The city of Richmond in Contra Costa County grew during the war years of the 1940s when thousands of workers migrated to Richmond to work in the Kaiser Shipyards, and Richmond remains an industrial city owing to the presence of Chevron refineries and research facilities on its west shore, near the San Rafael Bridge. In late 2017, Cowell awarded a first set of place-based grants in the city of Richmond, in Contra Costa County.
Of Richmond’s total population of about 110,000 roughly 30,000 reside in the area known locally as Southside, lying between the city’s downtown corridor and the I-80/580 freeways. The neighborhood is served by seven public elementary schools and a middle school that feed into John F. Kennedy High School, and collectively the schools and their attendance areas are described as “the Kennedy family.” In these schools more than 90% of students qualify for free or reduced-price meals and about 40% were classified as English Learners at some time during their schooling.
Through 2023, Cowell’s investment in Southside Richmond comprised 53 grants totaling $6.3 million.