By Ray Vazquez on August 16, 2021
As the nation celebrates National Nonprofit Day, Vertex11 would like to take this opportunity to recognize one of the nonprofit organizations we support—Richmond Cycling Corps. They’re on a mission to change the lives of Richmond youth living in the heart of the East End by constantly pivoting towards relevant outreach. Speaking with Richmond Cycling Corps Director of Development, Brad Kaplan points out that cycling isn’t mentioned in their mission statement. This is done purposely because what they do transcends just riding bikes. The organization provides youths an outlet in which the benefits go far beyond cycling.
Richmond’s East End is the primary area where they perform their youth outreach because of its high concentration of public housing. Richmond has the 6th highest concentration of public housing in the United States, which creates a hyper-concentrated level of poverty. The median income in Richmond is $45K and in this public housing area the median income is less than $15K.
Richmond Cycling Corps supplies the bicycles, uniforms, and all the necessary equipment necessary to engage the youth so they can participate. Their message is simple: Come and participate, you’ll get better at cycling and if you can get better at this—you can get better at anything. So cycling becomes a confidence builder which positively impacts their lives. With the elevated dropout rates and low graduation rates of Richmond’s East End, Richmond Cycling Corps gives them safety and hope.
The impact they’re making on the Richmond youth is incredible. In addition to cycling, the organization also offers tutoring to help with their education. Beyond that, they help the kids find jobs and support them any way they can. Can’t stop, won’t stop is their mantra. They’re helping these kids by any means necessary with the end goal to give them the tools to eventually get out of public housing.