Inspiring Women

When you hear these words, what do you think of?  Strength. Assertiveness. Empathy. Passion. Imperfection. Power. Faith. Adaptability. Courage. Perseverance.  These are frequently mentioned characteristics to describe strong, successful and admired women.  We love that “imperfection” is a valued trait – because authenticity is important to success.

This week at Westminster Canterbury Richmond, we celebrate two amazing, authentic women –Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans, our historic benefactor whose birthday we celebrate annually by giving our organization’s highest award for exemplary service – and Betsy Waring King, our 2020 honoree.

Once upon a time (isn’t this the way all good stories should start?), in the late 1800s, Lettie Pate’s husband, Joseph Whitehead, had a bright idea.  Wouldn’t sales explode for the company who could figure out how to bottle the new, fizzy, refreshing, popular drink only available in drug stores? Despite his belief that such a scheme would never work, Asa Candler, then president of the fledgling Coca-Cola Company, signed a one-page contract allowing Whitehead to buy the secret syrup, add carbonation and bottle.  The cost to Whitehead? $1.

Needless to say, the idea took!  Unfortunately, within 11 years young Whitehead died of exhaustion.  And that is when a strong woman stepped up.  His wife, Lettie Pate Whitehead, took the helm – an unusual move in 1906.  She built the business into the amazing success it is.  As the years went on, she also built an incredible legacy of philanthropy that continues today.  Concerned for the welfare of women, for she came from very humble roots and knew what it meant to struggle, she provided higher education scholarships for young women and safe, secure care for older women.  Today, Westminster Canterbury Richmond and other communities benefit from the generosity of her legacy. 

It is because of this wonderful example of strong leadership, innovation and generosity that we honor a remarkable volunteer each year on Mrs. Evans’ birthday.  This year, we are thrilled to honor Betsy Waring King.  Mrs. King was an innovative educational leader throughout her career and continues to serve as a generous, inspirational volunteer.  We see the characteristics of strong, admired women in both those we honor this week.

Look around you.  We’re sure there are strong, admired women in your life!  Perhaps today is the perfect time to thank them for the ways they inspire you.

Celebrating Westminster Canterbury Richmond’s 2020 Laurel Award Winners!

We are fortunate to live in a time when views on what aging and elderhood “should be” are changing for the better. Once thought of as a “last chapter” of life, a time to slow down and disengage, more and more people are embracing elderhood and aging as a time of renewal and life enrichment. So many seniors, now retired from paid employment, use this time to volunteer for causes about which they are passionate. Volunteering benefits not only the cause or organization but also the volunteers themselves.

At Westminster Canterbury Richmond, our residents are definitely active in elderhood, and this includes volunteering. We are so fortunate to have more than 500 residents and non-residents volunteer on campus. This week, we celebrated some extraordinary examples of volunteerism. Each year, Westminster Canterbury recognizes exceptional volunteers by presenting the Laurel Awards to those whose significant contributions of time and energy are well beyond the ordinary. Laurel Award winners have made a recognizable and positive difference within the Westminster Canterbury community.

We are honored to celebrate the 2020 Laurel winners!


(Back, left to right) Julia Klele, Glenn Graham, Sally Maynard. (Front) Ellen “Tommy” Thompson, Barbara Noe, Morehead Foard.

How do volunteers make a difference in your life? How can you honor those people you know who contribute so much yet expect nothing in return? Let’s celebrate all the wonderful volunteers we know, especially those who are embracing their elderhood as a time of giving back. We invite you to learn about volunteering at Westminster Canterbury Richmond!

2019 Accomplishments Made Possible by Generosity!

Generosity helps all residents at Westminster Canterbury Richmond by providing vital programming that is not possible otherwise. All residents benefit from these programs – not just those who can afford them. The best possible healthcare. Additional nursing staff to enhance the care we provide. Extensive clinical training so nurses know the right ways to respond. Recreation, exercise, art, music and horticulture – to engage those at all health and income levels. Excellent staff to care for their every need.

In this two-part series, we celebrate what was made possible in 2019 through generosity to Westminster Canterbury Foundation.

YOUR gifts to the Fellowship Program, the cornerstone of Westminster Canterbury, provide life care for seniors-in-need and are the basis for all our charitably funded programming.  In 2019, YOU helped 113 residents through Fellowship support, which includes housing, meals, medical care and vital living. Gifts to the Annual Fellowship Fund totaled $1,712,336 toward the annual Fellowship Program budget of around $4 million, which is also covered by restricted Fellowship Endowments.

