Richmond Community Foundation is a leading innovator in the field of philanthropy and community change, and provides visionary leadership to foster collaboration and partnership. RCF’s mission is to harness the power of philanthropy to build healthy, sustainable communities.  We impact the five areas of community building (education, economic development, public safety, health and the physical environment), through our three “C”s of effective philanthropy: Coach, Connect, Contribute.

Coach, Connect, Contribute

Thanks to YOUR support, RCF has been able to do the following this past year:

COACH: Capacity Building Programs to help local non-profits become self-sustainable to better serve the needs of the community

  • RCF launched its second Community Leadership Institute (CLI) cohort, which works with nonprofit leaders to hone and strengthen leadership, management and fund development skills needed to support effective service delivery and organizational sustainability. Fifteen organizations participated in the four-day boot camp and now meet for monthly sessions throughout the year. Cohort member Frances Raeside says: Through the Community Leadership Institute, RCF is lifting La Cheim School to a whole new level of organizational competence, helping to ensure our ability to serve the Richmond and Bay Area community with compassion, integrity and effectiveness into the future.
  • Cohort member Frances Raeside says: Through the Community Leadership Institute, RCF is lifting La Cheim School to a whole new level of organizational competence, helping to ensure our ability to serve the Richmond and Bay Area community with compassion, integrity and effectiveness into the future.


CONNECT: Connect and leverage resources and expertise for the highest impact in the community

  • RCF launched the Richmond Housing Renovation Program, a unique blight elimination project that reduces housing blight while a) ridding local neighborhoods of locations once used for crime and b) using local workers and businesses to positively impact the local economy. The project uses a social impact bond, a method of private capital to solve social problems. RCF is the first in the nation to create a social impact bond that is truly an investment vehicle for private investors. To date, two blighted homes have been renovated and purchased by low-income first-time homebuyers. Three additional properties are under construction, with plans to acquire six properties by the end of the year through probate.
  • Ensuring Opportunity (EO): Campaign to End Poverty in Contra Costa County led a minimum wage coalition which resulted in the El Cerrito City Council voting unanimously to increase the city’s minimum wage to $15/hour by 2019, the first city in Contra Costa to do so. Coalition efforts supported the statewide initiative to raise the minimum wage, signed into law in April 2016. EO staff are now focusing on the Bay Area’s housing crisis. EO has produced a Housing Policy Brief to inform strategy.
  • SparkPoint Contra Costa (SPCC) provides low-income residents with financial coaching, career counseling and more. This year, SPCC served 850 new clients and achieved an 83% success rate, a 3% increase from 2016. The average wage for a SparkPoint client was $16.50 per hour. SPCC also opened a new office at Contra Costa College to support increased student retention and college completion rates.
  • The West Contra Costa Literacy Coalition, a collaborative effort to ensure that all students read at grade level by 3rd Grade, convened early literacy stakeholders and parents in October 2015 to discuss chronic absenteeism, its impact on children’s academic success and ways to tackle this issue. The Coalition is now forming an Attendance Task Force. The Coalition also completed a comprehensive Needs Assessment of literacy programs and services in West Contra Costa. The Coalition shared results and an accompanying resource map at a literacy networking event in September. The infographic map and can be found on the Literacy Coalition’s website.
  • The 7th Annual Northern California Summit on Children and Youth, Building the Next Generation Workforce, marked the first time RCF partnered with the WCCUSD to incorporate a career fair for 200 high school students and 200 adults to interact directly with business, nonprofit and community leaders and to learn skills and gain resources to prepare them for careers that will be available in the future. The Summit featured presentations and sessions focused on addressing challenges and finding solutions to support this goal.


CONTRIBUTE: Philanthropic Impact

  • RCF, together with The California Endowment, provided Mini-Grants to 18 organizations to engage young people in safe and meaningful activities during the summer. These mini-grants gave local youth the opportunity to acquire new skills, participate in enrichment activities and education outings, participate in civic engagement projects, improve their health and become more physically active.
  • Community leader and RCF Board member Menbere Aklilu provided a free Thanksgiving dinner for 1300 underserved individuals, and gave more than $50,000 in donations to local nonprofits through her Menbe’s Way Fund, a donor-advised fund at RCF.
  • The Richmond Community Mayor’s Fund distributed more than $15,000 in grants to youth sports leagues and teams in Richmond, supporting equipment purchases, travel to competitions and coach trainings.
  • RCF’s Corporate Advisors Circle, comprised of corporate leaders in Contra Costa County, is providing insight, ideas and support to RCF as it carries out its mission of creating healthy, sustainable communities by ensuring corporate philanthropy makes an impact.


With your support, RCF will accomplish the following in the coming year:


  • RCF will present a series of free monthly capacity-building workshops open to all nonprofit professionals and community members. Topics will include proposal-writing, goal-setting, process-mapping and branding.
  • Community Leadership Institute:  RCF will launch its third Cohort in Fall 2017.



  • Housing Renovation Program: The program plans to acquire up to 20 additional blighted houses in 2017.
  • Ensuring Opportunity: EO will continue to build and engage a strong base of residents and community stakeholders to mobilize and advocate for policies that end poverty. EO will continue to support county and city-level polices and initiatives that address local poverty, and will monitor state policy to advocate for top-priority polices as appropriate.
  • SparkPoint Contra Costa: SPCC will focus on helping clients achieve even higher success rates, and will expand its client base at Contra Costa College to support retention and completion.
  • West Contra Costa Literacy Coalition: In response to the Needs Assessment, the Coalition is launching a Summer Funding Campaign to enroll an additional 1,000 young students in summer literacy programs in 2017. The goal is to raise $500,000 by summer to support the increased enrollment.
  • 8th Annual Summit: RCF will again partner with WCCUSD for a full day event focused on Building the Next Generation Workforce.  Details will be announced soon.



  • The Corporate Advisors Circle will release its Corporate Philanthropy Toolkit to assist companies in Contra Costa County in establishing corporate giving programs.