June 9, 2022- In October 2021, Richmond City Council voted to establish a first-ever Health Equity Fund (HEF) in the City of Richmond through an initial investment of $5 million from federal American Rescue Plan Act funds. Today, Richmond and Henrico Health Districts (RHHD) are announcing that a total of $230,000 will be granted to community organizations to address health disparities. RHHD are also announcing the nomination process to fund additional organizations and community leaders will start next week on June 16th, 2022.
“Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our residents, and I’m proud the City of Richmond was able to dedicate $5 million of American Rescue Plan Act funding to this innovative public health initiative,” says Mayor Levar Stoney. “I applaud RHHD for recognizing the positive impact grassroots work can have on community resilience to public health crises like COVID-19 or the opioid epidemic, which disproportionately impact our low-income residents and communities of color.”
The three organizations receiving initial rounds of investment include Crossover Healthcare Ministry, Nolef Turns, and Richmond and Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA). These organizations have worked closely in communities prior to and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic addressing access to healthcare, support for those returning from incarceration to include substance use recovery, and mental and behavioral healthcare, respectively.
Specifically, the funding will be allocated as follows:
$50,000 to Crossover Healthcare Ministry to provide additional bilingual medical assistance and increase capacity
$90,000 to Nolef Turns to provide crisis and transitional shelter assistance to Richmond residents returning from incarceration with an increased likelihood of engaging in substance use
$90,000 to Richmond Behavioral Health Authority to provide clinical mental health services in two to three of RHHD’s satellite Resource Center clinics located in public housing and lower income communities
“Crossover Healthcare Ministry, Nolef Turns, and Richmond Behavioral Authority have offered a tremendous amount of services to our communities,” explains Dr. Cynthia Newbille. “Investments into these dedicated organizations are a direct investment into the wellbeing of our communities.”
“We are both excited to provide funding assistance to these specific programs with these organizational partners and more broadly for the potential the HEF holds to fund future projects,” explains Ruth Morrison, Policy Director at RHHD. “For future investments of the HEF, we know communities know best what they need and what initiatives and organizations they trust so we encourage folks to nominate organizations or leaders they’re familiar with and for those folks to self-nominate themselves… we’re looking forward to the process of working with the community advisory committee to address pressing public health issues in our communities.”
HEF investments will continue to be announced and RHHD will soon accept nominations for nonprofits, community organizations, and individual community leaders to receive new funding. Nominees should have capacity to engage in new projects or expand existing work to better promote health equity and racial justice and address health disparities in Richmond. The disparity areas of focus defined by the City Administration and City Council for the HEF include: COVID-19, mental health, substance use and recovery, maternal child health, food access and security, access to care and health education, and underlying conditions. Nominations will be reviewed by RHHD’s community advisory committee. The nomination process will open on June 16, 2022 and close on July 14, 2022. For more information, visit rhhd.gov/hef.
RHHD will continue to notify the public of future rounds of nominations and funding, which will occur through 2024.