Home / Blog / Top 40 Under 40 Nonprofit Spotlight: Amanda Hall, Sean Monroe, Fran Bolin, James Wasilewski, Evandra Catherine & James Wallace

Top 40 Under 40 Nonprofit Spotlight: Amanda Hall, Sean Monroe, Fran Bolin, James Wasilewski, Evandra Catherine & James Wallace

Get to know some of the Top 40 Under 40 Nonprofit Spotlight panelists!  And make sure to register for the big event on Wednesday, November 18th at the Hippodrome Theater!

Amanda Hall, Co-Founder of the Community Food Collaborative

Amanda Hall, Co-Founder of the Community Food Collaborative

What are 3 things you want people to know about you?

  • As a career switcher, choosing to teach has been the most rewarding experience of my life. I have learned as much from my students as I could ever hope to teach them
  • I am most proud of my students and am amazed daily by their tireless effort, innovation, and passion for making a difference
  • As a small-town girl from rural eastern KY, I have fallen in love with the diversity, creativity, and zeal for knowledge I have found in Richmond! I am proud to call this city my home!

What are 3 things you want people to know about your organization?

  • The Community Food Collaborative is an urban agriculture and youth development community-based initiative
  • Our mission is to connect students, schools, and communities to their local food systems through service learning, youth activism, and social entrepreneurship
  • Our goal is to provide students and their families with the skills and resources to make meaningful change leading to individual and collective transformation

How does your work help empower individuals, advance organizations and strengthen community?

Through my work, I strive to empower students to become change agents in their own communities by addressing social issues, advocating for equity, and embracing their own cultural and social capital in ways that broaden horizons, connect communities, and highlight youth voice.  Through mentoring, education, and outreach, students and their families are able to create meaningful change regarding issues that affect their lives on a daily basis.  By forming sustainable public-private partnerships founded in critical service learning, students, their families, and community members are able to work together to dispel deficit model thinking and move beyond a “service for” mentality towards a “service with” ethic.

Sean Monroe, Director of Programs at HomeAgain

Sean Monroe, Director of Programs at HomeAgain

What are 3 things you want people to know about you?

  • I am very driven by helping others in my community
  • I am extremely introverted
  • My life’s goal is to be remembered as one who cares for others and became a success without having to compromise “me”

What are 3 things you want people to know about your organization?

  • HomeAgain is an entire organization driven and motivated to ending homelessness in the city of Richmond and the surrounding counties
  • We are a housing first driven organization which means our main focus is to get families and individuals back into housing as quickly as possible and then wrap services around them to help them become sustainable
  • HomeAgain has been around for 30 years helping to end homelessness in the Richmond area.

How does your work help empower individuals, advance organizations and strengthen community?

HomeAgain strengthens the community by helping families and individuals experiencing homelessness secure and maintain a Home, Again. We work tirelessly to insure that our fellow neighbors have a safe place to call home.

Fran Bolin, Executive Director at Assisting Families of Inmates

Fran Bolin, Executive Director at Assisting Families of Inmates

What are the top 3 things you want people to know about you?

  • I grew up in Midlothian and I cherish my upbringing with my mother, Gail (passed away in 2004), who was a Chesterfield County elementary school teacher; father, Bill, who is now retired after over 35 years as the Lead Biologist with Dominion Virginia Power, and sister, Mary Bess, who is a Director at Dominion Virginia Power. My parents were wonderful role models and instilled the importance of ‘giving back’ into both of their daughters. I still live locally with my husband, John, and three children – daughter, Avery (8), and twin boys, Jack and Bo (6).
  • I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Social Work (major) and minor in Religion from Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina. I graduated with a Master’s in Social Work, with a concentration in Planning & Administration, from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia.
  • I love ‘up-cycling’ vintage furniture through painting or reupholstering! I love playing with my children and watching their t-ball and softball games with Huguenot Little League. I love fishing, boating and swimming!

What are the top 3 things you want people to know about your organization?

  • Assisting Families of Inmates provides desperately needed services to a population that is generally underserved and/or generally not thought about. These services are necessary and vital as they can help families and offenders better cope throughout the period of incarceration and better reintegrate once the offender is released back into our community.
  • Assisting Families of Inmates is a non-profit organization that started in 1978 with volunteers using their personal vehicles to take family members to visit loved ones housed at several state facilities. Today we travel by charter bus to 23 state prisons; offer video visitation (like Skype) to 15 state prisons from 5 visitor centers across the state, and specialize in a children’s program for children impacted by parental incarceration (this program is currently offered in Fairfield Court and Woodville Elementary Schools in the City of Richmond).
  • As a small non-profit our resources are limited and we therefore welcome donations! These may be item donations (eg canned goods or gloves/hats/scarves for our Holiday Program); monetary donations (any amount helps AFOI fulfill its mission), or time and talent donations (we are always looking for volunteers for our various programs!).

