Richmond Organizations Raise $1M for New Racial Justice Fund

Travon Brown, on a megaphone, leads a Black Lives Matter rally.

By Associated Press

November 30, 2020

Group looks to expand wealth and educational opportunities for the Black community

RICHMOND — Several organizations in Virginia’s capital city have partnered to raise $1 million for a fund set to expand wealth and educational opportunities for the Black community and to address structural racism.

Officials with Community Foundation for a Greater Richmond, SisterFund and the Ujima Legacy Fund — all based in Richmond — recently established the Amandla Fund as the effects of COVID-19 pandemic and racial injustice intersected.

Leaders from the groups said they hoped the fund would support investment in the future of Richmond’s Black community. This would be done through developing homeownership and better educational opportunities.

“These issues are not new or unique to Richmond,” Derrick Johnson of the Ujima Legacy Fund said. “We see the outcomes today; we see the results today. … The Amandla Fund is about trying to put forth efforts to address those fundamental issues.”

The organizations intend to use the money to amplify the work of other community organizations, according to Stephanie Glenn of the Community Foundation for a Greater Richmond.

Dominion Energy gave $200,000 as part of a multi-million-dollar commitment to social justice initiatives announced this summer as protesters led demonstrations against racial injustice and police brutality around the country. Tobacco corporation Altria gave $500,000, among donations from other groups.

Johnson said the organizations were grateful for the “seed money,” but now hope to secure multiyear commitments to raise $10 million annually in an endowed fund for future giving.

The group is currently drafting a 10-year strategic plan to increase the strength of such organizations and address gaps in homeownership and education in Richmond, leaders said.

The fund’s name comes from the Nguni word for “power and strength,” a popular rallying cry against apartheid in South Africa, according to the Community Foundation’s website.

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