News & Event
Now in its fifth year, the Ujima Legacy Fund has harnessed the generosity of its 40 members to award two grants of $20,000 each to Higher Achievement and Mega Mentors. Created with the goal to increase the philanthropic impact of African American men in the Greater Richmond region, the Ujima Legacy Fund focuses its grant program on organizations working to empower youth through education-related programs. Cumulative grantmaking now totals $168,000 to 8 area nonprofits.
Higher Achievement closes the opportunity gap for underserved students through intensive after-school and summer programs that provide expanded learning, mentorship and opportunity. Scholars begin as rising 5th and 6th graders and remain in the program through 8th grade. Support from the Ujima Legacy Fund will allow Higher Achievement to grow in response to increased demand and high retention by scaling programming at the newest of their four sites – Binford and Wilder Middle Schools. It means that next school year more than 300 scholars will realize gains equivalent to an extra 48 days of learning in math and an extra 30 days in reading; and most importantly, they will be on track for college with the character, confidence and skills to succeed.
Mega Mentors was created in 2009 when then superintendent Dr. Marcus Newsome asked African American community leaders to be role models for students in Chesterfield County. While intentional about working with African American students, the volunteer-run program is designed to improve academic performance, increase graduation rates and reduce disciplinary issues for all middle and high school students who are underserved or disenfranchised. This year, 150 volunteer mentors work with 500 middle and high school students in 7 schools. Grant funding will support a part-time coordinator to help grow the program to serve more schools and students, provide greater consistency and build stronger partnerships and collaborations.
In 2013, Ujima Legacy Fund launched to make philanthropy engaging and accessible for African American men in the Richmond region. Ujima is named after the third day of Kwanzaa and means collective work and responsibility. One of three giving circles created in partnership with The Community Foundation, Ujima members pool contributions of $1,100 each to generate greater community impact. Together, they select at least one local nonprofit organization annually that they feel best demonstrates the ability to empower youth through education-related initiatives, with emphasis on underserved youth.
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(RICHMOND, VA)…Members of the Ujima Legacy Fund – a giving circle created by and for African American men – announced two new grants of $20,000 each to Richmond Cycling Corps and Excel To Excellence. They honored the recipients at a celebration at the Richmond Cycling Corps Bike Park on June 2, 2016.
The grant to Richmond Cycling Corps will provide employment opportunities for youth who participate in this unique program that uses the bicycle as a tool to help youth in public
housing break free from systemic poverty. While the program has proudly produced the only two inner-city youth cycling teams in the nation, it also offers its youth participants a good dose of tough love. Central to its mission, Richmond Cycling Corps provides a range of case management services to help these young people navigate life and learn personal accountability. This year, with support from Ujima Legacy Fund, 6 young people will be offered summer jobs as assistant coaches, bike patrol members and maintenance staff for a large scale community garden project.
The grant to Excel to Excellence will allow the program to expand from two to four schools in 2016, reaching an additional 60 students. Developed by Richmond native and former NFL player Michael Robinson, Team Excel is an ongoing academic program that encourages youth to excel in the classroom throughout the school year. The program uses a “reverse” fantasy football concept in which students are coached by professional athletes and community mentors. Each week, youth participants receive individual and team scores based on their grades, attendance and community service. Aimed at bridging the achievement gap in Henrico County, Team Excel is designed to help students increase their classroom performance, learn life skills and explore career opportunities.
“Richmond Cycling Corps and Team Excel represent two inspiring examples of what can happen when you believe and invest in the potential of young people,” said Immanuel Sutherland, leadership team member, of Ujima Legacy Fund. “The members of the Ujima Legacy Fund are proud to make a collective investment that will help these organizations continue to grow and innovate and to provide young people from our communities with life-changing opportunities that will help them achieve in school and in life.”
In 2013, The Ujima Legacy Fund was launched as a way to make philanthropy engaging and accessible for African American men in the Richmond region. Ujima is named after the third day of Kwanzaa and means collective work and responsibility. One of three giving circles created in partnership with The Community Foundation, Ujima members pool contributions of $1,100 each to generate greater community impact. Together, they select at least one local nonprofit organization annually that they feel best demonstrates the ability to empower youth through education-related initiatives, with a particular emphasis on underserved youth. Since inception, membership has grown to 43 men and has awarded a total of $128,000 to six organizations.
