Hampton Roads Community Foundation Blog


Turn your passion into reality. Our community foundation donors are passionate people with a common mission: inspiring philanthropy and transforming the quality of life in southeastern Virginia. Since 1950, we’ve invested over $225 million on behalf of generous people, who live, work and strive to make Hampton Roads a great community.

John Midgett: Community Builder
By Sally Hartman / November 14, 2019

John and Debbie Stitzer-Braim

Attorney John T. Midgett of Virginia Beach is committed to helping caring people in Hampton Roads find satisfying ways to forever support causes they care about.

John, a founder and shareholder in Midgett Preti Olansen, was the 13th professional advisor to receive the Barron F. Black Community Builder Award from the Hampton Roads Community Foundation. He was honored on November 13 in Virginia Beach for being one of the Hampton Roads region's leading charitable champions.

Part of his award included a $5,000 grant from the community foundation recommended by John to Edmarc Hospice for Children. He is pictured with Debbie Stitzer-Brame, Edmarc's executive director. He also received a painting by Virginia Beach artist Shirley Hurd Anderson entitled "Tranquility," to signify the peace he brings to clients making difficult life decisions.

John, a native of Norfolk, VA who lives in Virginia Beach, specializes in estate planning, administration and taxation, estate and trust litigation, and family business planning. The award he received is named for Barron Black, founding board chair of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation.

Barron, who led the community foundation board from 1950 until he passed away in 1974, was a founder of the Vandeventer Black law firm who inspired his clients to find lasting ways to be generous and benefit their community. He also led the committee that established Eastern Virginia Medical School and advocated for better libraries and saving historic homes.

John, who has spent his entire career in Hampton Roads, follows what he learned as a Boy Scout by striving to make his home area "better than I found it."

He has been president of every estate planning organization in Hampton Roads and led two Virginia State Bar sections. Recently, he was elected secretary of the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils, which puts him on the path to becoming president. For 25 years he has served on the Duke University Estate Planning Council. He also serves on professional advisory boards at the Hampton Roads Community Foundation and ACCESS College Foundation.

John, the oldest of eight children, was the first in his immediate family to attend college. He financed his education primarily by working for a moving company and department store. He graduated from the University of Virginia with Distinction and the T.C. Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond where he was a member of the Law Review. After working for several law firms, he founded his firm in 1999.   

Past Barron F. Black Community Builder Award Winners are:

2007 Anita O. Poston 2011 Anne B. Shumadine* 2015 Morris H. Fine
2008 Robert C. Nusbaum* 2012 Toy D. Savage Jr.* 2016 Kirkland M. Kelley
2009 Guilford D. Ware 2013 Robert C. Goodman Jr. 2017 Amy G. Pesesky
2010 Allan G. Donn 2014 Peter M. Huber 2018 Neil L. Rose

* deceased


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