The Dragas Companies Recognized by National Philanthropy Day Awards
As the second-generation leader of the Dragas Companies, Helen E. Dragas, its president and CEO, has carried the mission of advancing her father George’s original vision for Dragas Companies’ philanthropy.
More than $5.3 million worth of in-kind resources have been targeted toward life-changing social programs in the areas of education, support for children and families in crisis, and governance of educational and charitable resources.
Whether it’s in the public school, independent school or higher education arena, the emphasis on education has always been the foundation of Dragas philanthropy. They help to improve the lives of children by providing security and stability needed to achieve a quality education. This includes ForKids, Samaritan House, a $1.5 million gift to Hampton Roads municipalities, and several other causes and nonprofits.
In 1999, with over $1.5 million in support from The Dragas Companies, Old Dominion University founded the Dragas Center for Economic Policy and Analysis at the Strome College of Business. Additionally, Dragas has given $1.5 million to Partners for College Affordability and Public Trust, which serves as a voice for students and families who pay the cost of tuition but have little say at the policy-making tables that govern rising tuition and other costs.
Earnings from the Dragas Companies have supported initiatives at the municipal, regional and state levels. Working to enhance the transparency and responsiveness of important public assets is another target of Helen Dragas’ time and resources.
As part of the ForKids 25th Anniversary Commission, Helen Dragas and several others addressed the link between affordable housing and the educational advancement of children in Hampton Roads. The Dragas Companies received the ForKids Children’s Champion Award in 2012 for its unprecedented Dragas Families Initiative $1.5 million gift to local municipalities, encouraging cities to find better ways to respond to the issues of homelessness.
The Dragas Families Initiative of $1.5 million to three local municipalities directly donated $500,000 to the cities of Norfolk, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach to produce better governmental response and coordination to the area’s homeless population.
To continue its commitment and work in the areas of family homelessness, Dragas has pledged a lead gift of $500,000 to the Campaign ForKids first ever capital campaign where she serves as a campaign champion. At completion, ForKids will increase its family homelessness shelter capacity by 50 percent and is projected to touch the lives of over 79,000 people in Hampton Roads.
In addition, the $200,000 Dragas has donated annually toward the ForKids Children’s Art Auction has been the catalyst to make this a $1 million event in 2018.
Each year Dragas and its staff commit to a range of projects as part of its social responsibility efforts. Dragas invites its team to support the local community through drives for food, toys and books that are distributed to thousands of children and families especially as they celebrate their 50th year of philanthropic spirit.
This passion for giving extends to Dragas vice-president of planning and business development, Nick Baum, who serves on the boards of ForKids, Court Appointed Special Advocates and the Virginia Zoo.
The Dragas Companies has called Hampton Roads its home for 50 years; its generosity which positively affects our community and our most vulnerable citizens is immeasurable.
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