Enrichmond Foundation’s dissolution leaving other groups in limbo

A Friends of Pump House project to repair windows at the historic Pump House has been derailed because the group can’t access its funds as a result of the Enrichmond Foundation’s recent decision to dissolve. (Photo courtesy of Friends of Pump House)

The sudden dissolution of the Enrichmond Foundation has created unexpected hurdles for community groups under its banner.

The foundation, in addition to being steward of the Evergreen and East End cemeteries, also served as fiduciary agent for small community groups. That role included handling the finances, taking in donations and providing the groups access to their cash.

That cash is now out of reach, leaving some groups in limbo.

The Friends of Pump House used Enrichmond as its financial sponsor and has been forced to largely put on hold its ongoing efforts to restore the historic Pump House building on the James River near Maymont. The group had plans for a $16,000 project to replace windows at the structure.

“Basically, we have no access to our funds. At the same time this is happening we already approved the repair of five additional windows in Pump House so we put a deposit down and then had to tell (the contractors) not to do anything,” the Friends group President Penn Markham said Thursday. “When you get a contractor willing to do something at a particular time and at a particular cost you don’t want to lose them.”

The Pump House group isn’t able to accept donations, and since the organization’s insurance is also through Enrichmond it can’t hold events for the time being.

“It’s a major, major headache,” Markham said.

Friends of Pump House was founded in 2017, and Enrichmond has been its financial sponsor since then. Markham said he didn’t get any formal notice from Enrichmond that it was closing down before the Enrichmond board voted to do so in late June.

Markham said his organization was already in the process of switching to a new financial sponsor, who he declined to name, before he learned Enrichmond’s board had voted to end the organization.

Markham said that should his organization not get its money back, he didn’t think it would be an existential challenge.

“If we get none of our money back, we’ll start fundraising again,” he said, and added the volunteer group expected to continue some smaller-scale projects in the interim.

Markham said work on the Pump House was already underway and about $30,000 has been invested in the historic building in the last couple years.

Richmond Tree Stewards also have been left hanging by Enrichmond. The group, which deploys volunteers to plant and maintain trees in the city, is planning a giveaway of 2,000 trees in October. President Dave Pohlmann said its payment of a remaining deposit of more than $7,000 for the project has been stymied by Enrichmond’s drawdown.

Pohlmann said that it was his understanding that Enrichmond has served as the group’s fiduciary agent since 2007. Now the funds that Enrichmond managed are essentially frozen and the group cannot accept donations. Pohlmann said he didn’t receive any formal notice of Enrichmond’s plans to dissolve.

“All our money was tied up with Enrichmond,” he said. “We’re looking at all these things thinking, ‘how are we going to pay for this?’”

Pohlmann said the group needs a new sponsor to facilitate a cash infusion from a major donor intended to help sustain operations. The Tree Stewards board members plan to cover expenses out of pocket as needed.

He said the group is in initial talks with an undisclosed nonprofit to serve as the financial sponsor on a temporary basis while Tree Stewards applies for its own nonprofit status to make itself more independent and able to handle its own finances.

“It’s burn me once, shame on you. I don’t want to be put in this situation again,” he said.

It’s unclear how many groups used Enrichmond as their fiduciary agent.

Enrichmond’s dissolution was also a topic of discussion during a City Council subcommittee meeting Thursday.

Deputy CAO for Human Services Reginald Gordon said during a brief presentation that the city was still trying to get a handle on the fallout of Enrichmond’s dissolution and has been in touch with groups affected. He added that the city is open to helping coordinate donation drives for the groups.

“It’s going to take some time for the dust to settle to figure out where the dollars are, who’s missing dollars and how we can maybe facilitate some fundraising for people who are experiencing difficulty,” he said.

“The attorney that’s working with Enrichmond has said he needs some time to do an assessment of the funds that are left and then we can figure out how we can work with him to make sense of what’s in our domain. There are other groups obviously that aren’t connected to the city that have interactions with Enrichmond as a fiduciary agent.”

During that meeting, Councilwoman Stephanie Lynch voiced support for city officials to have discussions about a potential audit of Enrichmond’s city-provided funding. The nonprofit was founded about 30 years ago to support the city’s park and recreation efforts, though Lynch said the city hasn’t provided the group funding for the last two years.

Enrichmond’s attorney Kerry Hutcherson, of local law firm Rudy Coyner, told BizSense last week that the group would make a public statement regarding its dissolution but it had yet to do so Thursday afternoon.

A Friends of Pump House project to repair windows at the historic Pump House has been derailed because the group can’t access its funds as a result of the Enrichmond Foundation’s recent decision to dissolve. (Photo courtesy of Friends of Pump House)

The sudden dissolution of the Enrichmond Foundation has created unexpected hurdles for community groups under its banner.

The foundation, in addition to being steward of the Evergreen and East End cemeteries, also served as fiduciary agent for small community groups. That role included handling the finances, taking in donations and providing the groups access to their cash.

That cash is now out of reach, leaving some groups in limbo.

The Friends of Pump House used Enrichmond as its financial sponsor and has been forced to largely put on hold its ongoing efforts to restore the historic Pump House building on the James River near Maymont. The group had plans for a $16,000 project to replace windows at the structure.

