About Us

Our Guiding Principles

Values

Claiborne Robins, Sr. was a compassionate, empathetic and accessible leader who valued integrity, ethical practices and generosity.  As a thoughtful philanthropist and visionary, he used his wealth to improve the quality of life for the Richmond community.

Robins Foundation highly values his legacy, and seeks to honor his example through our philanthropic work.

Vision

The Robins Foundation will advance the greater Richmond community through strategic partnerships, collaborations, and education, all of which will serve as a model for creating an environment of opportunity for everyone to thrive.

Mission

To lead transformational change in the greater Richmond community by listening, learning and engaging through innovative philanthropy that inspires solutions to society’s greatest challenges.

We have a strong interest in investing in programs that enrich the whole family (and whole neighborhoods) in order to alter intergenerational poverty in greater Richmond’s emerging neighborhoods. While we are interested in funding proposals that make Richmond a more vibrant community, Robins Foundation is most interested in children and families. We will support organizations and projects for children ages 0-18, and their parents/caregivers to ensure children are prepared for kindergarten, are engaged in school, thrive academically, and graduate on time with the necessary skills and opportunities for success. 

Robins Foundation is dedicated to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all within the community. Robins Foundation does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of Board members and grantees, and provision of services from vendors. The Foundation is committed to the work and partnerships that make Richmond a vibrant community in which to live, work and raise a family, where all its citizens have abundant opportunities to thrive. Any derogatory statements or actions made by individuals are in no way reflective of, or supported by the Foundation.

Claiborne and Lora M. RobertsBuilding on 59 years of community impact

Claiborne Robins, Sr., established the Robins Foundation in 1957 and significantly funded it at his death in 1995. Mr. Robins and his wife, Lora M. Robins, are best remembered for their transforming gifts to the University of Richmond and their lifelong dedication to making Richmond a better place. The couple’s philanthropy reflected a love for the community and family as they built the A.H. Robins Company. Mrs. Robins encouraged this tradition of generosity—through her personal philanthropy and Robins Foundation board service—until her death in 2010. Today’s board, which includes children and grandchildren of the Foundation’s founders, follows their inspiring legacy of philanthropy and grant making.

Grooming the next generation of philanthropists

Claiborne Robins, Jr., Ann Carol Robins Marchant and Betty Robins Porter capably led the Robins Foundation’s board of directors consecutively from 1995 until 2012. Under Betty’s tenure, the Foundation initiated the building of an award-winning, LEED Gold–certified Family Learning Center for the Partnership for Families Northside (now Partnership for Families), the launching of the Foundation’s Strategic Partnerships grant program, the awarding of vital philanthropic investments in the community, and a national search for a new executive director.

Betty and fellow board members diligently prepared the next generation for leadership and governance of the Robins Foundation. Sheryl Robins, who assumed the board presidency in the second quarter of 2012, represents the first third-generation Robins descendant to lead the board.

Within the first few months of Sheryl’s leadership, the board began a period of strategic organizational assessment.  During this time, the Foundation adopted guiding principles and the values, vision and mission statements now posted on our site. The board also created deeper understanding of engagement in the Richmond community and then announced the appointment of Kelly Chopus as the executive director (now Chief Executive Officer) of the Foundation.

Community involvement

The Foundation has long been considered a community funder, and is now shifting towards participating as a community member. To better align with our mission statement and values, Robins Foundation will be partner, and teammate, and engage with community players working to accomplish the same goals. Our vision is for community building, and working to create a stronger Greater Richmond region for all of us.

Claiborne Robins, Sr. believed in giving back to his community, and was tirelessly involved in the transformation of this community for the better. To continue that legacy of engaged leadership, the board developed a new strategic plan in 2014. Part of the plan addressed a need for increased staffing and required recruiting highly qualified experts who were up to the challenge of bringing the board’s guiding principles to life.

Creating a new team

The Board of Directors recognized the Foundation’s former Office Manager, Martha Loving, for her 18 years of service to the organization and family.  Her experience and institutional knowledge was invaluable, and her time with the Robins Family defined the organization’s culture of friendship and partnership. With the cornerstone vision and guiding principles of the Foundation set, Robins was ready to recruit additional players.

The board sought an administrator with deep experience in community engagement and community building. Kelly Chopus was the match for the board’s forward thinking vision, and she was hired as executive director in late 2013.  Kelly became the Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation in October 2016. With her public and community relations expertise, heart for people and strategic and tactical outreach experience, Kelly was charged with bringing board’s vision to fruition.

Courtney Rice, Director, Communications & Grants Administration, came to us from the Cameron Foundation and 501 Advisors, where she served as Contract Program Officer and Project & Logistics Manager, respectively.  Her education in project management helped jump start the move toward more proactive philanthropy. Six months later, Robert Dortch and Chris Chin joined the team.

Robert Dortch is Director, Community Innovation. He brings a fresh outlook and set of talents to the team as a native Richmonder and well- known community leader.

Dr. Christopher Chin, Ph.D. is Director, Community Partnerships. With special expertise in early childhood education and literacy, Chris’ hiring allows the Foundation to take an all-inclusive approach regarding children and families.

We believe the vast number of changes Robins Foundation has made over the past few years will better serve the community in a more effective and impactful way.