Sep 9, 2022 - News

Criminal complaint planned against Enrichmond

Illustration of a stack of hundred dollar bills being erased
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Community groups that entrusted their finances to the Enrichmond Foundation are calling for a criminal investigation into the now-dissolved nonprofit.

What's happening: The foundation handled donations for 86 community groups when it dissolved suddenly at the end of June.

  • More than two months later, those groups say they have received no explanation about what happened to their money, which they raised to pursue projects like planting trees, cleaning up neighborhoods and improving parks.
  • City officials have estimated the organization held more than $100,000 for the various groups when it dissolved.

Driving the news: The groups are currently organizing to file a formal complaint with police in hopes of initiating a criminal investigation.

  • Enrichmond also owns two historic Black cemeteries, Evergreen and East End, which it purchased and maintained with public grant funding.

What they're saying: "We all — whether we get our money back or not — feel like this is something we need to pursue for accountability's sake," Laney Sullivan, a founder of Fonticello Food Forest, told Axios.

  • The food forest is a community garden and farmstand that lost about $4,000 when the foundation closed, forcing the cancellation of summer educational programming.

The other side: The Enrichmond Foundation has yet to offer any public explanation for the situation.

  • A lawyer who had been representing the organization withdrew last month, and his replacement, Andrew Sherrod at the law firm Hirschler, said in an email he could not comment.

What's next: The situation has also caught the attention of Rep. Don McEachin, a Richmond Democrat, who in a press release Thursday called for a "full accounting of funds entrusted to Enrichmond."

  • Meanwhile, the roughly 20 community groups that plan to pursue a criminal complaint are asking other affected organizations to contact them.
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