Community Improvement, Capacity Building


aka RMSI

Richmond, CA


The Richmond Main Street Initiative is a community-based nonprofit corporation dedicated to revitalizing historic downtown Richmond as a pedestrian-friendly urban village, offering products, services, arts and entertainment that reflect the community's rich and diverse heritage.

Notes from the Nonprofit

Our agenda is to honor and build on the diversity, history, and culture of Downtown while creating a viable path for people of all socio-economic backgrounds to contribute to revitalizing Downtown Richmond. We apply Main Street principles to make Downtown more vibrant and safe while stabilizing and support current small businesses to create jobs. Managing the Downtown Property and Business Improvement District (DPBID), we convene stakeholders to express priorities to developers and investors while supporting, scaling, and recruiting new businesses without of displacing existing businesses or residents.

Ruling Year


Executive Director

Ms. Amanda Elliott

Main Address

1015 Nevin Avenue Suite 105

Richmond, CA 94801 USA


commercial revitalization, community, economic development, revitalization





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Community, Neighborhood Development, Improvement (S20)

Economic Development (S30)

Urban, Community (S31)

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This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Economic Development

Clean and Safe

Youth Entrepreneur Program

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With mixed-use developments emerging in Downtown Richmond, stakeholders need an avenue to advocate and represent inclusive assets in culture, arts, affordable housing and jobs. The downtown district lacks services, retail, and healthy food eateries for residents and the large daytime population of federal and healthcare workers. Small business owners often work outside jobs to supplement their income. These predominately minority- and women-owned businesses need investment to scale up and hire workers.

Bordered by Bissell & Barrett Ave, and 6th to 16th St., the Downtown Richmond Property and Business Improvement District (DRPBID) is home to the Social Security Administration, Contra Costa County Social Services, and Kaiser Hospital, as well as a major transit hub of Amtrak, BART, and AC Transit busses, with connection to a San Francisco Bay ferry coming in 2018.

Richmond Main Street Initiative honors and builds on the diversity, history, and culture of Downtown Richmond by utilizing Main Street principles that make Downtown more vibrant and walkable. We support, stabilize and scale current and new small-, minority-, and women-owned businesses. Richmond Main Street also recruits businesses to Downtown that will further provide needed goods and services for residents, visitors, and workers while creating jobs, boosting economic vitality and generating a sense of rootedness and pride in Downtown Richmond.

By capitalizing on its 2016 Main Street of America recognition, Richmond Main Street will apply Main Street principles to:

-Convene and represent stakeholders to voice priorities with the developer of mixed-used housing and retail spaces in Downtown.
-Advocate for viable jobs for low-income and people of color.
-Stabilize and support current and new small businesses to grow capital, create jobs, and gain access to additional investment.
-Honor and build on the diversity, history and culture of Downtown to generate vibrancy and a sense of rootedness.
-Plan and implement street festivals, art displays, and celebrations to attract investors and new business.

Strategy #1 - RMSI strongly believes that arts and cultural mediums play a vital role in active urban community life. Besides illustrating a community's cultural diversity, traditions and history, the arts attract both residents and visitors, which in turn increase business opportunities and economic development. Through support from various sponsoring partners, RMSI events attracts nearly 20,000 people to downtown Richmond each year. RMSI seeks sponsorship support for 3 ongoing arts and cultural events/activities. They include: a) Music on Main Outdoor Summer Concerts, b) Spirit & Soul Festival, c) Holiday Festival and Bazaar, d) Healthy Village Festival and e) Weekly Farmers' Market (seasonal).

Strategy #2 - Supporting existing and emerging small businesses remains a top priority for RMSI. RMSI programs support economic vitality of existing and emerging businesses, which leads to more sustainable economic development outcomes, localization of resources, etc. Strong businesses are the backbone of local economic growth which provides stability downtown and support the overall growth in the city and region. Together these activities form a core portion of RMSI's downtown revitalization mission, which aims to:

• Support existing local businesses with technical assistance and resources to thrive and grow
• Help encourage new business formation downtown that meet local needs and reflect stakeholder demand for retail and services to stabilize the downtown economy
• Incubate new promising home based businesses, and
• Give youth an opportunity to explore his/her entrepreneurial interests through employment and training program.

These programs include: a) Business Bites: Continuing Education Luncheon Series and b) Summer Youth Entrepreneur Program.

Strategy #3: Expand DRPBID to include a Youth Council that will represent, advocate, communicate agenda for Downtown development that increases economic and social assets of the current community to RMSI board, City, developers, and other decision making bodies.

Strategy #4: Continue to work with BART/transit hub retail space developer to build out a co-working, entrepreneurial training center, a coffee shop and recruit a complementary food/retail business to anchor a campus of activities, support clients to incubate businesses and build capacity to move them into vacant downtown buildings, create jobs, goods and services. Development of this space which has been vacant for the past 5 years will serve as the entryway to a new mixed-used housing development located on Macdonald Avenue in the heart of Downtown with 256 units of housing and 60,000 square ft. of retail. These projects will help to create more vibrancy, safety and investment Downtown.

Revitalizing our downtown district, which is now beginning to recover from years of economic distress, requires a balanced community economic development plan that will not only attract outside investment into the community, but also addresses local challenges while building up our community's assets and social capital.

