Newsroom Update

Petersburg City and Schools Partnership Celebrates Growth and Transition 

Management of successful community collaboration shifts to Petersburg City Public Schools in January 

PETERSBURG, Va. (Jan. 21, 2021) – As we celebrate the beginning of a new year, United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg is celebrating the beginning of a new era for the Petersburg City and Schools Partnership.  

On January 20leadership and management responsibility for the Petersburg City and Schools Partnership transitioned to Petersburg City Public Schools and the Office of Petersburg’s City Manager. This change comes after a successful five-year collaboration with United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg, during which the Petersburg City Public School system increased its capacity to create and lead impactful partnerships and programs.   

Moving forward, Petersburg City Public Schools will assume management responsibility for the Partnership. “We are pleased to continue to work with our partners and collaborators as the Petersburg City and Schools Partnership enjoys consistent growth and service to the families we support,” said Dr. Maria Pitre-Martin, Superintendent of Petersburg City Public Schools. 

United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg will continue to be highly involved in supporting the city of Petersburg, both through targeted local programs and by funding local nonprofits. United Way’s 2020-2022 community investments provide $3,142,500 to 23 nonprofit programs serving Petersburg residents 

“United Way works to bring people and organizations together to solve big problems, and that’s exactly what we’ve seen in Petersburg,” said James Taylor, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg. “I want to congratulate the residents of Petersburg and local leaders who made this initiative so successful, and I look forward to celebrating the great work that lies ahead. 

“The City is appreciative of the United Way’s continuous support of our community,” said Petersburg City Manager, Aretha R. Ferrell-Benavides. We look forward to partnering with Petersburg City Public Schools in sustaining existing programs and introducing new initiatives for the betterment of our community members. 

The Petersburg City and Schools Partnership was established in 2015 under Governor Terry McAuliffe’s Children’s Cabinet as part of the Challenged Schools Initiative to holistically address the needs of Petersburg’s students, ensuring they would get to school healthy and ready to learn.  

United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg has provided backbone support for the Petersburg City and Schools Partnership since its inception. Under United Way’s leadership, the Petersburg City and Schools Partnership spearheaded several successful initiatives, including:  

  • Convening and fostering a group of more than 200 Petersburg residents and organizations who came together to drive positive change in Petersburg schools. 
  • The development and launch of the Crimson Clinic at Petersburg High School, which provides access to primary and behavioral healthcare for students. 
  • A homeless student housing pilot projectled by the Department of Housing and Community Development and St. Joseph’s Villa, designed to support homeless high school students and their families. 
  • Advocacy to secure funding for additional social workers in schools who support attendance efforts across the city through DSS. 
  • Development of The Magic Card, which provides PCPS students with access to Petersburg Area Transit, the YMCA, the library and employment during summer months. 

Moving forward, Petersburg City Public Schools will house news and information about the Partnership on its website 

About United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg

United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg empowers individuals and addresses systemic problems to provide everyone with a clear path to success. We do this by conducting research, funding programs and organizations, driving systems-level change and engaging with individuals in 11 localities across the region. Learn more at 

Seth Stephens
Chief Communications Officer, Petersburg City Public Schools