Health Equity Fund Investments

Community-led work that can challenge the longstanding impacts of racism

The Health Equity Fund accepts direct applications to identify potential investments in projects, organizations, and leaders who are building better health outcomes in Richmond. We know communities see the services and gaps in services that effect them. 

Since kicking off in 2022,  the HEF has allocated over $2M to elevate the organizations doing impactful work across the HEF’s focal areas of health disparity. The HEF continues to identify projects that aim not only to address the deficits that produce health inequities but to build strength, resilience, and new systems.

Across six focal areas of health disparity, the HEF invests in gap-filling initiatives to build better health outcomes for priority communities

Access to Healthcare & Health Education

Crossover Healthcare Ministry

CrossOver is a non-profit organization that provides high-quality, compassionate healthcare to uninsured and Medicaid patients. The HEF investment enabled support for 250 COVID PCR and/or rapid tests for uninsured patients as well as additional bilingual RN community health coordinator medical assistant capacity to focus on COVID-19 including testing, vaccinations, containment and education to patients and community members. 

Daily Planet Health Services

Established in 1969, Daily Planet Health Services (DPHS) provides accessible, comprehensive, and integrated quality health services to anyone regardless of their housing, financial, citizenship, or insurance status. Serving Richmond City and surrounding counties, DPHS’ primary population is individuals experiencing homelessness and housing instability with secondary populations of those living in and around public housing, in shared housing (doubling up) and those living with HIV. The HEF investment supported DPHS staff capacity to conduct telephonic outreach and connect clients to primary care follow-up in an effort to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates and primary care visits for individuals experiencing homelessness.  

Nationz Foundation Inc.

Nationz Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, was organized to provide education on HIV prevention, inspire the community to take responsibility for their health and wellness, and work towards a more inclusive Central Virginia for LGBTQIA+ individuals. Nationz addresses health disparities with a focus on LGBTQIA+, Gender Diverse populations and people of color. The HEF investment has provided funding support for Nationz Foundation staff to improve access to care for STI testing, link clients to educational resources and care, refer clients to emergency support services, and expand outreach efforts for Richmond residents. 

Sacred Heart Center

Sacred Heart Center has offered comprehensive education and support services for Latino families and individuals for over a decade. Through the Covid-19 pandemic, Sacred Heart Center (SHC) offered various services to quell surges of the virus among Spanish-speaking immigrant families, including vaccination clinics, distribution of hygiene supplies, and case management and resource referral. The HEF investment enabled Sacred Heart Center to host vaccine clinics, field community calls, update the internal resource directory, and promote vaccine education and outreach.


Food Access & Security

Shalom Farms

Shalom Farms is a nonprofit farm and food justice organization working for an equitable food system in Richmond, VA. One program of note is the Shalom Farms Mobile Market which is a traveling farm stand operating in neighborhoods that do not have equitable access to nutritious foods including fresh produce. Through the support of the HEF investment, Shalom Farms is offering a more consistent supply of produce and other locally produced healthy foods by increasing the number of Mobile Market days, the duration of the market distribution season, and inclusion of additional marginalized neighborhoods, thus resulting in more residents with long-term, affordable access to high quality, culturally appropriate, fresh food.

The Happily Natural Day

The Happily Natural Day is a Virginia based non-profit organization that seeks to advance our conversations about food access into practices that cultivate food justice in the Richmond Region and beyond. HEF funding supported a three-season farming program serving roughly 100 youth (ages 12-18) at three locations in the City, as well as development of a Central Virginia Urban Farm Fellowship (CVUFF) online curriculum, a 12-week training program that teaches regenerative agriculture, urban greening and community building within the city. 

Waymakers Foundation

Waymakers Foundation was formed in April of 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on the Latino and Hispanic communities access to food. Serving upwards of 900 families each month, the food bank distributes culturally-responsive food that represents the community served. The Health Equity Fund investment enabled Waymakers to provide culturally-appropriate and relevant emergency food delivery and outreach services to Richmond families most impacted by food insecurity.

Read more about Waymakers Foundation in this RHHD Blog Spotlight!



Maternal & Child Health

Birth in Color RVA, Healthy Hearts Plus II, and Urban Baby Beginnings are three organizations working collaboratively to increase access to community doulas for Richmond families, as well as to provide training and certification support for doulas.

Birth in Color

Birth in Color RVA provides culturally-centered support to pregnant people, their families, and birthing communities to ensure a safe delivery and to empower more positive decision-making for children. The HEF investment allowed Birth in Color to provide direct doula services, accept doulas seeking approved education and training into their program, as well as address barriers to credentialing that current doulas experience.

Healthy Hearts Plus II

Mommies, Bellies, Babies, Daddies (MBBD), works to inform new mothers of the importance of nutrition and breastfeeding during and after pregnancy. The HEF investment allowed MBBD doula staff to provide direct doula services upon staff completion of education, training, and credentialing.

Urban Baby Beginnings

Urban Baby Beginnings (UBB) works to reduce adverse outcomes and isolation experienced by families during the prenatal, postpartum, and early childhood years by increasing access to maternal health hubs. UBB is a state-approved education and training provider that used the HEF investment to provide training for MBBD and Birth in Color RVA doulas seeking certification. In addition, UBB is leveraging the HEF investment to provide an allotment of diapers to families in need through an established referral program, outreach efforts, and diaper distribution events. 

Virginia Prison Birth Project

The Virginia Prison Birth Project (VaPBP) specializes in doula services and perinatal programs that support justice-impacted birthing people in prison, jail, rehabilitation facilities and on probation in the community. Through the support of the HEF investment, VaPBP is providing comprehensive doula support services, 1:1 doula client sessions, and facilitation of peer support group sessions.  
Read more about Virginia Prison Birth Project in this RHHD Blog Spotlight!

