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Investment Connection Launches in Virginia

The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond recently hosted its second session of an innovative program that connects community-based organizations with potential funders whose support could improve the lives of the low- to moderate-income individuals they serve.

Investment Connection Live took place on June 2 on a virtual platform that permitted eight nonprofit organizations based throughout the Central, Southside and Hampton Roads regions of Virginia to present proposals that highlighted how their nonprofits, with more financial support, could better meet the needs of the families and individuals they serve.

“Providing these organizations with a platform to reach funders in an efficient and effective way allows them to continue to deploy their resources on the work they are doing in the community, rather than divert those resources for multiple meetings with individual funders to seek support,” said Christy Cleare, assistant vice president of Community Development for the Richmond Fed.

The participating leaders and organizations were:

  • Todd Walker of Judeo Christian Outreach Center, who presented a proposal to increase funding for a Rapid Rehousing Program that subsidizes rent for single homeless citizens in the Virginia Beach area.
  • Sharhonda Woods of ForKids Inc., who sought funding to provide families that the nonprofit serves with rental assistance, utility assistance and shelter vouchers during the housing crisis caused by COVID-19.
  • Tonya Scott-Hickman of Virginia Union University, whose proposal focused on an initiative to provide micro-loans to minority-owned small businesses based in North Richmond.
  • Karen Legato of Health Brigade, who pitched a plan to increase telehealth services during the pandemic to some of Richmond’s most vulnerable residents, including the homeless and underinsured.
  • L. Robert Bolling of ChildSavers-Memorial Child Guidance Clinic, whose proposal focused on funding to support trauma-informed early childhood development services for children and families in Central Virginia, particularly during the pandemic.
  • Amy Yarcich of Rx Partnership, who shared a proposal to sustain a prescription mail delivery program that moderates the cost of medicine for those lacking adequate insurance.
  • Karen Harris of God’s Storehouse, whose proposal centered on obtaining funds to expand the infrastructure and transportation resources of this mobile emergency feeding program beyond Danville into Pittsylvania County.
  • Elizabeth Creamer of the Workforce Development Coalition curated by the Community Foundation for a Greater Richmond, whose proposal centered on developing a regional program to improve employee training and retention in the health care field for low- and moderate-income participants.

These compelling proposals are housed on the Richmond Fed’s website in a Funders Portal, through which funding entities can view more than 70 proposals from organizations based in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, and select which they will provide grants, equity investment or financing to support. The proposals pitched this month – during the recent June 2 event and in an upcoming session scheduled for June 23 – are focused on COVID-19-related needs, some of which impact small businesses in low- to moderate-income communities.

“We hope the Investment Connection Platform will create opportunities for our funding communities, and particularly financial institutions, to learn more about some of the innovative funding and financing opportunities in the Fifth District to help vulnerable communities and small businesses,” said Tiffany Hollin-Wright, the Richmond Fed’s Community Development regional manager for Virginia and West Virginia.

While submitting or presenting a proposal to the portal does not guarantee funding, organizations who have applied to be a part of the process and have had their applications approved for placement in the Funders Portal seem to agree that it’s a constructive way to elevate the visibility of their mission and work.
 “The proposals are reviewed by Federal Reserve Bank examiners to determine if they are preliminarily CRA-eligible, based on the content provided in the application,” said Rob Courter, a Richmond Fed senior manager in Supervision, Regulation and Credit. “Final CRA eligibility will be determined by that institution’s respective regulator.”

The Richmond Fed hosted its first Investment Connection pitch session in fall 2019, for organizations and potential funders based in Maryland and Washington, D.C. A follow-up round of presentations will be held in that region in July and August, and is expected to expand to Central Appalachia and the Charlotte, North Carolina, region next year.

In the meantime, as Virginia gears up for round two of pitches on June 23, potential funders who are interested in learning more about the 10 presenting organizations for that session can register to participate.

Participants in the June 23 presentation will be ACCESS College Foundation, City of Richmond’s Office of Community Wealth Building, City of Richmond Office of the City Treasurer, Danville Habitat for Humanity, Maggie Walker Community Land Trust, Partnership for Housing Affordability, People Incorporated of Virginia, Piedmont Housing Alliance, Virginia Community Capital and YMCA of Greater Richmond.

To learn more, visit the Investment Connection webpage.

A Sampling of Presentations for Investment Connection Virginia 

  • Slide from ChildSavers Proposal

    1 of 6 ChildSavers-Memorial Child Guidance Clinic is providing trauma-informed early childhood development services for children and families in Central Virginia.

  • Slide from ForKids Proposal

    2 of 6 ForKids Inc. is assisting families with rental assistance, utility assistance and shelter vouchers during the housing crisis caused by COVID-19.

  • Slide from God

    3 of 6 God’s Storehouse is seeking to expand its mobile emergency feeding program beyond Danville into Pittsylvania County.

  • Slide from RX Partnership Proposal

    4 of 6 Rx Partnership has launched a prescription mail delivery program during the pandemic that moderates the cost of medicine for those lacking adequate insurance.

  • Slide from Workforce Development Coalition Proposal

    5 of 6 The Workforce Development Coalition, curated by the Community Foundation for a Greater Richmond, is developing a regional employee training and retention program for low- and moderate-income individuals interested in the health care field.

  • Slide from Virginia Union University Proposal

    6 of 6 Virginia Union University has launched an initiative to provide micro-loans to minority-owned small businesses based in North Richmond.

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