RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Richmond nonprofit that handled donations for other groups in the community is expected to face multiple criminal complaints after its sudden collapse left many in limbo.
The Enrichmond Foundation held funds for its partner organizations — a total estimated to be over $100,000 — before it dissolved in late June. The groups under Enrichmond’s umbrella say they had no idea the move was coming and still don’t know what happened to the money they raised.
“We were completely blindsided,” Dave Pohlmann, president of the Richmond Tree Stewards, told 8News on Friday. “We were essentially bankrupt.”
Pohlmann claimed that Enrichmond violated its agreements with the community groups to keep funds in separate accounts and use the money for only its original purpose. He said the collapse of Enrichmond put several of the Richmond Tree Stewards’ projects in jeopardy.
For example, Pohlmann said the Richmond Tree Stewards’ plans for a tree giveaway in October were not fully funded and that his group still owed thousands when the foundation dissolved. According to Pohlmann, a private donor stepped in to keep the Richmond Tree Stewards “alive.”
But Pohlmann said specifics on all of the foundation’s community partners are not clear, prompting a push from the groups seeking to file criminal complaints against Enrichmond to find others impacted.
He added that the groups involved in the accountability project have communicated with Richmond police about a possible investigation and plan to file individual criminal complaints against Enrichmond. The city’s police department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“We have two goals. To see whether it’s possible to recover the funds,” Pohlmann said. “And we want to see someone held accountable.”
Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Va.) sent a letter to the foundation’s board calling for them to “ensure that all federal funds granted to the Foundation are fully accounted for and ensure that these funds were allocated according to agreements in place with the relevant federal agencies.”
Enrichmond was established in 1990 to help develop projects in the community, including maintaining and cleaning up local parks and other public spaces. The foundation owns two historic Black cemeteries, Evergreen and East End.
It has served as an umbrella nonprofit foundation for about 86 community groups, Pohlmann said, but the foundation’s Facebook page says it has acted in this role “for over one hundred volunteer groups and special initiatives- or ‘Friends’ groups.”
The attorney representing the foundation declined to comment for this story.