Triangle Award for Philanthropy

Wanda FearsLongtime community activist and Diversity Richmond supporter, Wanda Fears is being recognized with the Triangle Award for Philanthropy. For as long as most people can remember, Wanda has played a significant role in the life of Diversity Richmond. Her generosity has meaningfully enabled us to provide help for countless numbers of people and expand programs that are sorely needed in our community.

Thoughtful, straight-forward with a delightful sense of humor, Wanda’s generosity is also felt by numerous other causes in our fair city. Her professionalism and success as a real estate agent, has caused her name to become a recognizable one in the business sector. Wanda never says “no” when we ask. We now say a huge “yes” in recognizing this outstanding woman and leader in our community.

Outstanding Volunteer Service

FernandoWe are very proud to recognize Fernando Rodriguez with the President’s Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service. Just a short while ago Diversity Richmond received a grant from the Laughing Gull Foundation to support intentional outreach to the Latinx community. We called Fernando who quickly said yes to chairing the event. The result was the hugely successful “ViVaRVA! Hispanic Music Festival,” which drew hundreds of people to Diversity Richmond.

The weekend prior, Fernando coordinated an awards ceremony for significant LGBTQ leadership in the Hispanic community. Both events joined countless numbers of people who had never connected with Diversity Richmond before.

Prior to the music festival, Fernando provided beautiful graphics, designs and guidance in the orchestration of our award- winning “Black and Bold Awards,” recognizing outstanding leadership of Black LGBTQ people. “Fernando is a dream volunteer who I wish I could clone,” shared Bill Harrison. “He sets a high standard for himself and strives for excellence which makes all of us look good. We are very pleased to recognize him with this award and in some small way share our deep appreciation for him”

Holiday Shopping and Helping Your Community at the Same Time!

Diversity Thrift Christmas Art

Diversity Thrift is much more than just a secondhand store. It is also a means to significantly help the LGBT community. This is one way we have been able to donate over $1 Million to local causes.

Pictured are just a few samples of the art that is available in our classroom. Quite a variety and would make a great gift. Just ask one of our wonderful store employees for help when visiting. Follow us on facebook @diversity.thrift
(804) 353-8890

Black & Bold Awards

Black and Bold RVA

Diversity Richmond is pleased to announce our annual Black & Bold Awards on February 28, 2020 at the University of Richmond. Please save the date as more information will be made public in the coming weeks.

The Black & Bold Awards is an annual celebration to commemorate everyday people working in the LGBTQ+ community. This recognition is critical to create more awareness about the contributions of Black LGBTQ+ individuals and allies throughout Virginia. We invite you to nominate individuals who have displayed exemplary leadership as advocates for the LGBTQ+ community. Nominations should be emailed to Programming Coordinator, Evan Smith (), by January 10, 2020. We encourage you to use the prompts below as a loose guide for your written nomination narrative.

What did the nominee do to be worthy of consideration and what were the results?

  • Projects/activities the nominee led or worked on
  • Stories that show the tangible impact of the nominees work
  • Specific benefits/tangible outcomes from their work

How did the nominee achieve their goals (leadership, teamwork, creativity, work ethic etc.)?

  • Stories that show the character of the nominee
  • Any challenges or issues encountered and overcome

Local Man Escaped the Stonewall Raid, Firsthand Account

Unger

Local LGBTQ activist, Don Davenport was working at Stonewall the night of the infamous police raid fifty years ago. His personal account of that night and other harassment by police is a history lesson that we all need to hear. Listen to the podcast. I promise you will be impacted by his story.

Pictured: Chuck Unger and Don Davenport have been a mainstay in local activism for years. Don worked at Stonewall and was there the night of the raid.

Meet LeVar Carter, Diversity Richmond’s new event coordinator

LeVar Carter“Just two weeks into the job here at Diversity Richmond, it is amazing to discover the greater sense of community and belonging I have already found working with everyone. Having grown up in the area as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I have attended several events here in the past and shopped in the thrift store over the years, but it is exciting to actually join the team.”

