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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

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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!

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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.

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News from the Community: Local Foundation Award Updates

We caught up with the largest local foundations to get an update on their awards so far, this year!  See what initiatives are being funded and check out ConnectVA’s tools and resources for connecting with local grantmakers and information.

John Randolph Foundation

John Randolph Foundation awarded its latest grants on Thursday, July 20th in front of a crowd of 125 partners, donors, and grant recipients. Responsive grants from the Foundation’s Mission Fund were awarded to 17 nonprofits totaling $403,369. The Foundation also awarded grants from endowment funds to eight organizations totaling $123,090, and finally two local educator awards totaling $4,000.   As the Tri-Cities area’s only community foundation, John Randolph helps donors create enduring investments and currently manages nine endowments, 60 scholarships, and three educator award programs.


  • Alamo Recovery Center $11,625 for community-based substance abuse counseling in the Tri-Cities area
  • *Bensley-Bermuda Volunteer Rescue Squad$4,070 for ambulance child restraints
  • Central Virginia Health Services$100,000 for the Hopewell-Prince George Community Health Center
  • City of Hopewell Fire & Rescue$22,500 for Lucas chest compression devices
  • Conexus$13,424 to correct student vision problems in 35 schools in the Tri-Cities area
  • *Crater Community Hospice$6,625 to provide quality hospice care to people in the Tri-Cities area
  • *CrossOver Healthcare Ministry$14,875 for the Access to Care Program for Residents of Southern Central Virginia
  • FeedMore$20,000 for the Comprehensive Children’s Nutrition Program in Hopewell
  • Hopewell Food Pantry$40,000 to support access to healthy food for people in need in the City of Hopewell
  • Metropolitan Richmond Sports Backers$17,500 for Kids Run RVA and Fitness Warrior programs in the Tri-Cities area
  • Prince George Emergency Crew$35,000 to purchase a Zoll Cardiac Monitor and AutoPulse chest compression device
  • Reach Out for Life$20,000 to support the Free Mammography Outreach Program in the Tri-Cities area
  • SwimRVA$20,000 to support the Learn to Swim program in Hopewell
  • Virginia Dental Association Foundation$12,500 to support Donated Dental Services in the Tri-Cities area
  • YMCA of Greater Richmond$30,000 for Teen programs at the Petersburg and Chester YMCA centers


  • Alzheimer’s Association-Greater Richmond Chapter$5,000 to improve quality of life for people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
  • *Appomattox Regional Library System$22,659 for general operating expenses of all eight branches of the library system
  • *Beacon Theatre 2012, LLC$42,804 to support the purchase of sound equipment and lighting upgrades
  • *City of Hopewell Parks and Recreation$1,329 for the City Point 5K Kid’s Fun Run and Fit for Life challenge
  • *Historic Hopewell Foundation$41,549 for renovations at Weston Manor
  • Joseph’s Villa$15,000 to support the Flagler Housing Resource Center
  • The James House$22,500 for children and teens impacted by domestic violence and stalking


  • GReat Aspirations Scholarship Program (GRASP)$7,500 for In-School Financial Aid Advising at Hopewell High School
  • *Drs. Singh and Bhuller Tri-Cities Outstanding Educator of the Year Award$3,000 to Ms. Rebecca Stroop, an art educator from JEJ Moore Middle School in Prince George County
  • *Preston and Anne Leake Teacher Recognition Award$1,000 to Ms. Antonia Thompson, a special education teacher from Carter G. Woodson Middle School in the City of Hopewell

*Grant provided in part or in whole through an endowment, a permanent fund created by a donor.

Read more about John Randolph’s recent award announcements here.

Robins Foundation

Reflecting the organization’s focus on helping transform the broad continuum of education in the Richmond region, Robins Foundation selected 12 local nonprofits to share in nearly $1 million in grants designed to improve educational outcomes for children in the Greater Richmond area.

