Link Rita McClenny
Link Rita McClenny

Richmond’s foodie culture and blossoming restaurant scene will get a boost from new matching state grants for tourism marketing.

So will an impending celebration of the 40th anniversaries of the Busch Gardens and Kings Dominion theme parks.

The two tourism projects are among 51 that will receive $773,000 in state grants that local partners will match 2-to-1.

“Today, we’re talking about unleashing $3 million across the commonwealth for tourism marketing initiatives,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice A. Jones.

A dozen legislators from both parties celebrated the grants at a kickoff announcement Wednesday at the General Assembly Building.

The grants range from marketing Southwest Virginia through the movie “Big Stone Gap” to promoting the East Coast Surfing Championships in Virginia Beach. The state also awarded grants for marketing the Virginia Capital Trail, Charles City County tourism, and Route 5 tourist destinations.    Read the entire article.

Link Marilyn West, 1st Vice President of the Richmond (VA) Chapter is One of the YWCA Outstanding Women Honorees for 2015Marilyn West, founder and CEO of M.H. West Co., has broken through cultural, geographic and gender barriers in her 23 years of management consulting. Her public service has included mentoring and coaching for executives, other professionals, students and at-risk populations. She leads the board of the Black History Museum & Cultural Center and serves on the Bon Secours Richmond Health Care Foundation Board and the advisory board of the Metropolitan Business League.

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Ask Maya Smart when she started reading, and she has a hard time finding an answer.

“I don’t remember not reading,” the 2014 Richmond Christmas Mother said Thursday at Chimborazo Elementary School, where she gave a book to each of the students to encourage them to become readers too.

It’s a step on the way to her personal goal of donating 1,000 books to children while serving as Richmond Christmas Mother, the figurehead for the annual holiday fund sponsored by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

So far, Smart has given out 855 books as part of her own donation to the community.

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Maya Smart

During the 80 years that the Richmond Times-Dispatch has sponsored the Richmond Christmas Mother Fund, readers have donated more than $7.5 million to provide toys, clothing, food and other assistance during the holidays for needy families and children.

This year, in addition to its traditional collaboration with the Salvation Army, the Richmond Christmas Mother Fund has expanded its efforts to serve a broader community through a new partnership with The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia.

A competitive grant initiative called “80 Years-80 Ways” will award at least $80,000 to local organizations for Christmas-related programs and services.

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