“I bring a unique set of life experiences with me having managed hostels, kitchens, events, retreats, art exhibitions, workshops, and classes all over the country and beyond in my years of travel. My top three might be dogsledding in Sweden under the norther lights, yoga teacher training in the rainforest of Costa Rica, and road tripping across the USA including Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon.

These experiences, and the lessons learned through them, give me a sense of creative compassion in my work. This allows me to foster connections with almost anyone, and to learn, grow, and lead in the various roles I take on here at Diversity Richmond.”

“In short order, my time here at Diversity Richmond has shown me the power of cooperation. Like a superhero team, everyone brings different strengths and challenges to the table, but when we work together, combining the efforts of staff, volunteers, members, and community partners, we can accomplish truly amazing feats. I hope everyone who walks through our doors and enjoys themselves at our events, can experience a sense of belonging and community, and be inspired to become a hero in their own sense. This is how we build a better world together.”

Your Support Allows Diversity to Help Many People

blankets

Leigh Guinty of the local nonprofit, The Memphis Project, asked if Diversity Thrift could donate blankets for the homeless. And of course, we said yes. We are able to participate in this type project because of the generosity of our donors. We all take much for granted and most of us cannot imagine being cold. But, many others can. Pictured are Leigh, our VCU Social Work Intern, John Bowles and store employee, Ava Entzminger.

$50,000 now available through 2019 grants program

DIVERSITY RICHMOND OFFERING $50,000 IN GRANTS FOR 2020!

Celebrating 20 years of building community

Since 1999, Diversity Richmond has contributed more than $1 Million in support of the local LGBT community. This does not include the thousands of dollars in food, clothing and furniture vouchers for those in need. Nor does it include the free use of meeting spaces that countless numbers of organizations use most every night.

In recognition of Diversity’s twentieth anniversary, the organization is donating $50,000 in grant funding. This is the largest sum offered through the grants program in years. The awards will be announced at the annual “Diversity Richmond Celebrates” on Thursday, November 21st at 7:00 P.M. in the Diversity event hall. More details on the celebration will be forthcoming.

Diversity will give one $20,000 grant, two $10,000 grants and two $5,000 awards. Applications are due by 5:00 P.M., Monday, November 4th. Please see link for applications.

If you have questions, please email . No phone calls please.

Deadline for applications is
Monday, November 4, 2019 by 5:00 P.M.

Click on this link to download the application

The board, staff and volunteers of Diversity Richmond gratefully acknowledges the support of our wonderful community. We could never do what we do without you.

To support Diversity Richmond, donate by credit card here or mail checks to Diversity Richmond, 1407 Sherwood Avenue, Richmond, VA 23220.

Diversity Richmond Employee Highlight

Ivan at Diversity Richmond“I really think I’m in my happiest days being here at Diversity."
Ivan Trittipoe, Senior Store Manager

“Antiquing and thrift stores have always been a part of my life. I remember, as a child, going around with my parents and hunting for that special item in auction houses and antique shops. Growing up in Washington D.C. I attended a French school and can still speak French fluently. Additionally, this ‘international world’ I lived in provided for exposure to the art and antique world, including visits to all the museums and galleries of D.C.”

“After the loss of my parents, I felt like it was time to make a change. I left D.C. and moved to Richmond, where I saw this amazing rainbow building. The building drew me into it and when I stepped inside I knew, I had to volunteer there.”

“I was offered a job soon after; beginning in donations, then cashier, and events coordinator. Through my five years working in various facets of the organization, I have been able to feel more comfortable in my identity. I have gone through times where I have been insecure about who I was as a gay male; however, being able to be rooted in Diversity Richmond (D.R.) has allowed me to find my inner strength.”

“I really think I’m in my happiest days being here with D.R.—I expect many more happy days to come; but looking back on my life I feel this will be the time I remember with the most fondness. I love my job here, including all the craziness that comes with it. Working for an organization that is LGBT+ centered sometimes feels like something that is taken for granted—we can all be ourselves and feel free to express that without fear of criticism. I feel I can truly be my authentic self at D.R.”

Pictured above: Ivan with one of his favorite customers, Ruth Hunter. “I love coming here. I come here for my therapy,” she said laughing.

