City News


Neighborhood Climate Grant Program

Community Partners Receive Funds  

The Office of Sustainability launched the Neighborhood Climate Resilience Grant Program which is made possible through the American Rescue Plan Act. Richmond Based nonprofits shared plans to boost equity and sustainability in communities across the city and the City provided over $850,000. Our office received over 18 applications for this round, totaling over $1.3 million dollars in proposed projects. After a rigorous review, the first round of awardees include a range of exciting proposals. For example, Bridging the Gap will receive over $77,000 will help install rainwater collection systems and electric water pumps, all powered by solar panels, to improve irrigation in local community gardens. This will lead to more effective food systems, and produce more food in their respective communities, all while empowering and growing our local green workforce! Another awardee, the Community Climate Collaborative will be receiving $20,000 to study energy disparities in neighborhoods across our city. They will create a map of energy burdens and help us understand which families in our community. Initial awardees include:  

Bridging the Gap  

James River Association  

Church Hill Trees   

Richmond Tree Stewards  

Southside Releaf  

Chimborazo Native Food Project   

The Community Climate Collaborative   

Seva Truck RVA   

Happily, Natural Day  

Tech for troops   

RVAgreener Highlight: Jovonni

Jovonni headshotMeet RVAgreener Jovonni! She is an active community advocate for equity and the environment. In her free time, she likes to exercise by taking long walks, but recently she has noticed how there are no parks near her neighborhood. She realized that there was a lack of shade in certain areas with more minorities. This is why Jovonni is passionate about empowering underrepresented communities.

Jovonni wants to see more action on equity and environmental issues. She is hopeful about the RVAgreen 2050 plan - she understands that solving theses issues take a process and is glad to see the city addressing them. 

Jovonni’s second passion is gardening! Jovonni is the Builder and Garden Steward of Carmel Empowerment Community Garden in Historic Jackson Ward in downtown Richmond. Her passion comes from her father, who was a sharecropper. 

Jovonni is a member of the RVAgreen 2050 Racial Equity & Environmental Justice Roundtable and the Buildings & Energy Working Group.

Author: Brian Park, University of Richmond Bonner Scholar

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RVAgreener Highlight: Wyatt

Wyatt photoMeet RVAgreener Wyatt! He lives on the border of the Museum and Fan Districts in Richmond and is the sustainability projects and program coordinator for the VCU Office of Sustainability. He loves helping the local community and connecting students with helpful organizations. His favorite activity in Richmond is taking long walks in the James River Park System. 

With VCU, Wyatt has planted and continues to take care of trees in two separate sites. He organizes the work for volunteers and creates the annual greenhouse gas emissions report. Lastly, he assists in developing the VCU sustainability strategy.

Wyatt is excited about RVAgreen 2050 and the collective action coming out of this work with the City of Richmond. Over the last few years, Wyatt has noticed a significant interest from community members about climate change. There is still work to be done and he is committed to doing it!

Author: Brian Park, University of Richmond Bonner Scholar

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RVAgreener Highlight: Jason

Jason photoMeet RVAgreener Jason! He moved to Richmond 15 years ago and currently resides in the Bellevue area of Northside. Jason’s favorite parts of the city are hard to narrow down since they include all of the James River Park System, Carytown, and any place with solid walking and biking infrastructure. Jason teaches cultural anthropology at University of Mary Washington. One of the reasons he’s so focused on transportation is because of its impact on air quality - both air pollution and disease (such as issues with microscopic particles that come from car tires, which are then in the air we breathe).

As you have probably guessed, Jason considers himself a regular cyclist, enjoying the opportunities to get on his bike and venture through the city or even to go shopping. As if the rocky infrastructure was not challenging enough, Jason has shared that the warmer days also make this desired activity more challenging to experience. Nevertheless, this doesn't hinder his excitement for all of the electric bike structures he has seen popping up across the city and hopes that many more people will consider biking more regularly.

Jason has observed the increase in population and development in Richmond - along with more bike lanes - and believes this is positive but emphasizes we need to consider the way people are choosing to travel around the city: are they driving more or less? We also need to consider how climate change is impacting the ability and willingness to be outside and use transportation like bikes. For example, someone may choose to or have to drive because it’s too hot or too stormy to use other options.

Jason suggest looking at examples from many northern European cities that have made it really safe to get around without cars and “cater less to cars,” like Copenhagen. It’s not clear yet whether these efforts can be easily replicated in Richmond, but Jason reminds us that these places weren’t always so focused on people and safety.

Jason is part of the RVAgreen 2050 Transportation Working Group and got involved because it is an extension of other work he has done, like serving on the similar working group for the Richmond 300 Master Plan process. When he and his family moved to Richmond, they started biking more to help make it more appealing to people and he has made good connections with neighbors in this field. He would have liked for the RVAgreen 2050 working group meeting sessions to be in person to really embrace the energy of the participants. The conversations are challenging and deeply immersed in equity, which has been unprecedented in the prior engagements he has been in involved in.


RVA Bike Share

Richmond officials considering free memberships for RRHA residents as part of bike-share expansion

Author: JaVonne Bowles, RVAgreen 2050 Racial Equity & Environmental Justice Roundtable and Working Group member


Photo: Bikeable Richmond

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