Tag: Richard England

Celebrating the England family’s legacy at Bell Multicultural High School

COMMUNITY | Each week, WJLA anchor Leon Harris features a program segment called Harris’ Heroes in which he celebrates the work of people making a difference in our region. His latest, well-deserved distinction goes to Lois and Richard England.

This week’s segment profiled students from D.C.’s Bell Multicultural High School who are going to college with scholarships this fall. The school and its programs have received a tremendous amount of support over the years from the Lois & Richard England Family Foundation.

In the video, Mrs. England speaks about the opportunities being cultivated for the students of Bell Multicultural (WJLA, 6/5):

No question – it’s just a wonderful, wonderful thing to see.

About the England family’s impact on the students’ lives, Bell Multicultural’s principal says,

Without a champion like Mr. England and his family, it would be very hard to meet their dreams.

Related: Leon Harris notes that Mr. England’s legacy lives on through Bell Multicultural, but it also lives in the minds of local philanthropic leaders. Here are some of their memories of him. (Daily, 4/2).

Related: Mr. England was also paid tribute by the Washington Jewish Federation this week, along with local philanthropist Jack Kay.

GIVING | Due to widespread technical difficulties yesterday, Do More 24 has been extended until 11:59pm tonight. At publishing time, the grand total is nearing $1 million. So stop reading, and start donating!

EDUCATION | Opinion: Natalie Hopkinson asks whether the current approach to school reform is creating a bifurcated approach to education, with one track for wealthy, and typically white, students that values creativity and individuality, and one for poor, black students that focuses on compliance. (WaPo, 6/7)

ENVIRONMENT | Besides all the regular kinds of pollution, the Potomac is also increasingly contaminated with things like caffeine and hormones from pharmaceutical products. According to the article, current health regulations don’t require drinking water to be treated for these kinds of contaminants. (WTOP, 6/7) Thirsty?

Related: In 2011 Eric Kessler, head of Arabella Advisors (and now a WRAG Board member) wrote steps we can take to clean up the Potomac. (Daily, April 2011)

EQUITY | The Obama administration has announced a plan called ConnectED, which will provide broadband and wireless Internet access to every school and library in the country. (WaPo, 6/7)

AGING | Report: Virginia among best, Maryland among worst states for retirement (Examiner, 6/7)

TRANSIT | WMATA is testing new fare gate designs. (WaPo, 6/7) The quote at the end pretty much sums up my thoughts on this.


If you’re not into actually reading them, the Seattle Public Library found another great use for books.

– Rebekah

Remembering Mr. Richard England

We’re truly sad to report that Mr. Richard England passed away yesterday at the age of 93. Mr. England was one of our region’s philanthropic cornerstones. He and his wife of 67 years, Lois, began their philanthropic work in 1948 and founded the Lois and Richard England Foundation in 1990. Mr. England served on the board of more than 30 nonprofits.


What made him especially noteworthy in our community was his hands-on approach. For Veteran’s Day 2011, we interviewed him about both his service in World War II and his philanthropic philosophy. Of the latter, he said:

I am Jewish. The part of the religion which excites me is Tikkun Olam – the Hebrew phrase which means ‘fixing the world.’ I really enjoy helping people who are less fortunate.

He went on to describe how he determined what parts of our local world needed the most fixing:

Read the Washington Post to learn where the problems are. Drive around the city to get acquainted.

Mr. England also had a profound effect on the people around him. These are a few reflections from members of the WRAG community:

Tamara Copeland, President of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers:

I always admired Mr. England, not just as a well-respected community leader and philanthropist, but also as a model for aging. In his 90s, Mr. England was always an expected attendee at WRAG events – a lifetime learner, not only listening in the audience, but a participant asking probing questions to further his knowledge and that of his colleagues. He was always clear about his needs – urging a presenter to speak up or coming to the podium to adjust his microphone so he could better hear the remarks.

Mr. England stood tall, not just because of his military experience in World War II. He stood tall because he knew the needs of this community, knew that he had the capacity to address some of those needs and rose up elegantly, purposefully, albeit quietly, to respond to those needs. He was a leader. I will miss him, but I am so glad that I had the opportunity to know him. He will always be a beacon guiding the work of those whose lives he touched. A life well lived.

Terri Freeman, WRAG Board Chair, President of The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region:

[Mr. England] was extremely committed to this community and his support of the sector was unwavering. He was a life-long learner as demonstrated by his participation in so many meetings and forums. We can only hope that younger generations of corporate leaders will be as committed as Mr. England.

Julie Rogers, former WRAG Board Chair, President of The Meyer Foundation:

Dick England was an activist philanthropist. His passion for our city’s young people and his matchless fundraising style created opportunities for so many – through chess, the wonderful campus for Bell MultiCultural and so much more. Dick set an example for us all by his integrity, inquiry and generosity, and I was honored to know him.

George Vradenburg, former WRAG Board member, President of The Vradenburg Foundation

I loved the birthday party for him AND Lois for their joint (like) 180th birthday. Richard told this hilarious story of his going upstairs in his house, getting to the top of the stairs and forgetting why he was going upstairs, turning around and starting downstairs and halfway down forgetting why he was going downstairs, so he ended up sitting on the landing on the steps between upstairs and downstairs until he could figure out where he should go. He told it with such genuineness and honesty that the entire audience was in stitches – obviously recognizing something very human and very shared.

