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Inspired by the story of Thomas Cannon, the Help Somebody Hall of Fame is a platform to honor selfless individuals in our community. Thomas Cannon worked as a Richmond City postal worker, and throughout his lifetime generously gave away more than $150,000. His donations were made mostly in thousand-dollar checks, showing that small gestures can make a big impact. He gave to people who demonstrated remarkable courage or generosity, or who experienced a challenging time, often reading about them in the Richmond Times Dispatch. According to a 2005 Richmond Times Dispatch article published shortly after his death, Thomas Cannon did not want to attach his name to any efforts to carry on his philanthropy. “What he wanted in his honor and memory, he told the Times-Dispatch, was simple: ‘Help Somebody.’”
An anonymous TCF donor was so inspired by Thomas Cannon’s story that he created the Help Somebody Hall of Fame to recognize giving individuals, in addition to donating $1,000 awards to nonprofits in their honor. Nominations are invited from the community at large to recognize a nonprofit staff member, client, volunteer, neighbor.…anyone residing in Greater Richmond who is making a positive difference. Twice a month a new name will be added to the Hall of Fame, and ConnectVA.org will feature their story.
Know a deserving individual you’d like to recognize? We encourage you to share their name and story by completing a simple nomination form and answering three questions:
Access the Nomination form here: http://bit.ly/HelpSomebodyForm
Each quarter, a random drawing will be held and two $1,000 awards will be made to a nonprofit organization, in honor of a nominated outstanding community member (chosen by the nominee). Interested in learning how you can leave a legacy as Thomas Cannon did? The Community Foundation can help! Learn about 5 fulfilling ways to give through TCF.
At The Community Foundation, we know that no individual or organization alone can solve a problem as complex as intergenerational poverty. That is why we must work together toward shared goals and collaborative efforts that will create powerful, lasting change for our region.
It is in this spirit that The Community Foundation has committed $750,000 over 3 years to support the Choice Neighborhood Initiative, a comprehensive plan to transform Richmond's East End from a community rooted in segregation and disinvestment into a community of choice and opportunity. The work will begin in Creighton Court, the second largest of the city's six public housing communities. Led by Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority and informed by neighborhood leaders, the strategy is built on empowering the people of the East End by providing choice: of housing, employment, education and health within their own community.
Funding from TCF helps meet the local funding match required for Richmond to be considered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for a Choice Neighborhood implementation grant, which would bring $30 million to support this revitalization. Our support will help bring services directly to residents, reflecting our desire to help individuals and families achieve educational success, economic prosperity and health and wellness.
PERSISTENT POVERTY: UNDERSTANDING THE ISSUE
Richmond is experiencing an influx of business development, internationally acclaimed arts and recreational opportunities and a robust housing market. However, in stark contrast to these exciting growth opportunities, we have extreme pockets of poverty and communities where educational attainment, income and life expectancy are all significantly lower than their suburban counterparts. Over 20,000 residents live in public housing communities located in Richmond’s East End. These communities are over 75 years old and were born from segregation and disinvestment. Struggling to find hope and help, residents of these communities have little to no access to early childhood education, transportation or employment opportunities, and live in housing so old it causes health issues, especially in children.
About Creighton Court:
STEPS WE HAVE TAKEN
The Community Foundation has prioritized the East End since 2009 with funding, staff leadership, and co-investment with our donors. In the last 3 years alone, TCF and its donors have invested over $7 million. Together, we have:
Our nonprofit partners are stronger today because of these investments. However, extreme concentrated poverty, and the challenges that come with it, still exist.
CHOICE NEIGHBORHOOD INITIATIVE: A NEW, POWERFUL OPPORTUNITY FOR CHANGE
The Choice Neighborhood Initiative is an opportunity to transform a housing project into a thriving neighborhood. A team of civic and neighborhood leaders is crafting a bold plan to transform public housing and the surrounding neighborhood in Church Hill. This work will begin in Creighton Court, a public housing community of 504 families located in Richmond’s East End.
We believe this opportunity places Richmond on the cusp of real change. Stay tuned for updates about HUD funding and upcoming tours of the revitalization zone!
The majority of grantmaking from The Community Foundation is done at the direction of donors who choose to partner with us on their philanthropy. We are privileged to work with hundreds of individuals, families and businesses who enjoy the opportunity to focus on how they want to make a difference, while we take care of the administrative details. Their collective generosity has resulted in $18 million in donor-directed grants for a variety of causes so far this year!
Our staff is always available to provide guidance as needed, with years of experience in matching donor interests with the good work happening throughout our region. While donor-directed grants often align with the Foundation’s focus areas, individuals may also recommend support for other interests like animal welfare, religious institutions or even organizations in other communities where they have ties. Whatever your passion, we can conduct research and help you achieve the greatest possible impact.
6 reasons to partner with TCF
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We are halfway through the year and already we have accomplished so much together, all to create a stronger, healthier and more vibrant RVA. Through June 30th, The Community Foundation and its funding partners – including the Jenkins Foundation, Pauley Family Foundation and REB Foundation – awarded $6 million in competitive grants. These are grants provided through an application process to support initiatives that address important community issues and build the capacity of organizations and their leaders. Competitive grant programs are made possible by the generosity of past donors, the participation of donor advisors who wish to leverage greater impact and the leadership of several volunteer committees.
(RICHMOND, VA)…Members of the Ujima Legacy Fund – a giving circle created by and for African American men – announced two new grants of $20,000 each to Richmond Cycling Corps and Excel To Excellence. They honored the recipients at a celebration at the Richmond Cycling Corps Bike Park on June 2, 2016.
The grant to Richmond Cycling Corps will provide employment opportunities for youth who participate in this unique program that uses the bicycle as a tool to help youth in public
housing break free from systemic poverty. While the program has proudly produced the only two inner-city youth cycling teams in the nation, it also offers its youth participants a good dose of tough love. Central to its mission, Richmond Cycling Corps provides a range of case management services to help these young people navigate life and learn personal accountability. This year, with support from Ujima Legacy Fund, 6 young people will be offered summer jobs as assistant coaches, bike patrol members and maintenance staff for a large scale community garden project.
The grant to Excel to Excellence will allow the program to expand from two to four schools in 2016, reaching an additional 60 students. Developed by Richmond native and former NFL player Michael Robinson, Team Excel is an ongoing academic program that encourages youth to excel in the classroom throughout the school year. The program uses a “reverse” fantasy football concept in which students are coached by professional athletes and community mentors. Each week, youth participants receive individual and team scores based on their grades, attendance and community service. Aimed at bridging the achievement gap in Henrico County, Team Excel is designed to help students increase their classroom performance, learn life skills and explore career opportunities.
“Richmond Cycling Corps and Team Excel represent two inspiring examples of what can happen when you believe and invest in the potential of young people,” said Immanuel Sutherland, leadership team member, of Ujima Legacy Fund. “The members of the Ujima Legacy Fund are proud to make a collective investment that will help these organizations continue to grow and innovate and to provide young people from our communities with life-changing opportunities that will help them achieve in school and in life.”
In 2013, The Ujima Legacy Fund was launched as a way to make philanthropy engaging and accessible for African American men in the Richmond region. Ujima is named after the third day of Kwanzaa and means collective work and responsibility. One of three giving circles created in partnership with The Community Foundation, Ujima members pool contributions of $1,100 each to generate greater community impact. Together, they select at least one local nonprofit organization annually that they feel best demonstrates the ability to empower youth through education-related initiatives, with a particular emphasis on underserved youth. Since inception, membership has grown to 43 men and has awarded a total of $128,000 to six organizations.
We are pleased to share that 184 scholars were awarded scholarships totaling over $380,000 to continue their education journey. More than 60 scholarships are offered annually through The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia for graduating seniors and adult learners. Through establishing a scholarship fund at TCF, donors have the opportunity to help local students pursue their dreams of higher education based on merit or financial need.
At our recent scholarship celebration, donors and staff members recognized award recipients and celebrated their bright futures. Sr. Vice President of Philanthropy Services Molly Dean Bittner welcomed those in attendance and shared with the students: “Your aspirations are far reaching, and above all, your commitment to service sets you apart. Please accept our congratulations for your accomplishments to date, and for the many accomplishments that are promised in your futures.” The generosity of donors will continue to impact the lives of these students for years to come, and we wish them all the best.
Congratulations to all 2017 scholarship award recipients!
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A generous $20M bequest will support nonprofits in Richmond and Mount Airy, NC.
James M. (“Jim”) Frye died in April 2015, leaving a philanthropic legacy to the communities he loved. The $20 million bequest to The Community FoundationServing Richmond and Central Virginia endows an unrestricted fund that will enhance local grantmaking, as well as restricted endowments that will provide ongoing support to over 30 eligible organizations in Richmond and Mt. Airy, NC. In addition to the bequest to The Community Foundation, his estate provided direct charitable bequests to a number of organizations.
At age 84, Jim looked back on a life of singular accomplishment. He rose from depression-era poverty in Mount Airy, North Carolina to become Director of Government Relations for Phillip Morris, one of the world's largest and most profitable public companies. After retirement in 1988, he served the company as a consultant for 19 more years, completing a remarkable 55 years of service. Jim and the many leaders who worked alongside him helped build the company into the leader in the tobacco industry.
