Over the past several weeks, we have seen tremendous support from individuals and organizations across our region stepping up to help our neighbors in need. To all those who have contributed to the Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund, or directly to area nonprofits, and to the many organizations coordinating or providing much-needed services, we thank you and we celebrate you!
Here are the latest updates from the COVID-19 Response Fund, including recent grants, creative community participation, and stories from the field, including an update from the River Counties Community Foundation.
Grants from the Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund now exceed $2M
An advisory committee from the philanthropic, business and public sectors is reviewing and distributing grants from the Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund on a rolling basis. With a new round of grants awarded this week, total grantmaking from the fund now exceeds $2 million to 51 organizations and localities in the Central Virginia region.
The fund has continued to focus on early response efforts to mitigate the health impacts of the pandemic —including food access, health care and shelter. The latest grants are helping to expand food distribution to more rural jurisdictions and address increased need for mental health services and housing support.
As of this week, the Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund has raised $4.65 million from hundreds of individuals, foundations and businesses in the region.
Our three regional affiliates – Gloucester, Mathews and River Counties Community Foundations – are coordinating similar response funds and efforts. Those funds have raised a combined $443,000 so far to support organizations in the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck.
Community Foundation Fund Participation
Community Foundation donors are committed to the well-being of our region, providing generous support to nonprofits throughout the year. In response to the pandemic, they are giving in multiple ways — whether through contributions to COVID Response Funds, grants to fulfill specific COVID-19 related requests, or grants to nonprofits of their own choosing. Thank you for your partnership.
If you would like to make a gift to the Response Fund by check, with other assets or through your donor-advised fund, please contact Community Foundation for assistance.
Creative Community Giving
United Way has been a valuable partner in boosting the Central Virginia Response Fund with a $100,000 matching pool for gifts made through their website — and they’ve reached the match! We hope to keep the momentum going. Donate online.
NBC12 created a “Virginia Strong” campaign by sharing inspiring stories from organizations receiving support from the Fund and by selling t-shirts. Proceeds from t-shirt purchases go to the fund, and over 800 have been sold so far. More about “Virginia Strong”.
Virginia Green gave $5,000 to the fund and launched a “Share the Love” social media campaign, which asks their customers, friends and community members to make a heart in their yard and take a photo of it. The lawn care company will donate an extra $10 to the fund for every picture tagged and shared. Participate in the campaign.
The Richmond Flying Squirrels held two “Opening Day” campaigns, raising more than $40,000 for COVID-19 relief organizations, including the Response Fund. Read More.
Several Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School students are providing virtual book clubs, trivia, math and yoga classes for children through “ProjectEngageRVA.” All net proceeds will go to the Response Fund. Visit their website.
HandsOn Greater Richmond is working with community partners to expand their DIY and virtual volunteering opportunities, while still connecting people to critical in-person opportunities. See how you can volunteer.
Want to sew masks for Richmond’s essential workers? HandsOn has partnered with Studio Two Three to get homemade masks where they are critically needed. Learn more & sign up.
Helping those who need it most in the River Counties
In March, River Counties Community Foundation launched the River Counties COVID-19 Response Fund in partnership with the Jessie Ball DuPont Fund to support nonprofit partners addressing critical needs in the community, as well as organizations that will be crucial to the ongoing support and long-term recovery. Read More.
Thousands of volunteers support RPS meals program
Many students at Richmond Public Schools (RPS) depend on the meals they receive at school, so when school buildings closed in March as a precaution against COVID-19, RPS knew they needed a system to ensure kids still had access to the food they need. So far, over 2,000 volunteers have stepped up to help. Read more.
Q&A with Dr. Vivian Bruzzese, CrossOver Healthcare Ministry
Dr. Vivian Bruzzese is an infectious disease specialist who serves as the Director of HIV Programs with CrossOver Healthcare Ministry – a nonprofit organization that operates two charitable healthcare clinics in the Richmond region. We heard from Dr. Bruzzese to learn a little more about her position and how CrossOver is responding to the needs of their clients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the Q&A.
