Our Richmond Team

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee for RVA Thrives is made up primarily of residents from neighborhoods along the corridor, but also includes representatives from businesses and non-profits active along the corridor. The Steering Committee is presently being facilitated by Thriving Cities, and this Committee's primary roles are to connect the project to others living and working along the corridor, provide active feedback and guidance on the creation and direction of the Working Groups, and support the Working Groups' alignment and collaboration with related nonprofit, city, or business initiatives. A long-term goal for the Steering Committee is that it develops into a permanent organization dedicated to thriving throughout the Jeff Davis Corridor. 

Focus Areas & Working Groups

At the end of the summer, the Steering Committee held a retreat in which they discussed results from the surveys and interviews undertaken by the Community Advocates. Issues frequently raised in the surveys were: connecting employers and job training to the corridor; addressing vacant or untended properties; access to after-school activities (k-12); access to childcare (age 0-5); enhancing educational achievement (k-12); maintaining affordable housing; neighborhood cleanup and beautification; bilingual access to service providers; access to parks and greenspace; human trafficking and prostitution; and access to nutritious food. The Steering Committee ultimately selected Jobs Access, Neighborhood Beautification, and Neighborhood Safety as the three areas on which to focus and form Working Groups. Each Working Group will seek actionable initiatives and partnerships to help address those problem areas. Their purpose is to research, define, and create an execution plan to address at least three problems identified through the listening process. While the working groups are resident-led as extensions of the Steering Committee, they do include a cross-section of representatives from neighborhoods, businesses, non-profits, foundations, and city government. The Working Groups began meeting in January 2018.

Community Advocates

In the spring of 2017, Community Advocates were hired to help design and undertake a community listening process in neighborhoods along the corridor. Each advocate either currently lives along Rt 1 or has a close connection to it, and the collected over 700 surveys and 50 interviews in over the course of the summer. You can see our Community Advocates below.

Current Community Advocates


Debra Keys

Debra has lived in the Hillside Court Community for ten years. Her goal is to see her community become unified.

Elaine Williams 

Elaine is a recent VCU School of Social Work graduate who lived on the Southside in high school with family. Elaine wants to see justice for a community that has largely been ignored.


Rodney Gaines

Rodney grew up in Davee Gardens and has lived there most of his life. He wants a community where his grandchildren can come visit and he can provide healthy food for them not just junk food from the corner store.


Yolanda Vaughan

Yolanda has lived in the Davee Gardens community all of her life. Her parents started the Davee Gardens Civic association. Yolanda wants to be a part of carrying on the work her parents started in the neighborhood, she also wants her community to be the type of place that her friends who have moved away would be proud to come back to and raise their families in.