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ConnectVA Spotlight: Stephen Allen, International Rescue Committee

Tell us about yourself: Stephen Allen, Site Manager – International Rescue Committee in Richmond; Stephen will celebrate 10 years with IRC in March and moved to Richmond shortly after the IRC in Richmond opened in October, 2015 as a sub-office of IRC in Charlottesville. Stephen worked with IRC in Phoenix for 8 years, starting as a volunteer in 2008. Stephen has a Master of Science in International Development Studies.

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ConnectVA Spotlight: Jacki Quinlan, Sports Backers

Tell us about yourself My name is Jacki Quinlan and I am the Director of Community Outreach at Sports Backers. Armed with a B.S. in Psychology and a MEd. in School Counseling, I spent the first 11 years of my career working with individuals with disabilities in a sheltered employment program and serving youth with mental health disorders in Title 1 schools. As I moved into a management position I decided to start a run club at Oak Grove-Bellemeade Elementary School to fulfill my need to continue having a direct impact on youth. The experience of giving back through physical activity was more fulfilling than I ever could have imagined, certainly more fulfilling than my personal running accomplishments. Now I have the opportunity to support youth run clubs all over the Richmond Metropolitan Service Area and facilitate fitness programs in underserved communities to combat the health inequities that exist in our region. I was born and raised in Richmond so it is a dream come true to work for a nonprofit that serves my hometown. This position allows me to combine my passion for active living with my program management experience while giving me the opportunity to improve the health and wellness of the communities I care so much about.

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ConnectVA Spotlight: Kathy Perun, St. Joseph’s Villa

Tell us about yourself My name is Kathy Perun, and I am honored to serve as the Director of Community Engagement at St. Joseph’s Villa. I have over 25 years of experience in volunteer engagement and human resources management. For the past four years I have been engaging the community with programs at the Villa that change the lives of children and their families. In addition, I teach nonprofit classes through The Community Foundation. I love teaching and coaching others that have a passion for volunteers and the nonprofit community. Since 2003, I have been Certified in Volunteer Administration (CVA) through the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration (CCVA) credentialing program. I am a long-standing member of the Greater Richmond Association for Volunteer Administration (GRAVA) and past-president of the board of directors.

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ConnectVa Spotlight: Betsy Bilharz, Virginia Mentoring Partnership

Tell us about yourself. My name is Betsy Bilharz and I am part of the Program Services Team for Virginia Mentoring Partnership, a state-wide nonprofit organization that supports mentors and mentoring programs by providing training, consulting, and capacity-building services to enhance the quality of mentoring programming and relationships. Having received my bachelor’s degree in economics and data analysis from Hamilton College and, more recently, a master’s degree in public administration, program and policy analysis from VCU, I have always been interested in working with volunteer and community organizations to apply an analytical and research-based lens to nonprofit practices. I was drawn to VMP’s work promoting evidence-based quality standards to maximize impact in the mentoring field.

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ConnectVA Spotlight: Katina Williams, United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg

Tell us about you (include name, position, organization, background) My name is Katina Williams and I am Director of Community Impact: Income Area with United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg. I started working with United Way in July 2016. I am a native of Petersburg, VA and I worked for 13 years in homeless services with St. Joseph’s Villa. Through my work with St. Joseph’s Villa I gained a love for systems, how they work and how they can be changed to fit the needs of those most affected by a community issue. I believe in the power of individuals and their ability to create a path to success for themselves and their families when resources are made available.

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ConnectVA Spotlight: Heather Farber, Volunteer Coordinator, Greater Richmond Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN)

Tell us about yourself. My name is Heather Farber and I am the Volunteer Coordinator for Richmond Court Appointed Special Advocates, a program of Greater Richmond Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN). SCAN is working to prevent and treat child abuse and neglect in the Greater Richmond area through services that promote positive parenting, strengthen families and help create a community that values and cares for its children. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is a national organization and in 2009, Richmond CASA merged with Greater Richmond SCAN and became one of their five programs. CASA assigns volunteers to advocate for children who are involved in child abuse and neglect cases in the Richmond City Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

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ConnectVA Spotlight: Terence Barber, Prevention & Outreach Specialist, The James House

Tell us about yourself. My name is Terence Barber and I am the Prevention & Outreach Specialist for the James House. I have a B.A. in Mass Communications and a M.A. in Media Management from Virginia State University. Prior to starting this position in February, I worked with citizens in the community and helped connect them to resources that would assist them in becoming self-sufficient. I also planned community events and connected with other organizations to help provide services to those clients.

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ConnectVA Spotilght: Jess Burgess, Artistic and Executive Director, Dogtown Dance Theatre

Tell us about yourself. My name is Jess Burgess and I am the Artistic and Executive Director for Dogtown Dance Theatre. Dogtown is a nonprofit dance service organization that provides a home for all of Richmond’s independent performance artists. We seek to enliven our local community by fostering creative expression and education across diverse populations. I am also a choreographer, dancer, and dance instructor creating work and teaching dance across the state of Virginia.

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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.

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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.

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