About Us

The Active RVA Story

Active RVA is a movement. It’s a collaboration. To make Richmond the most active region in the country, we work across industries, with kids and parents,  city and county administrators, CEO’s and employees, and with YOU to get every corner of our community moving.


At Active RVA we’re improving the quality of life in the Richmond Region through active living.

Every Richmonder, regardless of age or income level, deserves a more attractive and vibrant place to live where safe opportunities to walk, run, dance, swim, bike or work out abound.

We know from countless studies that a host of chronic diseases can be prevented by moderate physical activity. A healthier community contributes to a more productive economy and students who get daily exercise perform better in the classroom. By building cross-cutting initiatives that support and celebrate active living for all of our neighbors we can make Richmond the most active community in the country.


Our programs prioritize a few key strategies.

  • Aligning the strengths of our partners. There are hundreds of businesses, nonprofits, community groups, and individual leaders who contribute every day in small or big ways to making Richmond more active. Active RVA matches up their strengths so that, together, we make a bigger impact.
  • Changing policy changes opportunity. The rules, standards, and regulations written into our counties’ and cities’ codes can facilitate and incentivize active living… or they can create barriers. Active RVA is working to get more of the former and less of the latter.
  • Building a culture that celebrates every active lifestyle. Getting active doesn’t just mean running or going to the gym. It looks a little different for each of us and we can learn from and celebrate every sport, hobby, or routine.
  • Leveraging the best of what we have. From our rivers to our trails, and our gyms to our schools, our community has a lot already going for it. We can feature and grow what our best resources have to offer.


For over twenty years, the Sports Backers has supported Richmonders to adopt an active lifestyle.  The impact has been transformational, as tens of thousands of participants in Sports Backers’ events and training teams have made physical activity a priority in their lives.

Sports Backers launched Active RVA in 2012 to build on this momentum and make active living a regional priority. In 2013, thousands of Richmonders affirmed the need for a groundbreaking new scale of leadership to build healthier communities through the work of the Capital Region Collaborative.  Active RVA is convening and coordinating that leadership and launching projects to help every corner of our community get active.

One of our first initiatives was the Active RVA Certification program for area schools and workplaces that weave physical activity into the culture of their communities.  To support them, we also created our Stairwell Initiative, providing free or low cost signage to promote taking the stairs. Every elevated heartbeat counts!

These early programs engaged our first partners – dozens of educators, workplace leaders, parents, and champions for physical activity and grew a foundation for Active RVA’s work for years to come.