Published April 4, 2018

Virginia Humanities announces the creation of the George A. and Frances Bibbins Latimer Fund (the Latimer Fund) to support grants exploring African American life and achievement in Virginia. The fund has been established as a permanent endowment through a generous gift from Mr. George A. Latimer, of Kissimmee, Florida, in memory of his wife, Mrs. Frances Bibbins Latimer.

The sole purpose of the Latimer Fund is to provide grants to nonprofit organizations based in the Commonwealth of Virginia to support educational projects on African American history and culture in the state. Virginia Humanities anticipates that at least $5,000 will be awarded from the fund annually, with the initial Latimer Fund grant award(s) made by the Virginia Humanities Board of Directors in December 2018. Nonprofit organizations across the state are encouraged to apply through Virginia Humanities’ Open Grant Program.

The intent is to grow the Latimer Fund over time into a major force for continuing the exploration of African American history and African American perspectives on American and Virginia history. Additional donations to the fund, of any size, are welcomed and will expand the number and impact of this important initiative.

About Frances Bibbins Latimer: Ms. Latimer was one of Virginia’s leading community historians. She was a native of Virginia’s Eastern Shore, and the Shore was the primary focus of her research and writing, but her passion for African American history extended far beyond. She was a founding member of the Eastern Shore Regional Humanities Council and the author and editor of more than a dozen books, two of which, Landmarks and Life for Me Ain’t Been No Crystal Stair, were supported by Virginia Humanities prior to her death in 2010.

“Frances—or Bea, as her friends knew her—was a tireless researcher and an accomplished historian whose work embodies the values of the humanities,” said David Bearinger, Virginia Humanities’ director of Grants and Community Programs. “She was a generous and patient teacher whose lifelong commitment to telling the history of the Shore and the stories of its African American communities inspired all of us who knew her.”

“Bea’s love for African American history, especially on the Eastern Shore, was at the heart of her life’s work,” said Mr. Latimer. “She also believed strongly in the mission of Virginia Humanities. Establishing this fund in her memory helps ensure that the work she loved and believed in will continue all across Virginia and far into the future.”

For more information about the George A. and Frances Bibbins Latimer Fund, or to make a donation to the fund, contact David Bearinger at 434-924-3989; dab@virginia.edu. Grants from the Fund will be made in accordance with Virginia Humanities’ established guidelines and review procedures. Information on applying for a grant from Virginia Humanities can be found at VirginiaHumanities.org/grants.

About Virginia Humanities: The mission of Virginia Humanities is to connect people and ideas to explore the human experience and inspire cultural engagement. As the state humanities council, Virginia Humanities reaches an estimated annual audience of 41 million through community programs and festivals, grants and fellowships, websites and digital initiatives, publications and teacher institutes, radio programs and podcasts, the Virginia Folklife Program, and the Virginia Center for the Book. To learn more visit VirginiaHumanities.org.

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