Creating Quality Educational Opportunities
The Micah Initiative
Under the leadership of the Reverend Benjamin Campbell of Richmond Hill and S. Buford Scott, the Micah Initiative is a collaborative effort involving 47 faith groups from diverse communities that provide over 600 volunteers in 26 elementary schools in our region’s urban, metropolitan district. Created in 2003 in response to a growing need for support of student achievement in Richmond Public Schools, Micah Initiative volunteers provide support to students serving as tutors, mentors, and library aids and organize needed services such as book and clothing collections, cultural and camping experiences and more. One of the first and largest faith-based mentoring and tutoring programs in the area, the participating faith groups have shown dedication to the school system and have provided sustainable community support where oftentimes it is lacking.
Demonstrating Innovative Solutions
Meghan Nunnally, M&M Ice Cream Parlor
At the young age of seven, Meghan Nunnally became one of the youngest entrepreneurs in the Richmond area when she began her very own ice cream parlor to earn money to pay her own way to college, to serve and serve as a role model for her community. Over the past four years, Meghan has worked hard to give back to her community by working with schools to create incentives for perfect attendance and good grades, giving free ice cream to students who have achieved such during a grading period. Each year, she gives a $1,000 scholarship to two graduating high school seniors who are continuing to college and every Saturday, she reads at a story time for children in the M&M Ice Cream Parlor. And yes, she is earning money to go to college. An honor student herself, Meghan is living by her vision and serving as a role model for her entire community.
Fostering Regional Cooperation
Central Virginia Foodbank & Meals on Wheels Serving Central Virginia
In October 2005, backed by their boards of directors and wide-spread citizen support, these two organizations announced plans to jointly build a state-of-the-art, 5,000 square foot community kitchen to prepare meals for thousands of children, elderly and disabled residents in Central Virginia. Because the missions of the two organizations are so similar, they agreed to combine resources, energy and effort to give the project a greater scope, reduce strain on donor resources and increase the quantity and quality of food produced. The new facility will provide daily meals for more than 800 homebound elderly and disabled residents, and more than 10,000 children in metropolitan Richmond and Petersburg. Scheduled to open in September 2007, it will be the only kitchen operated by two Richmond-based non-profit organizations.
Improving Social Justice
Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy
The Rethink Bias campaign is only one of many projects supported by the Virginia Interfaith Center. Now in its 25th year, the Center works to unite people of all faiths for the causes of social justice, compassion and environmental stewardship. What began as a small campaign of ads on GRTC buses to encourage Richmonders to think about and discuss cultural misunderstanding and fear, the Rethink Bias campaign has reached audiences internationally and became the focus of talk shows, news stories and even the subject of curriculum for middle and high school students. Along with working to change attitudes and open dialogue about cultural misunderstandings, the Center has worked to create income tax credits for the working poor, provide pre-school funding for working families and move homeless families from shelters to homes.
Promoting Stronger Communities
John J. Zeugner
Over the past ten years, John Zeugner has helped over 50 different cultural, neighborhood and parks organizations through his efforts as the volunteer Executive Director of the Richmond Recreation and Parks Foundation. Founded in 1990, the Foundation assists with fundraising, education and citizen involvement and provides assistance to community partner groups in the city whose goals are to improve and enrich city parks, recreation programs or the environment. Through his volunteer labor, John has worked to organize outreach programs to city children, obtain funding for the James River Park System, advocate for the cultural arts including Dogwood Dell and the 17th Street Farmer’s Market and create and manage the Foundation’s Landmark Theatre office. The results of his personal efforts can be seen in play grounds, walking trails, summer camps for city children, community gardening and tree planting programs and increased support for arts programs.