Contact Us

900 E. Broad Street
Suite 1502
Richmond, VA
23219 USA

Phone: (804) 646-3108

Email: AskCommunityWealthBuilding

Sign up
for the Office of Community Wealth Building mobile text alerts. You’ll be notified as soon as employment and workforce development opportunities are available. Using the link below, indicate your areas of employment interest or expertise.

M a n i f e s t o

Our city has for decades been hampered by the crushing burden of poverty on far too many residents and on the community as a whole. That burden takes many forms, from the child who arrives at school hungry, tired and stressed, to the young adult struggling to find adequate employment, to the grandmother worried about the safety of her family and community.

There are no quick fixes or easy solutions to the powerful factors that perpetuate generational poverty in Richmond. But one would be profoundly mistaken to believe that nothing can be done or that a community-wide vision and plan for systemic change cannot be developed and implemented in Richmond.

Important steps have already been taken.

Office of Community Wealth Building


Every Richmond resident will have access to quality schools, quality employment opportunities and the training needed to be successful in such opportunities, safe and vibrant neighborhood settings, mobility via an effective transportation system, and a thriving civil society that supports strong families.


The Office of Community Wealth Building (OCWB) was established in the spring of 2014 and operates as a first-of-its-kind City office in the nation.

In December 2015 City Council enacted Former Mayor Jones’s proposal to establish the Office of Community Wealth Building as a permanent department.

The office is the brainchild of the Mayor’s Anti-Poverty Commission, and was later developed into the Maggie L. Walker Initiative for Expanding Opportunity and Fighting Poverty. The creation of the Office of Community Wealth Building was one of the central recommendations of the Commission.

Staff  &  Board

Staff of the Office of Community Wealth Building:

Valaryee N. Mitchell, Director, Read More              

Caprichia Moses, Workforce Administrator

Shawanda Clark

James Davis

Bernadine Doggett

La’Tina Doughty

Patrick Graham

Kelvin Harris

Wilma Harris

Calvin Headley

Sherrilyn Hicks

Darcel Jones

John Korusek

Keith Lewis

Erika Love

Janette McGrady

Lori Payne

Jenee Pearson

Evette Roots

Sandra Smith

Suzette Street

Derrick Wadley

Travis Woods

Darrick Young




Community Wealth Building Ambassadors:

James Davis

Yolanda Avery

Zaheera Al-Bayina

Ricardo Anderson

Marquita Armstrong

Cotina Brake

Ailaher Brogdon

Charmane Cunningham

Anthony Forest

Curtis Franklin

Margo Greene

Sherwood Hartso

Claude Hodges

Karen Imes

Karen Jones

Kiawanda Jones

Heather Jones

Jessica Jones

Mark Lee

Bryant Manuel

Merle Mitchell

Jessica Ortiz

Preston Page

Lafonda Page

Porshe Pettaway

Lawrence Robinson

Marva Russell

Ashley Singleton

Brandon Smith

Lalita Sylver

Michael Stone

Sharon Thomas

Iyana Turner

Alicia Watson

LaVar White

Christopher Willis

Alkendrick Wright

Joseph Wright

Ian Young

Maggie L. Walker Citizens Advisory Board:

Councilwoman Ellen Robertson, Chair

Albert Walker, Co-Chair

Kamala Allen

Dominic Barrett

Chanel Bea

Avohom Capenter

Cindy Chambers

Elsie Harper-Anderson

Charles Hall

Marthelia Hutchen

Ceonna Johnson

Patrice Shelton

Dwayne Whitehead









Citizen's Advisory Board

The Maggie L. Walker Initiative Citizens Advisory Board was created as an independent citizen body tasked with ongoing monitoring of the city’s progress in implementing the Initiative agenda and related policies. On December 8, 2014, City Council passed an ordinance §2014-234-215 formally establishing the Maggie L. Walker Initiative Citizens Advisory Board.

Year One

Since 2014, we have already taken significant steps to advance this multi-pronged agenda:

RPS Logo

Substantial collaborations with Richmond Public Schools and with strong community partners have been built to tackle the impact of poverty on educational outcomes, focusing on three key areas: early childhood education, out-of-school-time, and access to college and career opportunities.

Effective Systems

Our collaborative approach to building a stronger, more effective early childhood system has attracted national recognition.

