Arbor Day Open House at the TreeLab!

TreeLab is excited to announce our grand opening, and on top of that, it happens to be Arbor Day weekend! For those of you wondering “Just what is TreeLab?” this is what we are: to beautify, improve, and inform the City of Richmond through ornamental plant production, planting, and education, with a focus on native species.

During our Arbor Day open house we will have a small quantity of native shrubs and perennials available for a donation that furthers the efforts of TreeLab. We also will have some vegetable plants that we started from seed available for donation in Earth friendly fiber pots (you can plant the whole pot and it will decompose, adding nutrients to the soil for the plants to use)! One more fun little offering will be the ability to “Foster-A-Tree.” Curious as to how fostering a tree works? You’ll have to come and find out for yourself!

We hope to see you there!

The New is Here!

It is finally here, the new We believe you will agree that it is well worth the wait! It has not been an easy task, but with help from the Antimatter Co. team and our partners, we believe we have created a lovely place for you to call home.

We created the new website for our Partners, enabling them to

  • view reports, print check request forms, the Toolkit, and other important documents
  • communicate easily with interested community members
  • edit their group’s biography, add events, and add blog posts
  • have a beautiful, integrated platform to help fundraise and friend-raise
  • highlight the incredible work they do every day!

We created the new website for our city and community to

  • search our partners list for efforts in their neighborhood
  • search for events in their neighborhood
  • find volunteer opportunities
  • keep up-to-date on the latest Enrichmond news, blog posts, and activities
  • stay engaged in their community!

If you have any suggestions or questions, please feel free to use the Contact Us section.

Enrichmond Receives Virginia Recreation and Parks Society Honor

Enrichmond is humbled and honored to be awarded the Virginia Recreation and Park Society (VRPS) “Distinguished Private Sector Service” award during its 2016 conference in Roanoke, VA. This award acknowledges Enrichmond’s 26-year partnership with the City of Richmond’s Parks, Recreation, and Community Facilities in enhancing our Cities parks and public spaces.

We are thrilled to be recognized for our successes in;

  • Park and public space beautification
  • Community Greening Pattern Book
  • TreeLab and horticulture programs
  • Open space conservation
  • Historic cemetery preservation efforts in Evergreen, East End, and Shockoe Hill
  • New park planning, development, and expansion

“We are proud to receive this honor on behalf of our past and present staff and board members who gave so much to deliver our Foundation’s mission,” says John Sydnor, Enrichmond’s Executive Director.  “Together with our Friends and Partner groups, Enrichmond has worked with hundreds of volunteers to deliver thousands of hours improving our City’s parks and public spaces.”

Betty Reid Soskin – A historic lady.


Enrichmond was honored to be invited to the Maggie L. Walker Historical Site to meet Betty Reid Soskin, the world’s oldest Park Ranger from Richmond, California. Soskin currently works at the National Parks Service’s Rosie the Riveter/World War II Homefront National Historical Park. Her life-long commitment to the historic site began when she was first employed as a clerk in the Boilermakers Auxiliary 36 Union Hall during World War II.

Soskin’s historic perspective was born from the practice of segregating employees based upon race/color. To illustrate her experience, she presented the ‘official’ park service video describing the contribution of the historic shipyard to America’s success during WWII. The last line of the video ran something like “it was the greatest coming together of Americans in history, and it was the greatest time in America”. Betty stated that while this may have been the history of many white Americans, it was not the experience for any other race at that time.

As Betty states, the largest and most efficient shipyard in the Richmond, California area was the Kaiser Shipyard. This shipyard was created by Henry J. Kaiser who revolutionized mass production. By the end of WWII Kaiser had produced 747 ships at a rate of one ship every four days. The production process at the shipyard cut the standard production time by two-thirds and at a quarter of the cost. Mr. Kaiser was actively involved in recruiting people to fill factory spots and he mainly recruited African Americans and women. The park video has you believe that there was no discrimination in Richmond, California or Kaiser’s shipyard during this time. But, Soskin recalls a very different experience.

Betty’s perspective is extremely interesting. Her great-grandmother was a slave. Betty was the first person in her family to not be a domestic servant when she was hired as a clark at Kaiser’s shipyard. Betty noted, during her time at the Boilermakers Auxiliary Union Hall she never saw one white person in the facility. She thought the only people working on the ships were black. It was not until later in life that she realized that this not the case and that the place she served as a clerk was segregated.