Celebrating the Sector
The Artists for Hope initiative returns, offering another chance for participants to purchase beautiful art pieces and support local nonprofits at the same time. More
The City of Richmond and Henrico County launch programs to feed first responders and aid local restaurants in the process. More Local K-12 students are documenting their reflections on how the coronavirus is affecting their lives for The Valentine’s new project, “Richmond Stories from Richmond Kids.” More
With support from Verizon and Sam’s Club, Virginia LISC has launched the Small Business Relief Grant program to provide the emergency assistance that many small businesses need at this time. More
Communities in Schools of Richmond is finding new ways to connect with their students and ensure they have the academic and emotional support they need. More
With funding from a Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund grant, Feed More has hired seven local chefs to help prepare meals for residents in need. More
Thanks to the generosity of our partners and the greater Richmond community the Family Crisis Fund is now positioned to deliver $500 individual payments to 2,360 families in our region. And the $1,180,000 fund continues to grow.
The Family Crisis Fund was launched on April 3rd and within days, disbursement of direct payments began, allowing for immediate and direct relief for families with children.
The is also open for individual donations. If you wish to donate, please follow these instructions to do so using your credit or debit card:
Under “Location Preference,” (1) select “Other” and (2) write in “Richmond, VA.”
Enter your billing and contact information and press “Submit Donation.”
We continue to work with multiple partners and localities (Richmond, Henrico, Chesterfield and Petersburg) to identify families in need, disburse funds, and make sure recipients don’t have to navigate barriers associated with technology and financial literacy in order to receive much-needed support.
Family Crisis Fund partners include Henrico Education Foundation, Chesterfield Education Foundation, Family Lifeline, City of Richmond, Enrichmond Foundation, Community Foundation for a greater Richmond, Richmond Memorial Health Foundation, Flying Squirrels Charities, and individual donor, Clelin Ferrell.
No commitment is too small when addressing a situation of this magnitude. At Robins Foundation, we are thankful for the strategic, adaptable, and collaborative efforts between philanthropy, the nonprofit sector, our local government partners and individuals to engage in innovative philanthropy that inspires solutions to our community’s greatest challenges.
Under “Location Preference,” (1) select “Other” and (2) write in “Richmond, VA.”
Enter your billing and contact information and press “Submit Donation.”
You will receive an email acknowledging your donation at the address provided in the “Billing and Contact Information” section.
Read more about the Family Crisis Fund, below.
Unprecedented Times Call for Bold Action
Tyonka Rimawi, Robins’ Program Officer, Community Partnerships, writes about how providing direct cash assistance to families in need as a result of job loss due to COVID-19 required an unparalleled level of due diligence and internal reflection, in this article published today in Nonprofit Quarterly. She also offers thoughts and guiding questions to other foundations considering new approaches during this unprecedented time.
Robins Foundation, in Partnership with the City of Richmond, Launches $1 Million Family Crisis Fund
Families with children are in direct and immediate need of support during the current states of emergency in Richmond and Virginia due to job loss from the COVID-19 pandemic.
To mitigate the impact on our most vulnerable children and families, Robins Foundation, in partnership with the City of Richmond has launched a Family Crisis Fund. Seeded with matching $500,000 contributions by Robins Foundation and the City of Richmond, funds from this initiative can be disbursed to families soon as April 7-8th, allowing for immediate financial relief for families and immediate impact on the local economy. This will meet critical needs while families and local communities prepare for the federal stimulus to be activated within the next 60 days.
In partnership with Family Independence Initiative (FII), this stimulus program is being launched on a platform that allows us to work closely with three of our four strategic partner communities who continue to work with children and families during this crisis – Richmond, Chesterfield and Henrico.
Through an innovative public-private partnership, The Enrichmond Foundation and the City of Richmond’s Office of Community Wealth Building will coordinate one-time family stimulus gifts for families with children in the City of Richmond.
