#RichlandGives Spotlight: Richland Community Development Group
The Richland Community Development Group (RCDG) was formed by a “Group of local citizens dedicated to the enhancement, development, and future of our community’s quality of life.” Established to complement traditional economic development efforts and empower residents to stimulate positive change through the development of volunteer community sectors. These volunteer sectors remain robust and active throughout the county and will again, participate in Richland Gives 2017.
In 2016, several RCDG Sectors participated for the first time in the Richland County Foundation Day of Giving. Receiving multiple generous donations, the funds were utilized to assist in projects and events envisioned and overseen by the respective, sector volunteers. Projects included: enhancement and acquisition of Be Focal Buy Local marketing materials, the area beautification projects in Mansfield and Bellville focused on hanging flower baskets and community landscaping, the continued expansion of Mansfield’s downtown Christmas lighting, support of the annual LeaderRichland college exploration program, Richland Young Professionals events and programming, and finally Music in The Parks.
The Mansfield Area Beautification Sector is a group of local citizens passionately committed to the enhancement, development, and future of our community's quality of life through projects that visually improve our outdoor surroundings. Previous efforts include an extensive landscaping project at the east entrance corridor known as the “Subway Under‐Pass”, planting of dozens of Hornbeam, Swedish Aspen and Gingko Biloba trees on South Main, 4th and Mulberry streets; Mansfield’s Christmas lights/wreaths for the downtown lampposts; and the hanging and watering of colorful flower baskets along major commuter corridors. In 2017 this very active sector participated in the national America In Bloom program and brought home a top honor for the Richland County Fairgrounds Landscaping project. Of the projects described a supporter shared. “There can never be enough lights to add to the prettiness of our downtown”.
Local artists and patrons of the arts comprise the memberships of the Mansfield Arts and Culture Sector. This sector plans and organizes art-oriented events, and promotes, publicizes and engages in the arts and cultural growth happenings throughout Richland County. This sector is dedicated to showing how the exploration of various art forms can have a direct sensory impact, build bridges of diversity and understanding, and lift the cultural spirits of our community.
The Richland Young Professional (RYP) organization formed by RCDG in late 2013 has a membership now over 500 active and interested members. The RYP group engages in networking and educational events, philanthropy, and career growth activities. Recently, they launched a mentorship project so their members can learn, inquire and gain wisdom from receptive community stalwarts eager to share their experiences.
The Bellville Beautification Sector is a cohort of area residents who love where they live and want to celebrate their mantra of making Bellville a great place to live, work, shop and play! Their projects include installation of a new raised flower bed at the city gateway, streetscape live flowering baskets, placement of an ornamental biker and landscaping projects mingled throughout the Village. A supporter shared. “We love how gorgeous Bellville is! Thanks for sharing this on Facebook! We didn't know about the Bellville Beautification Fund!”
The Bellville Arts and Culture Sector has just organized to focus on the restoration and enhancements to the Bellville Opera House. Constructed in 1878 with an auditorium on the top floor, the Opera House saw theatrical productions by traveling troupes, local players, and school plays for more than 50 years before the stage went quiet. The House currently serves as the Village Hall.
The LeaderRichland program offers a unique introduction and mingling from area business and community leaders to middle school students for a day of sharing. Discussions focus on career pathways, sharing education and employment experiences, mentorship and exploration of regional employment opportunities. Students meet with community leaders for four hour-long sessions and walk and explore our local college campuses of The Ohio State - Mansfield and North Central State College to explore higher educational opportunities within our own backyard.
It’s our hope that these activity descriptions suffice in encouraging citizens to donate through the Day of Giving on November 28, 2017. While your financial contribution is greatly appreciated and wisely invested, the RCDG sectors are always open to new volunteers of their time. We are forever grateful to those who give their time, effort and ideas.