The following is the complete list of June 2017 grantees:

  • CIS Richmond $125,000 for Integrated Student Support K-12
  • Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis $50,000 for Policy Improvements to Advance Educational Opportunities in Greater Richmond
  • CodeVA $100,000 for Building the Digital Dominion
  • FRIENDS Association for Children $45,000 for Stronger with FRIENDS
  • Greater Richmond Chamber $75,000 for Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond
  • Greater Richmond Fit4Kids $50,000 for Wellness Integration Programming and Advocacy
  • Sacred Heart Center $100,000 for Responding to Critical Needs of the Latino Community
  • Storefront for Community Design $40,000 for 6PIC Operations
  • Virginia Early Childhood Foundation $50,000 for Establishing and Sustaining a Shared Services Alliance Model in Richmond
  • Voices for Virginia’s Children $75,000 for Engaging Advocates to Speak Up for Children & Families
  • YMCA Richmond $125,000 for Support for Oak Grove-Bellmeade Out-of-School Time Program
  • YWCA Richmond $125,000 for Sprout Preschool Initiative

Read more about their recent grant announcements here.

The Community Foundation serving Richmond and Central Virginia (TCF)

TCF and its partners awarded $24M in grants through June 30th in 2017.  The majority of grantmaking from The Community Foundation is done at the direction of donors who chose to partner with them on their philanthropy. TCF is privileged to work with hundreds of individuals, families and businesses who enjoy the opportunity to focus on how they want to make a difference, while TCF takes care of the administrative details. Their collective generosity has resulted in $18 million in donor-directed grants for a variety of causes so far, this year!

Through June 30th, The Community Foundation and its funding partners – including the Jenkins Foundation, Pauley Family Foundation and REB Foundation – awarded $6 million in competitive grants. These are grants provided through an application process to support initiatives that address important community issues and build the capacity of organizations and their leaders.

Highlights of Competitive Grants through June 30th:

  • 4 outstanding public school principals recognized by the REB Foundation
  • 3 emerging nonprofit leaders recognized by the Stettinius Awards for Nonprofit Leadership
  • 184 scholarships awarded for post-secondary education
  • $1.7M for local organizations advancing cultural vibrancy, educational success and economic prosperity
  • $1.6M in health-related grants from the Jenkins Foundation
  • $600,000 to strengthen TCF’s affiliate communities in Mathews and the Middle Peninsula/Northern Neck

For a full list of the Competitive Grant Awards in TCF’s 4 Focus areas of Cultural Vibrancy, Economic Prosperity, Educational Success and Health and Wellness go here.


Cameron Foundation

The Cameron Foundation’s Board recently approved new grants totaling $1,421,406 to benefit residents of the Tri-Cities area. The funding supports the work of 25 organizations providing services across the region. The awards result from the first of the Foundation’s two annual responsive grant cycles, with the second cycle concluding in October.

Among the larger awards this cycle, the Foundation approved $105,000 in renewal funding to Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Virginia for its ongoing work to stimulate economic development in the City of Petersburg.

The complete list of responsive grants for the June cycle includes:

  • Alzheimer’s Association–Greater Richmond Chapter – $22,300
  • American Red Cross–Southside Area Chapter – $25,000
  • Battersea Foundation – $100,000
  • Central Virginia Health Services, Inc. – $296,000
  • Chesterfield CASA, Inc. – $20,000
  • ChildSavers–Memorial Child Guidance Clinic – $33,351
  • City of Colonial Heights Department of Recreation, Parks & Tourism – $49,975
  • Communities In Schools of Petersburg – $90,000
  • CultureWorks, Inc. – $15,000
  • Dinwiddie County Division of Planning and Community Development – $20,000
  • FLITE Foundation – $39,000
  • GReat Aspirations Scholarship Program, Inc. (GRASP) – $10,000
  • Greater Richmond Fit4Kids, Inc. – $45,000
  • Historic Petersburg Foundation, Inc. – $38,555
  • Hopewell Food Pantry – $35,000
  • HumanKind – $10,000
  • The Literacy Lab – $40,000
  • Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Virginia – $105,000
  • Meadowview Biological Research Station – $10,000
  • NAMI Central Virginia – $26,120
  • Petersburg Garden Club – $40,500
  • Rawls Museum Arts, Inc. – $20,000
  • Southside Virginia Emergency Crew, Inc. – $30,605
  • Virginia’s Gateway Region, Inc. – $250,000
  • YMCA of Greater Richmond – $50,000

You can read more about the initiatives Cameron is supporting here.