YOUR gifts have allowed assistance to extend beyond our campus through Fellowship Outreach, a set of programs serving low-income seniors in greater Richmond. Thanks to our generous donors, including 153 staff who give and volunteer:

  • 22 seniors and families received wheelchair ramps.
  • 35 Friendship Café members received monthly programming in art, music and exercise.
  • Free health screenings are available to all 150 residents of Guardian Place.

To ensure Healthcare Excellence, our healthcare staff receive high-level training and education through our Clinical Educator and Nurse Preceptor Program, including a total of 3,859 hours in 2019! Many nurses and Certified Nursing Assistants comment that this program provided the best orientation, training and onboarding experience of their entire careers.

We thank you for your inspiring generosity in 2019!
Stay tuned to learn more about the incredible accomplishments made possible by generosity!

The Big Red Bus

Kathryn Murden recently graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of the Arts and shortly after that started working at Westminster Canterbury Richmond. She has quickly become a valuable member of our team who created wonderful original designs and illustrations for our many publications. Kathryn designed a full bus wrap that advertises that we are hiring in several departments. This video highlights Kathryn and the bus she designed!

Toe-Tapping Fun!

Many of us enjoy attending a concert or play from time to time, and though we have a great time, we may not appreciate the benefits of attending live performances.  Yet, the advantages are many and they continue from childhood through our older years.

In fact, the National Institutes of Health cite that arts engagement for seniors improves memory, creativity, problem solving, everyday competence, reaction time, balance, gait and quality of life.  Live performances are engaging events that build a sense of togetherness and offer a chance to connect with fellow attendees and meet new people – an excellent antidote to social isolation, a particular risk for older adults.  Watching a live performance is thought-provoking; we can gain a deep appreciation of our own culture and learn about others. 

And of course, we all know watching live performances is often foot-tapping, stress-reducing, mood-enhancing fun! 

This is why we provide ongoing, high-quality live performances at Westminster Canterbury Richmond. These are available to everyone here, regardless of their health, cognitive or financial status. As our Sara Belle November Theater fills each week for another wonderful show, the sense of community is palpable.  Old friends and new greet each other enthusiastically and everyone is welcome.

Each quarter, we produce a Cultural and Education Booklet to feature the upcoming performances. This season, the variety includes the Capitol Steps, Richmond Ballet,  Nashville Avenue Stompers, the Susan Greenbaum Band and a Piano Festival – to name a few. If you have family here at Westminster Canterbury or are a member of our Canterbury Club, consider attending with your loved one or attending as our guest. 

The Richmond region is rich in cultural offerings, and it is more than worth it to consider how attending live cultural events will enhance your life!

Click here to explore our latest Cultural and Education Series booklet and let the toe-tapping fun begin!

Celebrating Inspiring Generosity on National Poinsettia Day

Each holiday season, Westminster Canterbury Foundation celebrates inspiring generosity that supports critical programming by giving a red or white poinsettia plant to our residents who are Leaders in Giving. This beautiful, living gesture of our gratitude recognizes the unique and cherished relationship we have with our donors. It also symbolizes the brilliant growth we experience because of the support given throughout the year. Volunteer “elves” spread holiday cheer and gratitude as they deliver these beautiful plants!

A little-known fact is that poinsettias continue to grow long after the winter holidays have passed.   When nurtured, they can become beautiful bushes, even trees. The Foundation celebrates and appreciates the inspiring generosity of our donors that ensures the best life possible for all our residents all year long!

Donors make so many things possible at Westminster Canterbury – our Fellowship Program for seniors-in-need, wonderful performances in our Sara Belle November Theater, nurses who are trained to provide the best possible healthcare when residents need it, scholarships for employees and much more. During the holiday season, we are grateful that we can celebrate this inspiring generosity in a beautiful way on campus.

If you’re inspired to give back this season, we invite you to join us in supporting seniors-in-need and other areas of greatest need at Westminster Canterbury.

Attitude of Gratitude

This time of the year we turn collectively toward family and friends in thanksgiving for our many blessings. We look forward to enjoying traditional meals passed along through family traditions – and perhaps trying a new dish as well. It is a holiday to be enjoyed simply for practicing gratitude.

As good as that may sound, the real benefits of an attitude of gratitude are experienced when gratitude is practiced all year long. A number of researchers have studied gratitude’s effects, discovering that those who practice gratitude show improvements in areas of health, social, personality, career and emotional wellbeing, as compared to peers who concentrate on life’s losses. In fact, taking even five minutes a day to take stock of what we’re thankful for can produce lasting value.

At Westminster Canterbury Richmond, we’re grateful for so much. Living purposeful, enriched lives of dignity.  Enjoying a wonderfully strong sense of community. Deepening our lives spiritually.  Learning and appreciating the joy of art and cultural experiences. Peace of mind knowing that no one will ever be asked to leave for financial reasons caused through no fault of their own. Happiness in welcoming neighbors into the community whose financial status would otherwise deny them a healthy retirement. Healthcare for each stage of life.  Yes, there is much to be thankful for.

In response to thanksgiving, many choose to give of themselves – as volunteers who give gifts of time and expertise, and as donors who give to ensure the best life possible for those on our campus and for many seniors-in-need beyond our gates.

As you celebrate this Thanksgiving, we hope you will strengthen a tradition of gratitude in your own lives.  As you do so, may you know joy and grace – given by the One who provides all good. Happy Thanksgiving!  Happy Thankful Year!

To learn more about Westminster Canterbury Richmond, please visit our website at

To learn more about giving to Westminster Canterbury Foundation, email Gayle Haglund at

We All Benefit From the Generosity of Others

At various points in life, someone else made a decision to provide support that may have changed the course of your life. Maybe it was the scholarship that helped you attend college. Maybe your church pitched in to help when your loved one was sick. Maybe it was as simple as a kind word when you were feeling down. Generosity affects us all! And we all have opportunities to pay it forward.

Inspiring generosity changes the lives of seniors at Westminster Canterbury Richmond. Helping seniors-in-need is our founding purpose and the basis for all our charitably funded programming. Did you know that around 110 out of 850 seniors who live on our campus receive financial aid through our Fellowship Program? Fellowship provides life care. A home. Three meals a day. Medical care including assisted living or nursing care when needed. These seniors would have nowhere else to turn if it weren’t for the security and peace of mind that you make possible through inspiring generosity to Westminster Canterbury Foundation.  We also to reach out beyond our walls to help others in the greater Richmond region.

Together we’re learning and practicing better ways to enjoy a healthy and purposeful elderhood – regardless of financial, health or cognitive status.  Our goal is that all seniors can truly live life well!

This video shares a taste of the ongoing work of Westminster Canterbury Foundation.  To learn more or to pay it forward through supporting our efforts, please contact Gayle Haglund at or visit our website

A Spirit of Generosity

We all make plans – short-term and long-term – for our lives. How do you envision your future? Westminster Canterbury Richmond has a vibrant vision for how seniors will live on our campus and in greater Richmond. There are many ways that you can plan ahead to benefit yourself and the causes you care about most.

Westminster Canterbury benefits from a long history of generosity. Our Fellowship Program serves 110 seniors-in-need annually. These generous souls served their community as teachers, clergy, caregivers and more, unfortunately leaving them with few resources to support themselves in retirement. Our 44-year history of generosity allows us to provide more than $4 million in housing, meals and medical care costs annually. And your gifts support important therapies, training, innovation and other programs that make the biggest difference in the lives of our residents and employees.

Many of our supporters have planned ahead by making a gift to Westminster Canterbury in their wills, making us the beneficiary of their retirement plans, giving through their donor-advised funds and more. There are many simple ways to give that benefit you and the causes you care about. To learn more, visit or read the latest issue of The Lamp.

Westminster Canterbury Richmond is a special place thanks to decades of strong leadership, philanthropy and a sense of mission. We hope you’ll join us in supporting what makes this such a special place!

Start Your Holiday Shopping at our Fall Craft Fair!

Each November, Westminster Canterbury Richmond’s Center for Creative Living fills with an abundance of special crafts from more than 30 vendors. Artisans work year round preparing original art, fine crafts, jewelry, Christmas ornaments, handmade cards and more. Our resident-run Treasure Chest will also be selling beautifully decorated wreaths, trees and festive table arrangements. It’s the perfect opportunity to start your holiday shopping – or to find a treasure for yourself.

A portion of the proceeds from sales benefit Westminster Canterbury Foundation’s Fellowship Fund, which provides life care – housing, meals, medical care and vital living – for around 110 seniors-in-need annually.

This year’s Fall Craft Fair takes place Friday, November 1, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Saturday, November 2, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., on our campus at 1600 Westbrook Avenue, Richmond, Virginia 23227. Parking and shuttle service are available at Azalea Mall. We look forward to seeing you there!

Here is a sample of what you can expect!