Letting Go: Entering a New Phase
In one month, Embrace Richmond will experience one of the largest shifts we have ever experienced – the elimination of our AmeriCorps program. We choose to no longer receive federal funds for many reasons (the rigidity of the program, the high cost of administration, the limitations on faith elements). We have been preparing for this transition for nearly a year. However, as the date approaches, I am both excited and a bit anxious.
I have no concern over the future of Embrace Richmond, I know as an organization we will be fine. We will have to make some changes but all of them are in line with the direction we would like to take the organization. We are moving away from providing “direct service” and into providing training, coaching and resources to individuals, non-profit organizations and congregations who are seeking to be a blessing to their neighbors using an Asset Based Community Development approach. This shift will allow us to take what we have learned into many more communities in our city and will result in a far greater and more sustainable impact.
From the outside, I doubt anyone will notice the change. The great work Embrace started will continue because the residents and our partners care enough to keep it going. Many former AmeriCorps members will begin receiving small stipends to reward them for their dedication through our new Great Neighbor Grants program (more info on that coming soon). However, these stipends will not even come close to the level of compensation many of them received as AmeriCorps members.
While most of our AmeriCorps members would have done the good work they do with or without the financial benefits of AmeriCorps, some of our members will have to find ways of replacing the income they will be losing. It is out of concern for them that I am experiencing some anxiety. We have built an amazing team of some of the most faithful, dedicated people you have ever met. It is going to be hard to let go.
While I am sad to lose some of our teammates, I am very excited about the direction Embrace Richmond is going. I believe we have gained valuable experience over the past eight years, and I am excited to be entering a season where our staff can invest their energy toward training and coaching others.
Please join me in praying for this transition. Pray God provides employment for our teammates who need to replace their AmeriCorps income and that God provides Embrace Richmond with the funds to keep those who are mission critical on as staff members.
If you would like to donate to Embrace Richmond, you can do so here.