Diversity Richmond wins state-wide philanthropy award
Richmond’s leading non-profit organization supporting LGBTQ Central Virginians won an award from a national group of fundraising professionals last week.
The award, Foundation Philanthropist of the Year, was given to Diversity Richmond by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) after several past recipients of the org’s grant program nominated them.
“I can attest to the generosity and contributions Diversity Richmond’s Foundation is making,” wrote Katherine O’Donnell, Vice President of Community Relations at Richmond Region Tourism. She’s been heavily involved in Richmond’s LGBTQ tourism campaign, OutRVA. She said Diversity’s ability to recognize the importance of LGBTQ tourism and its effect on the local community put them above other fund groups. “Without the support of Diversity Richmond, our efforts would not be as successful.”
Jonathan C. Zur, President & CEO at Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, joined O’Donnell in supporting Diversity Richmond. Zur said grants from Diversity had gone to specific projects for VCIC, including anti-bullying programs at local schools which would otherwise lack the resources to run such programs. “Very few other foundations would provide the type of open-ended support that Diversity Richmond offered,” wrote Zur. “Letting the school division identify the specific buildings and schedule to best address the critical challenge they are facing.”
Stacie Vecchietti, Program Director at Virginia Anti-Violence Project (VAVP), similarly praised Diversity Richmond for their grants program and how it impacted her org’s work.
“VAVP has worked alongside the Diversity Richmond Foundation for the past three years and has benefitted greatly from their philanthropic support,” Vecchietti said. ”Most recently, VAVP received $1,500 to augment our work to address and end violence within the LGBTQ community. The Diversity Richmond Foundation is a true community partner.”
Over the last 11 years, Diversity Richmond (formerly the Gay Community Foundation of Richmond) has distributed over $866,000 in grants to LGBTQ and LGBTQ friendly organizations around Central Virginia.
The money is raised through proceeds from Diversity Thrift and Diversity Bingo.
“It’s always been our mission to support the LGBT community through financial support and free use of our meeting rooms and our event hall,” said Harrison. “There’s also 11 non-profits who use parts of our building as storage, saving them thousands of dollars each year.”
“I will never forget, I was in the very busy thrift store and my cell phone kept ringing,” said Harrison about when he found out the org would receive the award. “When I Saw it was Beth from ROSMY, and she told me we’d won, I was absolutely floored… it was overwhelming.”
Harrison said he’d be familiar with AFP for some time and he felt very honored to be a part of the winning non-profit.
“We try and show how Diversity Richmond builds strong communities and strong families,” said Harrison, pointing to non-LGBTQ programs like their network with several local school system which refers families to the thrift to shop for free clothing ahead of new school years.
“[Diversity Richmond] is not limited to LGBTQ people,” he said. “We are bridge builders, we are connecting communities.”
“Diversity Richmond is not only a funder but also a catalyst and leader, bringing individuals and organizations together to find strength in collaboration and partnership,” read a note from the AFP about why they awarded Diversity Richmond it’s highest annual honor. “[Their] approach to philanthropy is absolutely true to its name.”
There will be no grant distribution form Diversity this year, instead investing that money on much needed repairs and updates to their facility. Those interested in receiving a Diversity grant in the coming years should check out their website here.
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