Home / News from the Community: Resident-Driven South Richmond Initiative Takes Shape

Archive For: News from the Community

News from the Community: Resident-Driven South Richmond Initiative Takes Shape

There’s a new local initiative that hopes to strengthen the Southside of Richmond with the input and direction of its residents. RVA Thrives is a project focusing on developing community-rooted initiatives and solutions along the Jeff Davis Corridor with the help of neighbors, nonprofits, funders, and local elected officials.

Recognizing a gap in resources and a need for community driven action, Altria, Robins Foundation, the Community Foundation, Richmond Memorial Health Foundation, and The Bob & Anna Lou Schaberg Fund at VNHC pooled collaborative funds to get RVA Thrives off the ground.

Last summer, community advocates led a robust Community Listening Process and prioritized three key issues – 1) Job Access 2) Neighborhood Beautification and 3) Neighborhood Safety. These three areas were then turned into working groups comprised of the cross-sector collaborators mentioned above. The working groups are currently researching and narrowing each issue into actionable and invest-able project proposals. They will continue to seek input and feedback from residents and stakeholders through community events and surveys.

In a recent press release, organizers said they want the Route 1 Corridor to “be a place where people come to raise their families, to work, to start a business, and to enjoy being part of the community. We want it to be a place where people come to shop, eat, and play. We are working diligently to be a place inclusively on the rise and to lead the way in redevelopment that does not push people out, but rather incorporates the wisdom, passion, energy, and leadership of neighbors already along the corridor.”

On Saturday, April 21, RVA Thrives is leading Corridor “Clean Up Day” from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., followed by lunch. At lunch, information will be shared about how to take further steps toward the beautification and thriving of the corridor and its surrounding neighborhoods. There will be door prizes and a free raffle at lunch for all who participate in the cleanup event!

If you are interested in signing up to help on April 21st, please go to www.thrivingcitiesgroup.com/rva-events.

Read more →


A Local Platform for Thanks and Recognition

This April will mark the fifth year The Spark Mill and HandsOn Greater Richmond, a program of the Community Foundation, have partnered together to host the “Power of Good” – a celebration for National Volunteer Week to honor community members who are making positive change in the region.

The event page says, “As believers that nonprofits can and do change the world, and that volunteers are essential to making that happen, this is our platform of thanks. We want to recognize all those in the region and are asking nonprofits, faith communities, schools, friends, and family to submit the people they know who power good.”


Recognize Your Volunteers

The recognition element of the Power of Good is simple and straight-forward.  Just fill in the online form with the person’s information (and yours) and in 20 words or less, explain why they “power good in Greater Richmond”.   It can be a volunteer, a neighbor, a colleague, a family member or friend and you can submit as many names as you want, by April 9th.

The Power of Good form asks you to recognize a volunteer in 20 words or less.

The person will be notified of the recognition and invited to a celebration later in the month (more details below).  An interactive map on the website shows “where all the good work is being done in our region” – a new element added this year that plots out the various organizations where volunteers have been recognized.

Get Helpful Resources

On the Power of Good website there are recognition resources, ideas and tools for nonprofits to use during April’s National Volunteer Month/Week and throughout the year.  You can download a “thank you” postcard to send out, watch recognition webinars and learn about other national award opportunities.  There is also a place for nonprofits to publicize their own local volunteer recognition event, award, or campaigns to the rest of the community.

You can download “thank you” postcards to send to volunteers in the resource collection for National Volunteer month.

Celebrate the Power of Good

On Tuesday, April 17th, from 5:30-8:30pm, the organizers are hosting a free community celebration at Blue Bee Cider in Scott’s Addition. The event will be a chance to learn about the great work being done by Richmonders and the impact of volunteers across the region.  There will be a visual recognition of all the volunteers and everyone is invited to meet up with honorees, community organizations, and neighbors for food, cider, and fun. Honorees and those who submitted them will get a special treat at the event.  The Power of Good celebration event is family friendly and an open-house, drop in format. Tickets are required and can be reserved here:  https://powerofgoodcelebration2018.eventbrite.com.

The 2017 Power of Good celebration where 250 volunteers from 150 organizations were recognized on a wall display.

Read more →


Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Gets a Refreshed Brand


In summer of 2016, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden was presented with an opportunity. The Garden was embarking on master site planning, working with 3North charting the course for future development of the Garden.

Part of the master site planning process was to assemble internal and external stakeholders for research about visions of what the Garden could be for the community. Participants represented a range of diverse groups, including staff and volunteers, community leaders, even fourth-graders! Some had close relationships to the Garden, others may have never or rarely visited.

Part of 3North’s process was an activity called an IQ Charrette. A charrette is a meeting in which all stakeholders in a project attempt to map solutions; the “IQ” stands for intangible qualities. Part of the exercise was for participants to choose colors, fonts and other visuals to express themselves. At the end of the day, the Garden had 3-pronged vision to be a Garden of:

1) Timeliness: A Garden of All Ages
2) Community: A Garden for Cultivating Community
3) Awakening: Mind, Spirit, Body

Stakeholders participating in IQ Charette to decide on which font would best represent the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden brand.


At the same time, the Garden’s ad agency Elevation had been suggesting a brand refresh. In its 30+ year history, the Garden had never had a brand platform. The Garden only had a logo featuring the Conservatory and a one-pager with guidance on fonts and color.

