Bank of America Grants $100,000 to The Kitchens at Reynolds to Help Bolster Social and Economic Mobility in Richmond’s East End
RICHMOND, Va. (July 27, 2021) – Bank of America today announced a $100,000 grant made to The Kitchens at Reynolds, located at 25th and Nine Mile Road in Richmond’s East End. The grant will allow the college to provide job training in culinary arts and connects the community with the full array of academic and workforce programs offered by the college. The investment focuses on changing outcomes for residents in one of the most needed areas of the city.
(Photo left: Victor Branch with middle-school students and teens from the Boys and Girls Club of Richmond attending the Culinary Arts & Entrepreneurship Camp at The Kitchens.)
“The Kitchens at Reynolds is about so much more than a new facility, as impressive as it is,” said Victor Branch, President of Bank of America Richmond. “We’re impassioned about helping Reynolds lower the barriers to workforce training and higher education that have hampered East End neighborhoods too long. The training and education this grant will help Reynolds provide are foundational to jobs that pay well and help families not just get by, but plan and save for the future.”
A more equitable region is a shared goal of Reynolds and Bank of America, with both investing resources and partnering with individuals and organizations in the East End to advance this work. The investment in The Kitchens at Reynolds comes at a crucial time as the city seeks to fill a massive shortage of workers in its prolific restaurant industry that is working to rebound from losses caused by last year’s massive shutdown of restaurants and catering businesses.
(Photo left: Victor Branch with a student at The Kitchens.)
“At the time we began construction of The Kitchens in 2017, no one could have predicted the pandemic, but even then we knew it was critical that the college do more to serve the eastern corridor of the City of Richmond and Henrico County,” said Dr. Paula Pando, President of Reynolds Community College. “Bank of America is bolstering our ability to provide advising, financial aid, enrollment and retention support that will help individuals start and complete our programs.”
The Kitchens at Reynolds is home to the college’s culinary arts, hospitality and entrepreneurship programs, and is a new neighborhood access point to the more than 100 academic and workforce offerings at the college. The grant from Bank of America comes from the company’s $1.25 billion commitment made last year to address racial equality and opportunities highlighted by the impact of the pandemic.
“The timing of this grant is especially impactful. Communities of color and families with low incomes have shouldered a disproportionate burden of personal and economic loss brought on by the pandemic. We have an opportunity to help change that. Our recovery will only be successful if it represents the entirety of our region,” noted Dr. Pando.
The J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College Educational Foundation raised $10 million to open the facility in July 2020. While a hybrid of in-person and virtual culinary instruction proceeded, the level of community engagement The Kitchens was designed to accommodate was hampered by the pandemic.
“I’m happy to say we’re now back on campus and eager to serve our East End neighbors and the local industries ready to hire our graduates. Bank of America’s outstanding support means we can help more individuals reskill and upskill in order to do the same,” said Dr. Pando.
Serving more than 14,000 students annually, Reynolds Community College is the youngest of 23 community colleges in Virginia. Reynolds operates four campuses serving residents in the City of Richmond and the counties of Henrico, Hanover, Goochland, Powhatan, and Louisa. In addition, Reynolds partners with John Tyler Community College in the Community College Workforce Alliance, which annually provides non-credit workforce training to more than 5,000 individuals.
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