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Charitable contributions support the quality of life

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Print this page by Paula C. Squires
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Philanthropy plays an important role in making Virginia an attractive place to live and work. During the past year, donations have built academic and medical buildings, provided scholarships and funded research, an area typically hard hit during times of slow economic growth.

In fact among the 50 states, Virginia ranked as the sixth most generous during a recent survey. In 2011, based on an analysis by the Tax Foundation, nearly a third of the state’s residents, or 32.5 percent, claimed charitable contributions.

Often the wealthy give. Guy Beatty, a real estate developer in Northern Virginia, and his wife, Betty, recently contributed $5 million through their family foundation to Inova Fairfax Hospital.  This followed an earlier commitment to Inova of $7 million for a research center that plans to delve into studies on the liver and obesity. 

In other cases, the newly wealthy give back. After winning $217 million in a Virginia Lottery Powerball game in 2013, Stafford County couple Dave and Nancy Honeywell gave $4 million to the region’s local community foundation, which donates to many causes.

Companies also have stepped up.  Last year Ferguson Enterprises in Newport News made the largest donation in Christopher Newport’s 51-year history. It pledged $12 million over the next 30 years with the funds targeted for scholarships, community service and performing arts initiatives.

For a fuller flavor of the major sources of giving in Virginia, be sure to check out the charts in this section. There’s a list of corporation donations — with many of the state’s largest public companies giving millions to Virginia’s nonprofits — and lists of gifts by individuals and family foundations. 

There’s also a chart on the top 50 recipients of foundation grants.   Altogether, the charts provide a feel-good money trial of generosity in Virginia.

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