Chesterfield Education Foundation and Chesterfield County Public Schools will also implement the initiative as will Henrico Education Foundation in partnership with Henrico County Public Schools Office of Family Engagement. The platform also allows us the flexibility to add other nonprofit partners as opportunities are identified moving forward.
Our actions are motivating peer funders and individuals to get involved as well. These donors are pledging to join the initiative and invest in this family-focused, place-based effort to support families during this unprecedented time of crisis while stimulating our economy.
Every commitment makes a difference in addressing a situation of this magnitude. We are thankful for the strategic, adaptable and collaborative efforts between philanthropy, the nonprofit sector, and our local government partners to contribute to relief efforts across Richmond and the Commonwealth through initiatives like this and the many others that have launched in response to the impact of COVID-19.
Robins Foundations Launches the Family Crisis Fund
In service to our neighbors and in line with our founders’ values, we are doing everything we can to address the impact of the COVID-19 crisis for children, families and the larger community we are so proud to serve and call home.
There is still one group in our community hit particularly hard by the current COVID-19 crisis and in need of immediate help in the form of direct financial assistance: families with children.
To address those needs, Robins Foundation today launched the Family Crisis Fund.
Robins has contributed $500,000, and many of our peer funders and individuals will also contribute. We hope to work with over 1,000 families.
Funds from this initiative will be disbursed to families soon as April 7th or 8th, allowing for immediate and direct relief for families and immediate impact on the local economy while our neighborhoods and communities prepare for the federal stimulus and state unemployment benefits to be activated within in the next 60 days.
Every commitment makes a difference in addressing a pandemic of this magnitude. We are thankful for the strategic, adaptive and collaborative efforts between philanthropy, the nonprofit sector and our local government partners to contribute to relief efforts across Richmond and the Commonwealth through initiatives like this and the many others that have launched in response to the impact of COVID-19.
More information about the Family Crisis Fund, its benefits, our partners, and how families can access these funds, please stay tuned for updates, to be announced on Friday, April 3rd. #VirginiaTogether
Board approves $500,000 Contribution to The Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund
As the greater Richmond region works together taking unprecedented action to flatten the infection rate for COVID-19, many institutions, organizations, and businesses are adjusting their practices, or closing altogether. While this will help reduce or slow the spread of the virus it will also create challenges for our most vulnerable children and families. We continue to focus on how that will impact the children who attend area public schools, especially those who attend Richmond Public Schools.
The Robins Foundation board has approved a $500,000 contribution to The Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund – a regional emergency response fund that will support the immediate and ongoing needs of local nonprofit organizations as they respond to the implications of COVID-19 in our community. The fund was activated by The Community Foundation for a greater Richmond, in partnership with the Emergency Management Alliance of Central Virginia and PlanRVA.
The fund will be administered as a public/private partnership between philanthropy, local government, and the nonprofit sector. Seeded with a $500,000 contribution from the Community Foundation, the fund has quickly grown to $3 million (as of this posting) with additional contributions from Altria, Atlantic Union Bank, Bank of America, The Cabell Foundation, Capital One, CarMax Foundation, Dominion Energy, Genworth, Mary Morton Parsons Foundation, VCU Health System, Wells Fargo and several individual donors.
For more information about the fund, please CLICK HERE to read the full announcement released by the Community Foundation.
We are excited to announce that Housing Families First has been awarded the $500,000 Lora M. and E. Claiborne Robins Community Innovation Grant (CIG) for their project Bringing Families Home.
Housing Families First (HFF) is a primary provider of crisis housing services for Richmond-area families experiencing homelessness. In partnership with the Richmond Public Schools McKinney-Vento Program, Bringing Families Home will provide assistance with housing search, rental applications, lease negotiation, and move-in funds so that unserved students and their families can secure stable housing and end their homelessness. This partnership project will provide the foundation – stable housing – on which students can build improved school attendance, reduced behavioral concerns, and/or improved academic achievement, while also providing parents and non-school-age siblings with the benefits of safety and stability.
