Reports Generous Virginians Project

Philanthropy’s changing role in Virginia

Nonprofits seek donors’ help as they fill gaps caused by cutbacks

  •  | 
Print this page by Robert Powell

This could be a defining time for Virginia’s nonprofits and their supporters. The recession might be over, but its damage lingers. People are hurting, and unemployment is high.

Meanwhile, the state’s role as a funding source and provider of services is receding. Because of the downward spiral of state revenues, the General Assembly has slashed the budget to the bone.

The leaders of many Virginia nonprofits believe they will be called on to fill the breach even though their own budgets are stretched thin. Nonprofits are turning to loyal donors for help at a time when many are still recovering from the market shocks of late 2008 and early 2009.

In the following pages, Virginia Business looks at the changing role facing philanthropy in the commonwealth in a group of stories called the Generous Virginians Project.

The project offers an overview of the changing landscape for nonprofits and examines the innovative approach of Northern Virginia philanthropist Earl Stafford. He created the People’s Inaugural Ball for the poor, homeless and disabled in 2009 and now has launched a national volunteer program, Doing Good.

Other stories profile two distinctive donors and a tireless volunteer. One donor is an immigrant entrepreneur who wants to pay back the country that gave him an education and an opportunity. The second is a woman who is giving millions to Sweet Briar College so that more women can become engineers. The volunteer is a man whose fundraising effort helped keep a Hampton Roads museum from closing. In addition, the magazine examines how foundations support a high quality of life in the rural Northern Neck.

The project includes lists of major gifts made by individuals and corporations. The magazine will update these lists online at as new information becomes available. This issue, in fact, is only the first installment of the Generous Virginians Project.

The Generous Virginians Project:

The shifting landscape for nonprofits

Museum donors: A passion for art

A catalyst for change: Earl Stafford

CHARTS of Major gifts:
Donations by individuals and independent foundations
Total corporate donations
Donations by companies and corporate foundations

The entrepreneur: Long Nguyen

The alumna: Margaret “Peggy” Wyllie

The volunteer: Joseph Witt

Foundations’ effect: The Northern Neck

CHARTS of Major foundations
Top 50 Virginia foundations by total giving
Top 40 U.S. foundations awarding grants in Virginia


showhide shortcuts