RICHMOND, VA – SisterFund, the newest giving circle created in partnership with The Community Foundation, has awarded a grant of $20,000 to Children’s Home Society. The grant will support the Possibilities Project, a collaboration between Children’s Home Society of Virginia and Better Housing Coalition. Funds will be used to provide trauma-informed supports including access to education, safe housing and life coaching for young women aging out of the foster care system.
“We are excited to partner with the women of SisterFund to produce better results for foster care youth in Virginia,” said Nadine Marsh-Carter, executive director of the Children’s Home Society of Virginia. “For youth entering the world without the supports of family or resources, this grant can be the difference between a path to incarceration or homelessness and a future in which they are empowered to live independently and become successful, thriving adults.”
The Possibilities Project addresses the young peoples’ emotional health as well as their critical need for lifelong connections. The long-term goal is to create a model based on best practices that can be replicated across Virginia and across the country.
“With so many compelling proposals, this was a hard choice,” said Evette Roots, founding member and marketing chair. “Ultimately, we were inspired by The Possibilities Project’s comprehensive approach and its long-term goals to affect systems change statewide. We felt we could make a difference financially, but also by staying informed and engaging in public policy.”
SisterFund was founded in October 2015 by several committed and passionate individuals including Veronica Fleming, The Honorable Cynthia Newbille, Greta J. Harris, Evette T. Roots, The Honorable Ellen F. Robertson, and The Honorable Delores McQuinn. Its purpose is to unite women around the power of collective philanthropy. In its inaugural year, 26 members came together to broaden their collective awareness about issues affecting African American women and girls and to support nonprofits serving this population through opportunities in education, workforce and leadership development.
“SisterFund is an experience that embraces all aspects of philanthropy. We are learning together, giving together and celebrating the joy of achieving greater impact together,” said Roots. “Now that we have made our first grant, we are extremely motivated to grow our circle and expand our support for community initiatives.”
Anyone who would like to join SisterFund or learn more about its grant program is encouraged to visit www.sisterfundrva.org or call The Community Foundation at (804) 330-7400.
Richmond, VA – October 25, 2017 -- The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia (TCF) and solar power company Secure Futures have partnered to support local governments and K-12 public school systems seeking to transition to solar energy. TCF donors established the RVA Solar Fund out of their common interest in advancing solar energy in the Richmond region. The fund will provide grants of up to $100,000 to support administrative costs, education and training, and related sustainability initiatives for public entities going solar.
Each grant recipient will engage in a solar power purchase agreement with Secure Futures to finance, install, own, and operate an estimated 15,000 solar panels at the recipients’ sites, for a total local investment of approximately $12 million. The public entities will pay no capital or maintenance costs for the equipment and will enjoy reduced total electricity costs by using the power generated by the panels. Together, this initiative represents an innovative public-private collaboration to build five megawatts of clean solar power – enough to power 700 homes — and avoid the equivalent CO2 emissions from burning 5 million pounds of coal per year.
“The Community Foundation is delighted to help local donors achieve their charitable goals by facilitating meaningful investments in clean energy,” said Sherrie Armstrong, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Community Foundation. “We believe solar energy will bring positive, long-term benefit to our community, our environment, and local taxpayers.”
The RVA Solar Fund provides a unique opportunity for public agencies in the 13-county, 4-city Richmond region to generate solar power on-site and save money at the same time.
All area K-12 public school systems and local governments are urged to apply as soon as possible. The $200,000 fund will be distributed among multiple grantees, with a maximum single grant amount of $100,000. Interested applicants must submit a non-binding Notice of Interest through The Community Foundation’s website by November 17, 2017.
“The Richmond region is well-positioned to become a national leader in sustainability and innovation, and the cost of clean energy is no longer an obstacle,” says Anthony Smith, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer, Secure Futures, a Virginia-based Certified B Corp recognized for its commitment to exacting standards for social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. “Solar’s time has come. And with this initiative, we can jump start local schools’ and governments’ transition to clean solar power while saving them money for decades to come.”
To assist with outreach throughout the Greater Richmond region, Charlottesville-based non-profit organization Generation 180 is collaborating on the project.
“We are dedicated to supporting a cultural shift in energy awareness and advancing the transition to clean energy,” says Tish Tablan, National Organizer, Generation 180. “And there is nothing more powerful for shifting mindsets in the future than children seeing solar energy being used in their own schools. We hope to see this partnership in the Richmond region spread to communities around the country who are dedicated to a healthier, cleaner future with a workforce prepared for the 21st century economy.”
