Strategies to Elevate People Richmond
436 Calhoun Street
Suite 106
Richmond VA 23220
Mission Statement The mission of Strategies to Elevate People (STEP) is to develop strategies to meet the needs of the urban poor in Richmond. Our vision is to defeat poverty in the lives of our urban neighbors.
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Timothy R. Cole
Board Chair Mr. Kenneth Edwards
Board Chair Company Affiliation Attorney
Contact Information
Address 436 Calhoun Street
Suite 106
Richmond, VA 23220
Telephone 804 648-7552
Fax 804 648-5730
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1988
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expense Bar Graph - All Years
Expense Breakdown Bar Chart - All Years
Projected Revenue $258,000.00
Projected Expenses $258,000.00
Mission The mission of Strategies to Elevate People (STEP) is to develop strategies to meet the needs of the urban poor in Richmond. Our vision is to defeat poverty in the lives of our urban neighbors.

Develop a growth strategy for Victory Reading which will enable us to reach 35 children this year and to extend our services to youth in other age groups in future years, increasing overall registration and enable us to reach more of Gilpin Court’s 1,200 children and youth with educational assistance.

Solicit volunteer leadership, mentors, teachers and employers to staff two semesters of Jobs for Life program to serve 20 adults in Gilpin Court and other low income communities.
· Volunteers to serve as tutors to 35 children in the Victory Reading Program; 6 to 15 tutors are needed each day, Monday through Thursday

· Volunteers to serve as “Champions” (mentors) to participants in the Jobs for Life Program

· Businessmen to serve as a Business Council for the Jobs for Life Program to serve as teachers, panelists, employers and employment networkers.

STEP Richmond was founded in 1983, making it one of Richmond’s oldest inter-denominational urban ministries. Since that time, its work has been primarily focused in the public housing community of Gilpin Court and neighboring communities. STEP’s current focus includes:    

Victory Reading Program: This program was established in 2000 with the goal of developing strong reading skills and fostering Christian character in children by utilizing proven reading programs, the word of God and Christian tutors.

Summer Enrichment Program: Since 2003, this program has provided experiential summer learning opportunities and summer fun for Children in Gilpin Court. Each week children spend time in the learning center, on fieldtrips and at the pool.

Vacation Bible School: Produced in partnership with both urban and suburban congregations, this VBS is highly anticipated by children from urban and suburban communities. STEP VBS promotes relationship between people of different communities and with God.

Camp Hope: In 2000, STEP began G.I. Jesus Boot Camp, a 5-day, overnight camp serving urban children ages 7 to 12. In mid-April of 2013, after a test trial in 2012, STEP was offered an opportunity for greater partnership with Camp Hope. Camp Hope offers a very similar urban kids camp. In May of 2013 a decision was made to pursue this partnership and in August STEP sent 38 campers to Camp Hope at the Watermarks facility in Scottsville VA. In 2017 we sent 50 campers to Camp Hope.

Back to School Celebration: This event is held annually in August and has served the community in various forms for 16 years. In 2017, STEP partnered with the Richmond Police Department to distribute backpacks to 241 children.

Fall Family Festival: This alternative to Halloween engages hundreds of Gilpin residents annually. Lead by Victory Life Fellowship, STEP has supported this effort since 2001 by garnering the support of the Richmond Police Department and Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority, the Gilpin Tenant Council, Parks and Recreation and several area churches.

STEP Christmas Store: The Christmas Store has been offering a dignified approach to Christmas for 24 years. The store is made possible through the donation of new gifts which are sold to residents at greatly reduced prices, giving the purchaser the dignity of providing for their own families at a price they can afford.

Jobs for Life: JfL is a 16 session, Bible-based work training tool. Formerly the Jobs Partnership, JfL pairs students with mentors (champions) and the curriculum guides students through a basic understanding of their unique and purposeful value in God, the complexities of work, relationship, authority, conflict, etc.   

CEO Statement

Since Strategies to Elevate People (STEP) was founded in 1983, its purpose has remained the same. Based on the first verse of Isaiah 61 we are: "to preach the good news to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom to the captives and to release from darkness for the prisoners." The acronym STEP originally stood for "Strategies to Eliminate Poverty." Though the meaning of the acronym was changed in order to accentuate the positive nature of this work, the history reveals our bold vision: to help break the chains of poverty which restrain the people we serve.

Historically STEP has worked to interrupt cycles of poverty by providing practical solutions to break down the barriers to gainful employment and meaningful education and to lead people to a life saving relationship with Jesus Christ. We seek to satisfy the needs of the poor by engaging the gifts, resources and testimony of the people of God. There are many organizations working to meet similar needs, but outside of Christ, the direst need of all goes unmet – the need for a Savior. God has created us for relationship with Him and with one another. It is through relationships that we, members of the Church, effectively deliver the Good News about Jesus Christ.

