June 28, 2017

Contact: Karen Elliott Greisdorf

Initiatives of Change/USA announces Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to end centuries of structural racism in Richmond

Richmond, VA - Initiatives of Change (IofC) has received a three year grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) in support of a local Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) effort. Designed as a comprehensive, national and community-based process to plan for and bring about transformational and sustainable change, and to address the historic and contemporary effects of racism, the primary focus of the TRHT is jettisoning the deeply held, and often unconscious, beliefs that undergird racism. 

“Initiatives of Change is grateful to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for its investment in Richmond,” said Jake Hershman, IofC Executive Director. “The TRHT efforts in Richmond have the purpose and potential to lift the city and surrounding counties of Chesterfield, Henrico and Hanover from systems and structures that reflect the centuries-old notion of human hierarchy and create a place where everyone's humanity is respected regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or country of origin.” 

"The stories we tell about our past, about how we got to where we are today, shape who we can be tomorrow. Richmond has fostered great talent and passion for community healing over the last quarter century,” said Ed Ayers, Historian and Founding Chair, Board of Directors of the American Civil War Museum, a TRHT community partner. “TRHT promises to bring that talent together in a powerful and coordinated way, making Richmond a national and international leader in constructive change.”

“Rallying resources around existing initiatives in the city while simultaneously bringing new voices to the table to refine what is already being done through the fostering of authentic relationships among changemakers is right on time,”  said Duron Chavis, Community Engagement Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, a TRHT community partner.

Richmond is one of 14 locations throughout the U.S. receiving support from the Kellogg Foundation to implement this work.  Starting this fall, IofC will collaborate with a growing network of community partners to advance the shared agenda of eliminating institutionalized racism. In communities across Greater Richmond, we will tell our stories from new perspectives, engage in courageous conversations about racial hierarchy, and work together using data and multi-sector approaches to solve our most intractable problems relating to law, separation, and the economy. Through this hard, generational work, TRHT has the potential to eradicate racism, thereby guaranteeing a better life for all of our children, whether they live in Gilpin, Glen Allen, Chester, Ashland, or someplace in between. 

“If our country aspires to be a place where all children can thrive, where equal value of all human beings is the foundation for our society, then we must jettison racial hierarchy and replace it with the capacity to see ourselves in one another and transform the structural and systematic manifestations of this devastating belief,” said Dr. Gail Christopher, WKKF’s senior advisor and vice president for TRHT. “The TRHT is a community-driven vehicle for transforming the country and we are pleased that Richmond has committed to do this work.”

For more about TRHT in Richmond visit & TRHT nationally