Currently, Betty works only a few days per week as a volunteer to share her historic and valuable perspective to park-goers. Betty’s story and the Homefront movement are valid, important, and must be told. We will leave you with her closing comment on the park video, “It took me 90 years on this earth to understand [other Riveters] remember it this way. I remember it differently. And that is okay”.

Shockoe on the Half-Shell

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Virginia is for oyster lovers! Come celebrate one of Virginia’s most iconic foods at the 9th Annual Shockoe on the Half-Shell festival at the 17th Street Farmers’ Market.

Enjoy oysters every way – raw, smoked, grilled, roasted, fried, and on the half shell – served up by some of the area’s most popular local restaurants. Sample old favorites and find new eats.

Follow us for updates on restaurants, menus, and entertainment.

5th BrewBQ at the historic 17th Street Farmers’ Market

RVA BrewBQ features some of the region’s most loved barbeque producers, from the well-known, to the hole-in-the-wall weekend barbeque warriors, you’ll be able to taste it all. After enjoying choices pulled, minced, smoked, saucy, vinegar-based, sweet, sandwiches, plates and more, wash down your favorite bites with cold suds from more than 15 local craft breweries, including Legend, Hardywood, Center of the Universe and more! The event is free to attend. Food and beverage are available for purchase. Click HERE for more info.


Virginia’s Oldest Marketplace Is Under New Management

17th Street Farmer's Market - Version 2Richmond, VA – The Enrichmond Foundation is very pleased to announce that it has been awarded a contract by the City of Richmond to manage, program, operate and maintain Richmond’s historic 17th Street Marketplace beginning July 1, 2016.

This follows a robust, transparent and multi-year public procurement process administered by the City of Richmond. The Enrichmond Foundation has managed special events at the 17th Street Marketplace for the past 4 years. These very popular events include Earth Day, the Bacon Festival, and Kickin Chicken WingFest.

“Enrichmond is more than capable, through its oversight, of guiding this public space to realize its full potential. We are thrilled about the partnership as well as the placemaking opportunities associated with the space,” said Douglas C. Dunlap, the City of Richmond’s Director of Economic and Community Development. “The future is bright for the market as the space is transformed to serve as a true anchor attraction drawing visitors from the region and beyond.”

John Sydnor, Executive Director of the Enrichmond Foundation, is equally enthusiastic. “We are thrilled to be working with the City of Richmond, neighboring businesses, residents and our partners as we revive and revamp this fantastic space for the 21st Century. Planned improvements are taking place this summer and will be in place for our exciting special events schedule in 2017. We can’t wait!”

About the 17th Street Marketplace

The uniqueness and distinction of the 17th Street Market reaches back to the earliest days of the Commonwealth and our City.  The native Powhatan peoples met to trade in the immediate vicinity of the Market at “Shockoe Rock,” a large rock at the confluence of Shockoe Creek and the James River. The Market continued as a major trade center when the main road between Williamsburg and Richmond terminated on-site. The current location served as the City’s official farmers’ market starting in 1736 making it the oldest continuously operational farmers’ in Virginia, and quite possibly the United States.  The Market was once the very heart of our City as it teemed with the essence of urbanity — business, culture, trade, government, community gathering, and much more.

About the Enrichmond Foundation

For the past 25 years, the Enrichmond Foundation, a non-profit serving the City of Richmond’s people, parks, and public spaces, has worked with a broad base of partners to enhance and activate public assets and amenities, including Belle Isle, the Landmark Theater, and Kanawha Plaza. For more information about Enrichmond, its partners and projects, go to To stay abreast of 17th Marketplace events, we invite you to go to Facebook and Like Enrichmond’s 17th Street Marketplace page.

