UR Downtown, home to several of the University of Richmond’s community-based learning programs and the Richmond on Broad café, has received a new sign, and staff will be initiating additional programming thanks to an $825,000 endowment from Rob Blandford and his wife, Nancy Everett.
Amy Howard, director of the university’s Bonner Center for Civic Engagement, said this endowment would enhance and deepen the community connections that had been created through UR Downtown programs such as Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA), which offered free tax-preparation services for low-income Richmond residents.
“All the great programs and opportunities UR Downtown has to offer will be made more visible by the new, beautiful sign on the building, which really marks our presence in the downtown area,” Howard said.
This new sign pays homage to the sign that hung on the building, located at 626 E. Broad St., when it was the Franklin Federal Savings and Loan Association. Designed with history in mind, the 25-ft, three-dimensional, lighted sign features vertical lettering with an analogue clock at the bottom, Howard said.
The aim of the sign is to not only make the building more visible, but also to contribute to the re-imagination and revitalization of downtown Richmond, which is really becoming a hub for culture and art, Howard said.
Blandford, president and chief investment officer of Spider Management, the organization that oversees the university’s endowment, is a 1979 University of Richmond graduate. He feels that investing in UR Downtown is a worthwhile cause that will be mutually beneficial for community members and university students and faculty, he said.
Further development of the UR Downtown programs will allow students to branch out from campus and become more involved and engaged in the Richmond community, Blandford said.
The installation of the sign was completed on Thursday, Jan. 24.
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