Richmond Memorial Health Foundation

Richmond Memorial Health Foundation (RMHF) announced $259,000 in grants to 13 nonprofits in the Richmond region. The spring cycle brings total grants and awards by RMHF to $1,697,318 for the 2017 Fiscal Year, which began on July 1, 2016.  RMHF’s Spring 2017 Grantmaking Cycle is designed to give nonprofit leaders in the Richmond region the resources to consider strategic questions confronting their organizations. In keeping with the Strategic Framework adopted last year, RMHF Trustees’ decisions were guided by each applicant’s alignment with the Foundation’s mission of fostering an equitable and healthy Richmond region.

Trustees also gave priority to organizations working in the oral and behavioral health fields, as well as those serving new populations, such as immigrants and refugees, who face significant barriers to basic health care.

The following grants were approved by Trustees at their May meeting:

  • Daily Planet – $25,000 to address strategic questions surrounding capacity needed to provide oral health care to Hispanic patients and pregnant women.
  • Sacred Heart Center – $25,000 to develop a strategic plan for improving outreach and communication in its role as a community hub providing services for the growing immigrant population that include hosting a medical clinic and food bank, and offering parenting classes that support good health.
  • Virginia Supportive Housing – $25,000 for development of a multi-year sustainability plan guiding training, capacity and systems to support a Medicaid reimbursement model for services.
  • Voices for Virginia’s Children – $25,000 to strengthen the organization’s communications capacity to increase public awareness statewide and ensure effective advocacy for children’s behavioral health services.
  • YWCA Richmond – $25,000 to develop a master plan guiding the organization’s capacity needs in response to expanding programs and growth in the number of clients and staff.
  • Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services – $20,000 to guide staff communications and development strategies aimed at ensuring a smooth transition from a group of separate locations to one common facility.
  • Health Brigade – $20,000 for a facilitated exploration of how to best serve the older adult LGBTQ population in the Richmond Region.
  • Armstrong Priorities Freshman Academy – $15,000 to support a behavioral specialist in a pilot program that could serve as a model for classroom management in other high schools.
  • Family Lifeline – $15,000 to explore diversification of program-generated income, an issue identified in the organization’s strategic business planning process.
  • Gateway Homes – $15,000 to improve efficiencies in reimbursements for behavioral health services and to ensure that procedures remain up to date in response to changes in Medicaid policies.
  • Central Virginia Health Services – $14,000 to train behavioral health staff to ensure a consistent and effective approach to behavior management for all patients.
  • Virginia Dental Association Foundation – $10,000 for development of a strategic communications strategy to strengthen education on the need for dental care and oral health, and to improve collaboration with program partners to build capacity.

Read more about Richmond Memorial Health Foundation’s Grant Announcements here.

Check out ConnectVA’s Funding Resources page to learn about local funders, funding databases and charity registries and evaluators and subscribe to our Community Discussion Forum “Grants and Funding Opportunities” to get the latest updates on  grant, sponsorship, scholarship, fundraising and other funding opportunities, announcements and deadlines for nonprofits.

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Help Somebody Spotlight: Susan DeFazio, Founder and Director, Prevent A Litter

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, Susan DeFazio, Founder and Director of Prevent A Litter (P.A.L.)!

Lauren Early, Manager of Prevent A Litter, reached out to us to share Susan’s story and her humble approach to making a difference in our community for animals.  Read more about this nonprofit founder/animal activist!

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

Susan has spent most of her life helping those who cannot speak for themselves. Not only is she the Founder and Director of Prevent A Litter Veterinary Hospital, she also takes part in marches, protests and things of that nature to ensure that all animals are treated humanely. She is so dedicated to the well being of all animals the she doesn’t consume anything that has meat or dairy in it, nor does she support any organizations that test on animals.

Susan consistently makes contributions to nonprofit animal welfare groups and has rescued hundreds of animals throughout the years with her own nonprofit organization, Care About The Strays (CATS), which was established before she created Prevent A Litter. She is always helping others who need help with their companion animals even buying food or giving flea meds to homeless people and their animals.


PAL staff

What’s the impact of Susan’s generosity?

By creating Prevent A Litter Susan has saved millions of animals lives simply by getting them spayed or neutered. Prevent A Litter was the first low-cost spay/neuter clinic in Virginia and since its inception in 1999, they have fixed over 100,000 cats and dogs. This is all because of Susan’s vision. Every single animal they spay or neuter will no longer contribute to the staggering number of homeless animals that must be euthanized every year simply because they have no home. Without Susan, there would be thousands, if not millions of animals to add to the overpopulation crisis.

