A Legacy of Learning: The Holliday Family Fund for Scholarship
A Legacy of Learning: The Holliday Family Fund for Scholarships
For Iris E. Holliday, the meaning of philanthropy is best captured by the well-known Gandhi quote: Be the change you want to see in the world. As a child, she felt blessed to have parents who led by example – through weekly church tithing envelopes, being truly neighborly, or engaging in volunteerism and community activism. “As I grew into my own person, giving was the rent I paid for living and being increasingly blessed.”
As a longtime Richmond resident and philanthropist in her own right, Iris has been deeply involved in her community, from her professional role overseeing Corporate Philanthropy and Community Partnerships for Dominion, to her deep involvement with numerous nonprofit organizations over the years. She served on the board of the Community Foundation and the Jenkins Foundation and is a longtime Impact 100 Richmond member.
“I would have to credit the Community Foundation for opening my mind to a different level of engagement in terms of philanthropy. Like a lot of people, there is a perception that you have to be super wealthy, maybe third or fourth generation wealth to have an impact on a transformative change. I attended a seminar over 20 years ago that talked about families and how family funds and family engagement in philanthropy can truly have substantial impact. That’s when I decided that I can definitely make a change.”
In 2004, Iris worked closely with her sons, Saddiq and Ira, to establish the Holliday Family Fund for Scholarships. “My children were very instrumental in the fund having the focus on education. They felt that education was an equalizer, that education was power. That’s when we got into the scholarships, as all of us have been recipients of scholarships.” Consistently for two decades, the fund has awarded one scholarship annually to a graduate of Richmond Public Schools. It is one of over 70 scholarship funds at the Community Foundation supporting the aspirations of area high school students and adult learners seeking vocational training or higher education.
When her children ask her what she wants her legacy to be, she answers that the Holliday Family Fund is one of the most significant things that can carry forth. As she reflects on her commitment to philanthropy and how the next generations will share their gifts and perspectives, she says, “Most of us were not inheritors of family financial wealth, but recipients of mother-father wit and assisting those in need. We worked hard for our resources, got smarter about finances, fulfilled our nonprofit board service, and hopefully leave a legacy and true expectation that our family will continue to make t
he world better, attach to a cause, and work for positive change."
Watch the full interview with Iris E. Holliday: