Do you have a family legacy that has lasted generations? Here at the Greater Washington Community Foundation, we are proud to be part of many family legacies, but one in particular has recently given us cause to celebrate. Our Board of Trustees has elected Katharine Weymouth as our new Board Chair at the Greater Washington Community Foundation. As Weymouth takes on this mantle, she continues a family a legacy of giving in the Greater Washington region that began in 1917.
Katharine Weymouth served as Publisher and Chief Executive Officer of The Washington Post, the newspaper division of The Washington Post Company, from 2008 through the end of 2014. Today she serves on the Board of Graham Holdings, Cable One, Republic Services, and the Philip L. Graham Fund. She is also COO at DineXpert, a start-up helping independent restaurants improve their margin.
For Weymouth, giving is part of her family’s legacy. Most famously, her grandmother (and namesake) Katharine Graham, acted on a passion to create equal opportunities in education. Graham, who ran The Washington Post for more than two decades, also served on the board of The Community Foundation. She joined the board in the early 1990s when then-Board Chairman R. Robert Linowes hand-picked her as part of a restructuring effort to revitalize The Community Foundation. Graham served on the board for nearly a decade.
“I was lucky enough to be born into an amazing family - and a family of strong women,” said Katharine Weymouth. “My grandmother, Katharine Graham, loved this region. My grandmother was passionate about creating equal opportunities for all to have access to a good education.”
Graham also established the Early Childhood Collaboration of Southeast Washington at The Community Foundation to increase education equity in Washington, DC.
A generation before Katharine Graham, Weymouth’s great-grandmother, Agnes Meyer, moved to DC in 1917. Meyer also contributed to education-related philanthropy. She was a founding member of the National Citizens’ Commission for the Support of the Public Schools. Weymouth’s uncle, Don Graham, has spent his life in DC and is renowned for his philanthropic efforts in the region. Among his many contributions, he worked with other business leaders in the region to establish the DC College Access Program, providing counseling and financial aid to help DC high school graduates to attend and complete college.
How does Weymouth plan to apply this legacy to her work today? For one thing, it means that the Greater Washington region is close to her heart.
“I love this region and I care about its future,” Weymouth said. “Washington has changed so much since I moved here in 1993. Washington has evolved to have a much more diverse business and tech community. It has become a city that draws millennials and continues to draw people who want to serve their country and then fall in love with DC and the region.”
But Weymouth recognizes that change comes with a price. She points to the region’s rising housing costs that continue to outpace local incomes, and a lack of equal access to education.
“The region has always suffered from too great a divide,” Weymouth said, “between the wealthy and those struggling to live paycheck to paycheck or needing a safety net. As affordable housing has become harder and harder to find, this divide has only become more pronounced. I see housing and the inequality in this region as our single biggest challenge.”
Weymouth says that serving on the board of The Community Foundation makes her feel more empowered to help the region. She plans to bring her many years of leadership to the board, especially in finding ways to gain greater visibility for The Community Foundation and to engage a broader community to become part of The Community Foundation’s vision.
“To me, the most powerful thing about The Community Foundation is its power as a convener and a leader in the community,” said Weymouth. “Through our donors, The Community Foundation supports thousands of amazing organizations doing important work in our communities. But its most important role, I believe, is its role identifying the most critical needs of the communities we serve and working to pull together public and private partnerships to really make a difference.
“I have always been inspired by the often-quoted words of President Kennedy: ‘For of those to whom much is given, much is required.’ I am ever grateful for the education I received and what it allowed me to accomplish. I want to be able to afford others the same opportunities.”
We are so excited to have Katharine Weymouth lead our Board of Trustees!