RMSI's annual community events and business programs support two of RMSI's Comprehensive Neighborhood Economic Development & Revitalization Program strategies, which aim to improve our downtown District. They include:

1) Continuing to expand our successful ongoing community-building events (e.g. summer concerts, festivals, etc.) that are helping to change long-held negative perceptions about the safety of the district and building a critical mass of visitors, residents, and shoppers to downtown Richmond who invest in our local economy.

2) Support the economic vitality of existing and emerging small businesses through targeted business incubation, increasing continuing education and training opportunities, providing one-on-one consulting to promising businesses, and offering training and work opportunities to local youth interested in entrepreneurism.
RMSI's Comprehensive Neighborhood Economic Development & Revitalization Program supports the economic vitality of existing and emerging businesses in downtown Richmond by:

1. Building resiliency of existing local businesses by providing links to technical assistance and resources they need to thrive and grow

2. Encouraging new business formation downtown that helps meet local needs and reflect stakeholder demand for retail and services
a. Assisting home-based businesses to grow into brick and mortar businesses
b. Attracting businesses to expand operations in downtown

3. Help to promote local sustainability and offer special opportunities to promising business sectors that additionally support healthy living needs of our community
a. Support local strong business niches such as urban food production and healthy living enterprises- such at fitness centers, eating establishments, etc.

Downtown Richmond bustled during WWII as Rosie-the-Riveters and other laborers steadfastly built more ships than anywhere else in the United States. Downtown was a hub of activity with nightclubs and goods and services for round-the-clock shipyard workers. Immediately after the war, women and African American men and women lost their jobs. Many had to relocate to find housing but many stayed and struggled to secure employment and adequate housing. In the ensuing decades, like most urban centers, Downtown Richmond lost business to suburban housing and shopping malls. Chronic disinvestment has left 20% of the buildings vacant and has perpetuated negative sentiments about the district, creating serious barriers to economic growth.

The downtown neighborhood's median income sits far below the City of Richmond's median income. Nearly 15,000 predominately low-income Latino, African American and senior residents endure lack of neighborhood-serving retail and healthy food services. Scaling existing, and recruiting new businesses, will help to grow the tax base and create. Youth and young adults lack positive gathering places, recreation outlets, and a forum to voice their community and economic development priorities. Small Disadvantaged Business owners need startup capital to improve vacant spaces, hire workers, and must be integrated into potent business and supplier networks.

Downtown Richmond holds the keys to smart urban development that builds upon its existing assets—racial and economic diversity, transportation linkages, major industry employers, real estate potential, and a willing workforce. Today, opportunities to invest in downtown are emerging with new developments like the BART new commercial and residential units that draw greater interest in opening new businesses downtown. Investments made to downtown infrastructure and Streetscapes by the City former Redevelopment agency add to the appeal and charm of the district.

Demand for local programs targeted at entrepreneurs and small businesses have steadily increased as more entrepreneurs are looking at downtown Richmond as a destination to expand or start their businesses. As well, Richmond Main Street has been identified by the City of Richmond's mayor as a pivotal leader in the transformation of Downtown at a time when the district is poised to once again become a bustling and vibrant commercial center, rivaling its liveliness during WWII.

By managing the DRPBID, Richmond Main Street Initiative aligns the shared priorities of our community with the desired impacts of the City that will help us to economically restructure our main commercial corridor with a focus on minimizing displacement of low-income residents, seniors, people of color, and small businesses stakeholders. Richmond Main Street Initiative, by expanding its role as representative of the stakeholders to investors and developers, will be the agent for economic growth by promoting Downtown's assets.

Richmond Main Street has been the catalyst for positive changes downtown for more than fifteen years. Our comprehensive approach to neighborhood revitalization and community engagement has resulted in notable improvements. Through our hard work, innovative events and programs, we have helped to transform the downtown commercial district bringing thousands of visitors' downtown for the weekly Farmers' Market, Healthy Village Festival and Farm Stand, Small Business Trainings, Fitness classes and signature street festivals that highlight local entrepreneurs. Richmond Main Street has helped to scale local businesses and has successfully attracted new businesses to the district.

2016 Main Streets of America recognized Richmond Main Street's partnership with the community for growing Downtown's economic vitality, local gathering spots and community spaces, celebrations of history and traditions, and diverse social and cultural activities.

On July 17, 2012, Downtown Richmond property owners approved by 75% (weighted by assessment) the Downtown Richmond Property and Business Improvement District (DRPBID), a self-imposed and self-governed property tax assessment to fund and expand established environmental and economic enhancements that augment base level City services. Richmond Main Street rallied the support property owners and the City Council for the approval and formation of the DRPBID—the first improvement district in the City of Richmond—which ensures the continued revitalization of Downtown.

Our management of the DRBPID has resulted in
-36 businesses opened/expanded
-107 jobs created
-880 hours of business assistance provided
- $50M+ in public and private investments in physical improvements leveraged
-6000+ paid training and work hours for 110 youth
-Facilitated 160 youth in entrepreneurship education and hands-on planning

External Reviews

Awards & Accreditations

National Main Street Center (National Trust for Historic Preservation) - Accreditation




Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

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  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2016, 2015 and 2015
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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2016, 2015 and 2015
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to see what's included.

Board Leadership Practices

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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Not Applicable


Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Not Applicable


Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Not Applicable


Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Not Applicable


Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Not Applicable