2017 Environmental Film Festival

2017 EFF

On February 6 through 12, 2017, The Enrichmond Foundation, the Sierra Club – Falls of the James Group, Capital Region Land Conservancy, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and Viridiant will partner to present the Seventh Annual RVA Environmental Film Festival. In 2017 the festival will take place at several locations including University of Richmond, VCU, The Visual Arts Center of Richmond, area libraries, The Byrd Theater, and The Science Museum of Virginia. The week long event will showcase local and national films selected to raise awareness of environmental issues relevant to the Richmond region, our nation, and our planet. The RVA EFF strives to screen the latest and greatest environmental films that may not be available elsewhere in the Richmond area, as well as helping support the local film community.

​Interested in volunteering? For more info email:​ [email protected]

The RVA Environmental Film Festival was founded as “The Biggest Picture: Richmond’s First Environmental Film Festival” in 2008 and 2009, and the James River Film Society served as fiscal agent. The Sierra Club Falls of the James Group revived the event in 2011 as the RVA Environmental Film Festival and survives through additional support from local nonprofits and businesses. The festival’s goal is to offer entertaining and educational films that leave attendees with increased awareness of environmental issues that we face locally and globally.

Feature Friday – Friends of Westwood Playground

There is something truly unique about the Friends of Westwood Playground. The Westwood neighborhood itself is over 150 years old founded by freed slaves and located on land formerly in Henrico ​County. At the heart of the neighborhood is Westwood Baptist Church, which is where we met this week to discuss the organization and to get a tour of the Westwood Playground.

We ​met with the President, Vice President and the Treasurer in one of the halls at the large historic church. The walls of the church are lined with beautiful paintings, some made by past members. Upstairs is the original sanctuary, a layer of carpet hides the old flooring, a few small cracks lay in the original stained glass, looking​  up ​you ​see wonderful murals and an authentic tiled ceiling. Both Jeanette and Tammy tell ​us things like “I was baptized here” or “I got married here”.  This is a peaceful, rejuvenating place, a piece of history that a lot of Richmond has never heard.

We walk outside and into the old Westwood Baptist ​Church ​Cemetery and down Marian Street towards the large playground. The rich stories continue to bound off the houses like the faint sound of Patterson Avenue in the distance. As we walk towards the site ​we a​re told ​the playground is located on the site of the old one-room Westwood schoolhouse.

The playground is surrounded by houses, by neighbors–by friends. All the members at Friends of Westwood Playground tell ​us when they were growing up the playground was the place to be a​after school. You would stay until the street lights came on and you were called home.

​Life​ was simpler then. Our friends at the Westwood Playground have a simple mission: to bring this playground back to its former glory. They want to showcase the playground as an important part of the neighborhood, to hold events there, and to come together in order to make sure it is a safe place for all.

Currently, the Westwood Playground is being spruced up. You may have noticed the building and awnings have been painted! Electricity is now on, they have new picnic tables and benches​, and sand is being dredged. Further, Chesapeake Bank has made considerable donations, both of money and of time, equipment, food, and supplies.

On Saturday,​ April 23rd from 10:30am-4:30pm ​our friends are having a cleanup and flower planting at the playground. Food + drink are being supplied by Chesapeake Bank. Tools are being supplied by the ToolBank and Friends of Westwood playground. Come by and say hi to all of our hardworking friends at Westwood playground.

If you are ever in the neighborhood, stop by Westwood playground say hello, have a seat, and let the history surround you.

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to our Friends of Westwood playground by clicking HERE.

Partner Highlight: Richmond Racers

The air was humid as the chlorine hit my face upon entering the Swansboro Elementary pool. Coach Mike, the heart of the Richmond Racers, was at the other end of the room meeting each student with cheers of encouragement as they lapped and kicked off the pool. Coach Mike has been with the Racers since day one and is an inspiration to the whole group.

The Racers offer affordable and family-oriented competitive swim club experience to a large and diverse population in Richmond. The Racers have been bridging the gap between recreational swimming and competitive swimming for nearly twenty years. When the small group of parent-led volunteers came to the Enrichmond Foundation they were serving 35-40 members in the Richmond area. Presently they are helping nearly 95 children and teens meet their swimming goals.

The Racers have been growing and expanding! In January they started a recreational league that partnered with Swim RVA and this summer they are adding a new Summer Swim program.

Enrollment for Richmond Racers is limited, so be sure to reserve a spot on the roster today!

Visit the Racer’s site for more information:

Please consider making a tax deductible donations to the Richmond Racers, by visiting: