Living Legends: JANE NEAL PARKE BATTEN
PHILANTHROPIST, VIRGINIA BEACH
Batten was 19 when she married Frank Batten, who would go on to become chairman and CEO of Landmark Communications Inc. and co-founder of The Weather Channel. Together, they agreed that he would focus on business, and she would focus on civic giving and volunteerism.
“Frank’s philanthropic focus was fairly narrow; mostly supporting education,” she told the Focused Ultrasound Foundation. “When he died in 2009, I inherited a huge job — and I must say that I have grown to love it. I’ve made changes and given to things he never would have considered.”
The Battens generously supported educational efforts, including the founding of the Batten Leadership Institute at Roanoke’s Hollins University, which Jane Batten attended.
She’s an emeritus board member of First Tee Hampton Roads and serves on the board of Elevate Early Education, which aims to increase access and improve quality of education for children in the early years through third grade. She also serves the foundation of Slover Library in Norfolk, to which her husband donated $20 million to co-found before his death, and to which her foundation has given another $20 million.