Beese Craigie recognized for 23 years of service

December 6, 2018

Beese Craigie, center, is a Jenkins Foundation founding member, along with Barbara Cone (left) and Marietta Dormire (right).

When the Jenkins Foundation was created in 1995, Beese Craigie was one of approximately 20 women founders who stepped forward to lay the groundwork and set the vision for the new charitable entity. Ever since, Beese been a strong and steady presence on its Board of Directors, serving as chair from 1999 through 2000. Her thoughtful leadership and keen insight helped grow the Foundation into one of the preeminent health philanthropies in the Richmond region. 

“Her leadership style is quiet and gentle. You don’t even know that you are being led down the correct path,” said Barbara Cone, a fellow lifetime member of the Jenkins Foundation.

While serving as a member of the former Retreat Hospital Board of Incorporation, Beese gained a comprehensive understanding of the health needs in Richmond and honed an effective leadership style. She not only brought those insights to the Jenkins Foundation, but she also gave it its name. The Jenkins Foundation honors the legacy of Annabella Ravenscroft Gibson Jenkins, a Civil War nurse who founded Retreat Hospital to ensure all patients received care, regardless of their ability to pay.

Beese’s fellow board members admire her tireless dedication and strong sense of stewardship. “Beese is very adaptive, thinking about, ‘If we do this going forward, what does that mean?’ And she has remained committed to who we originally were upon inception,” said Megan Rose, immediate past board chair. “She has been a true presence. When she speaks, people listen.”

Among her many roles, Beese has especially enjoyed chairing the governance committee, where she lends careful consideration to the board’s future leadership. “She would deliberate about, ‘What kind of person is this? Are they a compassionate giver? Do they understand the issues in Richmond?’” said Bev Lacy, the Foundation’s first chairman. “Her considerations were most helpful.”

Beese was also a driving force behind the Jenkins Foundation’s involvement in bringing the successful Healing Place model to Richmond. She advocated for funding to support a feasibility study, participated in a site visit to the Healing Place of Louisville, and endorsed the $1 million lead gift that helped launch the Healing Place for Men in 2003. Along with her fellow board members, Beese stayed connected to the project by following its progress and engaging in discussions about developing a complementary program for women. With a second $1 million contribution from the Jenkins Foundation, The Healing Place for Women is scheduled to open in 2019.

This year marks the end of Beese’s remarkable 23-year tenure on the Board of Directors. During this time, the Foundation has doubled its endowment and granted more than $35 million to more than 100 local health organizations. There is no doubt that her versatile leadership has directly contributed to the positive impact the Jenkins Foundation has had in the community.

An original and lifetime member of the Jenkins Foundation, Beese will receive the designation of Director Emerita in recognition of her long-standing service and enduring friendship.

“She’s such a wonderful person,” Megan said. “She’s dear to everyone, and she will be so incredibly missed.”

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