- Who We Are
- Our Work
- Education: Children and Youth
- Income: Families
- Health: Older Adults
- Smart Beginnings
- Age Wave Planning
- Our Partners
- Get Involved
- Log In
Mr. and Mrs. Donald T. Cowles Receive United Way’s Most Prestigious Award
The most prestigious honor bestowed by United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg has been awarded to Donald T. Cowles, former senior vice president of Reynolds Metals Co., and his wife Jane M. Cowles, an advocate for reforesting Richmond’s city blocks.
The Cowles have received the Alexis de Tocqueville Society Award, which is given each year by United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg to an individual or couple whose service and generosity exemplify the true spirit of volunteerism. Previous honorees include J. Stewart and Lissy Bryan, Mr. and Mrs. Robert S. Ukrop, Steve and Kathie Markel, Mr. and Mrs. E. Claiborne Robins Jr. and many others.
“The Cowles were chosen for this year’s Tocqueville Society Award, both for their commitment to United Way and for their broad-sweeping devotion to our region.” said Tom Byrd, 2012 Tocqueville Society Chair. “Their involvement extends from projects that build trust between disparate groups to efforts that improve the environment where we work and live.”
Donald Cowles has long been associated with United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg. He recently ended tenure on the United Way board of directors, serving two terms from 2006 to 2012. During this time, he chaired United Way’s Education Task Force and the Community Building Committee.
Professionally, Cowles was Senior Vice President, Construction and Distribution of Reynolds Metals Company, an integrated producer of primary aluminum and aluminum products, and President, Reynolds Aluminum Supply Company, the metals distribution business of Reynolds Metals Company, from 1997 to 2001.
Mr. Cowles was also the Executive Director of Initiatives of Change, Inc., a nonprofit network working to promote a more inclusive American Society. Their program “Hope in the Cities” builds trust through honest conversations on race and responsibility. He also helped found Richmond Hill, an ecumenical retreat center designed to provide healing and reconciliation. He is one of the organizers of The Micah Initiative, a mentoring partnership of more than 100 faith communities and 25 of Richmond’s elementary schools. He currently serves on the Boards of Tredegar Corporation and the Virginia Mentoring Partnership.
Jane Cowles is an active volunteer and leader with the Garden Club of Virginia. Most recently, through her role as the Boxwood Chapter President, Mrs. Cowles helped lead an effort to increase the number of trees planted in Richmond’s downtown area.
“If you leaf through the chapters of Don and Jane’s life or do a quick Google search, you will find the common thread of faithful support to the community at-large and to countless individuals, too. Whether through chairing committees or mentoring a child in need or beautification efforts, the Cowles tangible mark is seen and felt in our community.” said Lynn Pharr, President & CEO, United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg.
United Way’s Alexis de Tocqueville Society is an international network of leaders that fosters and recognizes exceptional levels of personal giving and community service. United Way donors who make an annual gift of $10,000 or more are honored with membership in the Tocqueville Society. Worldwide, the society has 27,000 members. Today, the generosity of Tocqueville Society members ensures that United Way and the community are able to achieve results that change the lives of thousands of children, youth, families and older adults in need every year.
PHOTO CAPTION: From left to right: Donald Cowles, United Way 2012 Campaign Chair Jim Phillips, 2012 Alexis de Tocqueville Society Chair Tom Byrd, and Jane Cowles.