RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – A Richmond community garden says it lost thousands of dollars after the Enrichmond Foundation closed.
The foundation was a non-profit organization that supported several volunteer groups, including some city parks and historic cemeteries. It has been around since the 1990s and has served as a budget agent for the Humphrey Calder Community Garden on Kensington Avenue.
The foundation’s board of directors voted to dissolve the nonprofit in June. Some volunteer groups told 8News they lost access to their funds shortly after the disappearance.
Kelly Davis, manager of Humphrey Calder Gardens, said trying to get an account with Enriquemond has been difficult and has yet to receive a response.
“No one is available for comment. They’re all gone,” she said. “You email them, and you get a message saying, ‘I’m no longer with Enrichmond.’ So it’s been difficult for me.”
Davis said they suffered a loss of about $3,000. The group wants those funds to cover trees, water and garden beds that need replacing.
“It was very frustrating to see the money we deposited into our account disappear and not know how to move forward,” she said.
8 News reached out to the foundation’s account manager and former CEO Saturday afternoon. We have not received a response yet.
Councilwoman Stephanie Lynch told 8News she met with the city attorney and the city auditor this week. They confirmed that the foundation has a combination of private and taxpayer dollars and that the city has not given the foundation money in two years. Because of this, city leaders cannot issue subpoenas or audit them.
Lynch called the situation “unacceptable” and said, “We need to use every lever at our disposal to try to get compensation for these people.”
She said city leaders will meet again next week to ask law enforcement to begin an investigation into the Enrichmond Foundation.
Maya Erhardt started gardening three years ago and says the Humphrey Calder Community Garden helped her get through the pandemic.
“This is a real gift for us in the neighborhood,” she said.
Erhardt worries that her happy place may soon run out of resources.
“Many of us who live in the area don’t have our own yards or gardens, so we would be very sad to see it go,” she says.
Davis added that she won’t stop until they get the money and resources they need to keep this green space alive.
“I will not sit back. They told me to be patient,” she said. “I am determined to inspire, organize and mobilize. We will do everything we can to recover from this failure.
Davis said anyone interested in supporting the community garden can be contacted by email at email@example.com.