Connect Capital

Announcing “Connect Capital”: Initiative Supports Richmond, One of Six Communities Using Capital Investments to Address Pressing Needs on Larger Scale

The City of Richmond has been selected by The Center for Community Investment (CCI) to take part in Connect Capital, an initiative that assists communities in attracting and deploying capital in low-income and disinvested areas to improve residents’ health and increase their access to opportunity.

Richmond was competitively selected as one of six teams to participate in Connect Capital. Teams consist of local leaders across a range of sectors and disciplines, including sewer districts, community clinics, foundations, local government and neighborhood associations, who together tackle problems that are considered by residents to be critical to the well-being of the community.

The Richmond Connect Capital team comprises representatives from nonprofit, for-profit and governmental organizations. The initial team (which is currently adding new members) includes:

  • Danny Avula, Public Health Director, Richmond City and Henrico County
  • Mark Constantine, President & CEO, Richmond Memorial Health Foundation
  • Damon Duncan, President & CEO, Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Authority
  • Sharon Ebert, Deputy CAO for Economic & Development, City of Richmond
  • Greta Harris, President & CEO, Better Housing Coalition
  • Caroline Nowery, Vice President, Director of Community Investments, Virginia Community Capital
  • Michael Smith, Managing Director for Community Investments and the Built Environment, Richmond Memorial Health Foundation

The Richmond Connect Capital team plans to focus on expanding the number of affordable housing properties in Richmond, and also support efforts to strengthen the connections between housing and health, since where an individual lives can have a significant bearing on his or her overall health and wellness.

“Your zip code or neighborhood shouldn’t have a bearing on how healthy you are or how long you can expect to live – but we know that this is all too true in Richmond,” said Mark Constantine, President & CEO of Richmond Memorial Health Foundation. “Through our work with Connect Capital, we hope to reduce health disparities by ensuring that more people have access to safe and healthy places to live and raise their families.”

The other Connect Capital teams are based in Central Appalachia; Coachella Valley, California; Miami, Florida; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Seattle, Washington.

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With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Connect Capital provides each team with a range of supports including customized coaching, facilitated peer learning, and a two-year grant from RWJF.

Connect Capital is a way to make capital flow to places where it doesn’t go on its own, to address the shortage of affordable housing, reduce health disparities, or minimize the impact of flooding on vulnerable places,” explains Robin Hacke, Executive Director of CCI.

“Public officials, community developers, and many others have been working in low-income communities for years, but they haven’t always worked together,” said Amy Gillman, RWJF Senior Program Officer. “Connect Capital aims to align their work and help communities thrive by intentionally building powerful and effective investment systems.”

A full list of awardees and more information is available at here.

About CCI

The Center for Community Investment (CCI) at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy works to overcome disinvestment and increase access to opportunity so that everyone has a fair chance to lead a healthy and productive life. CCI is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Surdna Foundation. Learn more at

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For more than 45 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are working alongside others to build a national Culture of Health that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at

About Richmond Memorial Health Foundation

Richmond Memorial Health Foundation is a private, independent foundation that works to address the social, economic and structural conditions that contribute to poor health outcomes. We invest primarily in Chesterfield County, Goochland County, Hanover County, Henrico County, Powhatan County, and Richmond City, and are open to considering regional and statewide investments that align with and advance our mission. Learn more at