As a first-generation college graduate, Charleita Richardson has firsthand knowledge of the struggle to navigate the college system with parents who have never attended a university. But she also knows what it's like to come out on the other side. “I feel so blessed,” she says. “I had to fight the fight.”
As president of the nonprofit Partnership for the Future, she is a bridge builder, helping low- to moderate-income students make it to college. Students in the program work as summer interns for local businesses and take courses in life skills, college testing and college prep — all to prepare them for success after high school.
This year Richardson led 100 percent of the graduating seniors of Partnership for the Future to college. In the coming year, she hopes to expand the organization to serve more high schools.
Her skills at seeing things through extend to her event-planning company, Under One Roof, where she works to creatively reflect the personalities of her clients. “I secretly love to plan events,” she says. “I love seeing the end result.”
Her motivation is the Bible verse, “To whom much is given, much is required,” she says: “I know how important it is to give back. When I hear people complain about Richmond I ask, ‘What are you doing to give back?’”