Two additional non-profit organizations are supporting this effort: The Richmond Region Energy Alliance (RREA) and the National Energy Education Development Project (NEED). They are helping with outreach to prospective grant recipients and curriculum and training for schools, respectively.
About The Community Foundation
The Community Foundation is a public charity that serves its donors and community in Richmond and Central Virginia. Since 1968, TCF has been solving problems, preserving legacies and building permanent endowments. In the intervening years, TCF has granted more than $800 million to hundreds of local nonprofits with more than 900 funds of all sizes.
About Secure Futures, LLC
As a market and policy leader, Secure Futures builds, owns, manages and funds affordable US made Resilient Solar Solutions® for public purpose entities. Headquartered in Staunton, Va., the Company combines state-of–the-art solar technology with an innovative business model to make commercial scale solar readily affordable in Virginia, helping customers to realize the economic, environmental, and community benefits of solar energy. In 2017, Secure Futures became a Certified B Corporation®, having met the exacting standards for social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability established by the nonprofit B Lab®.
About Generation 180
Generation 180 is a non-profit committed to advancing the transition to clean energy and supporting a cultural shift in energy awareness through original content, digitally enabled campaigns, and an empowered volunteer network. We help people understand the trends that are moving us toward a more energy aware lifestyle, and the specific actions we can take to advance clean energy in our homes, schools, businesses and communities. Generation 180 helps schools across the country take advantage of the benefits of going solar with current research, resources and community volunteers.
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RICHMOND, VA – In partnership with The Community Foundation, SisterFund announces that its second annual grant to empower African American women and girls will be awarded to Partnership for the Future. The grant of $20,000 will be used to provide training, enrichment and mentoring for 179 high school girls and college women working to attain their college degrees.
Partnership for the Future provides highly-motivated local high school students from challenging circumstances with the tools and experiences necessary to attain a college degree. In recent years, the program has expanded from real world training and college prep activities while in high school – such as SAT courses, college tours, cultural experiences and paid internships – to include mentoring and support once students enter college. Most participants are from low-income families and are often first to attend college. Partnership for the Future is designed to help young people unlock their full potential by giving them the road map and support to be successful.
“Our membership was particularly impressed by the resourcefulness and collaboration demonstrated by Partnership for the Future,” said Cynthia Newbille, President of the SisterFund. “The program has achieved remarkable results with the support of its dedicated staff, 70 organizational partnerships and a cadre of 200 loyal volunteers. Since 2007, Partnership for the Future has a 100% matriculation rate and 86% of its students have graduated within 6 years or are persisting through college.”
SisterFund represents the collective wisdom, service and philanthropy of 26 African American women leaders who believe they can make a greater difference together than they can alone. While many of its members have chosen professions in service to their community, the giving circle is an opportunity to come together to broaden their collective awareness about issues affecting African American women and girls and to support nonprofits serving this population through education, workforce and leadership development.
Learn more about SisterFund, its membership and grant program by visiting www.sisterfundrva.org or call The Community Foundation at (804) 330-7400.
A generous $20M bequest will support nonprofits in Richmond and Mount Airy, NC.
James M. (“Jim”) Frye died in April 2015, leaving a philanthropic legacy to the communities he loved. The $20 million bequest to The Community FoundationServing Richmond and Central Virginia endows an unrestricted fund that will enhance local grantmaking, as well as restricted endowments that will provide ongoing support to over 30 eligible organizations in Richmond and Mt. Airy, NC. In addition to the bequest to The Community Foundation, his estate provided direct charitable bequests to a number of organizations.
At age 84, Jim looked back on a life of singular accomplishment. He rose from depression-era poverty in Mount Airy, North Carolina to become Director of Government Relations for Phillip Morris, one of the world's largest and most profitable public companies. After retirement in 1988, he served the company as a consultant for 19 more years, completing a remarkable 55 years of service. Jim and the many leaders who worked alongside him helped build the company into the leader in the tobacco industry.
Jim was known for his deep friendships, his good humor, and his integrity in business and in life. He graduated from the University of Richmond in 1953, gaining admission on a football scholarship. Then he joined his lifetime employer as a management trainee, earning an MBA from Richmond while working full-time. He served his country two years in the Army, including a year in Japan right after the Korean Conflict.
