Bridging RVA

Connecting individuals, groups & causes to advance common good in our community.

Bridging RVA is a 501c3 nonprofit registered with the IRS and is officially incorporated with the state of Virginia. All donations are tax-deductible.

 Our Team

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Lee Ann Sawyer - Executive Director

Lee Ann was sold on the need for and the development of Bridging RVA ever since her husband John said, “I have an idea”. She has served in many capacities from the conception of the organization and has recently made the decision to use her 25 years of business leadership experience to further the organizations goals as Executive Director.

“I am passionate about helping people in need and creating a space where everyone is welcomed to make a positive impact on our community.”


Dan Gecker - Board Member

Dan’s dedication to the Richmond area is evidenced through his support of numerous organizations. As a founding board member of Bridging RVA, Dan's vast knowledge of business, law and government has proven to be invaluable to our mission.


Ilya Grossman - Board Member

Bio Coming Soon


Austin McDaniel - Board Member

Austin's business and project management experience have contributed to our mission. Austin has worked with several new business start-ups; and this was also helpful to us as he's one of our original board members. His business acumen and desire to help others make him a perfect fit at Bridging RVA


Joe Lomonaco - Board Member

Joe’s drive to serve others started when he had a new lease on life. After serving with Bridging RVA for a few years in a volunteer role, Joe became a board member. With 25 years of project management experience and 10 years in the food service industry, Joe adds another facet to the Board. Through his love of cooking and desire to make a difference, Joe conveys a lasting feeling of caring to others.

"Serving others fills me with a peaceful feeling that can only be described as 'rightness'."

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Tom O'Donnell - Board Member
Tom has been a member of Bridging RVA’s board from the beginning and is a lifelong resident of Richmond. He has nearly 30 years of business and investment experience. Tom welcomes all opportunities to solve problems and lend a helping hand.

"Bridging RVA provides so many wonderful opportunities to help our neighbors, serve those in need, make new friends, and experience the joy that comes from loving one another."

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Ginger O'Neil - Board Member

For as long as Ginger can remember, she's aimed to live by Maya Angelou's wise words-- "When you learn, teach. When you get, give." As a founding board member, Ginger generously shares her passion for community building and meaningful service by supporting Bridging RVA's signature projects and rapid response initiatives.

"Bridging RVA provides a great opportunity for me to live out the words of Maya Angelo, 'When you learn, teach. When you get, give.'"

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John Sawyer - Founder and Board Chairman

As John began sharing his thoughts and ideas pertaining to matters of common good in Richmond, others began to take note. After many cups of coffee with numerous people, John assembled an amazing board of like-mided Richmonders and created Bridging RVA. John's experience in the corporate world and faith based organizations has geeatly contributed to our mission and vision.

"When community forms around ideas, tasks or missions for the good of all people, we find common ground and discover one another in new and more meaningful ways."


Lee Skimmin - Board Member

After 27 years in the bar/nightclub/restaurant business, Lee decided it was time for a change. He currently works in logistics to provide goods and services to the men and women in our Armed Forces. His food service knowledge have further advanced our mission, especially the Christmas Day Dinner.

"Service, gladly rendered, obligations squarely met, troubles well accepted or solved with God's help, the knowledge that at home or in the world we are partners in a common effort..."


Ellen Thornhill - Board Member

Ellen’s background is in marketing and communications – helping for-profit and non-profit organizations tell their story in a clear and compelling way. Her work with non-profits helped her appreciate the power of collaboration to more effectively advance good in the community.

“I get really excited when people and groups come together to tackle a problem and make things better. I couldn’t imagine not being part of Bridging RVA.”