Back to School Edition - In This Issue:

Mayor Dwight C. Jones
Check out our  website to take a closer look at what we have been working on and to stay abreast of what we have in the pipeline!

Would you or your or organization like to host a Chat 'n' Chew with the staff of the Office of Community Wealth Building?


Chat 'n' Chews are informal discussions around issues related to Community Wealth Building in the city of Richmond. Staff from the Office of Community Wealth Building will present information about the work we are doing and engage in a dialogue with attendees about ways to catalyze that work going forward.  If interested send an email to Christina Mastroianni
Summer 2015


September is Back to School Month!

Building a strong cradle-to-career educational pipeline was one of the major recommendations of the Mayor's Anti-Poverty Commission.

Achieving dramatic improvements in educational and life outcomes for our young people is a shared goal of the City of Richmond and Richmond Public Schools--as well as numerous community partners.

Richmond Public Schools has responsibility for curriculum and policy and for articulating strategic goals for improvement. But the broader community has a crucial responsibility as well--in particular, to recognize and redress the specific challenges associated with educating and supporting children and families in poverty.

That's why the Maggie L. Walker Initiative has directed attention to key areas that impact student and family outcomes in areas that are not the sole responsibility of the school system. These
areas include:
  • Better preparing children and families for Kindergarten (school readiness)
  • Providing focused support systems for children in poverty
  • Providing a stronger menu of high-quality out-of-school time activities, particularly for adolescents
  • Developing strategies to engage parents and to connect parents to economic and continuing education opportunities
  • Developing a strong link between high school and college and career
As we begin the 2015-16 academic year, it's significant to note that the basic elements of this support system are coming together to help form a strong web of support for Richmond students. Through the Maggie L. Walker Initiative, in FY 2016 the City will invest nearly $1.6 million-about 40% of the total community wealth building budget into initiatives at the intersection of education and poverty.

Each of these initiatives are partnerships between the City, Richmond Public Schools, and often third-party organizations and funders. While we do expect some tangible short-term results, these are strategies that will take time and continued support to fully blossom and grow to the full scale needed to make a maximum impact.

Equally important, the City's strategy is intent on focusing not just on children, but children within a family context. Providing needed support to children in living in poverty is good; helping a child's parents escape poverty through expanded access to employment and related supports is even better. Parent engagement must be a critical component of this work, and developing effective strategies to reach parents and help address both their needs and the needs of their children is an urgent requirement.

The bottom line is our children need the support of the entire community to reach their fullest potential. This issue of the newsletter highlights the progress we are making to build the needed community structure of support to help combat and overcome the debilitating impacts of poverty. We wish all Richmond schools, teachers and students the best possible 2015-16 -- and we challenge all community members to join in the effort of supporting the aspirations and dreams of our young people. 

Back to the Top
We are pleased to announce that as a result of additional funding from the corporate community there will be a Future Center in each of the five comprehensive city high schools starting this fall! 

Last month Toria Edmonds-Howell came on board as Program Manager for RVA Future. Toria  is a graduate of the University of Virginia, and is currently finishing her Master's Degree at the University of Richmond. Her impressive work history includes outstanding work as an Adviser with the UVA College Advising Corps, Assistant Director of the Armstrong Leadership Program, Counselor Supervisor with the Mayor's Youth Academy, and English Teacher with Richmond Public Schools. Toria is a Richmond resident and proud alumna of Richmond Public Schools. 
During her first few weeks Toria assembled an outstanding team of center directors each of whom bring a great deal of experience and leadership.
Toria Edmonds-Howell

RVA Future Center Directors from left to right:  Seth Knight (Huegenot), Omequa Eaddie (Armstrong), Brittany Everett (Marshall), Tracy Brower (Wythe), Jessica Hofbauer (TJ)

RVA Future is an exciting new initiative aimed at increasing the number of Richmond Public Schools graduates accessing quality post-high school college and career opportunities. This is a collaborative initiative between the City of Richmond, Richmond Public Schools and the Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation, where the initiative is based. 
Back to the Top

Operating at Both Henderson and Boushall Middle Schools this Fall
Starting this month NextUp RVA will expand its operations to Boushall Middle School. NextUp RVA is a major public-private initiative aimed at providing opportunities for youth to continue their learning beyond the school day through a variety of enrichment activities that ensure they are productive, engaged and having fun! 

Launched at Henderson Middle School in 2014-15, NextUp RVA, formally known as MSR2020, is supported by an annual $350,000 contribution from the City of Richmond as well as $1.2 million in private funding.

Partners with RPS to Provide Title I Training
O n August 19, Drs. Thad Willi amson and Risha Berry presented at the NextUp RVA and Richmond Public Schools sponsored Title I training, Building a Better District: Partners for Excellence Institute.   The event was attended by Richmond Public Schools Title I K-12 Teachers and Administrators as well as local Out of Time (OST) instructors and agency directors . Thad and Risha provided an excellent history of the office and discussed how Community Wealth Building can be used as an educational strategy. 
Back to the Top
On August 20, Mayor Dwight C. Jones, flanked by School Board Representative Shonda Harris-Muhammed, 6th District and City Councilwoman Ellen Robertson, 6th District announced the opening of the Martin Luther King Jr. Preschool Learning Center. At 22,097 square feet, the Center has capacity for 260 students in 13 classrooms and provides the space and environment conducive for preschoolers to learn. 

Councilwoman Robertson stated that the opening of the building marks the first time in at least three years that a preschool with adequate space for neighborhood children has been opened in the East End.

As Mayor Jones stated, "The mitigation of poverty has to be attacked on many fronts, and this is one of those fronts." 
Back to the Top

RVA Reads will be at four Preschool centers this Fall and they are looking for readers! 

Readings are scheduled on Wednesdays starting in October and last approximately one hour. Volunteers will read to preschool classes and distribute books for students' home libraries. RVA Reads will be distributing over 1000 books this school year. 

RVA Reads Fall Reading Schedule

October 7, 2015
Maymont Preschool Learning Center
1211 South Allen Avenue

October 14, 2015
Blackwell Preschool Learning Center
238 East 14th Street

October 21, 2015
Mary Scott Preschool Learning Center
4011 Moss Side Avenue 
October 28, 2015
MLK Preschool Learning Center
900 Mosby Street

For more information or to sign up to be a reader contact:

Barbara Tisdale Crump
Program Coordinator,  RVA Reads
(o)  804-646-7320
(m) 804-894-0562
(e)   Barbara Crump

Back to the Top
The Office of Community Wealth Building will serve as the primary liaison for the City of Richmond's relationship with  Communities in Schools of RichmondThis move was prompted by a desire to better align the goals of city funded programs like CIS, to the  global  goals of reducing poverty by 40% in the City of Richmond by 2030. 
Back to the Top


For more information about the Office of Community Wealth Building, click here. To speak to someone from our staff, please call 804-646-1300. To find out how you can get involved, email us or call us at 804-646-1300.