Agency Q&A: Neighborhood Resource Center

United Way works with 40+ local and regional nonprofit agencies to tackle each of our nine Steps to SuccessGet to know these agencies and learn about their partnership with United Way. We invited Cheryl Groce-Wright, Executive Director of Neighborhood Resource Center, to tell us about her work.
Tell us about your current role and your professional background.

I have served as the Executive Director for the Neighborhood Resource Center (NRC) for the past five years and have worked in education and community based organizations for over 30 years. In my various roles and positions, I’ve been involved in research and training, student development, fundraising, development, college residential life and college admissions.

In my role at NRC, I find an amazing opportunity to put all of those skills and education together to help make life a little better in a community called Greater Fulton.

What is Neighborhood Resource Center’s mission?

The Neighborhood Resource Center’s (NRC) mission is to strengthen families by building relationships, sharing resources and developing skills to enhance lives in Greater Fulton. We do that by:

  • Providing safe, educational opportunities for youth during after school hours and summers, which include a learning garden and free lunch and supper offerings.
  • Providing an integrated employment and financial capability program for adults that works to move a family from crisis and/or struggling to thriving and/or stability. We work with program participants through employment, financial and income benefit coaching and ongoing support and reinforcement as they set goals and work toward greater personal and family stability.
  • Involving residents and members of the Greater Fulton community in our effort to create the kind of community change and revitalization they desire to see in their neighborhood. Initiatives such as a Clean Team to address trash and littering, Neighborhood Watch to work toward decreasing crime in the community, a new community health center in partnership with Capital Area Health Network, a memorial park being constructed to tell the story of Historic Fulton, efforts to restore the economic corridor in the community, working to keep the community parks maintained and available for resident use and other efforts that assist the neighborhood in being the kind of community people want to live and be engaged in.
How does Neighborhood Resource Center’s work support United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and the Financial Well-being component of United Way’s Steps to Success?

The NRC is proud to partner with United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program for the fourth year in a row. This partnership allows us the opportunity to offer free tax preparation services to low-income individuals. In 2017, we prepared 137 tax returns for our neighbors and engaged numerous community volunteers to provide greatly needed financial resources and information.

In addition, our NRC Works Financial Opportunity Center is a proud United Way grantee. We work to help people access greater educational, financial and income opportunities through our employment barrier removal funds provided to eligible applicants.

What do you think is the biggest value United Way brings to Neighborhood Resource Center?

United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg provides opportunities for exposure to programs and resources that the broader service community might not be aware of. Through opportunities such as free tax prep, educational workshops/offerings and networking activities and events, United Way is a constant source of exposure for resources that are vitally important for the well-being of our most vulnerable citizens in the region.

How have needs in our region changed over the past 10 years?

The increasing levels of poverty throughout the region are particularly striking, as well as the reality that the newer pockets of poverty are appearing in county jurisdictions where those challenges have not historically been experienced. I believe what that says to us in this region is that poverty is not an “urban” or “city” concern, it is everyone’s concern no matter what your zip code happens to be.

What 2018 project or initiative has you most excited for the year ahead?

For the NRC, we are excited about activities that will bring new people to our neighborhood. Some new residents will live in the Artisan Hill Apartments, a 200+ apartment complex that will be completed in 2019 and will include a gym and swimming pool, art studios and a cafe. Others will come to this part of Richmond as a result of two anchor businesses that have made Fulton their home: is Stone Brewing and Triple Crossing Brewing. In 2019, Stone Brewing will open its brand-new World Bistro and Gardens, which we anticipate will draw locals and tourists to discover this community and all that it has to offer.  Though not opening until 2019, there is much planning, construction, engagement and welcoming that will take place in 2018 that will keep us busy with our neighbors to incorporate newcomers to the Greater Fulton community.

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