From the Nominator
While COVID-19 upended nearly every facet of our lives, Reynolds forged ahead on a critical mission: opening a new front door to college for residents–many of them essential and low-paid workers–in one of the most chronically under-resourced communities in Greater Richmond.
The Kitchens at Reynolds houses the college’s culinary arts, hospitality, and small business entrepreneurship programs, and provides a key access point to 90 academic and workforce credential programs. More broadly, The Kitchens at Reynolds is part of a national model in the making. Reynolds joined other public and private organizations in a collective impact effort to catalyze economic development and healthier outcomes in the east end of Richmond. Building this facility provided the opportunity to engage neighbors in real conversations about this project, and the work Reynolds should undertake to advance equity.
A grand opening celebration was changed multiple times due to COVID-19. A large community celebration continues to be delayed, but Reynolds had to find a way to thank key supporters in a timely and safe way.
Reynolds held a series of small in-person tours of the building in September 2020. Key community leaders, donors, and local officials were invited to visit the building during two staggered event timeframes. After a self-guided tour and socially-distanced remarks in the courtyard from the college president, lead investor, city mayor, and other officials, attendees reported being impressed with the completed facility, excited to see their investment in action, and eager to discuss opportunities to stay involved.
From the Judges
A very well thought out plan on how to share a new design with the community, while remaining safe during a pandemic. The application was detailed and had an effective budget.