During her lifetime, Kathy Ivins was committed to empowering young women in the Greater Richmond community. A female pioneer in the commercial real estate industry, Kathy helped establish a CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) chapter in Richmond and used this platform to mentor young women aspiring to build a similar career path. She was known as a beacon of positivity to those she encountered.
After her passing, Kathy’s family established two funds at The Community Foundation in her memory: the Kathy Ivins Fund and the Kathy Watkinson Ivins Endowment Fund. Friends and family members were invited to donate in Kathy's honor to support causes that would embody her continued legacy. Upon inception in 2012, the Kathy Watkinson Ivins Endowment Fund supported organizations like Greater Richmond Fit4Kids to honor Kathy’s love of health and fitness. More recently, the family worked with The Community Foundation to learn about and support the Neighborhood Resource Center’s Works program, which helps clients achieve Well-being, Opportunity, Relationships, Knowledge and Stability. Its integrated approach includes employment search support, financial coaching, and income support counseling to ensure participants receive the mentoring and support they need to create a better life for themselves and their families. This is exactly the type of program that Kathy believed in supported during her lifetime.
In 2016, as the Ivins family considered grants from the Kathy Ivins Fund, they partnered with the Foundation’s staff and learned of a unique opportunity to support Partnership for the Future, an organization helping high school students with limited resources transition from high school to college and employment. “We wanted to find an organization that embodied Mom’s qualities,” said Jim Ivins. “The Community Foundation was the perfect conduit to introduce us to the right cause.”
A serendipitous connection, Partnership for the Future (PFF) hosts an annual workshop with CREW, the real estate organization close to Kathy’s heart, to share about the real estate industry and mentor rising eleventh grade students. “Over the past 7 years, members from CREW have facilitated career panels, led tours to real estate properties and even inspired young women to pursue a career in commercial real estate,” said PFF Executive Director Charleita Richardson. PFF serves approximately 200 students per year from the Richmond and Henrico Public School Systems, and almost 90% of participants will be first-generation college students.
More recently, the Kathy Ivins Fund has provided a grant to Goodwill of Central and Coastal Virginia to support their Community Employment Centers. Kathy served on and chaired the Board of Goodwill and believed strongly in their mission of helping people help themselves through the power of work. In honor of Kathy, Goodwill established the Kathy Ivins Spirit of Our Mission Award which is given to an employee who embodies the mission of Goodwill.
“Though we miss our mom every day, we are encouraged to see her vision live on. The nonprofits supported through these funds embody so many values she stood for – we are grateful The Community Foundation connected us, and look forward to continuing Mom’s philanthropic legacy in the years to come,” said Jim.