The Womack Foundation grew out of the desire of Mr. and Mrs.
Charles A. Womack, Sr. to provide funding for organizations
in the Danville and Pittsylvania County, Virginia areas which
are "not normally covered by other people or agencies"
and to provide small, non-interest bearing educational loans
to persons who might not otherwise be able to pursue an education
beyond high school. The first meeting of the Trustees of the
Womack Foundation was held on December 27, 1963, with members
Charles A. Womack, Sr., Estelle H. Womack and O. Lewis Roach
in attendance. The Board expanded over the years with the
majority of the funds available to the Foundation of the result
of the generosity of Mr. Womack and his wife. When Mr. Womack
passed away in June of 2005 the assets of the Womack Foundation
increased to approximately $5,000,000. Currently a Board of
thirteen members and one honorary member administer the activities
of the Foundation but the mission remains the same as adopted
by the Foundation at its inception: To provide educational
loans and to assist organizations which provide educational
and recreational activities for disadvantaged youth. The service
area of the Foundation currently consists of Caswell County,
North Carolina, Danville and Pittsylvania County, Virginia.
In the early years of the Foundation, student loans were
provided to persons in the Danville and Pittsylvania County
areas attending schools in numerous areas of the southeast.
By September 31, 1972 the Foundation had provided funding
for 172 students and as loans were repaid additional funds
were made available to qualified students. By 1984, 547
students had been assisted in their educational efforts
with a total of $172,300 having been loaned by the Foundation.
Throughout the history of the Foundation students have been
assisted in financing their education with a total of $
loaned by the Womack Foundation. Currently the Foundation
makes student loans available only to those students attending
the Danville Community College or Averett University. Interested
students should contact the financial aid office of those
two institutions for information about the loans provided
by the Foundation.
Despite limited resources available to the Foundation in
its early years, the Boards of the Foundation frequently
undertook "large" projects. The Womack Foundation
purchased the former Sledd Memorial Methodist Church building
on Street and donated the building to the Community Improvement
Council for the Head Start Program. The Foundation also
purchased Pine Lake, a recreational facility in Pittsylvania
County west of Danville and donated that property to the
In 1974, Mr. Womack undertook a concerted effort to expand
the Board of Trustees expressing his desire that younger
members should be added to the Board as well as persons
with divergent viewpoints. Since that time the Board of
the Foundation has always represented a broad cross section
of persons living in the Danville and Pittsylvania County
areas with the Board frequently supporting "cutting
edge" projects and undertakings.
In recent years the Foundation has particularly emphasized
the importance of improving educational opportunities in
Southside Virginia. In the 1980's the Foundation provided
funding for a teacher/counselor at the Vo-Tech School at
George Washington High School to assist students in selecting
a meaningful vocation and to work with prospective employers
concerning employment needs. $110,000 was provided to the
Danville School System to assist in the start-up costs for
the Galileo School in Danville; $100,000 was earmarked for
the Institute of Advanced Learning and Research; $265,000
was provided to Averett University for an after school and
summer program aimed at working with Danville area youth
over a two-year period to assure that the students stayed
in school and on track to complete their education.
The Foundation has frequently provided funds to the Parks
and Recreation Department of the City of Danville in order
to provide innovative recreational opportunities to all
of Danville's youth.
For several years the Board petitioned the City of Danville
to develop a new, large city park. Two members of the Foundation's
Board were selected to serve on the City's Committee for
the Development of the Dan Daniel Park. The Foundation was
less successful in its longtime efforts to convince the
City to build a public swimming pool. Despite pledging $800,000
on one occasion for the construction of such a pool, the
Foundation could not convince the City to undertake that
For many years the Foundation provided funding for all
fifth graders in the Danville Public School System to receive
swimming lessons through the YMCA and YWCA. Due to changes
in educational requirements, that program was no longer
possible and the Foundation redoubled its efforts to provide
summer "camperships" for disadvantaged youths
in Danville and Pittsylvania County so those youngsters
could attend a board range of summer programs, particularly
those camps or facilities which provided swimming instruction.
In recent years the Foundation has provided in excess of
$30,000 annually for summer camping activities.
On occasion the Foundation has used its assets as leverage
to assist other worthwhile groups in the area, lending $25,000
to the Danville Historical Society in 1984 and over $70,000
to the Danville-Pittsylvania County Habitat for Humanity
Chapter in 1994. In both instances the funds which were
put to immediate use by those charitable organizations were
repaid to the Foundation and used in its ongoing work.
The Foundation has also recognized the need to assist groups
in other ways to address the needs of the area. The Foundation
provided financial assistance to the future of the Piedmont
Coalition for the development of a needs assessment for
the people of Southside Virginia. The Foundation also provided
funds for "team building retreats" for the Danville
City Council and the Danville School Board.
Recognizing that Danville was facing limited resources
available for a broad range of charitable organizations,
the Foundation played a large role in the development of
a community building to house the United Way and several
member agencies. The Foundation provided leadership as well
as financial assistance for that endeavor. Likewise, Mr.
Womack and the Womack Foundation played a leading role in
the development of the Community Foundation and members
of the Foundation's Board have served that organization
as well. The Womack Foundation provided $10,000 to assist
the new Foundation in its start up expenses.
The Foundation has also recognized the educational contributions
of the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History and the
Danville Science Center. Both those institutions have received
funding from the Womack Foundation to assist in their ongoing
activities. The Foundation also played the decisive role
in displaying the Walter Grant Collection at a museum first
situated at the Danville Community College. For several
years the Foundation paid the annual salary of the Museum
Director in addition to other funds to assist in the preservation
of the collection. The Walter Grant large animal collection
is now housed in one of the buildings making up the Danville
In the 1990's the Foundation began to reach out to Caswell
County, North Carolina and has provided funding for a variety
of needs there. In 1993, $20,000 was given to Caswell County
Recreation for the development of a park in Yanceyville.
Since that time, the Foundation has provided fundings for
educational opportunities in Caswell County as well as events
at the Caswell County Civic Center.
In 1995 the Foundation provided $50,000 to the Salvation
Army to assist in the construction of a gymnasium on Henry
Street in Danville.
The Foundation assisted the Free Clinic of Danville with
$5,000 as that organization began its worthwhile activities.
In the fall of 1997, the Board of the Womack Foundation
recognized that a crisis existed in the school system of
Danville and that at-risk students were dropping out of
school at an alarming rate. The Board undertook an in-depth
discussion as to how the Foundation could assist the youth
of the area including programs through the Danville Public
School, Social Services, and the independent Church Based
Tutorial Program. The Board asked that the Foundation contact
school officials in order to determine how the Womack Foundation
could assist in solving such problems. The Averett After
School Program was undertaken and $20,000 was provided for
after school programs at Glenwood and Grove Park Public
Schools. In 1999, the Foundation provided $180,000 to the
Danville Public School System to assist in developing additional
focus schools and to emphasize family involvement in the
The Boys and Girls Club of Danville received $50,000 in
2000 to assist in the construction of the building which
now houses that organization. That club has continued to
receive funding assistance from the Foundation in the ensuing