Ellis Pretlow on Women and Philanthropy
Women have always been givers, and they make a significant difference through their philanthropy.
Philanthropists like Ellis Pretlow give of their time, talent, and treasure to make life better in Hampton Roads. Pretlow is an attorney with Kaufman & Canoles. She serves on the community foundation’s Professional Advisors Committee, a group of estate attorneys, accountants, financial advisors, and insurance experts who assist their clients with charitable giving goals.
Pretlow, who lives in Norfolk and grew up in Suffolk, is a member of the Community Leadership Partners giving circle. In the community, she has served on several boards, including the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast. Her grandmother Betty Pretlow was the president of the first Girl Scouts council in the region in the 1960s. Ellis Pretlow is following in the footsteps of civic-minded women who have given back, and she is making her own mark.
My earliest memory of giving
It’s related to my mom, Lila Pretlow, who makes a very famous dessert called Tipsy Cake. Every Christmas a lot of her friends would hire her to make these Tipsy Cakes for them because they thought hers was the best. And every year she would take in their funds to pay for them. Then, she would make an anonymous donation to The Joy Fund, which was a fund that directly went to help youth in need, especially during the holidays. Every year in the Suffolk News-Herald newspaper, we would see the Tipsy Cake listed in The Joy Fund, and that made it very clear to me what it means to give back. The fact that she did it anonymously was extremely impactful to me. As a young woman, especially, I think it’s important to start those giving cycles and conversations and habits now. And you don’t have to be a billionaire to make that happen.