By Kyra Worthy, executive director of For Richmond:
Recently, For Richmond was unwillingly drawn into Richmond mayoral race discussion via a mass email distributed by candidate and city councilman Tom Butt.
In an Aug. 18 alert to his e-forum, Butt decried Chevron-funded billboards supporting his political opponent and fellow councilman Nat Bates. Butt also claimed:
“If Bates weren’t already close enough to Chevron, his campaign headquarters shares a building at 3101-3109 Macdonald Avenue with 4Richmond, a thinly disguised front used by Chevron to distribute money to Richmond non-profits [sic].”
Let me be clear: As an independent, nonprofit organization, For Richmond doesn’t advocate for political candidates, we advocate for the people of Richmond–for their education, health, prosperity and safety.
We wear our Chevron funding as a badge of honor on our website for all the world to see—no disguise and with complete transparency. We are HONORED to be a part of Chevron’s far-reaching community investments and are grateful to them—as are legions of our local nonprofit counterparts—for their dependable and generous support.
For Richmond also has never been “used by Chevron” to distribute money to other Richmond nonprofits as Butt contends. The local community organizations and efforts For Richmond supports are not dictated by Chevron. As Executive Director, I make that decision—end of story.
Trivializing the efforts of For Richmond’s hardworking team—all of them Richmond residents—as merely doling out money to other nonprofits, is also completely misleading. Our hands-on work has taken many forms, from advocating for causes like the WCCC Family Justice Center and Doctors Medical Center, to organizing an out-of-state college prep program for Richmond students this summer (as reported by the West County Times), as well as countless other community endeavors. Our ‘Barrier Removal Program’ is our most recent highlight and one I am very proud of. To date 250+ Richmond residents have been assisted with becoming more employable, 43 have been accepted into a construction trade industry pre-apprentice program and 26 have obtained full time employment within a variety of bay area construction companies. We are working one-on-one with the remainder of the residents on ensuring that they too surpass their barriers (i.e. – obtaining their GED, drivers license and math preparation for entrance level exams) to meet the qualifications and criteria to obtaining employment.
Councilman Bates’ decision to become our neighbor on Macdonald Avenue, though welcome, has absolutely no correlation with For Richmond. We don’t make renting decisions for this space, our landlord does.
Our community is a community in need. For Richmond’s work involves joining people together from throughout our city to develop solutions to those needs. It’s what this community has asked for and it’s also a key reason we’ve been so successful to date.
What Richmond doesn’t need? Misleading politically motivated missives—when we all should be entirely focused on the betterment of our community.