Category: Blog

Blog updates from RJI Staff.

RJI Director of Development and Engagement

Job Open Date: December 16
Job Close Date: Open until filled
Position Type: Full-Time
Salary Range: $32,000-$40,000 (salary commensurate with experience)

Overview of Position

The Director of Development and Engagement is responsible for planning and directing all of the organization’s fundraising activities and engaging partners to support RJI’s mission.  Working closely with churches, prayer partners, and the RJI team is a critical component of this job and requires a mature Christian faith, understanding and personal application of Biblical Scripture.  This position has a Monday-Friday weekly schedule, and also requires flexibility to attend or lead multiple monthly evening committee meetings and occasional weekend events.  This job is based at RJI headquarters in the Richmond, VA area, reports directly to the CEO and works closely with all RJI staff. As RJI is a rapidly growing non-profit with in-demand programs, this position has a high potential for growth.

Key Responsibilities:


  • Direct and grow all fundraising campaigns and initiatives.
  • Create all related fundraising communications (both written and graphic) through email, social media, and print.
  • Manage CRM and related applications, including accurate records and timely gift recognition.
  • Maintain best practice for donor relationships leading to donor retention and growing giving, which includes maintaining accurate records of donor meetings and valuable conversations.
  • Oversee grant seeking including research, proposal writing, and reporting requirements.
  • Manage, recruit, and train current and new development and engagement volunteers.
  • Direct the volunteer Development Committee through facilitating monthly meetings and empowering members to seek out financial partners.
  • Coordinate fundraising special events in close collaboration with volunteer Events Committee, managing all communications internal and external for fundraising events.

Partner Engagement

  • Initiate and cultivate relationships with current and potential partners including individuals, churches, businesses, organizations, field colleagues, media, etc. to support our mission.
  • Engage the public by accepting speaking engagements, appearances, media opportunities to share information about the organization with the communities we serve.

Reports and Budgets

  • Responsible for producing accurate monthly income reports for CEO.
  • Propose budgetary needs for special events and general development needs.
  • Oversee creation of publications to support fund raising activities, including annual report.
  • Ensure accurate and timely tax statements.
  • Other reports as needed.

Other tasks as needed


Skills and Experience

  • 3 years minimum successful experience in professional fundraising
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including a firm grasp of grammar/spelling
  • Demonstrated ability to initiate and grow positive interpersonal relationships
  • Have knowledge and experience in fundraising techniques, particularly major gift fundraising, event planning and grant writing for organization(s) with a growing budget of $250K+
  • Be a “self-starter” and goal driven to initiate donor visits and fundraising calls and launch new external relationships
  • Adeptness in managing projects from successful beginning to completion
  • Demonstrated ability to meet deadlines and manage tasks in a fast-paced work environment
  • Ability to communicate well with different sets of audiences through various platforms
  • Experience in creating compelling, brand-appropriate, accurate communications to effectively engage people in an organization’s mission and goals
  • Working knowledge of Mailchimp, CRM (Little Green Light), and Microsoft Office
  • Personal understanding and experience in applying Biblical aspects of prayer, God’s heart for justice and the practical application for people of Christian faith and the church

Critical Qualities

  • Mature Christian Faith
  • Professional: represent the org well to potential/current partners, clients, team members
  • Responsible: reliable, committed to finding good solutions
  • Coachable: a willingness to learn and receive instruction with humility
  • Humble
  • Pursues excellence
  • Detail-oriented
  • Organized
  • Creative
  • Team Player: works well with others, willingness to do what is needed
  • Flexible
  • Willing to learn
  • Hospitable
  • Self-motivating
  • Goal-achieving
  • Innovative problem solver
  • Ability to build trust and strong partnerships with others
  • Culturally sensitive and appreciative of differences
  • Resilient in dealing with the difficult subject matter of human trafficking

Application Process:

To apply for this position, please click here to complete the online application (please complete the application all at once, as the form will not auto-save your information.  To complete the application, press ‘submit’ and you will receive a confirmation notification on your screen that your application has been successfully submitted.)

The online application form will require a Resume and a Cover letter before it can be submitted. Please have these documents completed and ready to upload in order to complete the application form in full. 

Click here to return to the Careers main page

Feature #2 of our New “How To” Series

“How to” …make a difference: fund-raise while tailoring to your interests!

