City, VUU, RRHA announce historic, 20-year partnership to support Gilpin community Richmond, VA

May 24, 2021

Media Advisory
May 24, 2021
Contact: Jim Nolan
Office: (804) 646-3110

Mobile: (804) 229-8592

City, VUU, RRHA announce historic, 20-year partnership to support Gilpin community

Richmond, VA

Joined by leaders of Virginia Union University (VUU) and the Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Authority (RRHA), Mayor Levar Stoney today announced a first-of-its-kind partnership and 20-year commitment to support and empower residents of the Gilpin Community.

The first phase of the partnership between the city, Virginia Union and Gilpin, will feature STEM programming targeted to 6th -8th graders,  mentoring through VUU's Community Mentoring Initiative, which has garnered support from the Randolph and Susan Reynolds Foundation, and workforce development and training programs designed to position residents on a pathway to generational wealth. Each of these priority areas was identified in partnership with residents to help determine and advocate for meaningful support and programming and will serve as the foundational programming for VUU’s soon-to-be established Center for Human and Family Empowerment.

The housing authority will help identify and enroll young residents for mentorship and educational and training opportunities. In addition, it will also identify heads of households and young adults for the workforce and leadership training both within and outside of Virginia Union. The housing authority is also committed to providing safe and secure facilities, meeting and training space, and, when available, equipment for VUU program use.

The City of Richmond will help fund the partnership with a grant of $100,000 for mentoring and facilitate workforce training and employment of Gilpin residents through its Office of Community Wealth Building.

“This is a great example of being a good neighbor,” said Mayor Stoney. “We have a responsibility to lift people up, and the only way we build sustainable and successful communities is through collaboration, listening and working together. The city is proud to support this partnership, which aligns with the historic mission of Virginia Union and will have a generational impact on delivering educational attainment and economic justice to the residents of the resilient Gilpin Community.”

VUU and RRHA officials expressed support and praise for the partnership.

“It is very important for Virginia Union University to create meaningful partnerships that nurture and support the communities where we reside, as well as create a pipeline for the VUU students of tomorrow,” said VUU Alumni and Board Chairman, Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson. “The collaboration between the Gilpin Court community, the City of Richmond, and the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority does just that.”

“Virginia Union University has always been deeply rooted in the Richmond community,” Dr. Hakim J. Lucas, President and CEO of Virginia Union, said. “The Gilpin Court collaboration is one way we are deepening our relationships to help build up the lives of residents in the community and others like it in the city. Launching with a mentoring program, this 20-year commitment to Gilpin Court will create opportunities that firmly place residents of Gilpin Court on the pathway for educational, social, and economic justice. It is a first step in building generational wealth for a community that may not have had such an opportunity previously.”

RRHA Interim CEO Stacey Daniels Fayson said, “The goals and objectives of this long-term commitment spearheaded by VUU, the RRHA, and the City of Richmond are for public housing families to thrive and have the same opportunities as other communities. This partnership speaks to that mandate. We look forward, with the help of our partners, to empowering, inspiring and moving our Gilpin Court families to a level of self-sufficiency.”

About Virginia Union:

Virginia Union University is a premier liberal arts urban institution of higher education and center of excellence for the preparation of students and the development of leaders for tomorrow’s world. It was founded in 1865 to give newly emancipated slaves an opportunity for education and advancement. Virginia Union University offers a broad range of educational opportunities that advances liberal arts education, teaching, research, science, technology, continuing education, civic engagement, and international experiences. Visit www.vuu.edu for more information. Contact: Felicia D. Cosby fdcosby@vuu.edu (804) 901-1252.

About RRHA:

Building Communities. Changing Lives.” is the vision of the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority.  RRHA is VA’s largest public housing authority serving over 10,000 residents and managing nearly 4,000 units through the public housing program. RRHA provides subsidized housing assistance to more than 3,000 families and is a catalyst for quality affordable housing and community revitalization. Gilpin Court is RRHA’s largest public housing community.  For more information about RRHA programs and objectives, visit rrha.com, or keep up with us on social media:  Facebook , Twitter, Instagram or Linkedin. Contact: Angela Fountain angela.fountain@rrha.com  office: (804) 780-4167 | cell: (804) 780-5876.