Board of Trustees member is advocate for literacy, fair housing and education

Board of Trustees member is advocate for literacy, fair housing and education

Board of Trustees member is advocate for literacy, fair housing and education


Anntoinette White-Richardson

Anntoinette “Toni” White-Richardson’s love of education and history has served her well in her career and as a UDC Board of Trustees member. She champions several causes, including adult literacy, housing, economic opportunity and educational advancement at UDC. Richardson (’95) graduated from the University with a Master of Arts in Adult Education. She earned undergraduate degrees in sociology and theatre from George Washington University in 1980.

A six-generation Washingtonian, Richardson is active in numerous community-based organizations focused on improving the lives of DC residents and cultural enrichment for the District.

For the past 25 years, Richardson has worked as an education specialist in the Adult Literacy Resource Center at the DC Public Library, working with teens and adults learning to read, working on their GED, and preparing to enter the workforce. She also teaches English as a Second Language (ESL) and provides resources for adult learners learning to read.

In her role, she has successfully created programs to increase adult literacy through creative programs such as her series “Feel for Movies,” where she encourages reading by giving away books after showing movies they are based on. Participants watch movies at the library, or she brings them on the road to two senior apartments. Following the film, the companion books are distributed each month.

“We get them interested in the book,” she said. “Now they can read it at their leisure. After watching the movie together, they have a reason to read the book.”

Richardson also runs a book club for lower-level readers called “A Feel for Books,” where she helps program participants find books with topics of interest.

“My master’s in adult education opened the door for me to be in this field,” Richardson said. “What brought me to UDC after George Washington University was I realized I wanted another experience at an HBCU. At the time, UDC was the only one that offered the adult education master’s degree. The experience was awesome.”

“My job is a perfect match for what I wanted to do. I realized later in life that I love teaching, especially the population of teenagers and young adults, because they bring something to the table, and it is reciprocated. I get to expound on their ideas and expand it.”

Richardson joined the UDC Board of Trustees during the pandemic in 2020 and is in the third year of a five-year term as an alumni representative. During her time on the Board, she said she is proud of her work with fellow Board member Barrington Scott who led the campaign to rename the sports complex on campus in honor of Dr. Edwin Bancroft Henderson and preparation for a statue in his honor in front of the building in June.

“I felt very good about the work that was being done,” she said. “I did not let him be a lone soldier.”

“The other thing that I’m very proud of is helping to keep alumni issues on the front burner. As we do things at the University, we don’t want to forget the alumni. The University leadership understands that reaching out to us is very important.”

Richardson is also excited about strengthening the UDC National Alumni Society to get things done.

“I have worked on projects and programs for the last ten years, including toy drives, meet and greets, awards dinners, and attending membership meetings. In addition, she participated and supported homecoming activities, including plaza events, homecoming coronations, and concerts.

“I want the future of UDC to be one of pride for those who have gone, who are there and who are to come,” Richardson said. “We can’t forget the shoulders that we stand on. We can’t forget our historical place in this country and Black history.”

A community activist, Richardson has held leadership roles in several organizations, including serving as president of the Delta Housing Corporation of the District of Columbia (2016-2020), which provided affordable housing for seniors. She was also president of AFSCME District Council 20 (2014-2017) and AFSCME Local 1808 (2003-2019).

In addition, she was co-chair of the DC One Fund Campaign (2012-2015), which raised more than $2 million. Richardson was a Taskforce member of the Negotiated Employee Assistance Home Purchase Program (NEAHP), which provides funding for unionized city employees to purchase homes. She was president of the Washington DC Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (2006-2008).

With her family’s long history in the District, Richardson has enjoyed genealogy and has taken a personal interest in preserving the historically African American grave sites in DC. She has served as the vice president of the Woodlawn Cemetery Perpetual Care Association (2016-present).

Her love of theatre has put her on stage, including a leading role in “A Community Carol” at the Arena Stage in 1993, which brought raving reviews for her role as Penny Crachit. She is also a current board member of The Essential Theatre in DC since 2017. The theatre is a non-profit professional theatre with productions that reflect the African American experience.

When she isn’t involved with her work, civic duties, and hobbies of sewing, painting, and historical research, she spends quality time with her husband, who works in telecommunications in the DC government and her family members.

“I’ve been very blessed in my life,” Richardson said. “I take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves, and I have evolved a sense of staying woke. For us to thrive, black people in America need to understand the power of collectiveness.”