Next Up

A major new public-private initiative aimed at providing high quality out-of-school time programming and academic support to adolescents, NextUp, launched at Henderson Middle School in 2014-15 and expanded to Boushall Middle School in 2015-16.

RVA Future

In 2015-16, the innovative RVA Future program launched as the critical first step of a long-term effort to increase the number of RPS graduates going on to college or career training opportunities through the provision of both financial and non-financial support. Future Centers are now open in all 5 comprehensive high schools.


The City’s Center for Workforce Innovation (CWI) expanded operations in Fiscal Year 2015, and continued its mission of connecting residents to employment opportunities and providing a variety of training programs to participants. In addition, CWI launched the BLISS (Building Lives of Independence and Self-Sufficiency) program in 2015 to provide holistic wrap-around support services to families seeking to escape poverty by transitioning to full-time quality employment.

MBD Enterprise Logo

The City has launched an innovative Social Enterprise initiative aimed at developing a strong sector of local firms committed to hiring residents in poverty into living-wage jobs. The initiative, a collaboration between the Office of Community Wealth Building, Minority Business Development, and Economic and Community Development, drawn on multiple policy levels, including finding ways to leverage the buying power of local anchor institutions to support emerging social enterprises.

GRTC Pulse Logo

The Broad Street Bus Rapid Transit project (GRTC Pulse) represents a major investment in a modernized public transportation infrastructure for the City. This project is the first step towards developing a genuinely regional transportation system that connects the region’s residents together and opens up access to job opportunities for residents without reliable access to a private vehicle. GRTC Pulse will begin service in the Fall of 2016.

Good Neighbor Logo

In conjunction with the Richmond City Health District and collaboration with the Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Authority, (RRHA) the Good Neighbor Initiative has been launched to connect RRHA residents to opportunities and provide education and assistance on lease compliance issues.

City of Richmond Logo

Last but not least, the Office of Community Wealth Building has assembled a strong staff — a team of highly committed professionals prepared to carry this ambitious work forward, while continuing to build collaborative relationships across the public sector and in the community that can help sustain this vital agenda over the long term. Of particular importance is the Maggie L. Walker Citizens Advisory Board, formally created by City Council in December, which assures an ongoing active citizen voice in the process, especially for residents of higher poverty neighborhoods.

While we are pleased with the progress these initiatives have made in year one, we recognize that much more work needs to be done to bring these emerging initiatives to full fruition and make sustained community impact. Building a strong capacity within city government to implement a multifaceted poverty reduction and community wealth building agenda is a critical step in laying the foundation for lasting change. But achieving systemic change will also require the support, encouragement, ideas, and contributions of the entire community.

Much has been accomplished since the inception of the Office of Community Wealth Building:

The City’s four OCWB Career Stations connected 600 residents in fiscal 2019 to employment, while building innovative collaborations with partners such as ReWork, Bridging the Gap, RVA League for Safer Streets, and HMHY.  Workforce development focuses on preparing residents for employment, connecting residents to existing employment opportunities, and providing supportive services to assist residents in successfully sustaining employment and advancing towards their long-term economic and career goals. A complementary community wealth building strategy focuses on targeted job creation—the development of more jobs immediately accessible to persons and neighborhoods of poverty.

Building Lives to Independence and Self Sufficiency (BLISS) continues to provide intensive family based wraparound support services to assist working parents in getting ahead by addressing common obstacles such as transportation and child care.

The city and Richmond Public Schools, in conjunction with numerous community partners and the support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, have launched a major early childhood initiative aimed at identifying and meeting high priority needs in this critical area. Early fruits of this work include the successful RVA Reads book program in the city’s pre K classrooms.

With funding from the city and numerous private donors, NextUp RVA has launched high quality after school programs in Henderson and Boushall Middle schools, providing adolescents both academic support and exposure to a variety of new experiences and activities.

In the Fall of 2015 the city, in collaboration with Richmond Public Schools (RPS) and the RPS Education Foundation, launched the innovative program RVA Future to bolster the career and college planning resources available to RPS high school students and ensure that more students are connected to quality post-secondary opportunities. Future Centers staffed by a full-time professional are now operational in all five comprehensive high schools, providing assistance to hundreds of students.

Several major projects advancing the aims of the city’s poverty reduction initiative have moved forward significantly, including the Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC) Pulse Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, the spine of a potential regional transit system, and the first set of projects supported by the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.