Donor Stories

Meet our Donors

David and Michelle Baldacci

A Vision for the Future

The Library of Virginia is thrilled to announce that David and Michelle Baldacci have made a gift of $1 million to the Library through the Library of Virginia Foundation. This significant gift will help launch expanded programming and initiatives starting in the Library’s 200th Anniversary year in 2023.

Upon making this gift David and Michelle Baldacci say: “Growing up, libraries and reading had an enormous impact on us and significantly influenced who we became as adults. We are thrilled to support The Library of Virginia in its ongoing efforts to help lead the Commonwealth through the new century, one reader and one curious mind at a time.” In addition, a portion of this gift will go to establish the “David and Michelle Baldacci Vision Fund” to provide sustainable support to future initiatives such as the Library’s Diversity Fellowship and Internship Program, increasing state-wide impact, and projects that expand and celebrate Virginia’s amazing Literature and authors. 

 In total, David Baldacci has published 44 novels for adults; all have been national and international bestsellers, and several have been adapted for film and television. His novels are published in over 45 languages and in more than 80 countries, with 150 million copies sold worldwide. David has also published seven novels for young readers. A lifelong Virginian, David received his Bachelor’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, after which he practiced law in Washington, D.C. In addition to being a prolific writer, David is a devoted philanthropist, and his greatest efforts are dedicated to his family’s Wish You Well Foundation®. Established by David and his wife, Michelle, the Wish You Well Foundation supports family and adult literacy programs in the United States.

The Library of Virginia and Library of Virginia Foundation are incredibly grateful for this support.

Deborah Clayton and David McFaden

History Explorer

Retirement has meant that Deborah Clayton of Campbell County can spend more time on what brings her joy: hiking, reading, bicycling, travel, and genealogy—lots of genealogy research. After she moved to Virginia, she “found” the Library of Virginia when she began helping women who hoped to join the Daughters of the American Revolution research their revolutionary ancestors.

Her use of the Library’s collections also meant that she rediscovered her love of old maps and old books, especially ones that need a bit of TLC. Broadside magazine introduced her to a way to adopt one of these items that needed to be conserved, and she hasn’t looked back.

“Exploring history can be exciting, challenging, and upsetting, especially when we discover things about our ancestors or our nation’s past that we were blind to,” said Clayton. “But we need to face the good, the bad, and the ugly so that we can envision and build that better future for all of us. The Library of Virginia is important in keeping our history fresh.”

Clayton particularly enjoys supporting the conservation of books and papers that deal with the American Revolution. George Mason has been described as somewhat of a “forgotten founding father,” as he refused to sign the Declaration of Independence. She responded to Broadside’s call to help conserve his papers to ensure that his contributions are protected. After all, he had an impact on how the Constitution was written and his advocacy led to the adoption of the Bill of Rights.

Marc and Janna Leepson

Unwavering Supporters

Nearly 25 years ago, Marc Leepson had a research breakthrough at the Library of Virginia while exploring primary sources for his book Saving Monticello, and he has been a giant fan of the Library ever since. “I received exemplary service from archives staff, especially archival wizard Minor Weisiger, and have continued to use the Library extensively in person and remotely since then for research on my subsequent books.”

No stranger to libraries, Marc understands the important role the Library of Virginia plays in our local communities as a champion of civic engagement and the literary arts. In addition to being an acclaimed journalist, historian, and author, Marc has also volunteered his time on the Middleburg and Loudoun County Library Boards, served multiple terms on the Library of Virginia Foundation Board, and was appointed to the Virginia State Library Board by Governor Tim Kaine.

Marc, along with his wife Janna, have been unwavering supporters of the Library for many years with annual support, sponsorships of the Library of Virginia Literary Awards, and through their participation in the Library’s Virginia Authors Circle affinity group. “The Literary Awards are a highlight of the year for me and Janna. We believe no one does a better job honoring Virginia authors and their works than the Library. You can take our word for it.”

