Companies and individuals step up during tough times

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Print this page by Paula C. Squires

The value of philanthropy takes on new meaning during an economic crunch. During the past few years, many companies and individuals in Virginia have stepped up, giving generously to help build schools, hospitals and museums. Donations also flowed to food banks, shelters and work-retraining programs to help the unemployed.

As New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg once said, “Every dollar makes a difference. And that’s true whether it’s Warren Buffett’s remarkable $31 billion pledge to the Gates Foundation, or my late father’s $25 check to the NAACP.”

The lists in this section provide a look at some of the major sources of giving in Virginia and some of the top recipients of the giving. In 2011, for example, Dominion Resources Inc. provided more than $21 million to local nonprofits.

Family foundations, established by wealthy families, provide another valuable source of funding. The Batten Foundation in Norfolk has donated millions in recent years to several Virginia colleges, including $10 million to the University of Virginia. 

Sometimes there’s a personal connection. James W. McGlothlin and his wife, Fran, gave a $25 million gift to Virginia Commonwealth University to help build a medical classroom building. The gift was in recognition of Dr. Harold Young, head of the school’s neurosurgery department, who had treated McGlothlin for severe back pain.

Individual companies also support specific projects. Sentara Healthcare in Norfolk recently donated $10 million to Eastern Virginia Medical School. The health-care system earmarked $5 million for a simulation and learning endowment and $5 million for a center for geriatrics and gerontology endowment. 

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