Donor Story

Charles Syer Lives Forever Through Philanthropy

Charles Syer
A little bit of Charles Syer IV is in every competitive Community Grant the Hampton Roads Community Foundation awards. The reason? Charles started an unrestricted fund at his community foundation when he retired in 1996. Charles created his endowed charitable fund with a $160,000 gift that came from selling a condominium.

After Charles passed away in 2014 at age 82, his $7 million charitable bequest augmented his fund and amplified its impact. His permanent fund is among nearly 100 created by generous donors who chose to start unrestricted funds ready to meet any community need.

Since 1996, a portion of the endowed Charles Syer Fund has underpinned all Community Grants the community foundation has awarded. Charles’ generosity will forever help area nonprofits do great work.

During his 30-year banking career, Charles headed investments for what is now SunTrust Bank in Norfolk. He was a Portsmouth native who lived in Norfolk for many years before retiring to Virginia Beach where he enjoyed reading and walking on the beach.

The Princeton University graduate was a fan of unrestricted funds. He liked knowing he was helping people in Hampton Roads in a variety of ways – from arts and culture to education and assisting people in need.

“As time goes by, organizations that are worthy during one period may change,” Charles once said in an interview. “With the foundation there is flexibility. The organization is steered by a group of people who have demonstrated they are responsible and capable of using money intelligently.”

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