Anna Moser and Peter Schwartz

William Waller Hening Society

Inspired by the Library of Virginia’s mission and values, Anna Moser and Peter Schwartz of Fauquier County, Virginia, joined the William Waller Hening Society—the planned giving society of the Library of Virginia Foundation—over a decade ago by including the organization in their estate planning. “We have always seen the Library of Virginia as a primary institution of cultural and historical literacy for all Virginians,” said Schwartz. Added Moser, “The Library truly promotes the literary values we want our community and our children to embrace, and it cannot fulfill this role without help from all of us.”

When the couple last revised their wills, they included a simple paragraph describing a bequest to the Library. “It was easy enough,” said Schwartz. “We just instructed our attorney to add it in. This is a way to make a meaningful gift without affecting one’s current lifestyle or retirement security, and it really matters. If everyone who loves the Library of Virginia were to do this, even modest bequests would add up over time and substantially increase the Library’s endowment and its ability to carry on its mission.”

Joseph Papa and John-Stuart Fauquet

Fans of the Library

When asked about his connection to the Library, best-selling author and book publicist Joseph Papa’s response comes full circle: “The Library of Virginia has been woven into so much of my life. I began working in the Virginia Shop while in college; from there I moved to a role in the Library of Virginia Foundation, where I helped promote and plan events such as author talks and the Literary Awards Celebration. And now I am a member of the Foundation’s board.”

While personally grateful for his time on staff at the Library, Joseph also marvels at its vast holdings and offerings for all Virginians. “It’s a real treasure trove for the curious and inquisitive,” said Joseph.

Though not a native Virginian, John-Stuart (J. S.) too is quite a fan of his adopted-state’s State Library, with a particular fondness for both the exhibitions—including the current women’s suffrage exhibition—and the first-class authors who speak at the Carole Weinstein Author Series. 

Joseph and J. S. both agree that, “With Virginia at a vital inflection point in properly examining its history, this is an exciting time to be involved with and support a venerable institution like the Library of Virginia, one that is home to so many resources from our shared past.”

Lynn Rainville and Baron Schwartz

Longtime Library Supporters

Dr. Lynn Rainville and Baron Schwartz have been longtime advocates and supporters of the Library of Virginia’s role as a trusted educational resource for students, researchers, and the public. They believe in the transformative nature of learning and being grounded in one’s community history and sense of home place. Lynn is particularly enthusiastic about the Library’s mission to help millions of people around the world understand and engage with Virginia’s complex past on a national and local level.

As a public historian and higher education leader, Lynn has dedicated more than 20 years to researching ordinary Virginians doing extraordinary things in the past. She credits the Library’s unique collections as an invaluable resource. “The Library is unrivaled in the scale and diversity of historic items related to Virginia’s history and culture,” said Lynn. “Its rich archive has helped academics discover new perspectives, and genealogists identify family connections.”

Lynn and Baron also appreciate the Library’s statewide presence. “We are lucky to live in a commonwealth with one of the best state libraries and archives in the nation,” she said. “Even though we live in the Valley, we are able to access an abundance of online resources and livestreamed programming.”  

Steve and Kathy Rogers

A Passion for Literature

Even though his career has focused on facts and figures, Steve Rogers of Henrico County, Virginia will tell you his true passion is literature – reading, writing, and supporting. The Library of Virginia’s mission and values complement Steve’s desire to invest in the history and culture of Virginia’s rich literary tradition.

“The Library is a one-of-a-kind institution in the Commonwealth and the nation. By giving to its annual fund, my gift is put to use immediately and for the most pressing needs. With a background in finance, I understand the unique benefits of unrestricted philanthropy. It allows for comprehensive support of the Library’s core-mission initiatives. I trust the Library to use my investment wisely, and I see the direct impact through its work with nurturing literacy in our communities and promoting Virginia’s authors.”

“Now more than ever, the Library needs our support to preserve its collections and encourage understanding of Virginia’s history and culture. I’m doing my part, and I hope other donors will join me in this noble endeavor.”

If you have questions or would like to learn more about how your gift helps the Library’s mission, please contact Elaine McFadden, Director of Development at 804-692-3592 or email

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