Susan is very modest and rarely takes credit for all the work she does and the positive changes she has made for the animals of Richmond and the entire State of Virginia. So many people don’t even know of the work that Susan has done. She’s proof that even the quiet, “unknown”, activists can make a huge difference in the world without the benefits of constantly being in the spotlight.

Read more →


News from the Community: New Local Platform Launched for Virtual Restaurant Fundraising

RVA has a new online platform to help nonprofits raise funds with the help of restaurants that goes beyond the traditional “Give Back Night”.

Serving Up Change is a platform that allows community organizations to connect with restaurants to fund raise with a “Virtual Spirit Night”. Instead of requiring attendance on a specific date and time, Serving Up Change and its virtual fundraiser allows supporters to purchase eGift cards from their phones or website, to be used at any time. The nonprofit organization earns the percentage back (determined by each restaurant) as fundraising profit. Supporters can also make flat donations through the same fundraising page.

ABOVE: Video of how Serving Up Change connects nonprofits with local restaurants to host virtual fundraisers.

Johnathan Mayo was inspired to start Serving Up Change because he felt that, “society in general was too reactive to community issues and he wanted to explore ways to encourage more people to stay engaged.”   Through his relationship as a silent partner in Mama J’s, he knew that restaurants had a unique opportunity to touch hundreds and thousands of people daily. From his work in the nonprofit world managing Excel to Excellence, he also fully understood the demands of fundraising.

Founder of Serving Up Change, Johnathan, pictured with his family.

“We wanted to create a better way to fund raise with restaurants that would make the process easier for the organization and restaurant, and substantially raise more money! The virtual fundraiser uses technology to make the process more efficient and provide convenience to the donor or supporter. This leads to higher returns for fundraising profit.”

Currently when an organization wants to fund raise or request a donation from a restaurant, they typically cold call or stop by the restaurant to determine the contact person. Then they make the fundraising or donation request and wait. Serving Up Change allows organizations to quickly identify restaurants with a community mindset and that are likely to support their cause, since restaurant profile pages list the types of causes they support.

A virtual fundraiser for Team Excel supported by Mama J’s Kitchen. The organization exceeded their $500 goal.

Mayo says, “For the traditional spirit night or give back night, it’s often tough to get people out, because we all have demanding schedules. The virtual spirit night allows people to lend their support from wherever they are, and then enjoy at good meal at their convenience.”

Furthermore, “some restaurants that may not have participated in these events in the past will now participate due to the efficiency and ease for connecting.   It also provides organizations with data on their supporters to allow them an opportunity to follow-up and say thank you. This is difficult to do with the traditional spirit nights.”

Benefits for restaurants using the Serving Up Change platform include saving time, marketing for their brand, a tracking and reporting mechanism and a more focused donation strategy.

Some organizations currently using the platform are Heart of Virginia Council of the Boy Scouts, Flying Squirrels Charities, Excel to Excellence, Hope for Families, Youth Sports, Inc., Linwood Holton PTA, William Fox PTA and several other local and statewide PTA units. Restaurants using the platform include Mama J’s, Q Barbecue, Stir Crazy, Home Team Grill, and many more.  There is a $29 campaign fee for each virtual fundraiser campaign (deducted from the total campaign revenue generated). If the campaign does not make enough revenue to cover the fee, the organization is not charged the campaign processing fee, creating no financial risk to the organizations

The process for setting up a virtual fundraiser for your nonprofit. Visit servingupchange.com for more directions!

To sign-up, nonprofits can visit www.servingupchange.com and click on Create Account at the top right corner of the homepage. There is no cost for organizations to create an account. There is also a great short video and additional information when you click “How it Works” from the homepage.

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ConnectVA Spotlight: LaToya Blizzard, Director of Finance and Operations, disAbility Law Center of Virginia

Tell us about yourself.

My name is LaToya Blizzard.  I am the Director of Finance and Operations for the disAbility Law Center of Virginia. dLCV provides legal aid and advocacy for people with disabilities.  Our organization is the state’s protection and advocacy system.  I’ve been with the agency for eight years.  I’m a native of Chesterfield County and attended Norfolk State University.  I started with the agency when it was a state agency known as Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy.  In 2013 we transitioned to become a nonprofit.

What is the focus of your work?

