Charity begins at home

Major gifts show philanthropists’ ties to institutions and communities.

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Print this page by M.J. McAteer

Recent major gifts show that, although prominent Virginia philanthropists donate to a variety of causes, they make common cause with a desire to have their donations benefit individual communities, often the ones in which they have built businesses and prospered.

Guy Beatty, for example, founded a real estate development company in Mclean in 1967. During the ensuing years, his enterprise, like the Northern Virginia area it serves, grew phenomenally. Now, he and his wife, Betty, are giving back to their region through the Betty L. Beatty and Guy E. Beatty Foundation.

The Beattys’ particular interest is health care, and they have been spectacularly supportive of Inova Fairfax Hospital. Their recent gift of $5 million to Inova came on top of about $7 million that they already had committed to the creation and maintenance of the Betty and Guy Beatty Center for Integrated Research. The center is a “bench to bedside” facility that tackles liver and obesity research. “We don’t often have these opportunities to grow in such a short time,” says Kate Luke, executive director of the Inova Health Foundation.

In December, the Beattys also gave $1 million to the Free Clinic of Franklin County. Guy Beatty traces his lineage to that part of Virginia, He also has been a longtime supporter of Rocky Mount’s Ferrum College and is a friend of its president, Jennifer Braaten. Beatty and Braaten had discussed the area’s health-care needs for several years. The Beattys’ gift will help build a 7,100-square-foot facility and expand staff to serve double the number of current patients. In addition, Ferrum students majoring in health-related fields will be able to intern at the clinic. The town-gown partnership “makes us all stronger,” says Kimberly P. Blair, Ferrum College’s vice president for institutional advancement.

Stanley F. Pauley’s story follows a similar arc: the head of a very successful local enterprise gives back — big time — to the community in which he lives and works. Pauley is the CEO of the Carpenter Co., a cushion and foam manufacturer that located in Richmond in 1956 and now posts estimated annual revenues of more than $1 billion. Like Guy and Betty Beatty, Pauley and his wife, Dorothy, have created a private charitable organization, the Pauley Family Foundation, which has been generous with a local hospital.

In 2006, the Pauleys’ $5 million gift to Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center led to the creation of the Pauley Heart Center. Their foundation in February announced another $5 million to expand care and research there. The gift was matched by the VCU Glasgow Endowment, creating a $10 million total donation. VCU is now recognized as having one of the top cardiovascular centers in the country, says Dr. Sheldon Retchin, CEO of the VCU Health System. The Pauleys, he says, “have a wonderful sense of the power of philanthropy. Their generosity is marked by wisdom and insight.”

Other Pauley gifts have enriched the lives of their fellow Richmonders in other ways. The couple has given $8 million to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and $3 million to CenterStage, where the four-story 80,000-square-foot Dorothy Pauley Square, which opened in 2009, houses workshops, performing spaces and galleries. Those donations gave “spark to a downtown renaissance,” says Richard M. Parison Jr., executive director of Richmond CenterStage. The Pauleys are committed to making their hometown “a vibrant, dynamic and creative city,” he says.

Like the Beattys and the Pauleys, Macon and Joan Brock of Virginia Beach have directed their altruism at improving the health of their community.  In 2012, the chairman and co-founder of the Chesapeake-based Dollar Tree Stores (revenue of $7.4 billion in fiscal year 2012) and his wife gave $3 million to Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk to establish the M. Foscue Brock Institute for Community and Global Health. The institute’s mission will be to instill a sense of community service in tomorrow’s health-care professionals. It is named after M. Foscue Brock, Macon Brock’s father, a physician who exemplified the institute’s ideal by making house calls and treating patients in a local sanitarium.

The health of the local environment is another cause embraced by the Brocks. They gave the Chesapeake Bay Foundation $3.5 million toward the creation of an educational center at Pleasure House Point in Virginia Beach.  Christy Everett, the foundation’s Hampton Roads director, says the foundation expects to break ground this summer. 

The Brocks also have been benefactors for Randolph-Macon College in Ashland and Longwood University in Farmville. Over the years, for example, they’ve bestowed more than $19 million on Randolph-Macon. (Macon Brock is a member of the class of ’64).
Philanthropists Hunter J. Smith and W. Heywood Fralin similarly have made headlines for their donations to Virginia educational institutions.

In January, Smith, a 1951 graduate of the College of William & Mary, gave her alma mater $10 million to help fund freshman seminars that emphasize writing and critical thinking. The gift, made through the Hunter Family Foundation, will help pay for materials, travel and the recruitment and training of instructors, says John T. Wallace, the college’s director of development communications.

Smith and her late husband, Carl W. Smith, the founder of coal and natural gas company Amvest, have been generous contributors to the University of Virginia as well. Carl Smith gave $23 million to U.Va., his alma mater, in 1997 to expand Scott Stadium. Hunter Smith has made gifts totaling $13 million during the past decade to the U.Va. Cavalier Marching Band and the university’s music program.

Fralin, chairman of the Medical Facilities of America Inc., based in Roanoke, also is a longtime donor to U.Va., from which he graduated in 1962. Last year, he and his wife, Cynthia, announced their intention to donate their 40-piece collection of American art, including works by John Singer Sargent and Mary Cassatt, to the university. In response to this gift and in recognition of Fralin’s years of service to the university, where he has been a trustee, the museum will be renamed the Fralin Museum of Art. Fralin has said his gift was particularly inspired by the museum’s extensive community outreach, and he has donated to the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke for the same reason.

Recently, Fralin, who, with his son, William, directs the Horace G. Fralin Charitable Trust, gave $5 million to Virginia Western Community College in Roanoke to help fund hundreds of STEM-H scholarships. (STEM-H stands for science, technology, engineering, and math-plus health care.) “Two-thirds of the college’s academic programs are aimed at filling the work-force needs of the region. Heywood liked that 85 percent of our graduates stay in the region,” says Virginia Western President Robert H. Sandel. Fralin says that STEM-H is “critical to the economic development of Roanoke Valley in a knowledge-based economy.”

“All of us have our priorities as to what will be most important to our localities and the commonwealth,” he says when asked about his donation to the community college and other nonprofits. “But once you establish your priorities, then you can [focus on] what you are trying to accomplish.” 
That seems to sum up the mindset of many Virginia philanthropists: Give from the heart, yes, but remember that home is where the heart is. 

Recent gifts

Here is a sampling of other major donations announced in 2013.

  • The Mulheren Family, of Paint Bank and Rumson, N.J., $25 million to Roanoke College.
  • Ferguson Enterprises Inc.Newport News, $12 million to Christopher Newport University over the next 30 years.
  • The late Virginia G. Ferguson, Virginia Beach, $5.85 million bequeathed to Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk.
  • Dave and Nancy Honeywell, a Stafford County couple who recently won the Virginia Lottery Powerball, $4 million to The Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region.
  • William E. Conway Jr. and Joanne Barkett ConwayMcLean, $5 million to the University of Virginia School of Nursing.
  • The Richard and Leslie Gilliam Foundation, Charlottesville, $1.8 million to James Madison University’s Gilliam Center for Free Enterprise and Ethical Leadership.



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