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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.
(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.
Now in its fifth year, the Ujima Legacy Fund has harnessed the generosity of its 40 members to award two grants of $20,000 each to Higher Achievement and Mega Mentors. Created with the goal to increase the philanthropic impact of African American men in the Greater Richmond region, the Ujima Legacy Fund focuses its grant program on organizations working to empower youth through education-related programs. Cumulative grantmaking now totals $168,000 to 8 area nonprofits.
Higher Achievement closes the opportunity gap for underserved students through intensive after-school and summer programs that provide expanded learning, mentorship and opportunity. Scholars begin as rising 5th and 6th graders and remain in the program through 8th grade. Support from the Ujima Legacy Fund will allow Higher Achievement to grow in response to increased demand and high retention by scaling programming at the newest of their four sites – Binford and Wilder Middle Schools. It means that next school year more than 300 scholars will realize gains equivalent to an extra 48 days of learning in math and an extra 30 days in reading; and most importantly, they will be on track for college with the character, confidence and skills to succeed.
Mega Mentors was created in 2009 when then superintendent Dr. Marcus Newsome asked African American community leaders to be role models for students in Chesterfield County. While intentional about working with African American students, the volunteer-run program is designed to improve academic performance, increase graduation rates and reduce disciplinary issues for all middle and high school students who are underserved or disenfranchised. This year, 150 volunteer mentors work with 500 middle and high school students in 7 schools. Grant funding will support a part-time coordinator to help grow the program to serve more schools and students, provide greater consistency and build stronger partnerships and collaborations.
In 2013, Ujima Legacy Fund launched 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 emphasis on underserved youth.
Learn more about collective giving networks
RICHMOND, VA – SisterFund, the newest giving circle created in partnership with The Community Foundation, has awarded a grant of $20,000 to Children’s Home Society. The grant will support the Possibilities Project, a collaboration between Children’s Home Society of Virginia and Better Housing Coalition. Funds will be used to provide trauma-informed supports including access to education, safe housing and life coaching for young women aging out of the foster care system.
“We are excited to partner with the women of SisterFund to produce better results for foster care youth in Virginia,” said Nadine Marsh-Carter, executive director of the Children’s Home Society of Virginia. “For youth entering the world without the supports of family or resources, this grant can be the difference between a path to incarceration or homelessness and a future in which they are empowered to live independently and become successful, thriving adults.”
The Possibilities Project addresses the young peoples’ emotional health as well as their critical need for lifelong connections. The long-term goal is to create a model based on best practices that can be replicated across Virginia and across the country.
“With so many compelling proposals, this was a hard choice,” said Evette Roots, founding member and marketing chair. “Ultimately, we were inspired by The Possibilities Project’s comprehensive approach and its long-term goals to affect systems change statewide. We felt we could make a difference financially, but also by staying informed and engaging in public policy.”
SisterFund was founded in October 2015 by several committed and passionate individuals including Veronica Fleming, The Honorable Cynthia Newbille, Greta J. Harris, Evette T. Roots, The Honorable Ellen F. Robertson, and The Honorable Delores McQuinn. Its purpose is to unite women around the power of collective philanthropy. In its inaugural year, 26 members came together to broaden their collective awareness about issues affecting African American women and girls and to support nonprofits serving this population through opportunities in education, workforce and leadership development.
“SisterFund is an experience that embraces all aspects of philanthropy. We are learning together, giving together and celebrating the joy of achieving greater impact together,” said Roots. “Now that we have made our first grant, we are extremely motivated to grow our circle and expand our support for community initiatives.”
Anyone who would like to join SisterFund or learn more about its grant program is encouraged to visit www.sisterfundrva.org or call The Community Foundation at (804) 330-7400.
RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 18, 2015) – After 36 hours of online donations, more than $1.8 million was raised during the 2015 Amazing Raise for Central Virginia nonprofits. The Sept. 16-17 event, organized by The Community Foundation, was designed to expand philanthropy in our region and encourage people to support their favorite organizations.
A total of 21,138 donations were given during the event. Of the 650 participating nonprofits, 553 received donations. These organizations provide services in all areas of community life from animal welfare and arts to human services and health care.
“The Amazing Raise is such a success because of the diversity of both donors and nonprofits who have a passion for our community,” said Sherrie Brach, President & CEO of The Community Foundation. “We’re overwhelmed with the growth and excitement the event generates each year. The Amazing Raise shows that philanthropy is something everyone can participate in.”
The Community Foundation, along with event sponsors, distributed $189,500 in prize money to participating nonprofits. To earn incentive prizes, nonprofits organized morning coffees and cocktail hours, along with launching email and social media campaigns.
For the 2015 event, organizers also created a Youth Tool Kit to highlight the importance of instilling the philanthropic spirit in children at a young age and that everyone has something to give. With support from the Aprahamian Family Fund at The Community Foundation, several youth-serving organizations were able to participate in this meaningful discussion and make donations to one or two nonprofits of their choice.
“Our students reminded us that this event is about much more than counting gifts or dollars raised,” said Lauren Devitt, Development Director at Elk Hill. “As a group, they explored a list of causes to find a mission that spoke to their hearts to support during the Raise. In the end, they voted for the Richmond SPCA because they connected with the ‘true stories of endangered animals left out in the cold’ and loved how the SPCA supported and cared for these animals.”
