Leaving a legacy

Notable gifts are aimed at long-term goals

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Print this page by Robert Powell
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Mary Pope Maybank Hutson and Megan Behrle are two alumnae
who left careers to work for the college. Photo by Mark Rhodes

Sometimes donors give money with hopes of seeing quick results from their contributions — helping people in distress, for example, with food or clothes.

Other donors, however, have long-term goals that may not even be achieved in their lifetimes. These contributors are building philanthropic legacies intended to benefit future generations.

In this seventh edition of the Generous Virginians Project, Virginia Business examines recent gifts made with that long-term view.

The lead story looks at the prospects for Sweet Briar College, a 115-year-old women’s college in Amherst County that was given up for dead last year because of a financial crisis.

Alumnae rallied to its rescue, taking control of the school and raising millions of dollars. The college’s current president, who will step down next year, says the startling turnaround could fundamentally alter the relationship between educational institutions and their graduates.

Another story looks at the impact of a $50 million gift made by NVR Inc. founder Dwight Schar and his wife, Martha, to an innovative cancer research center being developed by Inova Health System in Fairfax County. The center will focus on the specific genetic makeup of each patient and type of cancer being treated.

A third story examines a $100,000 donation used to establish a fund at the Virginia Historical Society in memory of J. Stewart Bryan III, a fourth-generation Richmond newspaperman, who died in January. The fund, which has attracted many additional donations, will be used to support research on journalism history and freedom of the press issues.

Also in the section is an interview with Sherrie Armstrong, the new president of The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia. TCF, the largest community foundation in Virginia, makes grants focused on long-term solutions.

The Generous Virginians Project includes a series of charts showing donations made by individuals, corporations and foundations during 2015. The chart information was primarily gathered in a survey of hundreds of businesses, foundations and nonprofit organizations throughout the commonwealth.

Redefining college ties
Alumnae devote money and talent to Sweet Briar’s revival.  by Gary Robertson

New role for a familiar leader
Community foundation CEO was longtime United Way executive.  by Robert Powell

Transforming treatment
Schars’ $50 million gift boosts efforts to build a personalized cancer center.  by Heather B. Hayes

Continuing a cause
Media General’s donation celebrates Stewart Bryan’s passion for journalism.  by Jack Cooksey

Grants by community foundations

Donations by companies and corporate foundations

Total corporate donations

Donations by independent foundations, groups

Donations by individuals and family foundations

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