Chief French to cohost RCF Connect fundraiser gala benefiting black women and girls

Richmond top cop reacts to George Floyd's death
Photo: City of Richmond

RCF Connects (formerly Richmond Community Foundation) is set to host a fundraiser gala on March 1 that will serve to support the nonprofit’s Equity for Black Women and Girls Initiative, which works to uplift and empower black women and girls in the local community, including entrepreneurs and leaders.

Richmond police Chief Bisa French and Tanise Smith of the Equity for Black Women and Girls Task Force will serve as co-hosts for the event, which will take place from 7-10 p.m. at the Hilton in Concord. Entrepreneur Jennifer Hammock will provide the keynote speech.

One hundred percent of contributions to the gala will support the program’s efforts.

The final day to purchase tickets and to sponsor the event is Feb. 23. Click here to do either or both.

RCF Connects is a long-running charitable foundation that works to uplift marginalized, impoverished and disenfranchised members of the Richmond community. The organization accomplishes this through a number of programs including Housing First, the Electric Car program and through financial education via SparkPoint Contra Costa.

In 2020, RCF Connect launched Equity for Black Women and Girls because its members noticed that no local organization was focusing support on black women and girls in the community, according to Taylor Sims, director of the program. In fact, less than 1 percent of community dollars in Contra Costa go to black women and girls, a point the program wants to make known and to remedy.

As part of the Equity for Black Women and Girls, RCF Connects holds Sister Circle countywide that provide a safe space for women and girls to connect, have discussions and to learn to become trained facilitators, Sims said.

The program also operates Sistas SOAR (Success Opportunities Apprenticeship Resilience), an intensive, 24-week incubator program for black women entrepreneurs in collaboration with Chase Minority Business and Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, according to Sims. The program provides feedback on their business and also a Shark Tank-style pitch competition. In its first year, 14 participants graduates from the program and received subgrants to uplift their businesses. This year, Equity for Black Women and Girls is also set to incorporate digital marketing/branding training courtesy of Christina Kenney, who operates out of CoBiz Richmond, the coworking and business incubator in downtown Richmond.

All program efforts aim to ensure a greater share of community dollars are used to fund and train black women entrepreneurs and leaders to build generational wealth and financial freedom. For more information, visit RCF Connects’ website here: