Rising Stars: Meet Pat Richardson of Chapel Hill

Today we’d like to introduce you to Pat Richardson.

Hi Pat, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today.
So I never thought nor wanted to start my nonprofit because of the loss of my daughter, my friend, my confidant, my baby girl, and my Krissy Monet Richardson. As I type this, I’m holding back the tears as Krissy was my daughter, and I loved her deeply. The only reason I started MRCF is that Krissy transitioned and left an impressionable image on all she interacted with and gave from her heart so deeply, impacting so many lives. I couldn’t imagine not having yet a piece of her left here with us.

Kristian Monet Richardson, born February 24, 1998, in Washington, DC, was my surprise birth. Knowing it might not be easy, I never thought twice about having her, even as a single woman. Her brother John, who was eight years old then, repeatedly told me he wanted a baby sister. God was listening to this little guy and gave him what he wanted.

We lost Krissy in an automobile accident on May 16, 2021, in Atlanta, Ga. Her best friend passed with her in the automobile accident, and the other young lady survived. Thank God. When I received the call from one of her closest friends on that quiet Sunday evening, I thought this couldn’t be happening, and sometimes I still feel that emotion swelling up inside of me until I force myself to brief and say it is real. I knew shortly after Krissy transitioned, yes transitioned, that I needed to do something with this unspeakable pain. It immediately came to my heart and mind that I wanted to create Monet Richardson Community Foundation, named after Krissy, to carry on her legacy related to the backpack program she started in 2019 while at East Carolina University (ECU) studying Social Work. Krissy worked at the YMCA Chapel Hill Carrboro from 10th grade in high school to her junior year at ECU, offering the underserved and marginalized kids in the Y Learning Program the opportunity to have backpacks filled with school supplies. Having something so simple as a backpack makes a difference in a child’s life with their self-esteem, learning ability, social skills, and so much more. It allows this young person who is grades K-5 to know I’m no different than my classmates vs. I am different and in a negative way. Krissy did this when she saw the need a collect, fundraise, negotiate, and more to get enough funds and support to give out 90 backpacks.

I feel her spirit when I stop and breathe and know that she’s still with me and watches what we are doing via MRCF with and for the families we are helping. When we started MRCF, we also wanted to allow young adults to follow their dreams and not have financial obstacles stand in their way. Thus we added the academic scholarship program to our programs for the community. Thus far, we have given out $4500 in educational scholarships and 518 backpacks!

Can you talk to us about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned? Looking back, has it been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Oh my, it has not been a smooth road; however, I wouldn’t stop doing what I’m doing via MRCF. Now I’m not saying it doesn’t overwhelm me sometimes when I can’t look at Krissy’s photo or when I can’t tell her story without tearing up, but I know that God has me and that he will keep me when I can’t keep myself. I draw my strength from my faith which is so important to me. I sometimes struggle to look at Krissy’s photos and tell her story because that reaffirms to me that this is real and it happened. But then I thank God for giving me Krissy for 23 years and allowing such an amazing angel into my life. I struggle when I want only to do this job and not my daytime job, and I only have to help people and carry on Krissy’s legacy of giving and philanthropy; however, financially, I know that’s not feasible, at least not right now.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. What can you tell our readers who might need to be more familiar with what you do?
I currently work for Elevance, a major insurance company providing services in the government, commercial, and private sectors for so many people across the country. I work with the Medicaid division here in NC, supporting the underserved population. I discuss preventative care with them and try to change/remove barriers to going to the doctor for appointments that create benchmarks. I also host meetings, work with stakeholders, and more. I am proud of my reputation in the community, the work I’ve done for over 15 years working with nonprofits in the Triangle area, and now forming a new nonprofit for such an amazing young woman, Krissy.

Before we go, is there anything else you can share with us?
I want to share with your readers that MRCF is a volunteer-based organization with no paid staff and a volunteer board of directors. We are in 5 counties within a year and a half starting in Orange County. Our goal is to provide backpacks, academic scholarships, and recently added Financial Literacy Workshops to all 100 counties in NC. We are also hosting our 2nd Annual 5K Walk and Run, “Running With The Angels,” on March 25th here in Chapel Hill. We would love you to join us on the 25th at 8 am at East Chapel Hill High School and help raise money, awareness, and advocacy for those underserved.

Pricing:

  • A $50 donation purchases a backpack filled with school supplies.
  • A $50 donation helps MRCF support high school seniors and college students to continue their education.

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