New Richmond Police Chief pledges continued support of LGBT Community

Chief Smith RPD

A recent meeting with the new Richmond Police Chief, Colonel William C. Smith, left four local LGBT leaders feeling good about our community’s relationship with the city police force. Well acquainted with our community, Chief Smith shared his vision of total support and an understanding of our challenges such as the murder rate of transgender people. He pledged complete fairness and stressed that he wants to know of any concerns or complaints that our community may have about his team.

Pictured are James Millner of VAPride; Chief Smith; Cheezie Farmer of Women of Essence and Diversity Richmond; Zakia McKensey of Nationz Foundation and Bill Harrison of Diversity Richmond. The group presented Chief Smith with a framed photo of him being sworn in as chief.

The Heart Behind Diversity: A spotlight on the amazing staff of Diversity Richmond

Ava Volunteer Spotlight

Our first spotlight shines on Ava, a Diversity Thrift manager. Ava has been with Diversity Richmond for 14 years.

“My role is to be dedicated in the work I do, including managing and being a good leader for Diversity Richmond (DR),” shared Ava. “I exemplify this by accepting new tasks, learning and growing with the organization, being consistent, and doing whatever I can to make DR better. I also see my role as getting to know the customers, what they like or how their day was and ensuring that they leave happy.”

Many of our customers look for Ava as soon as they arrive at the store. “Over the years I have gotten to know the customers and they have become like family…we inspire and support one another in life’s challenges.”

Ava learned of D.R. through a program with OAR, a non-profit that helps individuals acquire second chances. “I was incarcerated for 6 months and had been an addict for 32 years. Participating in OAR gave me the hope to get back into working and I had to be self-willing to change. I remember seeing the signs and the rainbow building from across the highway and thinking maybe one day I can work there, so when OAR said there was a position available, I was excited to take it.”

Ava’s life plan is simple: “Love everybody, do not be judgmental, and no hatred.” Looking back over her years of service at D.R., Ava says, “I have gained a team with great leadership. I have gained teaching myself the importance of believing in myself and knowing that I can do it. The opportunity to bring new, creative ideas to DR be more successful—in turn lifting others through their work.”

“Knowing that today I can be honest, respectful, and loyal to myself—which allows me to offer this to other people as well. Humanity and their ability to be kind, compassionate, selfless, and uplift fairness. My strong belief system and knowing that God Almighty has seen and will see me through my trials and tribulations. Knowing that God would not have given me anything I cannot handle and God has equipped me for everything, including burying my only son—a Chief Officer in the Navy.”

“If we all win, I win because we are all here together. I always build others up and don’t tear them down because it takes less energy to be nice and kind than mean and hateful.”

~ John Bowles, VCU Intern

Richmond’s “Men’s Sunday Social Hour” Meets the Needs of Many

Keith WattsWhile needing a safe place to talk about and share our experiences is something that many of us seek, social spaces, such as bar or club, that many of us frequent may not be the most comfortable space to do so. That is why several months ago Diversity Richmond established the “Men’s Sunday Social Hour.”

The group is led by Keith J. Watts, a Ph.D. candidate in Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Social Work. Keith is a recent transplant to Richmond, but he has quickly embraced us as his own. His welcoming personality and his understanding of being a gay man and the isolation and challenges that many of us face have made him a much-appreciated volunteer.

“I am no stranger to the marginalization that so many of us experience within our community and that is what makes the culture of inclusivity that clearly exists at Diversity Richmond so remarkable. Living up to its name, I have connected with folks from all walks of life through this organization, and that alone has provided me with opportunities to access the relationships, mentorship and support that were crucial to me feeling affirmed and at home in Richmond,” shared Keith.

“Men’s Social Group,” is an opportunity for gay men of any age to connect with others who may share similar experiences and who are looking for support and comradery. If you are interested in attending or have questions, please contact Keith at

The Men’s Sunday Social Hour meets at 4:15-6:15 P.M. every 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month at Diversity Richmond, 1407 Sherwood Avenue, 23220 in the classroom, door # 2.

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