“Basically, we have no access to our funds. At the same time this is happening we already approved the repair of five additional windows in Pump House so we put a deposit down and then had to tell (the contractors) not to do anything,” the Friends group President Penn Markham said Thursday. “When you get a contractor willing to do something at a particular time and at a particular cost you don’t want to lose them.”

The Pump House group isn’t able to accept donations, and since the organization’s insurance is also through Enrichmond it can’t hold events for the time being.

“It’s a major, major headache,” Markham said.

Friends of Pump House was founded in 2017, and Enrichmond has been its financial sponsor since then. Markham said he didn’t get any formal notice from Enrichmond that it was closing down before the Enrichmond board voted to do so in late June.

Markham said his organization was already in the process of switching to a new financial sponsor, who he declined to name, before he learned Enrichmond’s board had voted to end the organization.

Markham said that should his organization not get its money back, he didn’t think it would be an existential challenge.

“If we get none of our money back, we’ll start fundraising again,” he said, and added the volunteer group expected to continue some smaller-scale projects in the interim.

Markham said work on the Pump House was already underway and about $30,000 has been invested in the historic building in the last couple years.

Richmond Tree Stewards also have been left hanging by Enrichmond. The group, which deploys volunteers to plant and maintain trees in the city, is planning a giveaway of 2,000 trees in October. President Dave Pohlmann said its payment of a remaining deposit of more than $7,000 for the project has been stymied by Enrichmond’s drawdown.

Pohlmann said that it was his understanding that Enrichmond has served as the group’s fiduciary agent since 2007. Now the funds that Enrichmond managed are essentially frozen and the group cannot accept donations. Pohlmann said he didn’t receive any formal notice of Enrichmond’s plans to dissolve.

“All our money was tied up with Enrichmond,” he said. “We’re looking at all these things thinking, ‘how are we going to pay for this?’”

Pohlmann said the group needs a new sponsor to facilitate a cash infusion from a major donor intended to help sustain operations. The Tree Stewards board members plan to cover expenses out of pocket as needed.

He said the group is in initial talks with an undisclosed nonprofit to serve as the financial sponsor on a temporary basis while Tree Stewards applies for its own nonprofit status to make itself more independent and able to handle its own finances.

“It’s burn me once, shame on you. I don’t want to be put in this situation again,” he said.

It’s unclear how many groups used Enrichmond as their fiduciary agent.

Enrichmond’s dissolution was also a topic of discussion during a City Council subcommittee meeting Thursday.

Deputy CAO for Human Services Reginald Gordon said during a brief presentation that the city was still trying to get a handle on the fallout of Enrichmond’s dissolution and has been in touch with groups affected. He added that the city is open to helping coordinate donation drives for the groups.

“It’s going to take some time for the dust to settle to figure out where the dollars are, who’s missing dollars and how we can maybe facilitate some fundraising for people who are experiencing difficulty,” he said.

“The attorney that’s working with Enrichmond has said he needs some time to do an assessment of the funds that are left and then we can figure out how we can work with him to make sense of what’s in our domain. There are other groups obviously that aren’t connected to the city that have interactions with Enrichmond as a fiduciary agent.”

During that meeting, Councilwoman Stephanie Lynch voiced support for city officials to have discussions about a potential audit of Enrichmond’s city-provided funding. The nonprofit was founded about 30 years ago to support the city’s park and recreation efforts, though Lynch said the city hasn’t provided the group funding for the last two years.

Enrichmond’s attorney Kerry Hutcherson, of local law firm Rudy Coyner, told BizSense last week that the group would make a public statement regarding its dissolution but it had yet to do so Thursday afternoon.

Your subscription has expired. Renew now by choosing a subscription below!

For more informaiton, head over to your profile.

Profile


SUBSCRIBE NOW

TERMS OF SERVICE:

ALL MEMBERSHIPS RENEW AUTOMATICALLY. YOU WILL BE CHARGED FOR A 1 YEAR MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL AT THE RATE IN EFFECT AT THAT TIME UNLESS YOU CANCEL YOUR MEMBERSHIP BY LOGGING IN OR BY CONTACTING [email protected]

ALL CHARGES FOR MONTHLY OR ANNUAL MEMBERSHIPS ARE NONREFUNDABLE.

EACH MEMBERSHIP WILL ONLY FUNCTION ON UP TO 3 MACHINES. ACCOUNTS ABUSING THAT LIMIT WILL BE DISCONTINUED.

FOR ASSISTANCE WITH YOUR MEMEBERSHIP PLEASE EMAIL [email protected]




Return to Homepage

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
21 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jackson Joyner
Jackson Joyner
2 months ago

As a 501c3, don’t they have to make available board meeting minutes and notices? Does anyone know where those could be found?

John White
John White
2 months ago
Reply to  Jackson Joyner

It’s my understanding that meeting minutes and financials were never publicly disclosed. Enrichmond claimed that they had/will, but that information never came to light. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong on that.