The Amazing Raise kicked off a week earlier with the Amazing Raise 5K on Sept. 10. More than $19,000 was distributed to nonprofits on behalf of participants.
Based on the most donations of $50 or more by unique donors
TowneBank Grand Prize Winner – CHAT – $15,000
885 unique donations; $62,522
2nd Place – Community Ideas Station (WCVE) – $10,000
405 unique donations; $42,751
3rd Place – Elijah House Academy – $7,500
337 unique donations; $29,860
TowneBank Grand Prize Winner – Richmond Center for Christian Study – $15,000
491 unique donations, $37,464
2nd Place – Blue Sky Fund – $10,000
474 unique donations; $28,150
3rd Place – Southside SPCA – $7,500
322 unique donations; $23,900
To learn more about local nonprofits or to make a donation to your favorite cause, please visit GiveRichmond.
(RICHMOND, VA) – The Community Foundation and the R.E.B. Foundation recognize 30 outstanding public school teachers selected as finalists for the 2016 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 nominations submitted by students, parents and colleagues, 17 winners and 13 finalists will receive cash grants totaling $185,850.
This year’s awards are bittersweet with the recent loss of the program’s benefactor, Rudy Bunzl. Together with his wife Esther, Rudy was a faithful champion for public education and believed that strong teachers are pivotal to its success. The R.E.B. Awards for Teaching Excellence is among their most notable and continuous contributions in philanthropy, distributing $3.4 million in professional development grants to over 740 public school teachers since 1988.
“The Bunzls have touched countless lives through this unique program,” said Sherrie Armstrong, President and CEO of The Community Foundation. “In a profession that is often under-recognized, their vision has made dreams come true. By gifting opportunities of a lifetime through travel or continued education, teachers return to the classroom with innovative ideas and a renewed sense of energy that inspires both their students and fellow educators.”
This year’s recipients will build on the lasting legacy of Rudy and Esther Bunzl. Connected by a desire to make their lessons relevant, all of the 2016 awardees 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.
Hanover County Winners
LIST OF 2016 WINNERS
Sarah Anzelmo-Steele, Lucille Brown Middle School (RI)
$11,000 to explore the classic tale, Anne of Green Gables, including a visit to Poland where Anne played a significant role in the Polish Resistance.
Whitney Wells-Cornfield, John M. Grandy Elementary (HA)
$10,500 to explore the rich culture and landscape of New Zealand while capturing images of fractals for use in math and science lessons.
Mindy Dobrinski, Holman Middle School (HE)
$11,000 to explore the diverse climates, cuisines, and cultures of the four corners of the United States.
Alfonso J. Favale, Springfield Park Elementary (HE)
$8,000 to create a series of videos that compare and contrast the cultures, landscapes and ecologies of Alaska and Hawaii.
Tiffany Floyd, James H. Blackwell Elementary School (RI)
$12,000 to travel to Finland during the winter season.
Lisa Grossman, Maude Trevvett Elementary School (HE)
$8,000 to explore of the furthest corners of Virginia – from Williamsburg to the Eastern Shore, Northern Virginia to the Valley, the small towns of Southwestern Virginia and beyond.
Micheal Harvey, Chesterfield Career and Technical Center (CH)
$9,800 to learn about alternative and emerging energy sources through visits to various plants in the United States including the Hoover Dam, Copper Mountain Solar Facility and Kodiak Electrical Company’s wind turbines.
Terry Lautzenheiser, Chesterfield County Technical Center (CH)
$11,000 to study hybrid and heirloom breeding techniques and explore community-supported agriculture by touring community gardens, small farms and markets.
Lisa R. Mitchell, William Fox Elementary School (RI)
$12,000 to travel to Portugal and England to experience and research the food traditions of her ancestors through cooking classes and food workshops.
Robert Motrynczuk, Spring Run Elementary School (CH)
$11,000 to travel to Hawaii and New Zealand to study and experience the math and science of extreme sports by Heli-boarding, Kiteboarding, and Bungee Jumping.
Amy Petersen, Midlothian High School (CH)
$11,000 to journey to Southern France where she will participate in an immersion language course and tour ancient sites related to the Roman expansion in Gaul.
Richard (Paul) Rozecki, Atlee High School (HA)
$8,000 to attend the 2017 Spirit of America Visual Design Retreat and study Pyware and Pygraphics, which will help him design new and innovative band drills.
Tonya Sikkar, South Anna Elementary School (HA)
$11,000 to participate in the MOVE Program, an international program that focuses on movement as a way of life for individuals with disabilities.
Eugene Streett, Cosby High School (CH)
$11,000 to visit Rome, Istanbul and Jerusalem – three cities at the intersection of history and religion.
Kevin Trent, Patrick Henry High School (HA)
$10,800 to explore history and culture of South America by connecting with a former exchange student in Brazil and visiting the family of an Argentine friend in Argentina.
Sara Vogt, Glen Allen High School (HE)
$10,000 to participate in the High School Teacher Program at CERN, The European Organization for Nuclear Research, and to travel to Southeast Asia.
Kyla Zabala, Highland Springs High School (HE)
$10,000 to tour historical theatres to compare current and historical trends by focusing on the lives of several famous poets and playwrights.
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 more about the R.E.B. Awards for Teaching Excellence
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.
Click to learn about TCF's four strategic focus areas.
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