Resident-Driven South Richmond Initiative Takes Shape
A new local initiative hopes to strengthen the Southside of Richmond with the input and direction of its residents. RVA Thrives is a project focused 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. The goal? To build up existing community connections and develop new opportunities throughout the corridor.
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 cross-sector collaborators. 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.
The Community Foundation, alongside the other funding partners, anticipates the Route 1 Corridor will be a place where residents can enjoy being part of a community. Organizers want this neighborhood to be a place where people come to shop, eat, and play. As they strive to incorporate the wisdom, passion, energy, and leadership of neighbors already along the corridor, the hope is to cultivate an inclusive environment which welcomes people from all walks of life.
On Earth Day, April 21st, RVA Thrives hosted its first “Clean Up Day” to engage corridor residents and clean 8 different communities along Jefferson Davis Highway. Charles Vaughan, a forty-year corridor resident who is deeply engaged in the community said, “I’ve never seen the whole corridor come together in the way they did on Saturday!” Over 200 individuals showed up to help, including 50 men from the CARITAS Healing Place. RVA Thrives eagerly anticipates hosting two additional cleanup days on June 2nd and Oct. 6th to build on the positive momentum.
For more information, visit the RVA Thrives website: www.thrivingcitiesgroup.com.