“A great deal of effort has been made to ensure that every student succeeds academically, but many students, siblings, and their parents have been left behind when it comes to housing,” said Beth Vann-Turnbull, Housing Family First Executive Director. “Housing Families First is thrilled to partner with Richmond Public Schools to help families experiencing homelessness get back into a home of their own.”
CIG funds will be used by HFF to hire a Community Housing Navigator to provide housing search help, as well as financial assistance for leasing, for students and families prioritized by RPS McKinney-Vento staff.
“Each year as we take this journey through CIG grant process we are given the opportunity to learn more about and be inspired by the many amazing organizations in Richmond that are working to improve the lives of children and families in our community”, said Juliet Shield-Taylor, Robins Foundation Board Chair. “We are so excited to partner with Housing Families First and their collaborating organizations. What the Richmond Region needs is more innovative programs and approaches like Bringing Families Homes that have the capacity to really change lives.”
About Housing Families First
Originally founded in 2001 as Hilliard House, HFF supports families with minor children to access shelter and find permanent housing, then connects them with community resources to keep it. Their mission is to provide families experiencing homelessness with the tools to achieve housing stability. The goal is not only to assist families in finding permanent housing but also to ensure that each family has access to the supportive services necessary to sustain housing in the long run.
About the CIG
The CIG provides a unique opportunity, and a $500,000 award, for Richmond’s non-profits to propose actionable solutions that will have a meaningful and measurable impact on complex issues that our region has been wrestling with for generations, including homelessness, housing instability, education, workforce development, and health.
The CIG cycle started in October 2019 with proposal submissions. Organizations were invited to present ideas to the Robins staff and the CEO of the previous CIG winner. Following those presentations, ten non-profit proposals were invited to host site visits to bring their proposals to life. A committee of the Robins Foundation Board then met the top five to determine the top two finalists before announcing the recipient today.
Please take some time to view the videos from our Top 5 finalists for this year’s Lora M. and E. Claiborne Robins Community Innovation Grant.
Help Me Help You – “Reentry Navigation and Continuum of Care”
Housing Families First – “Bringing Families Home!”
Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia (HOME) – “Eviction Diversion Program”
Latinos in Virginia Empowerment Center (LIVE) – “LIVE Center”
YMCA of Great Richmond – “Newcomer Welcome Center”
We are excited to announce the Top 5 finalists for the 2020 Lora M. and E. Claiborne Robins Community Innovation Grant.
Help Me Help You Foundation
Housing Families First
Housing Opportunities Made Equal
Latinos in Virginia Empowerment
YMCA of Greater Richmond
“This dynamic group of finalists embodies the spirit of the CIG,” said Robert Dortch, Robins’ VP of Program and Community Innovation. “They are driven to collaboratively find solutions to help address our community’s unmet needs. It’s been exciting to take a deep dive with each of them and see how committed they are to serving children and families in our community through these transformative ideas.”
Each finalist is committed to finding unique approaches, offering fresh perspectives and using visionary creativity to find innovative, long-term, sustainable solutions to the issues our region has been facing for decades.
For Robins, the CIG presents an opportunity to help organizations make an impact in the community by partnering and collaborating with them over the course of several years to build the innovation, implement it in the community, give the community and opportunity to embrace it, and then measure and report the results.
We asked each of our 2020 applicants to describe their innovative idea and project and its impact in the community and tell us what will be different in the lives of the target population as a result. We also requested they specify the project’s intended change and how funds provided by Robins will be used. Here is what each had to say.