Jim was known for his deep friendships, his good humor, and his integrity in business and in life. He graduated from the University of Richmond in 1953, gaining admission on a football scholarship. Then he joined his lifetime employer as a management trainee, earning an MBA from Richmond while working full-time. He served his country two years in the Army, including a year in Japan right after the Korean Conflict.
His potential for leadership was recognized in 1966 with a posting to the Brookings Institution as a Public Affairs Fellow, and there he served Congressman Gerald Ford, who would go on to be America's 38th President. That relationship would result in a lifelong friendship. The President's balanced and unselfish approach to problems influenced Jim in business and philanthropy.
Jim knew that both organizations and community needs change over time. This made him reluctant to set aside significant capital for a cause unless he could be assured that the organization would be monitored and his committed funds managed professionally. Jim learned of The Community Foundation in 1997 and, true to his creed, investigated it. He crafted a careful plan to give nearly all of his savings to charitable causes after the death of he and his wife, Virginia Nash Frye. In the meantime, he gave generously and always anonymously each year. His plan included meaningful capital gifts to selected charities including St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church (his church), Virginia Home for Boys and Girls (board member for 15 years) and others in Mount Airy.
The balance of his estate was gifted to The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia to fund endowments for ongoing support of his chosen causes, but with 25% reserved to address community needs as identified by the Foundation. Of particular importance to Jim Frye was the duty of the Foundation to monitor the organizations selected and to move endowment support to other organizations if they failed to perform effectively or if the need served dwindled.
Always a very private person, Jim requested toward the end of his life that the details of his plan be publicized after his death. This was not for his aggrandizement ("After all I won't be around," Jim said with typical wry humor) but to encourage others to give.
Frye’s philanthropy was influenced by his life experience – growing up during the Depression when basic things were scarce; mentors during his life who coached and encouraged his talent and leadership; the loss of loved ones due to health considerations; and, his faith. His legacy of philanthropy is captured in the themes of helping children, promoting the dignity and well-being of less fortunate persons, supporting health and expressing faith through community outreach. Jim’s wife of 47 years, ‘Lucky’ as she was known to her close friends, died in 2010. In addition to his charitable gifts, Jim Frye left meaningful bequests to his and Lucky's extended family members and a few close friends.
During the time Jim worked with Philip Morris, the company was making its first charitable grants. Today, the company’s philanthropic legacy spans 50+ years, setting a corporate culture of giving and community engagement by company leaders and employees. Jim was fully invested in Philip Morris, and contributed significantly to the company’s strong performance during his career. In his eulogy to Frye, long-time friend Bill Leidinger exclaimed that “Jim just didn’t work for Philip Morris. Jim was Philip Morris! He was Philip Morris personified.”
Friends report that Frye never sold a share of Philip Morris and he would acquire the stock whenever he could. The Philip Morris Companies (now Altria) investment story has been an amazing one in its own right. A $360 investment in just 10 Altria shares in 1970 would have grown to more than $500,000 today, with reinvested dividends. But it was Frye’s investment acumen and discipline that Jim brought to actively managing his own money in retirement that proved to be brilliant and produced the wealth that enabled his philanthropy.
Jim’s loyalty to Altria, his entrepreneurial spirit and his compassion for others translated into millions for the communities he loved and will now benefit countless people through this bequest to The Community Foundation.
Organizations benefiting from Frye’s Estate are as follows:
Learn more about establishing a fund at The Community Foundation.
November 10, 2015
(RICHMOND, VA) – At an awards ceremony held Monday evening, The Community Foundation and the R.E.B. Foundation recognized 34 outstanding public school teachers selected as finalists for the 2015 R.E.B. Awards for Teaching Excellence. Considered among the best in their field, these exceptional instructors demonstrate a sincere passion for teaching while also serving as mentors, coaches and champions for their students. Selected from 102 teachers nominated by students, parents and colleagues, 16 winners and 18 finalists will receive cash grants totaling $185,100.
The R.E.B. Awards provide opportunities for area public school teachers to continue their own love of learning as they pursue adventures of a lifetime. For Evette Cartwright, a 5th grade teacher at G.W. Carver Elementary School in Richmond City, an R.E.B. Award of $11,900 will allow her to travel to Jamaica and Hawaii where she will take a deep dive into science topics covered by the 5th grade SOLs, including geology, oceanography and cultural anthropology.
