The Impact of Volunteering

Published on November 12th, 2020 by Enrichmond Foundation

Volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization. 

Since 1990, the Enrichmond Foundation has committed to preserving our great region, protecting the outdoors, and most importantly, building a solid community that comes together to impact the lives of our fellow citizens. And all year long, we’re nurturing those connections and furthering our commitment to beautifying this place we call home. How that commitment looks varies from time to time–on Saturdays, we’re joining together to clean up the cemeteries, while our Partners host family-friendly community events that allow us to give back in meaningful ways. And though our new normal has shifted and we’ve moved to virtual and socially-distant gatherings, one truth remains: Volunteerism still matters. 

Genifer Ross, Enrichmond Foundation Volunteer Manager

Last month, Enrichmond Foundation had the honor of being awarded the Lehman Award for Park Foundation Excellence & Volunteer Engagement Award from the National Association of Park Foundations. It’s an incredible honor that reinforces the importance of remaining in service to our community. John Sydnor, our Executive Director, accepted the award on our behalf, and thanked our staff, board members, and all the incredible people who make this important work possible. We especially thank the thousands of volunteers who spend countless hours helping move our mission forward. All that we do is made stronger by this great community effort, and by leaders who coordinate and work with our volunteers each and every week. Genifer Ross is a shining example of that leadership.

Enrichmond Foundation’s Volunteer Manager, Genifer Ross reminds us that the impact of volunteering extends far beyond checking off a line on our “good deeds” checklist. It’s altruistic, yes, but it’s also our duty as citizens and our way of instilling hope and unity when we need it most. Volunteering is what makes us stronger, and when it comes to our cemeteries, the impact is felt far and wide.

“The volunteerism at East End & Evergreen Cemeteries is the biggest part of what we’re doing to reconnect families in the state,” says Genifer. “If we are unable to clean the ground, then that means we can’t find additional members who are buried at the cemetery. Through clearing of the cemeteries, people are able to recover tombstones and identify family members. They’re discovering their history. That’s why volunteering with Enrichmond is so important.”

We’re proud to have served with over 2,365 volunteers in 2020 thus far and over 200 volunteers in the month of October alone, for a total of 6,543 volunteer hours (and counting!). This important work is ongoing, but it’s with this great collaborative effort that we’re able to reunite families, preserve African American legacies in Richmond, and pour necessary resources into these historic sites. Because every family matters, every inch of progress matters.

“We appreciate the time and energy everyone’s put into volunteerism,” concludes Ross. “In this time I’ve spent with these volunteers, we’ve been able to bring so many families together. So thank you all so much.