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In the Community

Meet Cyrus A. Dolph IV: The 2020 Recipient of the Barron F. Black Community Builder Award

November 16, 2020

In his profession as a tax attorney, Cyrus A. Dolph IV considers himself a helper, working with clients on business law, estate planning and taxation matters. Really, he’s an architect of philanthropy, assisting generous people in arranging charitable gifts that will forever benefit charitable causes in the region.

The Hampton Roads Community Foundation honored Dolph with the 2020 Barron F. Black Community Builder Award for his longtime service and dedication to philanthropy and the region. The annual award is named for Barron F. Black, founding board chair of the community foundation.

Black, who led the community foundation board from 1950 until he passed away in 1974, was a founder of the Vandeventer Black law firm who inspired his clients to find lasting ways to be generous and benefit their community.

For more than 40 years, Dolph has helped clients start nonprofits as well as create charitable legacies, including through the community foundation.

“At the end of the day, it’s sort of like problem-solving,” Dolph said. “Folks want to accomplish something. There are various ways to get there, and you just sort of try to help them achieve that objective in the most efficient way possible. The community foundation provides such an incredible solution. It’s easy, it’s cost effective, it’s efficient, and it works.”

Before entering the legal profession, Dolph had planned to pursue a career in the U.S. Army, just like his father who was a career Army officer. Dolph graduated from Virginia Military Institute in 1970. Shortly thereafter, he enrolled in the T.C. Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond.

“What interested me the most was tax law,” Dolph said.

From there, he earned a master of law and taxation from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary. Soon after, he began working at law firms and is currently a senior lawyer of Clarke, Dolph, Hull & Brunick, P.L.C. in Virginia Beach.

Dolph, a longtime Norfolk resident, also devotes time to his family, church, and the community. He has served as a volunteer U.S. Rowing Referee for several years, serving as a Referee and as the Chief Referee for many local high school and club regattas. He also helped start the Eastern Virginia Scholastic Rowing Association, Inc.

Rowing, he said, is a sport of endurance and teamwork. Youth who participate learn important lessons to carry them throughout school, their careers, and life.

“One of the things that’s given me the most satisfaction is seeing the good it does for the kids,” he said.

Along with the award recognition, Dolph has an opportunity to direct a $5,000 grant to a charity of his choice. He selected ForKids, a nonprofit agency that serves families and children experiencing homelessness in the region.

Dolph said he is concerned about children who face food and housing insecurities, a problem which increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID has shone the spotlight on this,” he said. “ForKids just does an absolutely exemplary job of taking on that really important mission.”

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