Jackson Joyner
Jackson Joyner
2 months ago
Reply to  John White

I don’t know. It seems there is a reason for minutes to be taken during nonprofit board meetings. If not, why would anyone bother? Maybe the city let them slide on requirements? It would not be the first time the city has mismanaged funding to a 501c3 and then when things go wrong, they would rather just have it go away quietly. Speaking of going away quietly, how is the suit going against Lamar Dixon, who squandered city administered taxpayer money on his Brookland Park Incubator? He has already set up a new “Incubator” scam on Broad Street under a… Read more »

Stephen Weir
Stephen Weir
2 months ago
Reply to  Jackson Joyner

Minutes are not required to be publicly available.

Finances are required to be publicly available, but they are often on a long delay (9-12 months) and are only published annually. Google “Enrichmond 990” to find the publicly available financials.

The state and the federal government manage these things, the city has nothing to do with it.

Michael P Morgan-Dodson
Michael P Morgan-Dodson
2 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Weir

The last full report is 2019 and it shows falling revenue; 2020 is still in review with IRS but they had in 2019 $600,000 in partners funds that appears to be all gone now. As Charlie said below AG needs to be involved. So sad the lack of true concern of the theft of donations by citizens by the friends of city leadership!

Charlie Diradour
Charlie Diradour
2 months ago

When will the Commonwealth begin its investigation? The foundation is subject to oversight, and therefore the AG should be the one to investigate.

Ed Christina
Ed Christina
2 months ago

https://www.oag.state.va.us/contact-us/contact-info

Feel free to reach out to Miyares, and see if he can spare the time from hunting for antifa and CRT .

Matt Faris
Matt Faris
2 months ago
Reply to  Ed Christina

I saw neither antifa nor RT when using your link to explore the press info. Perhaps you could enlighten us all.

kay christensen
kay christensen
2 months ago
Reply to  Ed Christina

Shameless!

Brian Ezzelle
Brian Ezzelle
2 months ago

Richmond Real!!

kay christensen
kay christensen
2 months ago

Where is the criminal investigation into this organization? Please stop making light of this by saying if funds aren’t available-we’ll continue our fundraising efforts… Ridiculous….where is the money supposedly held by this organization? The board and the executives must be held accountable.

Frank Smith
Frank Smith
2 months ago

Exactly, could be an embezzlement situation. They need to be investigated

Tamara Smith
Tamara Smith
2 months ago
Reply to  Frank Smith

or simply lack of funding to continue paying staff, etc.

Scott Morrison
Scott Morrison
2 months ago

The important point about Enrichmond Foundation’s relationship with the Partner organizations is that:

“The Foundation acts as the Partners’ fiduciary agent, attending to contributions, distributions, tax reporting and independent audits.”

“IMPORTANT: Funds donated to Partner groups through Enrichmond will not be deposited or commingled with City/County and/or General Funds. This ensures the funds are: 1) tax deductible, and 2) used for the purpose they are
donated to support.”

Partner funds should never have been used for Enrichmond’s purposes.

Brian Palmer
Brian Palmer
2 months ago
Reply to  Scott Morrison

In addition to partner donations, Enrichmond has received hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars for East End and Evergreen Cemeteries from government entities, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation and AmeriCorps among them. AmeriCorps has in its possession an audit of Enrichmond that it declined to release through a Freedom of Information Act request I filed. All we need from our officials—from local level to our delegates and state senators, through the AG and governor’s office, and up to our US reps and senators—is for them to step up and demand release of records that should be in the public domain.

pam greene
pam greene
2 months ago
Reply to  Brian Palmer

Don’t forget the Carbon exchange arrangements with paypal(?).

Arnold Hager
Arnold Hager
2 months ago

Wow! As kids back in the 1960’s we used to skip rocks on the canal at this spot. Back a few yards from the water was “slippery rock” where a trail began, that we used to walk all the way to the RR trestle. No bureaucratic organizations ruining things back then.

Zach Thomas
Zach Thomas
2 months ago
Reply to  Arnold Hager

You can still do those things. Literally today if you want!

Arnold Hager
Arnold Hager
2 months ago
Reply to  Zach Thomas

Except back then there were no rules. Today, we are expected to obey the posted(signs) rules of the ones in charge. Freedoms eroded by the do-gooders who think they know what’s best for the rest of us. It’s their vision of how things should be. If you don’t obey you will banned from their precious property and possibly exiled to the island in Swan Lake. lol.

Robbie Asplund
Robbie Asplund
2 months ago
Reply to  Arnold Hager

No one doing anything to preserve the site, on the other hand…

This unfortunate development has nothing to do with Friends of Pump House and the outstanding work they have done to protect this historical and architectural treasure.

Todd Woodson
Todd Woodson
2 months ago

In addition, the Monroe Park Conservancy, a 501c3 that was formed to improve Monroe Park but instead cut down many of the beautiful and healthy old trees, removed all public restroom facilities and screwed up so many things in that park has taken down their website. They were deep in debt with an unsecured bank loan according to their 990’s. The City Council needs to formally terminate their lease of the park so an assessment can be made of work the park now needs. The Conservancy’s status is unknown but it’s Executive Director stepped down January 1st after being charged… Read more »