The focus of dLCV is to advance the independence, choice, self-determination of people with disabilities.  To protect legal, human, and civil rights. To eliminate abuse, neglect, and discrimination of people with disabilities.  Our vision is a Commonwealth free of legal barriers for individuals with disabilities.  We work to ensure that people with disabilities have the same quality of life as others.  They have the right to work and be active in their communities without physical and legal obstacles.  We do a variety of work on behalf of people with disabilities including assistive technology, traumatic brain injury, access to vocational rehab service, voting rights, seclusion and restraint, special education, and guardianship rights.  People have a right to know their rights and for those rights to be respected.  We want to empower people to be self-advocates and understand their rights and responsibilities.   We want to educate the community about ways that we should include people with disabilities


 What do you find most rewarding about your work?

The agency works to have major impact within individual lives but also on a systemic level.  If feels good to be on the right side of the law every time.  Knowing that we’ve given a voice to the voiceless.  Giving hope to someone that had no hope.  When clients contact us, they’ve been hurt or violated and are frustrated with the rejection and disappointments.  Knowing that we helped at least one person have a better quality of life is rewarding.

ABOVE:  Sandra shares her story of working with dLCVA

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

As most with most nonprofits, funding is always a challenge.  We want to do so much, but our funding can only be stretched so far.  In recognizing we can’t take every case, we will give every caller at least information and a referral source related to their situation.  Another major challenge that we have faced is we are still not very well known.  We have placed more efforts on getting out and engaging the community to let them know we are here.

What would someone be surprised to know about your organization?  

Someone might be surprised to know that we do exist! However, probably the biggest misconception is that there is a fee for our services.

What interesting initiatives are on the horizon?

Our social media campaign to engage college students to let us know about accessibility issues on their campus.  We have a new transportation access project going on where we are surveying accessibility between public transportation and medical providers.  This is to ensure that persons with disabilities that use public transit have a clear path of travel to get to necessary health services and providers.  We also have a few trainings coming up on our special education manual (Pathways to Special Education) and one on transition services for youth.

Is your organization involved in any exciting collaborations or partnerships?

We regularly collaborate with other disability organizations throughout the state.  It is our hope to create partnerships with as many organizations as we can to reach and help as many as we can.  In August we will be working with VCIC to provide training on employing people with disabilities.  You can find that training here.


Anything else you would like to share?

Just a reminder that people with disabilities are people too.  If anyone is interested in learning more about dLCV and how they can aid us in our fight, they can visit our website www.dlcv.org or contact me directly at 804-662-7274 or by email at LaToya.Blizzard@dlcv.org

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News from the Community: Celebrating 10 Years of Emerging Nonprofit Leaders

On the 14th of June 22 rising nonprofit leaders representing 20 different local organizations were congratulated by community leaders, nonprofit peers and the City of Richmond’s Mayor on “a job well done” as the 10th class of the Emerging Nonprofit Leaders Program (ENLP) commenced.

Photo Credit: Kim Lee Photography

During the graduation ceremony, the leaders were awarded certificates and personal tributes, while Mayor Levar Stoney thanked them for their “commitment to the community”.

From left to right: Sherrie Brach Armstrong, CEO of The Community Foundation; Kathleen Demro, Vice President of Community Engagement, The Community Foundation; Levar Stoney, City of Richmond Mayor; Susan Wilkes, ENLP Lead Faculty. Photo Credit: Kim Lee Photography

Susan Wilkes was also given a special recognition for her commitment over the past 10 years as Lead Faculty for the program.  She said this about the 10th class, “the level of camaraderie and commitment of the ENLP ‘10 was impressive.   I loved the way they contributed actively to each other’s learning and growth, and were able to apply everything we discussed to bettering themselves and their organizations.  So many in the group are already making a tremendous difference in our community.  With what one called the “power boost” of ENLP, they are going to have a strong upward leadership trajectory!”

Photo Credit: Kim Lee Photography

The Emerging Nonprofit Leaders Program is a dynamic eight-month experience for the next generation of nonprofit leaders in the metro Richmond area. During the program, participants 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.

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

Sherrie Brach Armstrong, President & CEO of The Community Foundation praised the program, saying, “our local nonprofit sector depends on a strong, well-supported network of leaders to create a better future and lasting results for our community. The Emerging Nonprofit Leaders Program creates connections among individuals who have a desire to create positive change and further empowers them to grow in their careers. We congratulate the Class of 2017 and look forward to the many ways they will help shape our region in the years to come.”