As RJI has been extending our reach, we have been making plans to build our staff and bolster our annual curriculum updates. This type of organizational development allows us to provide excellent prevention materials to schools that are relevant and poignant, able to offer real prevention and lasting change. Here is the hard truth: we cannot do any of this growing without funding! In this season especially, we are encouraging everyone who wants to protect our nation’s youth to join our fund development effort.

Fundraising is not arbitrarily asking for money through gritted teeth, but rather inviting people into something they can be proud to be a part of. You are the bridge between donors and the good/meaningful work they want to put their dollar to.

No matter your experience in fundraising, you can be a part of our effort to garner support for RJI’s work! Dig deep into your background and your interests and pinpoint what it is you are good at, and what makes your heart skip a little faster with excitement. These passions and talents allow you to offer something unique to the mission- do not let them go to waste! Below are a couple of examples, but feel free to create your own, with all proceeds going to RJI. -If you love to cook, host a dinner party! Invite your friends and let them know that the proceeds benefit the Prevention Project program for teens! Charge for entry: only 15 friends at $30 a head raises a quick $450!

-If your passion is “DIY” crafts, buy some art supplies or old curious and repurpose it into something beautiful to sell to others!

-Do we have any exercise guru’s? Plan a day to lead a large group exercise class,  and advertise the Prevention Project to friends and community, accepting a donation of any type for class admittance.

-Have a special event coming up?  Celebrate your special occasion with us! We’re launching a new opportunity where you can invite others to celebrate with you by donating to RJI for your special occasion – your birthday, anniversary, holiday gift, graduation, mother’s day, father’s day, etc.! EVERY gift makes a huge impact in the lives of students! The image above is yours to use (or email us if you would like a larger size image), if you so choose, and you can link directly to our website in your ask:

Thank you for helping us reach more students by raising funds in a way only YOU can!

Pictured above: Use the graphic above (or email us if you would like a larger size image) on your special occasion to raise awareness and funds for the Prevention Project!  Creativity is endless – how will you make a difference?

Feature #1 of our New “How To” Series

“How to”…give to the mission of justice, even if you have no funds to contribute.

When fighting human trafficking, giving monetary support to organizations that already have the structure, the strategy, the connections and the “know-how” is a huge way to be an agent of change, but it is most certainly not the only way. While it is of paramount importance for nonprofits to receive donations to stay alive and strong, there are other ways to contribute to that nonprofit’s work without doing so financially.

  1. Spreading awareness is one of the most important keys to preventing trafficking situations. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are all valuable tools in warning about potential dangers posed by traffickers as well as exposing that slavery still exists.  These platforms also can help connect people who want to donate to the organizations that could use their dollar for good.
  2. Becoming a Prevention Project Ambassador. We at RJI provide trainings for those wanting to bring life-saving information about human trafficking to middle and high schools, church youth groups, and youth programs. Trainings cover everything from important facts about human trafficking to the Prevention Project curriculum itself, how to implement the program and the impact it is having on students. Contact if this sparks your interest!
  3. Prayer is the strongest force against human trafficking. Please remember to keep RJI and the work that we are doing with the Prevention Project® program in your prayers. If you are interested in becoming more active in preventing human trafficking, click here to sign up on our volunteer interest form and to receive our prayer updates.

Two Prevention Project Teachers Win National Award

Jeannine Chewning and Colleen Savino, two Humanities teachers at Hermitage High School in Henrico, Virginia, have been chosen to receive the 2015 Robert H. Jackson Center National Award for Teaching Justice. This prestigious award is granted to individuals who make outstanding efforts to teach justice in their classrooms in creative, inspiring ways – which these teachers have done through the implementation of the Prevention Project® program.

Jeannine and Colleen piloted Richmond Justice Initiative’s Prevention Project program in 2012 at Hermitage High School, and this year is their fourth year teaching the material to their students.

Colleen Savino emphasized the importance of the Prevention Project curriculum, saying, “Human trafficking is a huge issue; look at the stats, look at the figures-it affects young people. As with anything that affects young people, it is our job as a country, as a society, as a community, and as teachers to educate them about that.”

The RJI team threw a celebration event to honor this noteworthy award in the Hermitage High School library on October 27, 2015 with Hermitage HS students, teachers, and staff; Dr. Patrick C. Kinlaw, superintendent of Henrico County Public Schools; RJI team members; and other distinguished guests present.