How does your organization help empower individuals, advance organizations and strengthen community?

Our programs offer support and reintegration assistance for children, families and offenders. This then leads to happier, healthier families (who are in fact, empowered); lower crime and recidivism rates; increased public safety, and ultimately, to stronger and healthier communities throughout Virginia.

James Wasilewski, Director of Annual Giving at VCU Massey Cancer Center

James Wasilewski, Director of Annual Giving at VCU Massey Cancer Center

What are 3 things you want people to know about you?

  • Everything I do is for my family including my sons, Embry (almost 4) and Turner (almost 2).
  • I enjoy giving people the opportunity to laugh at me or with me – on stage or off. This includes all facets of my life, but the two where this really takes place is with West End Comedy (founder/managing artistic director) and in the facilitation world leading workshops and incorporating improv games to highlight discussion topics.
  • I was an accounting major in college – what?! Most people are surprised that I am outgoing and analytical; those two things don’t mix, right? (art and science).

What are 3 things you want people to know about your organization?

  • VCU Massey Cancer Center is 1 of two NCI-designated (National Cancer Institute) center in Virginia and 1 of 68 in the country.
  • Over 260 clinical trials and other studies are being conducted at Massey; these are tomorrow’s possible treatments.(One of the many reasons private philanthropy and support is so important; this type of funding helps us advance these efforts along with others)
  • Our physician-scientists, clinicians and researchers collaborate in a multidisciplinary method. A patient’s case is discussed reviewed by clinicians, a highly valued collegial group, who see the patient through the lens of their specialty or research is shared to determine the practical application to others cancer disease forms outside of the scope of research.

How does your organization help empower individuals, advance organizations and strengthen community?

VCU Massey Cancer Center’s mission is to serve as a comprehensive center of excellence in cancer research, prevention and control, patient care and education.  Massey is a nationally recognized cancer center that provides not only excellent patient care and treatment serving patients from each county and city in the Commonwealth, but also conducts groundbreaking research and clinical trials to offer possible alternatives to standard treatments here – in Richmond’s own backyard.  Our goal is to continue to be Virginia’s cancer resource.

Evandra Catherine, Director of Community Engagement for the Department of African-American Studies, VCU & Founder, The Identity Project

Evandra Catherine, Director of Community Engagement for the Department of African-American Studies, VCU & Founder, The Identity Project

What are the top 3 things you want people to know about you?

  • I am very compassionate towards other people’s challenges. My compassionate nature drives my actions.
  • I used education to channel all of my traumatic experiences, graduated high school in 3 years, achieved E-5 in military by age 20, graduated Cum Laude in BA of African American Studies, graduated top 10% in Masters Public Administration.
  • Advocating for others is where I derive most of my passion and my purpose.

What are the top 3 things you want people to know about your organization?

  • The Identity Project is focused on increasing awareness of political participation and activism amongst African Americans, with an emphasis on high school and college aged students
  • We want to increase voter participation in the 18-29 year old voting bloc
  • The Identity Project will be advocating for a Black History curriculum in Virginia Public Schools, in order to decrease the amount of self-hate Black youth experience and promote Black history, culture, and contribution to this nation.

How does your organization help empower individuals, advance organizations and strengthen community?

The work I do helps empower individuals because I focus on a marginalized and oppressed demographic, although The Identity Project is focused mainly on continental Africans and Black Americans, all other groups of people can benefit from the conversation. I seek to foster an environment in Richmond that promotes healing and transformation. Self-love is at the root of healing and transformation.  In order to achieve this goal, The Identity Project must work with other inclusive organizations to empower all people, no matter race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation that we are all people, and all issues are human issues.

 

 

YNPN RVA, our local chapter of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, and Style Weekly have partnered to host an event that celebrates the nonprofit leaders and professionals selected for Style Weekly’s Annual Top 40 Under 40 List. Join us to hear from a panel of the current Top 40 Under 40 honorees in the nonprofit sector, moderated by 2015 recipient Kelli Lemon, and a keynote from a Top 40 Under 40 alumnae Beth Panilaitis, Executive Director of ROSMY . We’ll top the night off with a reception, networking, silent auction and prizes. All are welcome. Register before November 16th.

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