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BEN AND BETTY DAVENPORT GIFT BOOSTS EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION IN VIRGINIA A highlight of the 50th anniversary gala was an announcement by Governor McAuliffe that Ben and Betty Davenport have made a $1 million donation to establish the Davenport Early Childhood Development Institute. The Institute will partner with four of Virginia’s Community Colleges – Danville, Patrick Henry, Virginia Western, and New River – to ensure high-quality training and education for childcare workers. “It is imperative that our education system prepare children for the opportunities of tomorrow by giving them the tools for educational success as early in life as possible,” said Governor McAuliffe, speaking at the gala. “I sincerely thank the Davenport family for their generosity, and I commend the Virginia Community College System for their innovation and their individualized attention to students across the commonwealth.” “We believe every child should have the opportunity to have a successful, productive life,” the Davenports stated. “Children need proper care and educational instruction from the beginning of life. The Virginia Community College System is at the forefront of providing the training to make this happen.” 6

Betty and Ben Davenport

Ben Davenport currently serves as chairman of two companies, each of which employs more than 100 area residents – Davenport Energy and First Piedmont Corporation, a full-service waste management company he started in 1969. Longtime philanthropists, the Davenports have a history of advocating on behalf of early childhood education. Betty has

served on the board of Smart Beginnings Danville/Pittsylvania, and Ben is director emeritus of the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation. This golden couple is also celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, having married in the same year the Virginia Community College System was created.

VFCCE - VCCS 50th anniversary summary report