Retired investment banker Charles Syer IV of Virginia Beach enjoyed being a future bequest donor to the Hampton Roads Community Foundation. He liked visiting with staff members and attending special Legacy Society for Hampton Roads events. At VIP gatherings at the Virginia Zoo and Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center he got to know other generous future donors and take behind-the-scenes tours. Mostly he liked knowing his future gift would be well cared for by the community foundation where he had started a permanent unrestricted fund in 1996.
"The foundation is long-term, ongoing and for the whole general area," Charles said before he passed away in 2014. "As time goes by, organizations that are worthy during one period may change. With the foundation there is flexibility. The organization is steered by a group of people who have demonstrated they are responsible and capable of using money intelligently."
Margot Barnhardt fondly recalls the 30 years she lived in Hampton Roads. She grew up in Pittsburgh, lived in various cities and retired to North Carolina but partnered with the Hampton Roads Community Foundation to create four permanent, endowed funds to benefit the region she calls home.
"I like what you do and that you cover a broad area," says Margot, a retired nurse. "There is nothing to compare with that."
In 2004 Margot surprised the community foundation staff when she popped by to deliver a $10,000 check. After she did the same the following year, a conversation with staff members convinced her to start her own endowed fund. She did that in 2005 by donating enough to create the unrestricted E.C. Barnhardt III Memorial Fund in memory of her husband and the Virginia Dietrich Williams Fund for Women and Children, a field-of-interest fund that honors her friend from Norfolk.
In 2013 Margot started two more funds in memory of two of her children. The Diane Reilly Hartzog Memorial Scholarship Fund helps send to college students interested in library science or English -- fields Hartzog studied. The William Thomas Reilly III Fund is a field-of-interest fund that provides grants to environmental organizations her son would be pleased to support.
"I like sharing what I have with others," Margot says. "It's fun."
Trisha Rawls of Norfolk donates to the Community Fund for Arts and Culture to help a variety of nonprofits bring music, theater, art and dance to Hampton Roads. As chair of the Norfolk Arts Commission, Trisha is passionate about giving area citizens access to all kinds of arts and culture.
Trisha retired a few years ago as founding executive director of the Business Consortium for Arts Support, which provides annual operating support to 33 groups in South Hampton Roads. The Consortium benefits each year from Community Fund for Arts and Culture grants provided by donors like her who value the impact the arts have on area residents.
"If I can add to the arts a little each year through the Community Fund for Arts and Culture, then I feel really good," Trisha says.
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