The Conservatory logo was designed by Elevation in 2003 when the Conservatory opened. Since that time, the Conservatory has become a focal point and one of the most recognized landmarks in the Richmond Region. It is tied to the development of the Garden and its consistent ranking among the top 10 public gardens in the U.S.

However, the Garden of today is much different than that of 2003, for instance the addition of a Children’s Garden and a growing involvement in community gardening.

It was time for a refresh.

Executive Director Shane Tippett agreed; however, his direction was to keep the Conservatory logo. Elevation concurred, citing the value of the brand equity already built into the logo.

Then something remarkable happened. The Garden, 3North and Elevation met to discuss the IQ Charrette results. Clearly what the Garden is today and what the community wants the Garden to be in the future has changed since 2003. The results of the IQ Charrette were the basis for a brand refresh for Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.

Community Leaders, Volunteers, Staff and even 4th Graders participate in the IQ Charette process.



Elevation went to work. Principals Aaron Dotson and Frank Gilliam presented the challenge and Art Director Scott Vadas and Account Manager Sydney Stoddard led the project.

Elevation created approximately 50 different concepts based on the research, then narrowed it down to half a dozen. Then they invited Tippett and others from the Garden to Elevation’s offices and put the 6 concepts on the wall. Each concept was considered and discussed at length.

Perhaps the most dramatic departure was the suggestion to not have a logo, but to use a wordmark of the Garden’s name instead. There were strong reasons for this, both philosophical and practical. Principal Frank Gillam, principal and creative director at Elevation said, “We wanted to complement the natural beauty of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden — which is integral to a visitor’s experience. We also wanted to make sure our brand was appealing to current and future patrons. This resulted in the creation of a contemporary logotype and a set of watercolor icons that represent flowers, seasons and events you will find at Lewis Ginter throughout the year. ”

The logo featuring the Conservatory that originated in 2003.

The Conservatory is certainly a centerpiece building that has helped make the growth of the Garden possible. At the same time, this growth has made the Conservatory part of a bigger whole. The Conservatory logo of 2003 emphasized one building; now there are opportunities to show the many facets of the Garden using a natural and organic feel. In addition, the Conservatory is almost always featured as the Garden’s hero shot anyway; this “two Conservatories” approach using it in the logo and a photo was redundant.

From a practical standpoint, the media landscape is more competitive and crowded than ever before. The Garden needed its name to stand out on everything from billboards to digital ads on smartphones. The wordmark allows the Garden’s name to be read.

Elevation created a watermark in combination with watercolor illustrations to represent the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden brand.



The Garden chose a graphic direction supported by the IQ Charrette feedback; a look that was colorful and natural, appealing to all ages, and most of all, welcoming.

As part of the brand platform, Elevation included illustrations that can be used in combination with the wordmark, depending on what and how the Garden is trying to communicate. This “toolkit” approach provides incredible flexibility and brings a freshness and variety to all Garden materials. A 44-page Brand Standards document helps the Garden maintain the consistency of the brand. This consistency is extremely important in today’s business world, yet it is not something many nonprofits have.

A refreshed look for the LGBG website.

Recognizing the Garden does not have the resources to do an immediate change-over to the brand refresh, it will be implemented throughout 2018 as opportunities occur and materials need to be replaced. The Garden now has new nametags and business cards reflecting the brand refresh and it will blossom as the centerpiece for the spring advertising campaign for A Million Blooms starting March 31.


This article was shared by Beth Monroe, Public Relations & Marketing Director, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.  Does your nonprofit have a best practice or story to share?  Email us at admin@connectva.org and let us know!

Read more →


News from the Community: Winter 2018 Nonprofit Highlights

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

The Community Foundation Shares 2018 Vision in 50th Year

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

Outstanding Women Awards with the YWCA

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

Photo Credit: The Richmond Time’s Dispatch


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Richmond Time’s Dispatch

Read more →


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

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

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

Read more →


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.

Read more →


Nonprofits Merge to Create Families Forward Virginia

Recently, Prevent Child Abuse Virginia, CHIP of Virginia and Early Impact Virginia merged to form a new 501(c)(3) organization, Families Forward. Families Forward is now Virginia’s leading organization dedicated to disrupting the cycle of child abuse, neglect and poverty. The organization will provide statewide leadership and unified support for 50+ Virginia affiliates through evidence-based and multi-generational prevention strategies.

Read more →


Commonwealth Autism Accredited by the Standards for Excellence Institute

Commonwealth Autism recently received the Standards for Excellence Institute’s Seal of Excellence for successfully completing their rigorous accreditation program. Commonwealth Autism voluntarily opened itself to analysis by a peer review team over the last 18 months that examined the organization’s compliance with the Standards for Excellence®: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector. These standards cover areas such as: Mission, Strategy and Evaluation; Leadership: Board, Staff, and Volunteers; Legal Compliance and Ethics; Finance and Operations; Resource Development; and Public Awareness, Engagement, and Advocacy.

Read more →


YNPN RVA Presents: 2017 Great Nonprofit Bosses

The Young Nonprofits Professional Network RVA (YNPN RVA) believes that a great boss or supervisor supports, inspires and pushes others towards excellence; is an effective communicator, passionate, intuitive and resourceful; and finally, is truly committed to developing the careers of the people they supervise. Over the past several weeks, YNPN RVA sent out a call to young nonprofit professionals all over Greater Richmond to nominate their boss or supervisor to be recognized as a part of our Great Nonprofit Bosses Celebration on November 1st at the Hippodrome Speakeasy from 6pm to 8pm.

Read more →


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.

Read more →