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.
Life was good to Lin and Ethel Mason, and the Norfolk restaurant owners found a way to return the favor – leaving a bequest that will forever benefit people in Hampton Roads through an unrestricted fund at their community foundation.
For more than 30 years Lin and Ethel owned Mason’s Seafood Restaurant in Norfolk -- a popular Granby Street eatery known for inventing Crab Norfolk.
Lin was frugal, rode the bus to work and invested in stocks. In 1979 he and Ethel closed their restaurant during its best business year. They enjoyed traveling, dancing the tango and entertaining friends in their home. After Ethel died in 1986 Lin worked with an attorney to create a permanent foundation fund that would start after his death. His attorney connected with the community foundation’s staff to craft the arrangement without ever revealing Lin’s identity.
Lin always said he was going to give most everything to charity, and that is exactly what he did. After his death in 2009 at age 97, his $2.2 million gift to the community came to the foundation letting the Masons live forever through their philanthropy.
The Masons’ unrestricted fund gives the foundation the flexibility to address community needs that Lin and Ethel couldn’t have imagined. Each year more than $100,000 in Mason grants to an array of nonprofits help them make Hampton Roads an even better place to live and work. Recent grants have helped expand the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science, renovate the Wells Theatre and helped the Elizabeth River Project expand its environmental programs for youth.
Guy M. Winfrey, who passed away in 1996 at age 84, overcame a hard-knock life he endured at a young age. He dropped out of school at age 14 after his mom died to go to work and support three younger sisters. Today he helps abused adults and children gain better lives.
Guy was a World War II veteran who worked in a drug store and for a railroad before making his career as a successful car salesman in Norfolk. His wife Sue Cook Winfrey died in 1984 shortly before the couple's 50th wedding anniversary. In tribute to her Guy arranged through a bequest for a field-of-interest fund at the Hampton Roads Community Foundation to help battered adults and children. In its first 20 years the Sue Cook Winfrey fund provided more than $2 million in grants to 20 nonprofits. It was a Winfrey grant in 2016 that was the catalyst for a joint Coordinated Crisis Response hotline that provides a single phone number and 24/7 help for Hampton Roads survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
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