There was a palpable sense of “back to normal” throughout 2022 as most nonprofits emerged from the impacts of the pandemic. Fundraising events returned in person. Services took place face to face. And the pre-COVID rhythms of operations returned to a familiar cadence.
Reflecting on the year that will soon be in our rear-view mirror, here are some of the newsworthy highlights of 2022 in the world of Richmond’s nonprofits:
The Robins Foundation greeted a new president and CEO, though the face was familiar. Dr. Chris Chin ascended to the new leadership position after almost eight years at Robins, most recently as vice president of operations and organizational development. Upon assuming his new post, Chin said: “I am thrilled and honored to lead this organization as it begins the next exciting chapter of its longstanding service to the Richmond community.”
Later in the year, James Taylor, the president and CEO of the United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg, a position he has held since 2015, announced that he had accepted a position as executive vice president of the Shepherd University Foundation. Under Taylor’s leadership, the local UW raised more than $88 million to serve the region and developed programs like Kindergarten Countdown Camp and WomenRise. Board chair Corynne Arnett said: “United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg would not exist as it does today without James’ leadership and vision.” As a search for a new president is underway, Angela Otto was named interim president & CEO.
One glance at Broad Street downtown, and you can’t help but notice that the new 16-story Wonder Tower has reached its adult height. Checking in at 500,000 square feet, the state-of-the-art inpatient facility will enable VCU’s dedicated health professionals to serve the special needs of children throughout the region and beyond. Look for its grand opening in early 2023.
Farther to the west on Broad is the new $11 million children’s residential treatment facility, part of a comprehensive building project on the UMFS campus. The new center, with a capacity for up to 50 kids, will provide trauma-informed care for youth who are working to overcome emotional and behavioral challenges. Meanwhile, UMFS also opened an addition to its Charterhouse School, which includes 10 classrooms for such subjects as cosmetology, technology, culinary arts and horticulture and a state-of-the-art dining facility for residential children.
October’s announcement that Virginia Rep had purchased the Scottish Rite Temple in Richmond’s Northside deserved a standing ovation. The $3.5 million purchase – with another fundraising campaign to follow to finance renovations – will help turn the building into the Virginia Rep Center for Arts and Education and feature a 650-seat auditorium and two smaller studio spaces. The new center will host kids’ theater productions, educational touring programs, camps, classes and workshops. Said Managing Director Phil Whiteway: “This investment will allow us to create a new path for the future of Virginia Rep’s children’s, families and schools programming.”
The $104 million donation from the Barbara Brunkhorst Foundation to VCU to create the new Stravitz-Sanyal Institute for Liver Disease and Metabolic Health was eye-popping. The gift, the largest publicly shared gift for liver research in U.S. history, was made possible by a member of the family and a VCU physician, R. Todd Stravitz, M.D.
“I decided to expand [the foundation] to medical research [and] was given the responsibility and the blessing of choosing a recipient in the medical field, and what better recipient in the medical field than VCU, where I’ve spent 30 years,” Dr. Stravitz said.
98 and Counting
As ChildSavers approaches its 100th birthday in 2024, the child-trauma-focused agency set an ambitious goal – to double the organization’s mental health and development services for children by its one century milestone. With two years still to go, the ChildSavers100 campaign has already met its “moonshot” goal of serving 40,000 children thanks to an audacious campaign chaired by Roger Boeve and Linda Schreiner.