Mission Shift Training Staunton UMC

Mission Shift Training Staunton UMC

  On May 23rd, Wendy McCaig facilitated the second session of Mission Shift Training with more than 70 individual lay and pastoral leaders.  This training was hosted by the Staunton District of the United Methodist Church and churches came from across the region.  This training was unique because of the number of congregational leaders seeking to implement asset-based principles in a rural context.  This is important because according to the Wall Street Journal, rural counties rank the worst compared to medium or small metro areas, big cities and suburbs in regard to measures of socioeconomic well being.  In the past, the worst rankings were found in urban areas. There was a wonderful energy to this group as they shared ideas on how to contextualize the Asset-based Community Development model.  It was exciting to see them tailor the principles to their community. They gave examples of how their various churches were building stronger communities through their various missions efforts.  This collaborative conversation was the highlight of the training for many. Below are a few quotes from the participants in this training: “I am hopeful. These aren’t just concepts…they are proven!” “I realize that ministry is not just about “giving” but about relationship.” “The tools I learned today were most rewarding!” If you are interested in receiving or learning more about ABCD visit here or email Wendy at wendy@embracerichmond.org.  Ademy, J., Overberg, P. (2017, May 26).Rural America Is the New “Inner City”. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from...
Welcoming Jackie as Embrace’s Operations Manager!

Welcoming Jackie as Embrace’s Operations Manager!

Embrace welcomes Jackie Washington with open arms! As a recent master’s degree holder from Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Social Work Advanced Standing program, Jackie brings a refreshing perspective to our work.  For the past 5 years, Jackie has been working at the intersection of families, communities and development in areas of revitalization, social justice and collective trauma. She understands Richmond’s history and is informed by the cultural fabric of this city. In fact, she sees this fabric as Richmond’s greatest asset. Most importantly, she practices social work from a strengths based approach.  This aligns well with Embrace’s asset-based community development work. Jackie wants to empower residents to lead themselves. To do so, she will be developing our Young Leaders program. She hopes to incorporate innovative ways to engage young people that will excite them to lead their communities. She hopes to assist them by sharing her knowledge about leadership, community trust building and organizing. Jackie will also assist with Embrace’s sustainability through fund development and communications.  She is open to meeting other community leaders that will aid in furthering Embrace’s mission. Contact her...
Senior Luncheon

Senior Luncheon

Last Thursday, seniors were brought together with Embrace’s help around a central dream-to become more connected.  Their convening was a result of a Dream Catcher Project led by Embrace’s Young Leader, Beverly. The Celebrating Seniors Luncheon, held at Boogaloos Bar and Grill, provided an opportunity for the seniors to fellowship with one another over a meal, poetry and singing. They also got a chance to listen to the audio shorts recorded by Beverly. As they listened, they nodded, smiled and laughed about the memories of the past that were shared. Towards the end of the gathering, many of the seniors asked if the group could come together again. Some even stood up and said they felt charged with making this happen. When asked how they felt about the luncheon everyone shared the sentiment of appreciation. They were thankful to be acknowledged. The luncheon reminded them that they were a valued asset to their community. It reminded them that they had the power and wisdom to make needed changes. As a result, the group plans to come together again under their own direction with assistance from Embrace. This group of seniors will form an action team that will work to make their convening a monthly...
We’ve Moved!

We’ve Moved!

Embrace Richmond is now located on the 2nd floor of 3800 Chamberlayne Avenue, Richmond, VA 23227! The building is exactly on the corner of Chamberlayne Avenue and Laburnum Avenue going west. We are so excited about our new space especially because we share the building with Shalom Farms. This new space will allow our community partners and residents to access us more easily. We welcome you to stop by and visit us!  We can still be reached at  804-404-3610....
Embrace Receives VCU Partnership Development Grant!

Embrace Receives VCU Partnership Development Grant!

We are so excited to announce that Embrace Richmond in partnership with VCU Wilder School of Government, VCU Center for Society and Health, Engaging Richmond and the City of Richmond Sustainability Department have been awarded the CEnR Partnership Development Grant! This award is provided by the VCU Council for Community Engagement. Our proposal entitled, “Asset-Based Community Development: A Model for Community Strengthening”, is set to lay a foundation that empowers organizations to both create an asset-based model and make it adaptable to Richmond communities. Specifically, the grant’s “partnership development” funds will assist the five organizations in exploring how our current community engagement efforts might be more closely aligned. VCU researchers will assist us in strengthening and evaluating the impact of ABCD across the region. This combination between strengthening partnerships and measuring the impact of ABCD is sure to support a trend of collaboration and strength based community work here in the city of Richmond. We could not be more excited to collaborate with such a dynamic group of community partners and university departments! We are not only looking forward to the outcomes of this research but are excited to enhance the assets of our communities and support resident identified priorities while doing so. More information about this grant can be found here. Information about other 2017-2018 recipients can be found...
Board Emeritus

