Category Archives: Equity

Area tourism bureau partnering with Destinations International on diversity pilot

An organization that works with tourism agencies across the world to attract people to specific locations has launched a pilot project with the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau to highlight the area’s inclusivity. 

The CACVB will work with Destinations International on the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion “Tourism for All” program.

“Through a focus on inclusive marketing, welcoming diverse demographics and creating accessible spaces, the [Convention and Visitors Bureau] can become the bright beacon to which people from anywhere can find commonality and community, while also attracting new and underserved travelers to the destination,” reads a press release on the pilot. 

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Latest report on family self-sufficiency is released

The number of families who don’t have enough income to cover the cost of living has decreased since 2011, according to the latest study from Network 2 Work at Piedmont Virginia Community College. The fifth version of the Orange Dot Report tracks households who make less than $35,000 in Charlottesville as well as Albemarle, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, and Nelson counties. (read the report)

“The comparable number of families struggling in the region in 2011 was 12,552, which was 21% of families,” reads a summary of the report. “The 2022 number–9,413 families–is a 25 percent reduction in the number of struggling families in the region.”

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Council considers rent payment for Jefferson School Center for African American Heritage

The Jefferson School Center for African American Heritage has asked the city to help it cover the cost of the rent it pays to the Jefferson School Foundation. That’s the entity that owns the former elementary school. The Center leases just over 11,000 square feet at a cost of $15,134.76 per month. 

Staff has recommended Council donate seven months of rent to cover the Center from December 1 through the end of next June for a total of $107,203.32. 

“The reason for taking this action at this moment is to provide Council the space that it needs to conduct its strategic planning sessions to determine how it will engage in investments for moments like this to invest in arrangements with non-profit organizations,” said Deputy City Manager Sam Sanders. 

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Ten companies get local funding from United Way, Minority Business Alliance

The United Way of Greater Charlottesville and the Minority Business Alliance have made a third round of grants to fund 10 organizations that are just getting started. 

“The United Way of Greater Charlottesville and the Minority Business Alliance of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce are committed to addressing historical inequities for minority businesses in our community, most glaringly to access to capital,” said Ravi Respeto, President & CEO of the United Way of Greater Charlottesville. 

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VMDO working against inflation as design for Buford expansion continues and estimates increase

Work continues on plans to renovate and expand Buford Middle School in Charlottesville to accommodate the city’s sixth graders as part of the first phase of a major reconfiguration. The School Board got an update on the project Thursday night. 

In April, Charlottesville City Council adopted a budget for FY23 that includes $2.5 million toward reconfiguration with $66.3 million in funds projected for FY24. That gave enough of a greenlight for the project to move forward. 

“After the City Council approved the project and moved forward, we worked out the next phase and started working about May 1,” said Wyck Knox, a project manager with VMDO.  (review the presentation)

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Chamber’s Minority Business Alliance seeking applications for 2022 Vanguard Award

Do you know someone who should be recognized for their efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion? Or a small business or group that seeks the same goals? 

The Minority Business Alliance of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce is taking applications through August 5 for the John F. Bell Sr. Vanguard Award. 

“The MBA Vanguard Award is named in honor of John F. Bell Sr., a strong, determined and respected business leader and citizen who established successful businesses during a time when the larger society wasn’t welcoming to or supportive of the Black business community,” reads a press release for the award.

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Youngkin appoints Atkins as chief diversity officer

Governor Glenn Youngkin has appointed former Charlottesville Superintendent Rosa Atkins to serve as Virginia’s Chief Diversity, Opportunity, and Inclusion Officer. Atkins has been serving in the position on an interim basis following the departure of his first appointee, Angela Sailor. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Sailor left in April for a family matter

Atkins served as Charlottesville’s superintendent for 15 years before retiring. Earlier this year, former Governor Ralph Northam appointed her to serve as the acting superintendent of public instruction for the Virginia Department of Education. 

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Brackney sues the city of Charlottesville, other parties

Former Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney has filed a lawsuit in federal court against multiple parties alleging that, among other things, the city of Charlottesville acted unlawfully when former City Manager Chip Boyles fired her last September 1. She’s seeking ten million dollar in damages. (read the suit and its exhibits)

In addition to Boyles, Brackney’s complaint in the Western District of Virginia also includes: former city Communications Director Brian Wheeler; city attorney Lisa Robertson; acting police chief Latroy “Tito” Durrette; former assistant police chief James Mooney; current Councilors Sena Magill and Lloyd Snook, former Councilor Heather Hill, and former Police Civilian Review Board chair Bellamy Brown. 

She also named Mike Wells of the Police Benevolent Association as a defendant. 

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Louisa Supervisors unanimously oppose name change for regional library

At their meeting this past Monday, the seven-member Board of Supervisors for Louisa County voted on a resolution to formally oppose any change of the name of the Jefferson Madison Regional Library system. A group requested that action at the most recent meeting of the JMRL’s Board of Trustees.

Supervisor Chair Duane Adams of the Mineral District asked for the resolution to be put on the agenda. 

“I think about $392,000 of our tax money goes to funding the Jefferson Madison Regional Library [and] we have a right to say how our money is spent,” Adams said. 

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EDA briefed on Broadway Blueprint study

The Albemarle Economic Development Office has officially completed a planning study for a portion of the county around the Woolen Mills Factory on the western banks of the Rivanna River. (read the report)

“The general idea was to take the 46 and a half acres on the Broadway Corridor and turn that into a place that people, businesses, and activities all occur at the same time and everyone would like to be there,” said Roger Johnson, the county’s economic development director.  

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