Economic Opportunity

Our commitment to economic opportunity

United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg seeks to mobilize all people to improve lives. In order to unite around key issues facing our region, United Way engages individuals and organizations who represent the diversity of the communities we serve — respecting and valuing the different perspectives they may provide. Together we will more effectively create and implement solutions to our region’s most pressing issues while creating opportunities for a better life for all. 

We approach these issues from multiple angles and invite the community to join us by providing financial support or donating time and expertise to create real solutions.

Community Investments: Economic Opportunity

Financial Opportunity Center (FOC) clients are often female heads of households from marginalized communities of color suffering from low wealth, declining education rates and poor public health indicators. Given the current economic downturn and the lingering impact of the COVID pandemic, this population group is one of the hardest hit and in need of support. Due to these circumstances, FOCs engage clients for no less than eighteen months and potentially up to five years. The service model uses a one-on-one coaching approach designed to change clients’ behaviors and affect measurable outcomes. 

Racial Breakdown of Population Served
Black – 60%
White – 3%
OTHER Race – 37%
Unknown Race – <1%

Ethnic Breakdown of Population Served
Hispanic/Latinx – 36%
Not Hispanic/Latinx – 62%
Unknown Ethnicity – 2%

The YWCA Richmond serves women, children and families through the Greater Richmond region through the delivery of a variety of services. They provide safe and affordable housing, high-quality early childhood education, essential personnel and healthy relationship skills education, and they serve survivors of domestic, intimate partner, sexual and gender-based violence with uninterrupted crisis response and empowerment services in person and through virtual platforms. This program includes their Workforce Development Initiative, Rapid Rehousing, Healthcare Navigation, Clinical Services, Court Advocacy and their prevention and outreach efforts. Ultimately, programs are designed to empower clients to live stable, safe and independent lives—all of which require a solid financial foundation.

Racial Breakdown of Population Served
Black – 52%
White – 23%
Other Race – 7%

Ethnic Breakdown of Population Served
Hispanic/Latinx – 7%
Unknown Ethnicity – 93%

FEMALE – 74% 
MALE – 15% 

Transportation and credit impact many aspects of life. United Way funding supports Ways to Work which offers fair-interest vehicle loans for individuals with poor or no credit. The Ways to Work program helps individuals with the time-sensitive need of purchasing a car and provides education to help with long-term budgeting habits while facilitating a program that builds credit. Program clients report that owning their own car gives them better choices of daycare, helps them to access medical care for themselves and their children, and allows their children to participate in extracurricular activities. Additionally, having a stronger credit score opens the opportunity of home ownership. 

Racial Breakdown of Population Served
Black – 70%
White – 5%
Other RACE – 3%

Ethnic Breakdown of Population Served
Hispanic/Latinx – 2%
Not Hispanic/Latinx – 76%
Unknown Ethnicity – 21%

REAL LIFE’s mission is to develop a relationship with each Lifer (client) that equips them to make the visible progress necessary for their personal pathway to a Thriving Life. REAL LIFE provides their clients with the ability to face daily struggles and unexpected challenges, allowing them to be in control of their future. 
Residents of REAL Houses receive intensive case management, participate in all classes, services and programming, including NA/AA group meetings, weekly house meetings and family dinners. Each REAL House is supervised by a House Manager who lives at the house full time to monitor and ensure that rules are met, such as randomized drug screening, zero tolerance for using drugs or alcohol and an 8 p.m. curfew. House managers are REAL LIFE graduates and serve as mentors to new Lifers, helping them transition into the REAL LIFE. After graduation from REAL LIFE, staff works with each Lifer to determine the appropriate timing for independent living, ensuring that each person is prepared and has a strong foundation to live on their own. 

BLACK – 47%
WHITE – 48%
OTHER – 4%

Ethnic Breakdown of Population Served
Hispanic/Latinx – 1%
Not Hispanic/Latinx – 99%
Unknown Ethnicity – 0%

In addition to covering basic expenses, families and individuals need financial stability to avoid debt, build savings and prepare for unanticipated expenses. The Latino Community Engagement Program provides financial literacy services including: financial education and coaching; income supports access; and employment placement and career improvement. The program also engages Latino individuals and families to realize their own vision for the community by identifying problems and implementing solutions in their own neighborhoods.

Ethnic Breakdown of Population Served
Hispanic/Latinx – 24%
Not Hispanic/Latinx – 76%

Want to meet more of our partners?

These are just a few of our many partners working on the front lines to create lasting change in our region. Visit our Partners page to learn more.