The Pat Asch Fellowship for Social Justice invests in a local woman in the Greater Richmond region, who is at least 50 years of age, to focus on a deeply personalized, year-long leadership and professional development journey.


Each year, the Pat Asch Fellowship awards $17,500 to a woman who seeks to channel her passion and experience to a cause, which will strengthen and advance her work in the Greater Richmond community.

Read below to learn more about the fellowship and the application process.

Learn More about The Pat Asch Fellowship for Social Justice

YWCA Richmond recognizes one woman annually who has the passion and vision to bring about change in her own life while championing long-term social justice and change.  The fellowship is a $17,500 investment in her leadership or development project.


Proposal Requirements:

  • Describe a leadership or development experience for which this Fellowship will help catapult.
  • Proposed fellowship experience should position applicant to engage in new endeavors motivated by a desire for social change.
  • Outline personal and professional goals and how the applicant intends to advance her social justice work in Richmond.


Fellowship funds can be applied to a wide range of goals such as:

  • Furthering the recipient’s own education, leadership, or professional development
  • Re-entering the workforce
  • Switching to a new career
  • Extending her work to a new social justice purpose


In her fellowship experience proposal, the applicant is expected to include a projection of activities to be completed within 12 to 24 months of receiving her fellowship and anticipated outcomes of her fellowship experience.

Consideration for this award is open to any woman who:

  • Is at least 50 years of age
  • Resides or works in Richmond City, Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico, Goochland, or Powhatan County


The following are not eligible for funding with the Pat Asch Fellowship for Social Justice:

  • Capital investments (property)
  • Operational expenses
  • Stipends or gifts for project participants and/or people other than the applicant
  • Staff and relatives of YWCA Richmond and the Fellowship Selection Committee are not eligible to apply for the Fellowship

YWCA Richmond aims to build a partnership with all Pat Asch Fellows.  Throughout the fellowship year and beyond, the YWCA Richmond wants to hear about the successes and challenges the Fellow faces along the way.  During the fellowship year, the fellow is required to share their experience at the mid-point, either in a written or video narrative, an in-person presentation, or any combination of the three. The mid-point check in will include an update on the project, reflections on personal growth, and how the project is contributing toward social change.
Applicants may submit a written or video narrative of their project which can be in English or Spanish.  YWCA Richmond requires submission of all of the following documents or files in order to be considered eligible for the Pat Asch Fellowship for Social Justice:


  1. One-page cover letter that includes a brief biography and contact information. Please remember to include date of birth to ensure age eligibility for the fellowship.


  1. Statement of intent (if written, up to three pages; if a video, up to 10 minutes) that describes:
  • Your interest in and motivation to apply for the Fellowship
  • The issue or priority to be addressed through your social justice efforts
  • The Fellowship project/experience design
  • Your intended outcomes from the Fellowship experience
  • The relationship between this project and the cause of social justice


  1. Detailed timeline and specific plan for the use of the funds.

Please email your application to Rupa Murthy at rmurthy@ywcarichmond.org by Sunday, August 1, 2021 at 5 pm.

Here are the key dates for the application and selection process:


  • Sunday, August 1, 2021 – Written or video application is due by 5 pm. Please submit applications to Rupa Murthy at rmurthy@ywcarichmond.org.
  • Thursday, August 19, 2021 – Finalists will be notified for an interview.
  • Friday, September 3, 2021 – Fellowship recipient will be notified.
  • Friday, September 24, 2021 – The 2021 Pat Asch Fellow will be announced to the public at YWCA Richmond’s 2021 Outstanding Women Awards luncheon.

March 2022 – The 2021 Fellow will be invited to share her progress.

Please email application materials to Rupa Murthy, Chief Advancement and Advocacy Officer, at rmurthy@ywcarichmond.org.


All application materials must be received by Sunday, August 1, 2021 at 5 pm.

Past Fellows and Their Projects

Cheryl Groce-Wright, 2015 Pat Asch Fellow, spent her project year deepening her work in asset-based community development and engaging residents as leaders in all aspects of community development.
Leslie Lytle, 2016 Pat Asch Fellow, spent her project year bringing together maternal health stakeholders from diverse backgrounds to explore how to improve the local environment for all of Richmond’s emerging families.
Gigi Amateau, 2017 Pat Asch Fellow, spent her project year focusing on trauma and resilience for older adults and the direct care workforce.
Nadine Marsh-Carter, 2018 Pat Asch Fellow, deepened her social justice work in the Richmond community by addressing the importance of equity in philanthropy.
Anne Moss Rogers, 2019 Pat Asch Fellow, advanced her work in youth suicide prevention, mental health, addiction, and grief.