin. Even though CrossOver serves over 6,500 individuals through its programs each year, this represents just a fraction of those-in-need. According to the most recent Virginia Atlas of Community Health, 497,677 Virginia residents are uninsured and are at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, including more than 63,954 in the greater Richmond area. CrossOver is forced to turn patients away weekly because we cannot accommodate the high numbers who need access to medical care.


What do you find most rewarding about your work?

The most rewarding part of my work is matching a volunteer with a position that truly engages them and provides a source of fulfillment. CrossOver needs volunteers to operate, but I believe in return we can give many of our volunteers the opportunity to serve their community and use their specific skills to help their neighbors in need.


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

To date my biggest challenge has been learning the logistics of managing the more than 500 volunteers that make our clinics run! I’ve been able to handle this challenge by working collaboratively with CrossOver staff and volunteers. By working closely with the clinic managers and program managers, I have been able to better identify volunteer needs in the clinics and recruit volunteers to meet those needs.


What would someone be surprised to know about your organization?

I think one aspect of CrossOver that someone would be surprised about is the collaborative nature of our programming and model of care. CrossOver has partnerships with other safety-net providers, local non-profits, social service agencies, government entities, philanthropic foundations, corporations, and the faith community.

In addition to offering a truly comprehensive range of programs, including primary care, chronic disease management, medication and medications management, dental, vision, mental health counseling, OB/GYN, HIV diagnosis and treatment, social work case management, and community health education, CrossOver partners with other safety-net providers in the Metro Richmond area so that we can provide services to their patients that are not offered through their organization.

For example, CrossOver’s Vision Clinic provides eye care, including vouchers for eyeglasses, to patients from Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services, the Center for Healthy Hearts, St. Joseph’s Outreach Clinic, the Free Clinic of Powhatan, the Richmond Behavioral Health Authority, Capital Area Health Network and Health Brigade.

CrossOver also operates the Community Pharmacy, the only pharmacy in Richmond licensed to a free clinic. In addition to providing medications to our own patients, the Community Pharmacy provides medications to patients from Health Brigade, the Center for Healthy Hearts, the Free Clinic of Powhatan, Bon Secours Care-A-Van, Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services, and St. Joseph’s Outreach Clinic.



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

CrossOver is always exploring new initiatives and projects that enable us to better meet the needs of our patient population. This past year, CrossOver expanded our dental services to better address our patient population’s urgent need for dental care, including increasing our dental staff, strengthening outreach and recruiting efforts for new dental volunteers, and expanding our dental referral network program.

CrossOver also expanded our Social Work program. We hired a new family case manager to better address the needs of CrossOver families and children. Through grant funding from the Bob and Ana Lou Schaberg Fund, CrossOver also recently opened the Connection Center at our West End Clinic location.

The Connection Center is a space where people newly arrived in our country can discover community resources, gain knowledge about their new home, and connect with others. After some minor construction, CrossOver has furnished the space with tables, computers, health and wellness educational materials, and brochures about various community organizations and resources. CrossOver purchased several computers with internet access so that patients can use the internet to search for employment, discover resources, and access information about their new community. CrossOver has opened the space to our community partners so that they may host events, trainings, and workshops, and we plan to continue to use the space to host CrossOver events and groups.

Is your organization involved in any exciting collaborations or partnerships?

CrossOver has many longstanding partnerships in the community, including collaborations with local hospital systems, nonprofits, universities and professional programs, social service agencies, and various philanthropic organizations. These collaborations enable us to ensure the highest quality of care possible for our patients, and CrossOver is continually seeking out new collaborative partnerships to expand our impact in the community.

We are in the process of expanding our Community Pharmacy and has entered into a new partnership with the John Randolph Foundation & John Randolph Medical Center. Through funding from John Randolph Foundation’s Susie’s Fund for Medication Assistance, CrossOver recently hired two Medications Access Caseworkers who will be based in the John Randolph Medical Center and supervised by our Medications Program Manager. Currently, there are no safety net providers with a pharmacy or medications access program in Hopewell, and this partnership will address an unmet community need around medications access in that area.

CrossOver has also established a partnership with the Richmond Justice Center and offers a medical home to their inmates upon reentry into the community. These formerly incarcerated patients have access to our wide range of healthcare and supportive services, which will help to facilitate a more positive, healing transition back into the community.



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

ConnectVA, and The Community Foundation , serve  as key partners to CrossOver and provide essential resources to our organization. ConnectVA is an amazing resource for all local non-profit organizations and professionals. CrossOver has repeatedly received applications from highly qualified candidates through job postings listed on ConnectVA, as ConnectVA’s job finder has become the hub for connecting non-profit professionals with organizations seeking to fill positions in Virginia.

The Community Foundation continues to be a strong supporter of CrossOver; the financial support and collaborative opportunities that CrossOver has access to because of this partnership with TCF plays a significant role in our ability to continue operating and working to achieve our mission.

Anything else you would like to share?

CrossOver is always looking for new, committed volunteers! Volunteer opportunities are available for licensed healthcare professionals, administrative volunteers, and interpreters. Volunteer opportunities for healthcare professionals include, but are not limited to: physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nursing professionals, dentists, ophthalmologists, chiropractors, and physical therapists. There is also a need for volunteer interpreters in Spanish and Arabic. CrossOver is always seeking out new volunteers who share our passion for serving the Richmond community.

Read more →


News from The Community: New Nonprofit General Counsel Program

Does your nonprofit organization need help spotting potential legal compliance issues?  If so, you could be a great candidate for the new Nonprofit General Counsel Program offered through the Greater Richmond Bar Foundation’s Pro Bono Clearinghouse.

The Greater Richmond Bar Foundation has been connecting nonprofit organizations with pro bono legal resources in the greater Richmond area through the Pro Bono Clearinghouse since 2001.   This new Program will involve matching one or more volunteer attorneys with the nonprofit organization for one year (beginning January 2018).  During that year, the volunteers will serve as mentors, sounding boards and legal issue spotters for the organization.

To participate in the inaugural 2018 client group of the Nonprofit General Counsel Program, the preliminary interest form must be completed and submitted no later than September 8, 2017.  To see if your organization meets the eligibility criteria and to request the application, please review our informational page on the GRBF website or contact our Director of Administration, Alison Roussy (aroussy@grbf.org).  Final applications (if found eligible to apply) will be due by October 6, 2017 for participation in the program.

Nonprofit Eligibility Criteria

 It is required that each organization applying for the GRBF General Counsel Program:

  • is a 501(c)3 charitable organization or the equivalent
  • is located in or provides significant services in the Greater Richmond area (Richmond, Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico, Goochland, Powhatan, Petersburg, Colonial Heights, Hopewell);
  • is in good standing with the Virginia State Corporation Commission, if applicable; and
  • has a current GiveRichmond profile


Priority* will be given to applicants that:

  • were incorporated in Virginia, if applicable;
  • have an annual budget of at least $100,000 but less than $2 million;
  • have been operating programs/providing services for at least two years;
  • have a duly elected governing board that is in good standing;
  • has operated with an Executive Director/CEO (or its equivalent) for at least one year; and
  • assist low income individuals or low-income communities.

*Organizations that do not satisfy one or more of these criteria are encouraged to apply and explain why they should be considerate for participation in the program.


Want more information about local Pro Bono Resources – check out ConnectVA’s Pro Bono Listing Page!

Read more →