The program also offers periodic alumni networking and continued learning experiences, including a new offering this year called “Transforming RVA.” Throughout the spring, 11 ENLP alumni participated in a series of small-group discussions with transformational leaders in the  field, including Damon Jiggetts of Peter Paul Development Center, Tanya Gonzalez of The Sacred Heart Center, Lisa Frieman of the Institute for Contemporary Art and Jon Lugbill of Sports Backers. Together, the group explored their own sources of inspiration, how they inspire others through a common vision, how to sustain themselves through challenging times and how they use innovation and collaboration to facilitate positive change for our region. With continuous learning as a cornerstone to the ENLP program, graduates are encouraged to take advantage of these opportunities.

Any nonprofit professional interested in applying for ENLP in the future should attend an upcoming information session on July 11th or 26th.

The Emerging Nonprofit Leaders Program 2016-2017 class. Photo Credit: Kim Lee Photography

The 2016-2017 Emerging Nonprofit Leader Graduates are:

Congrats ENLP class of 2016-2017!

Photo Credit: Kim Lee Photography

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ConnectVA Spotlight: Chris Beach, Executive Director, Relationship Foundation of Virginia

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Chris Beach and I am the Executive Director of the Relationship Foundation of Virginia.  I have been in the nonprofit field for 6 1/2 years.  I have worked for Big Brothers Big Sisters and FRIENDS Association for Children.  Prior to my work in the nonprofit field, I was a teacher for 12 years at the elementary and middle school levels.

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

The Relationship Foundation of Virginia recognizes that the strength of our community and the future of our commonwealth lies in the health of the family.  When our families and relationships are healthy, life is richer and more fun.  Without strong, lasting relationships, life can be harder, feel emptier and lead to more challenges – not only for us, but our communities.  As our name suggests, we are dedicated to building the fundamental element of strong communities; healthy relationships and families.

For youth, we deliver programs that teach self-respect and respect for others.  For individuals single or in long-term relationship and marriages – we lead engaging programs to create awareness and provide the practical tools to pursue and sustain strong relationships.  For new and expecting dads, we equip them with the skills to be active, committed fathers for life.  We provide all with the confidence and strength to thrive.

By understanding the complexity and joys of relationships, we help everyone we serve be more successful, which makes our community a better place to live.

What do you find most rewarding about your work?

I am actually living out my life through my work.  I still get to go into the schools and teach children, which is truly my passion.  As a father to four boys, I can speak to new dads from years of experience as a father while learning from other great dads.  Being married to my best friend and wife for nearly 15 years, I can help couples slow down and take time for each other, not to mention it forces me and my wife to do the same.  I get to do things at work which help me in my real life.  It doesn’t get more rewarding than that!

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

As an organization, we are seeing over 200 dads per year through our programs.  However, these are dads that know about us.  To make a true impact on our community, we need to reach new populations of dads that do not realize that we can be a resource for them.  In partnership with RVA Promise Neighborhood and Peter Paul Development Center, we are offering our Boot Camp for New Dads program to soon-to-be dads in the East End who may not otherwise have access to the hospitals in which we offer the program.  By offering free tuition, transportation and lunch, we are giving these dads every opportunity to learn from veteran dads and give them the peace of mind that although fatherhood is not easy, they can do it.


What would someone be surprised to know about your organization?

Many people think that our organization is just for married people.  In reality, everyone is in a relationship and we strive to meet people wherever they are. Whether you are a teenager thinking about dating, a couple that is just starting out or a dad that is raising your new child alone, we are here to help.  Our goal is to become the trusted leader for relationship in the entire state.


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

We just finished our second program of Inside/Out Dad in Chesterfield County Jail.  This is an evidence-based program which provides incarcerated fathers with the opportunity to learn from other fathers in their position while providing lessons that will help them to make educated decisions about how they will father when they are released.  The goal of this program is to re-connect the inmates with their children while they are incarcerated so they do not recidivate when they are let out.  We are excited because due to the success of the program in Chesterfield, we will be offering this course in Henrico County jails as well.

Is your organization involved in any exciting collaborations or partnerships?

We are always excited to partner with other nonprofit organizations as it helps both organizations reach more people and further our individual missions.  This summer we are partnering with multiple nonprofits for our Date Nights.  In June, we are offering a Date Night titled Dance and Romance.  This is a free date night in partnership with Dancing Classrooms Greater Richmond where couples will learn how to cha cha and better communicate as a couple.