Brian Letourneau, a history teacher at Hanover High School, goes above and beyond to embrace his students’ learning styles by supporting them on their terms – including late night emails, text reminders, and study sessions at Barnes & Noble. With his award of $11,900, Brian will deepen his understanding of our great nation by visiting the American Presidential Libraries and attending a history education workshop at Stanford University. Brian will share his experiences with students through videos, blogs and pictures of each historical site.
Culinary arts teacher at Chesterfield Technical Center, Sarah Jurewicz, engages her students by weaving art, science, math, reading and economics into her baking lessons. One of her students notes, “Ms. Jurewicz inspires me and challenges me in ways that no teacher has before.” With an award of $12,000, Sarah will explore the purity of ingredients and origins of pastry arts within the countries of Austria, Switzerland and Belgium.
Connected by a desire to make their lessons relevant, all of this year’s R.E.B. award recipients will have a chance to collect real-life experiences, stories and artifacts to refuel their passion for teaching and enhance their ability to bring subject matter to life for their students.
Robert Warren Benway - LC Bird High School (CH) $9,000
To visit the top Maker Spaces in the San Francisco Bay area and attend the international Maker Faire in Singapore; and to visit Cambodia to determine how students can build prosthetics to help the victims of land mine accidents.
Polly Lynne Bosse - Kaechele Elementary School (HE) $11,500
To travel to Hawaii, with a stop in Los Angeles, to gain hands-on experiences and create a multimedia journal of sea animals, marine plants, and island culture.
Mary Victoria Carll - Open High School (RI) $11,800
To travel to Peru and Cuba in order to compare a country that has maintained its historical legacy and cultural and linguistic identities in the face of the 21st century against a country that is just now emerging into the global sphere.
Evette Upshaw Cartwright - G.W. Carver Elementary School (RI) $11,900
To travel to Jamaica and Hawaii to explore the oceanic regions of the East and West Coasts and study geophysical flows, specifically the atmosphere and oceans.
Stephanie Gianni Cochrane - Woolridge Elementary School (CH) $8,200
To travel to the Scottish Lowlands, highlands, and islands seeking inspiration within the landscape, architecture and castles, and the cultural tradition of storytelling.
Teresa Ann Cole - Short Pump Middle School (HE) $12,000
To improve research and writing instruction by traveling to England, France, Germany and Italy to study ancestral culture and history.
Mark Evan Dillon - Bailey Bridge Middle School (CH) $7,400
To experience the Lewis and Clark expedition by retracing their journey from St. Louis, up the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, over the Continental Divide, down the Columbia River and to the Pacific Ocean.
Pamela M. Hall - Cosby High School (CH) $12,000
To lead her class in a virtual field trip/math project based learning activity that focuses on challenges faced by the youth in Richmond, Hawaii & Haiti; and to attend a National Geographic photo workshop.
Sarah Frances Jurewicz - Chesterfield Technical Center (CH) $12,000
To explore the purity of ingredients and origins of pastry arts within the countries of Austria, Switzerland, and Belgium.
Erik Siegfried Leise - Atlee High School (HA) $11,800
To visit Moscow, St. Petersburg and Paris to compare and contrast the Art Deco Movement and the Russian Constructivist Movement of the Early Modernist Period.
Brian Matthew Letourneau - Hanover High School (HA) $11,900
To create engaging U.S. history instructional materials based on information gleaned from the libraries of recent American presidents, a history education workshop at Stanford, and the International Society for Technology in Education conference.
Lauren Melton Lineweaver - Falling Creek Elementary School (CH) $8,100
To travel within the United States to experience cultural and historical landmarks which celebrate our country’s rich history.
Kelly Ann Pace - Atlee High School (HA) $10,800
To find writing inspiration by completing a street photography course and traveling to five U.S. cities, taking photographs of people and places in each location.
Kristen Mae Reynolds - Clover Hill Elementary School (CH) $9,200
To explore practical applications of student leadership by attending the Leader in Me Leadership Symposium; and to expand knowledge of global partnership/service leadership by touring Heifer International Global Village and working in Haitian communities.
Dawn Chentil Sherwood - Highland Springs High School (HE) $12,000
To travel to Antarctica and Rapa Nui (Easter Island) to photograph wildlife and learn about the effects of climate change and sustainability issues.
Joy Marie Siegel - Shady Grove Elementary School (HE) $12,000
To research historical and current points of view of the English, Irish, Northern Irish, and Scottish about colonization, independence, and cultural adaptations through on-site visits, conversation and dance.
All finalists not chosen for a professional development grant will receive a $750 unrestricted cash grant in recognition of their achievements in the classroom.
Learn how to nominate your favorite teacher
Click to learn about TCF's four strategic focus areas.
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