Organization: Help Me Help You Foundation Project Title: HMHY Reentry Navigation Continuum of Care Response: 89% of lived experience expert’s (LEE’s) who participated in the Richmond Family Reentry CoC planning process expressed the desire for their most basic needs to make a difference in their lives. Adequately responding to intergenerational poverty and justice inequities requires funded programs built on the individual and collective strengths of LEE’s and, their institutional knowledge and skills to most effectively assist peers returning to the local Richmond Community.
CIG funding will help provide:
Navigational support and clinical case management for 50 unique Richmond families over a two-year period. Integrated evidenced-based practices and equitable barrier-free access will ensure families are directly connected to appropriate service interventions based on their own needs surrounding family reunification and restoration.
Six weekly intensive in-home counseling services to the entire family to reinforce parenting program lessons and the family’s ability to strengthen communication, build healthy connections, and overcome difficulties.
Support for a local feasibility study to explore the development of a formal data exchange network, systemwide community-based risk need assessment tool that addresses the intersecting needs of returning citizens and their families. This public safety strategy will ensure the target population has equitable opportunities for family reunification and reintegration success, as defined by them and rule of law.
Organization: Housing Families First Project Title: Bringing Families Home Response: Housing Families First (HFF) is a primary provider of crisis housing services for Richmond-area families experiencing homelessness. Originally founded in 2001 as Hilliard House, HFF supports families with minor children in accessing shelter and finding permanent housing, then connecting them with community resources to keep it.
In partnership with the Richmond Public Schools McKinney-Vento Program, HFF proposes a project to provide assistance with housing search, rental applications, lease negotiation, and move-in funds so that unserved students and their families can secure stable housing and end their homelessness.
This partnership project will provide the foundation of stable housing on which students can build improved school attendance, reduced behavioral concerns, and/or improved academic achievement, while also providing parents and non-school-age siblings with the benefits of safety and stability.
Organization: Housing Opportunities Made Equal Project Title: Eviction Diversion Program Response: Many people who are facing eviction have fallen behind on paying their rent due to an unexpected circumstance or unforeseen event. In an effort to prevent a temporary hardship from devastating a family, HOME will reduce the number of children destabilized by eviction, and will intervene in the eviction process and help 450 people annually maintain their existing housing. The program utilizes volunteer legal conciliation, negotiating a payment plan to reconcile the past-due amount owed and a financial empowerment course. Once accomplished, these efforts may enable families to avoid the inevitable anxiety and stress that often accompanies an eviction. contributing to a more stable physical and psychological environment for students and their families to thrive.
Organization: Latinos in Virginia Empowerment Project Title: Latinos Empowerment Center Response: Latinos In Virginia Empowerment Center (The LIVE Center) was established with the belief that members of the Latino/Hispanic Community have the cultural knowledge and language proficiency to best work with and engage Spanish-speaking victims through services.
This project will impact this community by creating a coordinated, consistent, reliable, accessible, affordable, comprehensive, and most importantly, a culturally appropriate approach that ensures access to timely and accurate information about victims’ rights and available services.
Latinos Empowerment Center is a peer model that aims to tap into the abilities of individuals to share critical information and resources, as well as empower the community and promote healthy relationships with other community members.
Organization: YMCA of Greater Richmond Project Title: Newcomer Welcome Center (NWC) Response: An innovative, collaborative effort, the NWC will reduce barriers and increase immigrants’ access to critical health and social needs services. Robins’ support will help launch the YMCA’s NWC, which will serve the immigrant community through tailored programs delivered in conjunction with community partners including schools, nonprofits, houses of faith, and local government, and referrals to a wide variety of other programs and services.
The NWC will promote equity in the Richmond region by engaging newcomers in culturally competent programs and services with the goal of addressing the community’s most pressing needs in accessible location(s).
About the CIG
The CIG provides a unique opportunity for Richmond’s non-profits to propose actionable solutions that will have a meaningful and measurable impact on complex issues that our region has been wrestling with for generations, including homelessness, housing instability, education, workforce development and health. For more information on this year’s CIG, visit https://legacy.robinsfdn.org/cig-2020/.