Foundation Insights

Sharon Goodwyn Elected as the First African American Chairwoman of the Board

At its June meeting, the Hampton Roads Community Foundation Board of Directors elected Sharon Goodwyn as its chair. She is the first African American and the first woman to serve in the prestigious role.

Established in 1950 as Virginia’s first community foundation, the organization is southeastern Virginia’s largest grant and scholarship provider. Since that time, the community foundation has provided more than $344 million to improve life in the region and beyond. In 2021 alone, the community foundation provided more than $20 million in grants and scholarships, including nearly $1 million to Black-led nonprofits as a part of its commitment to racial equity.

“I am deeply grateful for the board’s faith in my ability to uphold and advance the community foundation's vision, mission, and values,” said Goodwyn. “There’s no place quite like the community foundation, and there’s no better time to lead its work in addressing racial inequities in our region, growing its charitable footprint, and working together to create a thriving community for all.”

Goodwyn is an attorney at Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, where she’s worked for more than 30 years since earning her law degree from the University of Virginia. She also earned an undergraduate degree in economics from Harvard University. Goodwyn will serve along with the newly-elected vice chair, Frank Batten, Jr., chairman of Landmark Media Enterprises. L.D. Britt M.D., chairman of surgery for Eastern Virginia Medical School, was re-elected as treasurer. They will lead the 15-member Board of Directors, which serves as the governing body for the community foundation. The board provides oversight of the organization’s $525 million in assets and supports its mission to make life better in Hampton Roads.

“I am thankful that a distinguished board leads the community foundation,” said President and CEO Deborah DiCroce, who also serves as board secretary. “Each officer brings a distinct perspective and expertise that assists the community foundation in accomplishing its mission, engaging the community, and stewarding resources that help Hampton Roads thrive.”

In 2019, the community foundation formally affirmed its commitment to racial equity and has been working diligently to learn about and address racism, collaborate with the community on solutions, and provide funding to mitigate racial inequities in the region.

In addition to its work in racial equity, the community foundation continues to focus on regional economic competitiveness, early care and education, mental health and wellness, the environment, and cultural vitality.

Goodwyn has a long track record of community service. She has participated as a board member of Eastern Virginia Medical School, Virginia Wesleyan University, St. Mary’s Home, and the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, among others. She most recently served as vice chair of the community foundation board for three years. She lives in Chesapeake with her husband, S. Bernard Goodwyn, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia.

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For media inquiries, email Cherise Newsome, vice president for communications and marketing.

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