See what leaders are saying about the program and why this opportunity is invaluable for students:

HCPS is very proud to have The Prevention Project in our schools as it teaches our students about a very important issue that can affect them. Furthermore, the curriculum allows our students to use 21st Century skills to help combat human trafficking.”
-Dr. Patrick C. Kinlaw, superintendent of Henrico County Public Schools

Prevention is one of the biggest parts of fighting human trafficking especially because traffickers target teens and preteens, so youth need to know what to expect and what to be looking out for.”
-Holly Austin Smith, Survivor of Child Sex Trafficking and Author of Walking Prey

Jessica Willis, RJI’s Director of Prevention Education expressed, “This national award honors the commitment of Jeannine and Colleen, who have gone above and beyond in providing anti-trafficking opportunities to their students through petitioning for important legislation at the Virginia Capital, creating community awareness events, and writing op-eds for the local newspaper, etc. Jeannine and Colleen are making a huge impact in the lives of their students and we celebrate this momentous achievement.”

For more information and to get the Prevention Project program in your area, please visit

Watch the news story by WWBT NBC12 HERE.

Group Award{Pictured above: Jeannine Chewning and Colleen Savino, Hermitage HS teachers pictured with their students who went through the Prevention Project program. Photos by RJI’s Joell Masiano.}

Group{Pictured above: Jessica Willis, RJI Director of Prevention Education; Michael Hasley, Henrico County Secondary Social Studies Specialist‎; Andy Armstrong, Hermitage HS principal; Jeannine Chewning and Colleen Savino, Hermitage HS Prevention Project teachers; Dr. Patrick C. Kinlaw, superintendent of Henrico County Public Schools.}

The Power of Prayer

This legislative session, as part of the Kids Are Not for Sale Coalition, we introduced ambitious legislation that would close a large gap in addressing human trafficking in Virginia.

For years advocates asked for this legislation, and for years legislators gave the same answer: they simply would not pass a sex trafficking stand alone statute.

At RJI, we believe in the power of prayer and going before the throne of God with our requests. We know that our God has a heart for justice, “He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.” (Deuteronomy 10:18)

The day before an important meeting with several legislators, a friend of mine stood up in church asking the congregation to pray for human trafficking as well as for RJI’s work in the General Assembly. The congregation prayed, and I felt encouraged knowing that the church was behind our work.

That very evening, I received an email from one of the legislators with a statement I never thought I would read:

We are willing to have a stand-alone sex trafficking statute.

After numerous tries and facing opposition, we experienced breakthrough! Literally, our prayer was answered! This legislative session, we were able to celebrate the unanimous passage of Virginia’s first sex trafficking statute, no longer is our state the only one in the nation without a statute dedicated to addressing human trafficking.

Was it also a politically advantageous year for this bill to pass? Was success also due to the senior legislators who were patrons of the bill? Absolutely. But I do not think it is a coincidence that on the day an entire church prayed, breakthrough happened.

The Lord loves when His children come to Him in prayer, especially as a body united in His name. As my husband often reminds me, we must never forget that our most important lobbying work of the day is on our knees in prayer.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20

Written by:
Alicia Cundiff
Richmond Justice Initiative Advocacy Director
To read about the sex trafficking statute that passed the Virginia legislature this session, click

Don’t be Afraid to Make a Difference this Halloween

Halloween is right around the corner! This year, when you make that annual trip to your local grocery store to purchase candy, consider purchasing Fair Trade certified* candy. Buying fair trade products is one step that we all can take towards preventing and ending human trafficking. Some local places that you can buy fair trade candy are listed below:

Whole Foods – 11173 West Broad Street, Glen Allen, VA 23060
Whole Foods carries a wide range of fair trade and equal exchange products. Pick up some fair trade peanut butter cups, gummy bears, fruit snacks, or lollipops to fill those Halloween baskets with!

Elwood Thompson’s – 4 N Thompson St, Richmond, VA 23221
There are plenty of fair trade chocolate bars and fair trade candies available for Halloween at Elwood Thompsons! Elwood Thompson’s mission is to carry locally made, fair trade and equal exchange products for their customers.

Ten Thousand Villages – 3201 West Cary Street, Richmond, VA 23221
Ten Thousand Villages is a great store located in the heart of Carytown. They have always been supporters of the Fair trade movement. Available at Ten Thousand Villages are Equal exchange mini chocolate pieces (25 cents each!)

If you can’t make a trip to one of the places above, here is a great website that sells equal exchange chocolates! Check out their mini chocolate pieces that are perfect for handing out on Halloween.

