Charities, arts, events deal with loss of corporate sponsors

By Heather Sullivan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond is about to lose the headquarters of another Fortune 1000 company. Massey Energy was purchased by Alpha Natural Resources. The company will maintain an office in Richmond, but the headquarters are moving out.

Many of the large companies the region lost sponsored charities, arts, and community events.

Sherrie Brach, CEO of United Way tells us, "LandAmerica, Circuit City, Wachovia Securities with moving its headquarters, was one that we lost."

Some charities, such as the United Way, are still trying to regain pre-recession levels of corporate support. "It causes all of us in the non-profit sector to get much more focused and to do the best we can in terms of using the dollars more efficiently and effectively as we can," said Brach.

The arts community, theaters and museums, have felt the losses, too. Said Alex Nyerges, Director of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, "Wachovia Securities moving to St. Louis had some impact. The consolidation of some businesses has had some impact."

But while these agencies took a hit, many say other local companies have softened the blow. The arts community says that other companies have really stepped up. For example, the new Dynasty and Divinity exhibit at the VMFA is sponsored by Dominion Resources.  The coming Picasso exhibit is sponsored by Altria.

Said Nyerges, "Really the corporations that have been leading citizens in Virginia, Altria, Dominion and others like them, have stood up to the plate and kept swinging away for all of the arts."

Companies currently going to bat for events, arts and charities include Altria, Dominion, MeadWestVaco, Suntrust, Genworth, Capital One, Universal, Markel, Owens and Minor, among others. Martin's took over Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10 K sponsorship for 3 years.

Said Brach, "I think there was a recognition from the corporate community that we did have some challenges in terms of losing support, and some of the changes in the corporations, so we had some of our stable supporters say they're going to do more."

While some companies are gone, they're still giving. The Community Foundation says endowments left behind by Circuit City, LandAmerica, and HRH Insurance still contribute to local charities today. Much of Massey Energy's support is in other communities where the company mines. But VCU's Massey Cancer Center was named for and will continue to receive support from an endowment from the Massey family.

(c) Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.