In July, we are partnering with Escape Room RVA and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to offer Art of Communication.  This will be an evening where you will put your communication skills to the test as search for the clues to solve the puzzle as you enjoy one of the greatest collections of art in the United States.

In August, we will be partnering with Richmond Metro Habitat for Humanity offering a Day Date called Building a Strong Foundation where couples will help with a local build and learn ways to strengthen their relationship.  We are already working with other groups such as Richmond Animal League and Jacob’s Chance to plan date nights for the fall.

If any organizations have a great idea for a fun date night, let us know, we are always willing to make it happen!


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

The Community Foundation is always offering great enrichment opportunities for nonprofit workers to sharpen their skills.  Personally, I just finished the 10th cohort of the Emerging Nonprofit Leaders Program which I will use as I continue to grow as a leader of my organization.

We are also excited to be one of the program providers for TCF’s youth leadership program NextUp.  We have taken part in the past two sessions and look forward to taking part in the fall.

I am also very excited that I was chosen as a recipient of the Stettinius Nonprofit Leadership Award.  I will use this scholarship to continue my education in the nonprofit sector and strengthen my leadership abilities to become a greater advocate for stronger families in our state.

I hope that people reading this article will take the time and learn more about our organization and reach out to see how we can make our community a better place for our families.

Anything else you would like to share?

I hope that people reading this article will take the time and learn more about our organization and reach out to see how we can make our community a better place for our families.

I love starting new relationships with other people, businesses and nonprofits.  If you would like to learn more about what we do and want to share what you do, email me (chris@rfva.org) and let me treat you to a cup of coffee.  The more we know about what is out there, the stronger we are as a whole.  Let’s @getrelational RVA!

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Help Somebody Spotlight: Keri Treadway, Teacher, Richmond Public Schools

Keri is a first-grade teacher at Fox Elementary and has been with Richmond Public Schools for 14 years. Her dedication to her students and her city extends far beyond her day job, however.  She shows up, she organizes, she donates, she solicits support from local businesses, all in the name of the children she cares so deeply about.  Keri is a co-founder and organizer behind the “Support Richmond Public Schools” movement as well as “Building a Better RPS“.

Keri Treadway’s first grade classroom at Fox Elementary. She has a reading loft, artwork hanging from the ceiling, a listening station, and her classroom is decorated with polka dots!

Support Richmond Public Schools is a grassroots movement in the city of Richmond where community members connect, learn and advocate for positive change in the school system – from work environments, to salaries to funding and more.  Keri has helped organize several rallies and fundraisers through Support Richmond Public Schools.

Recently, she played a key role in advocating for a needs-based RPS budget. She is now focusing her attention on a campaign to urge elected officials to resist moving the Mayor’s Education Compact forward until a new Superintendent has been selected.

In addition to the “Support Our Schools” rallies and fundraisers she helped facilitate last year, Keri also coordinated volunteer efforts that led to over a dozen RPS schools being updated by volunteers over the summer through Building a Better RPS.

Building a Better RPS is a community based effort that brings change to the Richmond Public School System through projects and fundraising efforts to support students and teachers.  It was inspired by the momentum behind “Supporting Our Schools” and officially became a nonprofit last summer.

Keri and other board members from Building a Better RPS built partnerships with local restaurants and breweries to raise $20,000 last summer.  The money supports work like landscaping and enhancing the appearance of the schools.  The organization has frequent fundraisers, and the next one will take place at Garden Grove Brewery.

Keri volunteering with Building a Better RPS – an organization she co-founded and is a board member.

Keri has also helped other teachers set up DonorsChoose projects. DonorsChoose.org is a national nonprofit organization that allows individuals to donate directly to public school classroom projects.

The person who nominated Keri for the “Help Somebody Hall of Fame” says that “she is a fierce warrior and we are lucky to have teachers like her advocating for our children.”

If you’d like to stay up-to-date with the work of Support Richmond Public Schools or get involved with their work, request to join their Facebook group.  Now that school is winding down for summer, you can join Building a Better RPS at an upcoming volunteer project; the next one is taking place at Armstrong High School, where community members will help landscape the school.  Visit HandsOn Greater Richmond’s site for more opportunities to volunteer at Richmond Public Schools.


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.

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