To learn more about responsible consumerism and for more shopping ideas, check out our Responsible Consumerism page on our website.

*Fair Trade: Responsible consumerism begins with an understanding that the products we buy and invest in affect the quality of life of people around the world. In today’s global society, there are services and products that are made both ethically and unethically, including slave labor (or labor trafficking). In order to be a responsible consumer, it is important to choose companies that not only care about human rights but also actively monitor the impact of their decisions on people, whether directly within their business or to the businesses to which they outsource. When choosing Fair Trade Certified products, you are supporting businesses that do not depend upon forced labor, among other human rights issues. To attain Fair Trade certification, businesses must adhere to the 10 Principles of Fair Trade. To find out more, please visit our partner page, FairTradeRVA

Written by: Grace Dobbs
RJI Intern

Education Unlocks Freedom

“Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.” -George Washington Carver

I never knew about human trafficking.” “Knowing that people my age, people younger are the target for all of this, it hurts”. These and many other similar sentiments are echoed in the classroom as teenage students learn about the facts and lures of teen human trafficking through RJI’s Prevention Project program.

Many ask how we can prevent human trafficking. As many survivors of human trafficking have said, it is so important to understand how traffickers lure teens into trafficking situations, because once you know the signs, you can help yourself and others in your school, church, and community not fall prey and know what to do when trafficking does occur in our communities. The purpose of the Prevention Project is to prevent trafficking from occurring and to help those who are currently in a trafficking situation. By equipping students, teachers, and counselors with the educational tools needed to understand, identify, and safely report trafficking situations, we use education as the tool to ‘unlock the golden door of freedom’.

We celebrate as many schools will be teaching the Prevention Project at their schools this fall: Hermitage High School, Godwin High School, Goochland High School, to name a few local schools. RJI is also in process of working with and reaching out to many other local schools as well as schools in multiple states. To find out more information and to get the Prevention Project program into schools in your community, please contact Jessica at

I don’t know where I would be now without The Prevention Project! The Prevention Project is probably the most life-altering thing that has happened to me so far.” –Prevention Project student

Written by: Jessica Willis
Richmond Justice Initiative Prevention Project Manager

Prevention Project Classroom
{Above pictures © A Girl Named Leney, Prevention Project year three students}

Fundraising: Partner Spotlight

Shopping and Making a Difference. Though these two concepts aren’t always found side by side – they are when talking about Fair Trade and this fundraiser!

This past month, Ten Thousand Villages hosted a two-hour fundraising shopping event, with a total of 20% of the proceeds donated to Richmond Justice Initiative. Thank you Ten Thousand Villages! While at this event, RJI staff and volunteers shared with shoppers about RJI, human trafficking facts and prevention, and how to get actively involved in the prevention and eradication of human trafficking!

One of the shoppers that day was a pre-teen named Grace. She asked us what RJI was raising awareness about. I quickly but carefully crafted an age-appropriate response, as I wanted it to resonate with her, but not frighten her. I briefly explained to her what trafficking is and about some of the methods that traffickers use to lure teens (as the average age of entry is 11-14 years old); she responded with the most impactful and touching question of the day: “I only have $.75 in my bag; can I donate it all to help?”

Humbled and inspired, I told her that her money would be going to help a very important cause. She smiled and hugged the Vicuna stuffed animal that had just been bought for her at the store.

Richmond Justice Initiative has partnered with Ten Thousand Villages Richmond, a Fair Trade Retailer, for several events in the past years. Our two organizations share many purposes in common, including anti-human trafficking. One of the principles of Fair Trade Certification is to ensure that no child or forced labor is used in producing goods. This means that whenever you shop Fair Trade, you can be certain that the source company went through a rigorous certification process that reflects 10 different principles. Because of this, RJI commends Fair Trade certification standards and other ways that businesses go to lengths to ensure no forced labor is used to produce any part of their products. This is why staff from both RJI and Ten Thousand Villages, among other organizations, also serve on the steering committee for Fair Trade RVA, a movement to get retailers and organizations in Richmond to carry Fair Trade products so that Richmond can be recognized as a ‘Fair Trade Town’.

The truth is, we can all make a difference. If you are inspired by Grace’s story and would like to make a difference as well, donate here to make an impact and write “Inspired by Grace” in the notes to seller section.

Written by: Jessica Willis
Richmond Justice Initiative Prevention Project Manager
Fair Trade RVA Steering Committee Member