Rachel Hefner became the Richmond Organizer in 2022. She grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina and went to Meredith College where she studied social work and Spanish. While she was still an undergraduate, she started working in community organizing with several groups in the Raleigh-Durham area.
Rachel knew she wanted to become a community organizer as a career and came to Virginia for a master’s degree in social work at VCU. During her last year at VCU she interned with the Richmond Chapter of Virginia Organizing.
Rachel felt right away that Virginia Organizing was a good fit for her. “This is the model that makes the most sense. It lives into my professional and personal values of change-making.” She noticed organizational practices, including fair treatment of staff and respectful ways of working with members and communities, that demonstrated integrity. “We have the values we’re working for in the world,” she says.
The chapter recently won their education campaign that Rachel worked on throughout her internship. Now they have started a tenant’s rights campaign. Rachel is happy to be working on housing, something she has had a passion for since she started studying social work. “Housing is a right,” she said, “I want to see that for everyone in my community and the state. I’m excited to stay in Richmond and continue building relationships with a really great group of leaders.”
Outside of her work with the chapter, Rachel enjoys going on walks around her neighborhood listening to podcasts, exploring new parks in the Richmond area, and engaging in restful activities with friends and family.