Board Emeritus

  As a small group of six neighbors and friends sat around my dining room table at the first “Embrace Richmond” board meeting in 2004, none of us dreamed what would come out of our collective efforts. We had almost no board experience. I had no idea what an executive director was and we were literally making it up as we went.  Around me sat five very brave souls – our founding board of directors.  Among them was Mr. Jim Allen.  I cannot remember how I met Jim, it just seems he was always a part of Embrace.  The only thing I do know is that he was divinely appointed. He was with us in the early days as we hauled furniture up and down those steps at what used to be Highland Park United Methodist Church.  He figured out how to set up our accounting system and served as our Board Treasurer for years.  He co-authored our by-laws and he and his wife became our first monthly donors. They are now our longest running financial supporters.  While all of these gifts made a lasting mark on our organization, it is Jim’s patient presence that made a lasting mark on me as a new often overwhelmed executive director. Jim was never the one in the front of the room meeting our guests, teaching a class or accepting an award.  He was always in the background.  In other words, he is the guy who had my back in good times and in those tough years.  He did things like taking out the trash, sweeping the floors and for years he collected...
Earth Day Activities

Earth Day Activities

On Saturday, April 22, 2017, Embrace Richmond in partnership with Huguenot Road Baptist Church and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Virginia hosted 10 youths in an Earth Day celebration event.  The youth were ages 12 – 17 and were from several churches around the city and even three that were from Fredericksburg, VA! In honor of Earth Day, we focused on conservation, preservation and upkeep. In doing this we walked the Historic Brookland Park Boulevard corridor cleaning up streets, alleys and buildings that had become prey to litter and waste.   The youth were given stories in history  of the area and enlightened on how important it is to preserve what we have for future generations. The chaperones Leroy and Rudy from Embrace along with Tim and Angie from Huguenot Road Baptist Church found themselves trying hard to keep up with these young people, but at the end of the day things were clean, pristine and looking good.  Mission Accomplished! THANK YOU to our new friends from Cooperative Baptist Fellowship for supporting our efforts in the Historic Brookland Park community!        ...
The Power of Beloved Community

The Power of Beloved Community

As we prepare to reflect on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I want to draw your attention to his vision of the “beloved community.”  As the founder of Embrace Richmond, I have been blessed to be a part of numerous communities over the past ten years that I believe would have made Dr. King smile.  Below is the story of how a suburban mother of three from a small town in Texas ended up hanging out in homeless shelters and building one of the most beautiful, radically diverse communities in the capital of the confederacy. If you are a part of a “beloved community” that lives up to Dr. King’s vision, please share your experience in the comment section below and if you have a URL to your communities website please share that as well.  We would like to celebrate “beloved communities” on our Embrace Richmond Facebook and twitter pages over the next week. This video is an excerpt from a recent “Mission Shift”...
2016 Year in Review

2016 Year in Review

2016 was an amazing year!   10 neighborhoods, 50 youth, 150 adults and more than a dozen community leaders trained, engaged and connected through community building efforts across the region. 2016 Timeline of Events: January 2016:  Launched monthly Regional Network Gathering providing on-going training and support for Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) practitioners across Metro Richmond Broadwater Young Leaders launched first action teams with the support of Chester United Methodist Church: Learn more here February 2016: Dream Catcher Project launched in Crystal Lakes by our partner Beulah United Methodist Church working in partnership with local youth Partnered with Union Presbyterian Seminary conducting a Mission Shift Trainingfor students and alumni. Launched semester-long StoryCorps internship program with VCU and Union Seminary March 2016: Partnered with Organizations and Concerned Citizens in Hopewell conducting firstMission Shift Training open to all citizens of Hopewell Partnered with Belmont UMC conducting a Mission Shift Training for church members April 2016: Partnered with Partnership for Families Northside conducting a Mission Shift Training for their partner network Added Leroy Jefferson to the Embrace Richmond team as our Strategic Implementation Manager May 2016 Launched our 2020 Advisory Team made up of key stakeholders to help us expand to 20 neighborhoods by 2020 Launched the Brookland Park Collective bringing together leaders from four neighborhoods bordering the Brookland Park commercial cooridor to work toward community defined goals June 2016 Dream Catcher Project was launched for the second year in Shady Hill Mobile Home Park by our partner Cornerstone Revitalization Center Dream Catcher Project launched in The Cloisters by our partner Unitarian Universalist Church of Glen Allen July 2016 Partnered with Concerned Citizens for Ettrick conducting a Mission Shift training open to all citizens...
We have reached $10,000 in donations and matching funds which is 30% of our goal!

We have reached $10,000 in donations and matching funds which is 30% of our goal!

  Thank you, friends! To date 15 donors have given or pledged $5,000 in support of the Embrace Young Heroes Campaign.  With the matching funds offered by Financial Consultants of America, that puts us at the $10,000 mark, which is 30% of our goal! Please help us take full advantage of the $15,000 challenge offered by FCA.  Every gift will be matched dollar for dollar if you give now. If you make a monthly pledge, FCA has agreed to match the total gifts pledged for 2017! Could you pledge $10, $25, $50, or $100 a month? Donations of any amount are greatly appreciated. FCA will also match United Way pledges!  Because of a query from one supporter, we learned that you can even re-assign United Way gifts to Embrace Richmond.  Want to know more?  Email Wendy McCaig at wendy@embracerichmond.org. THANK YOU to all who have donated so far! You can learn more about our Young Leaders Program here.  Visit our donations page to give on-line or by mail today....