Couple Launches The Richards Group Foundation to Inspire and Empower Youth

Shevry Lassiter | 11/9/2011, 10:31 p.m.

District native, successful entrepreneur and author of "From The Bus To The Bentley: No More Limits, " Stanley Richards, and his wife, Chereace Richards, have started The Richards Group Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing Washington-area youth with " scholarships, events, and resources."

The couple, who launched their organization Nov. 3, 2011, with a fundraising event at Martin's Crosswinds in Greenbelt, Md., said they plan to inspire and empower children ranging from ages 8 to 18. They want young people to not just dream big, but to work towards their big dreams.

According to The Richards Group Foundation website, the mission of the organization is to "empower youth to see beyond the limits of their circumstances and dream bigger by allowing them to see and be exposed to various cultural and educational experiences. Ultimately, The Richards Group Foundation will inspire the youth to live life powerfully and free of limits."

Two Rochester, N.Y. telecommunications business executives, Jeb Tyler and Jason Guck, presented the foundation a $5,000 check.

"It's an awesome responsibility and he [Stan Richards] has integrity. He's a great mentor," said Guck.

Steve Carter, a donor and supporter from Dallas, Texas, said, "the leadership characteristics that Stan displays will impact the lives of millions of kids in the DMV [D.C., Maryland and Virginia area]."

District of Columbia political strategist, Vernon Hawkins, said "[Stan Richards] represents what we should have as a poster for a black man."

Richards grew up in the District and attended D.C. public schools. He graduated from Cardoza Senior High School in 1981 and says, "I was pushed through school from elementary all the way through graduating high school and couldn't read" he said. "I learned to read on my own when I was about 18 and it wasn't until I was 44 when I read my first book."

After working for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) for 18 years driving a bus, Richards and his wife, an information technology engineer in the federal government, started their own business.

"Attaining success in the business world has not been a golden road," Ms. Richards said, "but we have been able to accomplish some things we at first never thought possible. The future is bright and the foundation will change lives. Kids don't have to live the pain we went through."

Richards said the goal of the foundation is "to pour into young people's lives and let them know that you can do whatever you inspire to do" he said. "So it's not about the money, it's about what the money can do ... we can sow into lives." The couple's assiduity was on full display when, prior to the official launch of the foundation, they took 11 children on a five-day cruise to Canada using their own money. Also, later this month, the foundation is partnering with a popular Washington area restaurant, Carolina Kitchen, to offer free dinners to a few needy families during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Ms. Richards shared another example of their commitment, but this one involved something a bit closer to home.