The Health Equity Fund accepts both nominations and 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, hundreds of nominations have helped to elevate the organizations doing impactful work across the HEF’s focal areas of health disparity.
After allocating over $500,000 in its first year, 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.
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.
Through the Health Equity Fund investment, Nolef Turns provided 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.
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.
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.
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 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 six (6) 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.
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.
DPHS will use 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.
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.
Through the Health Equity Fund investment, Waymakers provides culturally-appropriate and relevant emergency food delivery and outreach services to Richmond families most impacted by food insecurity.
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.
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 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 allows 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.
Mommies, Bellies, Babies, Daddies (MBBD), works to inform new mothers of the importance of nutrition and breastfeeding during and after pregnancy. Through HEF funding support, MBBD doula staff will provide direct doula services upon staff completion of education, training, and credentialing.
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 provides training for MBBD and Birth in Color RVA doulas seeking certification.
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.
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.
Through the support of the HEF investment, VACV is conducting 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.