Mental & Behavioral Health

Daily Planet Health Services

Daily Planet Health Services (DPHS) is using HEF funding to hire a Behavioral Health Care Coordinator that will provide psychoeducation and behavioral health interventions. To increase engagement and adherence to overall treatment, DPHS’ Behavioral Health Care Coordinator will track and follow-up with complex and/or high-risk cases, providing connections to case management and community resources as needed. Many of DPHS’s clients have co-occurring medical and behavioral health needs making medication and treatment plan adherence more challenging. The HEF investment will ensure DPHS has new resources to assist current and future clients.

Read more about Daily Planet Health Services in this RHHD Blog Spotlight!

Richmond Behavioral Health Authority

Richmond Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA) is a community health agency committed to bringing essential care to clients through crisis intervention, mental health services, development support, primary medical care, and substance use treatment and prevention. Through the Health Equity Fund investment, RBHA is currently providing clinical mental health services in three public housing Resource Center clinics through weekly therapy and assessment services, coordination of monthly workshops, and community outreach.

The Hive

The Hive is a youth-centered community that holistically supports young people as they transition into adulthood. The Hive’s model challenges conventional pathways through the criminal legal and child welfare systems by engaging what they call legacy work, where helping emerging adults build their skills and healing practices enables them to be drivers of generational transformation. The Hive is a Black-led, intergenerational, and multi-racial community that believes in a world where all young people feel like they belong and have the resources they need to become independent, healthy, and thriving adults, and believes that tangible investments in the diverse needs of young people can reverse the intergenerational trauma caused by systemic racism and solve our community’s most pressing issues. The Hive runs the Young Innovator Squad, a community-based program that provides holistic, healing-centered case management to young people touched by the criminal legal system. HEF funding supports the onboarding of Young Innovators as part-time staff members, as well as the creation of a transition plan for each Young Innovator through goal-setting and case management, group meetings, and monthly life-skills workshops. 


Substance Use Prevention, Treatment, & Recovery

Gateway Community Health

Gateway Community Health is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals experiencing substance use disorder and related mental health challenges by layering emotional and social support and recovery-centric services with spiritual, academic, and vocational education and training. In partnership with Love Cathedral Community Church, Gateway manages the Love Cathedral Education Academy (LCEA), enrolling adult learners who seek to change the trajectory of their lives and live sober and drug-free. The LCEA program offers adult educational and vocational resources that support healthy living to improve health outcomes for persons navigating their recovery journey. With support from the HEF investment, Gateway Community Health will offer the LCEA program curriculum at two locations in the City of Richmond (Greater Mount Moriah Baptist Church, Love Cathedral Community Church), including cultural enrichment activities and participant connection to social assistance resources.

Read more about Gateway Community Health in this RHHD Blog Spotlight!

Nolef Turns

Nolef Turns Inc builds networks of resources for individuals with court and justice involvement to thrive post-conviction. With a mission to reduce recidivism by supporting and advocating alongside those with court and justice involvement, Nolef Turns is an emerging community leader in supporting and empowering those who are most affected by crime, trauma, and incarceration. Clients rely on Nolef Turn to help them navigate and access social services, employment resources, harm reduction, and recovery support — all specifically geared toward helping individuals who were incarcerated long-term reach self-sufficiency. The Health Equity Fund investment enabled Nolef Turns to provide transitional housing, harm reduction, recovery, and case management support with a focus on individuals with a history of substance of use. The risk of overdose for these individuals in the weeks post-release from incarceration can be grave, but with HEF resources Nolef Turns provided the support that is often missing to reduce these risks and promote thriving for our returning citizens.

OAR of Richmond

The Opportunity Alliance and Reentry of Richmond (OAR) is a community leader in reentry services and provides evidence-based and person-centered approaches to empower those impacted by incarceration to find individual success. Through the Health Equity Fund investment, OAR is working to provide crisis/transitional shelter assistance for Richmond residents returning from incarceration settings with a history of substance use, or an increased likelihood of engaging in substance use. HEF funding also complements existing wraparound case management and harm reduction services, which are designed to help formerly-incarcerated people gain economic and social stability while reducing the likelihood of reincarceration and/or relapse in substance use.  


REAL LIFE creates pathways to attain and sustain a thriving life for those who desire change. REAL LIFE serves individuals who have been impacted by incarceration, homelessness, or substance use disorder by giving them an opportunity to overcome their personal and community barriers that hinder their pathway to a Thriving Life. Founded in 2017, REAL LIFE does so by addressing these issues in a way that empowers individuals to become independent, successful, and valued members of their community through housing (allowing everyone to move in free of charge so financial disparities do not impact their ability to seek recovery), employment, education, accountability, and emotional support.  REAL LIFE’s Houses provides safe, stable, sober recovery transitional housing, and through this housing clients are able to fully engage in REAL LIFE’s holistic, evidence-based, person-centered, trauma-informed and behavior modification programming and services. The HEF investment supports housing for residents in 9 REAL Houses located in the City of Richmond, which includes support for each Lifer to create a transition plan, in-home pro-social skill building at each house, drug testing, and other support services.


Underlying Health Conditions

Virginia Community Voice

VACV does community engagement along the Richmond Highway Corridor, with a goal of increasing neighborhood leadership over decisions that impact the people who live there. The work of VACV is done through listening to neighbors, connecting them to others with shared interests/concerns, equipping people to craft equitable solutions to issues they see in the community, and leveraging resources so they can implement their ideas for community thriving. The HEF investment allowed VACV to conduct a community engaged design and planning period of the Southside Center for Well-Being (or “Healing Hub”), focused on community rest, healing, connection to services, greenspace, and building community.