He called me several times a year – for the Federation, for chess, for schools – always a good cause. I always, always returned his calls even when I knew I had to say ‘no’, because he was so committed to our kids, our community, our city. He was a good one, one of the best.

This is a sad day – even though he lived a long and fruitful life – sad nonetheless. I will miss him.

Our heartfelt condolences go out to Mrs. England and the entire England family. A memorial service will be held this Thursday, April 4th, at 11 am, at Washington Hebrew Congregation – 3935 Macomb St., NW, Washington, DC. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in his name to Chess Challenge in DC, MCIP (Bell High School in DC), or Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington.

Give to the Max was a huge success…Richard England on philanthropy…Fannie Mae opens foreclosure center in Prince George’s [News, 11.10.11]

GIVE TO THE MAX | It was an exciting 24 hours yesterday! The final totals are that 17,839 people donated $1,886,584. With additional award money, the grand total raised was $2,034,584. Not too shabby!

Give to the Max organizers Terri Freeman of the Community Foundation and Bill Hanbury of the United Way are proud of the results. Terri says:

“This region continues to demonstrate its ability to unite and rally around a call to action, and the results from our first ever Give to the Max Day prove it.”

And Bill is excited about what participation in Give to the Max reveals about new directions in fundraising:

“In addition to raising $2 million, we are thrilled to see how many of our nonprofit members participated and maximized all the benefits of learning more about online fundraising and putting those skills to good use.”

COMMUNITY | As we prepare to honor our nation’s veterans tomorrow, we asked World War II veteran Mr. Richard England, who lost his hearing at Guadalcanal, to reflect on philanthropy – what it means to him, what advice he has for new philanthropists, and how funders can support our nation’s veterans. (WG Daily, 11/10)

WORKFORCE | A new survey finds that one of every five U.S. employers is looking to hire veterans, but “vets re-entering the corporate workforce don’t always properly market their unique skills.” (WBJ, 11/10)

HOUSING | Fannie Mae opens foreclosure center in Greenbelt (WTOP, 11/10) “Prince George’s County has the highest number of foreclosures in Maryland and [one] of the highest rates in the region.”

EDUCATION
Election pumps new blood into Fairfax school board (Examiner, 11/10) The board has six new members.

DCPS has opened a diagnostic center aimed at identifying children who might need special education. (WaPo, 11/9)

SOCIAL MEDIA | As we wrap-up Give to the Max Day, Tamara Copeland considers how social media is changing philanthropy and how these changes take some adjustment of perspective to appreciate (NPQ, 11/10):

In just the last few years, we’ve seen traditional philanthropy morph in interesting ways. We can give directly to causes all over the world with our smartphones. No intermediaries needed… Forget due diligence. Forget informed program officers looking at logic models, program plans, and evaluation models. Has the head and/or heart philanthropy debate already become a bit passé?

WEEKEND | This isn’t an endorsement, but just something that caught my attention as a movie nerd and Smithsonian fan. Groupon is selling $4 tickets to Smithsonian IMAX movies which can be redeemed starting today. IMAX and a museum visit is a nice weekend activity!


Hope you all enjoy the long weekend. We’re excitedly preparing for our big annual meeting next week at Arena Stage and hope to see you there.

In honor of Veteran’s Day, here’s a heartfelt clip from one of my favorite movies.

– christian

WWII veteran Mr. Richard England talks about “fixing the world”

Mr. England during WWII

We often see Mr. Richard England adjusting the microphones so that he can hear at WRAG events. Few in the philanthropic community may know that Mr. England lost his hearing when he was a sailor landing on Guadalcanal in 1943 during World War II. As we prepare to celebrate Veteran’s Day, we asked Mr. England to reflect on philanthropy – what it means to him, what advice he has for young philanthropists, and how funders can support our nation’s veterans.

Mr. England and his wife, Lois, started their charitable giving in 1948. In 1990, they formally established the Lois and Richard England Family Foundation with their children. Mr. England, who has served on the boards of more than 30 nonprofits, finds philanthropic inspiration in his faith. “I am Jewish,” he says. “The part of the religion which excites me is Tikkun Olam – the Hebrew phrase which means ‘fixing the world.’”

Mr. and Mrs. England

While Tikkun Olam derives specifically from religion, Mr. England believes the universality of the concept can help inspire and frame the work of new philanthropists. For funders just beginning their work in the Greater Washington region, he also has this straightforward advice: know your surroundings. “Read the Washington Post to learn where the problems are,” he implores, “Drive around the city to get acquainted.”

For veterans of the United States military – a population that faces disproportionately high rates of unemployment and homelessness in our region – his hope for philanthropy is equally direct. He says that funders need to look at ways of better supporting veteran education and affordable housing, both of which are essential to tackling the high unemployment rate of our former service members.

With more than six decades of experience in philanthropy, Mr. England says that his approach to giving hasn’t changed over time. Perhaps that is because a continuous focus on the goal of fixing the world – whether in service of his country or by giving back to the community – remains personal.

“I really enjoy helping people who are less fortunate,” he says.