Over the past year, global protests for racial justice have created a groundswell of support for Black-owned businesses. Allen & Allen would also love to bring attention to Black-owned charities in Virginia. When a historically marginalized group not only perseveres, but devotes their energy to serving others, it’s an outstanding example of grace.
In honor of Black History Month (and beyond), Allen & Allen wishes to highlight a few Black-run charities around Virginia:
In Charlottesville: Conscious Capitalist Foundation
Robert Gray and Derek Rush wanted to put an end to the school-to-prison pipeline, and have combatted this issue with the Conscious Capitalist Foundation. By teaching financial literacy, mentorship and entrepreneurship training, they are helping to build a brighter future for Charlottesville’s youth. Using a restorative justice model, the organization uses previously incarcerated individuals to discuss shared experiences. This method revolves around the idea that those closest to the problem are those closest to the solution, and strong relationships are built upon it.
“This work is very rewarding when seeing young men shift the way they think and make decisions,” says cofounder Derek Rush. “The overall goal is to build productive and self-sufficient young people of the next generation.”
In Fredericksburg/Stafford: A Mother’s Love Foundation
Raised by a single mother with two jobs, Kavatus Newell understood the immense sacrifices her mother made to raise her. A Mother’s Love Foundation is a love letter to her own mother, and the charity focuses on empowering single mothers with a lack of resources. A Mother’s Love Foundation provides education, vocational training and teaches financial management and life skills.
“The most rewarding part of being the director of the foundation is watching young mothers transform into more empowered, confident women,” says Newell.
In Richmond: Blessing Warriors RVA
Allen & Allen honored Rhonda Sneed in 2020 as a Hometown Hero, and for good reason. Her charity Blessing Warriors RVA has been serving the Richmond homeless population since 2013. Armed with a slow cooker, she would pull her car over and provide a hot meal to homeless people she’d find sleeping under bridges. Now Rhonda and her team pack up 200 bags of food per week to help bolster the homeless in the area.
“The homeless situation in Richmond is fixable, but instead of complaining about what’s not being done, WE the people needed to step up and help each other. It could easily be one of us, as it has been many of us, including me,” says Rhonda. “Homelessness has no age, gender, race, or time frame. We are all vulnerable to it, especially during these trying times. In all honesty, they are no different than you or I. We all have stories.”