Actions

Richmond community groups still searching for answers after dissolution of nonprofit

Richmond community groups still searching for answers after dissolution of non-profit
Posted at 8:24 PM, Aug 29, 2022

RICHMOND, Va. -- Monday marks two months since a longtime nonprofit in the City of Richmond voted to end operations, and the smaller community groups that relied on its services said they are still waiting for answers on the fallout.

Back on June 29, the Enrichmond Foundation voted to dissolve. The non-profit organization (NPO) served as an umbrella organization for dozens of community groups, such as "Friends of" groups around Richmond, that allowed them to use their insurance coverage and raise tax-free donations.

The NPO also handled and distributed those funds to those groups at their request. However, those groups said they have been unable to access those funds since the NPO's board voted to dissolve.

Monday evening, several of those groups said they would be holding a joint meeting to discuss the next potential steps that they could take.

Among those who have been looking into the next steps has been Richmond City Council 5th District Representative Stephanie Lynch, who is chair of the council's Education and Human Services Standing Committee.

"The frustration on the time it is taken to get clarity around these answers is real, it's palpable, I'm also equally as frustrated, I think, you know, the members of the organizations, the administration, I mean, all of us want to get to the bottom of it as quickly as we can and find resolve," said Lynch. "There's several options on the table, none of which seem to be great options…One, having the community groups file, as individuals, with the Richmond Police Department and launch an investigation into the organization for potential fraud and embezzlement. Two, in parallel to that, the city is exploring what options it has to start a civil suit. And then there's been discussion around what powers or purview does the attorney general's office have over nonprofit organizations."

News of Lynch's call for criminal complaints was first reported by the Richmond Free Press.

CBS 6 has reached out to RPD inquiring if any complaints have been filed but has not heard back. CBS 6 has also reached out to the Virginia Attorney General's office asking if they have been asked or are considering an investigation, but have not heard back.

Lynch said she is also looking at potential ways the city could assist those community groups to recoup the funding they have potentially lost with the dissolution.

"I'm interested in exploring what the city could do through our non-departmental funds. I'm interested in exploring what we could do to partnering with foundations and private giving to help us help these community groups raise the money that they lost," said Lynch. "I think the third avenue, of course, everyone is, kind of, interested in exploring what can we do to hold the Enrichmond Foundation and the individuals that were there previously -- what can we do to hold them accountable…and if there are any assets that can be dissolved that are left with the Enrichmond Foundation, obviously we're interested in exploring how we can dissolve those assets and then replenish the coffers of the organizations that lost their funds."

Along with the unknown fate of the community group's funds, the dissolution process hit a snag when the lawyer initially picked to guide the process stepped down from his role after reviewing the documents and said it was outside of his practice area.

That attorney told CBS 6 on Monday that a replacement had been selected and began in the last week or so. CBS 6 has reached out to the attorney for comment but has not heard back.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

Do you know about a good news story happening in your community? Click hereto email WTVR.com and the CBS 6 News team.

CBS6-News-at-4pm-and-Jennifer-Hudson-480x360.jpg

Entertainment

Watch 'The Jennifer Hudson Show' weekdays at 3 p.m. on CBS 6!

📱 Download CBS 6 News App
The app features breaking news alerts, live video, weather radar, traffic incidents, closings and delays and more.