Hours before accepting an award at the 6th annual Diamond Awards on Saturday, Feb. 29, at Morehouse College, actor Robert Ri’chard discussed the importance of giving back and the importance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

“Any opportunity that I have to find some young people and inspire them, I’m first in line,” Ri’chard said. “I grew up in a household where my grandfather told me to give much, ask little and inspire all, so that’s my mission on earth.”

With over 24 years in the entertainment industry, Ri’chard has made a name for himself not only as an actor, but also as a contributor in the community, both in his hometown of Los Angeles and Atlanta.

“One thing that I do all the time, in Skid Row downtown, I always get all my neighbors to give them clothes,” Ri’chard said

“A lot of kids in the world have my telephone number and they call me. They’re like, ‘Rob, I’m struggling.’ And if I can be a little bit of a light to give them some understanding and some direction, I’m all for it.”

The Diamond Awards benefits the Not Alone Foundation (NAF), a non-profit dedicated to the awareness and prevention of kidney disease. The organization works to enhance the quality of life of kidney disease sufferers by providing educational and medical resources and financial assistance for those with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage renal disease. It also provides outreach for the families of kidney disease sufferers.

More than 400 people are expected to attend the star-studded event honoring excellence in business, leadership, service, and entertainment, as well as the accomplishments of women.

Ri’chard will be accepting his award along with actor Keith David; Raphael W. Bostic, president CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta; Gennadi Nedvigin, artistic director of The Atlanta Ballet; Joe Handy, president of Georgia Aquarium Foundation; Clyde Higgs, CEO of Atlanta Beltline, Inc.; Dr. Eloisa Klementich, president and CEO of Invest Atlanta; along with many of major influencers in the community.

He said his brother, who lives in Atlanta, will be the one presenting him with his award.

In Atlanta, Ri’chard has done extensive work with the Atlanta University Center Consortium (AUCC) interacting with students on campus and holding events devoted to fitness.

“I have a really strong draw to HBCUs. Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) was the school that I got admitted to and it was where a dean gave me that young person to adult validation. I know that HBCUs do that for so many African American kids who need that,” Ri’chard said.”

Within the last couple of years, Ri’chard devoted his time to HighwayFit, an on-the-go fitness program that he created, along with healthcare professionals, to help average people get healthy.

“HighwayFit’s taken on a whole identity of its own,” Ri’chard said. “I think about people being so vulnerable with me because of HighwayFit. My whole life’s turned around since HighwayFit.”

(Photo: Courtesy of Robert Ri'chard)
(Photo: Courtesy of Robert Ri’chard)

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