Richmonders Involved to Strengthen our Communities
Richmonders Involved to Strengthen our Communities (RISC) is an interracial, interfaith, nonpartisan organization which brings congregations together to build the power to meet God’s call to “do justice.”
The member congregations of RISC are building powerful justice ministries so that they can get beyond the symptoms and solve serious community problems.
Because it can bring the power of large numbers to bear, RISC has been able to obtain commitments for specific solutions to urgent community problems, including:
- Affordable Housing – From 2015, RISC brought together over 1,000 people at the Nehemiah Action assembly to press Richmond’s Mayor and City Council to fund the city’s dormant Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Since 2015, the trust fund has leveraged $80.2 million in affordable housing projects and services. Safe, affordable housing has been provided for 1,100 Richmond families, senior citizens, and formerly homeless individuals, and 773 jobs have been created.
- School Suspensions – In 2010, RISC obtained a commitment from the Richmond Public Schools to ensure that every student suspended multiple times in the same school year receives an individual intervention with parents, teachers, and administrators.
- Primary Care for the Uninsured – Since 2007, RISC has pressed VCU’s Virginia Coordinated Care Program to use its state and federal dollars more efficiently in order to ensure that more low-income uninsured persons have access to primary care. Since RISC began its work on this issue, the number of individuals with access to primary care has jumped from about 10,000 to 27,000.
- School Truancy – In the 2003-2004 school year, the truancy rate in Richmond’s public schools had climbed to 26%. RISC obtained commitments from state senators and then-Mayor Douglas Wilder to expand Richmond’s anti-truancy programs. In the first year after these improvements, the overall rate had dropped to 15%.
- RISC has followed up to ensure that all these commitments are met.
RISC’s membership is composed of 19 congregations and a seminary in the Greater Richmond area. These congregations include people of all political persuasions, and from diverse racial and socio-economic backgrounds.
Rev. Ralph Hodge
Pastor, Second Baptist Church
Ms. Janice Lacy
Deacon, Ebenezer Baptist Church
RISC Lead Organizer