Leadership Metro Richmond (LMR) is proud once again to partner with the Valentine and the Capital Region Collaborative to select and honor Richmond History Makers. This partnership began in 2005 and continues to this day as an excellent example of community collaboration.

I am pleased to co-chair the Selection Committee with Mary Brown (LMR ‘14). This will be our second year to lead this process. We are fortunate and energized to work with our partners on this project – our CEO, Myra Smith (LMR ‘06), and Bill Martin (LMR ‘07 – best class ever!), Director of the Valentine.

Now, back to the word ‘collaboration.’ It’s a word we use frequently in the non-profit sector. It’s not a new idea or the latest trend in effective management. But, it’s a word that is taking on a new meaning in our regional community.

I (and many others) think we are at the beginning of a peak of public collaboration. The Mayor of the City of Richmond has created a new beginning with other jurisdictions. City officials are working more closely with appointed and elected officials in the counties of Henrico, Chesterfield, Goochland, and Hanover. Challenges in our community know no geographic bounds. For example, the East End of Richmond combats the same challenges as Eastern Henrico. Both areas need better school facilities and academic support, both need affordable and sustainable housing, and both need access to good jobs that pay a living wage.

Many of these issues require significant and long-term funding. Housing and schools are complex issues that require a mix of public and private funding. I am honored to work for the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond. We work closely with other funders - for example, the Robins Foundation and Richmond Memorial Health Foundation. Local foundations are collaborating with corporate funders – Altria, Bank of America, CarMax, and Genworth are among the many corporate leaders in this partnership.

Our regional nonprofit organizations are collaborating in exciting and efficient new ways. Silos of programming and activity are not as effective as solutions that address the multiple layers of needs for an at-risk child or adult in our community. CARITAS addresses both substance abuse and preparing adults for the workforce by collaborating with health providers and local employers. The Better Housing Coalition tackles both the need for affordable housing and an enhanced quality of life; as an example, their work involves partnership with the Children’s Home Society as they house young adults who are moving from the foster system to independent living. And, NextUp provides after-school activities for hundreds of middle school students in the City of Richmond. Their work involves collaborating on service delivery with approximately 35 other nonprofits, such as ART180, Blue Sky, the YMCA, and Communities in Schools.

Collaborators are front-runners for recognition, at least in my opinion. Think about this as you consider making a nomination for the History Maker Award, due by October 22. Please visit the History Makers website to learn more about the award categories, as well past recipients, many of whom are highly collaborative LMR graduates. The event will be held on March 12, 2019, at Virginia Union University.

Please join in this process or attend the event so that you too can participate in the growing collaboration in our region.

Scott Blackwell
Chief Community Engagement Officer
Community Foundation for a greater Richmond
LMR Class of 2007

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