In the coming months we will be working to increase the effectiveness and scope of our education program. There are about 1,200 children, birth to 17 year of age, living in Gilpin Court and we want to reach more of them with reading remediation and after school education assistance. STEP's Jobs for Life program will also be working to help adults obtain meaningful employment. We hope you will commit to sharing your witness through your gifts of time and resources so that the poor will see Christ.

God Bless!

Timothy Cole
Executive Director

Areas of Service
Areas Served
Richmond, City
Though STEP has served other communities including Carver and Creighton Court, the primary focus since its inception has been the Gilpin Court public housing community located in Jackson Ward. 
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Kenneth Edwards
Company Affiliation Attorney
Term Jan 2016 to Dec 2018
Board of Directors
Board Members
Mr. Emmett Bailey Insurance
Ms. Ingram Brown Community Volunteer
Mr. Chris Bruch USI Insurance Services L.L.C.
Mr. Joseph Cotten Insurance
Mr. Scott Cox Retired - Altria
Mr. Sterling Edmunds Portfolio Manager
Mr. Kenneth Edwards Attorney
Mr. Eric Morgan Consultant, Ivy Ventures LLC.
Mrs. Jo White Executive Director, Save Our Children
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 3
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 6
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 7
Female 2
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? No
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 11
Other Boards
The tables below contain information about other groups that advise this nonprofit on operations and projects.
Executive Director
Executive Director Mr. Timothy R. Cole
Full Time Staff 2
Part Time Staff 2
Contractors 0
Retention Rate 100
Organization has a Strategic Plan?
Management Succession Plan? No
Whistleblower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes

Victory Reading:

To provide Christian tutors who serve as role models, to impart biblical truths and strong reading skills in order to develop educated children who know their value in the sight of God.


· To serve 25 “regular attendees”, preschool through 4rd grade.

· Increase volunteer base to 100 by the end of 2014 (85% increase).

· Formalize a monthly “interest” forum for parents of children in the program (and those in the community whose children could benefit from the program) with the ultimate goal of becoming mutually invested partners in education.

· Increase Dolch word recognition by 50% in children (K - 3rd) who are scoring below grade level and ensure each preschooler meets expectation to enter kindergarten.

· Pre and post assessments will be used to determine gains on Dolch words and a standard kindergarten skills checklist will be used for preschool children.

Summer Enrichment

· To combat summer reading loss and provide summer enrichment opportunities to 25-35 children, preschool to 5th grade.


Jobs for Life: 

· Run two semesters of the JfL program.

· Recruit five to eight students per semester to participate in the program (10 to 16 served in 2014).

· Pair each student with a Champion.

· Graduate 70 to 80% of the students.

· Achieve an 80% graduate employment rate.

· Maintain Student – Mentor relationship and track employment for at least one year.


Back to School Celebration:

This event is held annually in August and has served the community in various forms for 15 years. In 2014 STEP hosted a Community Carnival where we distributed needed school supplies.

· To provide essential school supplies to families who would otherwise be challenged to provide them, in order to enhance the education of Gilpin’s children.

· Generate the donation of school supplies to serve at least 250 low income children.

· Enable a church or several congregations the opportunity to have an outreach to the city through STEP’s existing relationships.




Christmas Store:

· To provide a dignified opportunity for the poor to give sacrificially to their children while at the same time giving back to others in the community who also need assistance with Christmas gifts.

· To generate enough new items to serve at least 60 families.


Camp Hope:

· To provide an overnight camp experience to 40 children who would not otherwise be able to participate.

· To provide at least 10 counselors, primarily from the urban community/church.

· To plant seeds of hope through the sharing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ while advancing the campers relationship with Christians in an urban congregation.

Fiscal Year
Projected Revenue $258,000.00
Projected Expenses $258,000.00
IRS Letter of Exemption
Detailed Financials
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$176,083$152,363$127,098
Administration Expense$32,354$34,138$34,843
Fundraising Expense$6,090$6,741$5,813
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.100.991.15
Program Expense/Total Expenses82%79%76%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue3%4%3%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$170,395$149,734$151,565
Current Assets$170,395$149,734$151,565
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$3,301$5,018$5,834
Total Net Assets$167,094$144,716$145,731
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities51.6229.8425.98
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
State Charitable Solicitaions Permit
Solicitations Permit
Solicitations Permit ExemptionView
Foundation Comments
  • Form 990 and audit prepared by Jeffrey R. Rogers, CPA
  • Financial information provided by audit with supplemental information from the Form 990