His potential for leadership was recognized in 1966 with a posting to the Brookings Institution as a Public Affairs Fellow, and there he served Congressman Gerald Ford, who would go on to be America's 38th President. That relationship would result in a lifelong friendship. The President's balanced and unselfish approach to problems influenced Jim in business and philanthropy.
Jim knew that both organizations and community needs change over time. This made him reluctant to set aside significant capital for a cause unless he could be assured that the organization would be monitored and his committed funds managed professionally. Jim learned of The Community Foundation in 1997 and, true to his creed, investigated it. He crafted a careful plan to give nearly all of his savings to charitable causes after the death of he and his wife, Virginia Nash Frye. In the meantime, he gave generously and always anonymously each year. His plan included meaningful capital gifts to selected charities including St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church (his church), Virginia Home for Boys and Girls (board member for 15 years) and others in Mount Airy.
The balance of his estate was gifted to The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia to fund endowments for ongoing support of his chosen causes, but with 25% reserved to address community needs as identified by the Foundation. Of particular importance to Jim Frye was the duty of the Foundation to monitor the organizations selected and to move endowment support to other organizations if they failed to perform effectively or if the need served dwindled.
Always a very private person, Jim requested toward the end of his life that the details of his plan be publicized after his death. This was not for his aggrandizement ("After all I won't be around," Jim said with typical wry humor) but to encourage others to give.
Frye’s philanthropy was influenced by his life experience – growing up during the Depression when basic things were scarce; mentors during his life who coached and encouraged his talent and leadership; the loss of loved ones due to health considerations; and, his faith. His legacy of philanthropy is captured in the themes of helping children, promoting the dignity and well-being of less fortunate persons, supporting health and expressing faith through community outreach. Jim’s wife of 47 years, ‘Lucky’ as she was known to her close friends, died in 2010. In addition to his charitable gifts, Jim Frye left meaningful bequests to his and Lucky's extended family members and a few close friends.
During the time Jim worked with Philip Morris, the company was making its first charitable grants. Today, the company’s philanthropic legacy spans 50+ years, setting a corporate culture of giving and community engagement by company leaders and employees. Jim was fully invested in Philip Morris, and contributed significantly to the company’s strong performance during his career. In his eulogy to Frye, long-time friend Bill Leidinger exclaimed that “Jim just didn’t work for Philip Morris. Jim was Philip Morris! He was Philip Morris personified.”
Friends report that Frye never sold a share of Philip Morris and he would acquire the stock whenever he could. The Philip Morris Companies (now Altria) investment story has been an amazing one in its own right. A $360 investment in just 10 Altria shares in 1970 would have grown to more than $500,000 today, with reinvested dividends. But it was Frye’s investment acumen and discipline that Jim brought to actively managing his own money in retirement that proved to be brilliant and produced the wealth that enabled his philanthropy.
Jim’s loyalty to Altria, his entrepreneurial spirit and his compassion for others translated into millions for the communities he loved and will now benefit countless people through this bequest to The Community Foundation.
Organizations benefiting from Frye’s Estate are as follows:
Learn more about establishing a fund at The Community Foundation.
The majority of grantmaking from The Community Foundation is done at the direction of donors who choose to partner with us on their philanthropy. We are privileged to work with hundreds of individuals, families and businesses who enjoy the opportunity to focus on how they want to make a difference, while we take care of the administrative details. Their collective generosity has resulted in $18 million in donor-directed grants for a variety of causes so far this year!
Our staff is always available to provide guidance as needed, with years of experience in matching donor interests with the good work happening throughout our region. While donor-directed grants often align with the Foundation’s focus areas, individuals may also recommend support for other interests like animal welfare, religious institutions or even organizations in other communities where they have ties. Whatever your passion, we can conduct research and help you achieve the greatest possible impact.
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We are halfway through the year and already we have accomplished so much together, all to create a stronger, healthier and more vibrant RVA. Through June 30th, The Community Foundation and its funding partners – including the Jenkins Foundation, Pauley Family Foundation and REB Foundation – awarded $6 million in competitive grants. These are grants provided through an application process to support initiatives that address important community issues and build the capacity of organizations and their leaders. Competitive grant programs are made possible by the generosity of past donors, the participation of donor advisors who wish to leverage greater impact and the leadership of several volunteer committees.
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