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August 27, 2020

Ann Walker endowment benefits local children

In memory of Ann Walker (1936-2018), the endowment will cover club membership dues for families who can afford them.
This is a lady who truly loved kids and made the world better.
— Mark Frantz
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Thanks to the legacy of a Warrenton woman who died almost two years ago, a support system for local children has grown stronger.

A McLean couple has funded an endowment in the name of Ann Walker for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fauquier County.

Although the club, founded in 1997, has received strong financial support over the years, the lump-sum donation from Mark and Megan Frantz creates its first endowment, Executive Director Lynne Richman Bell said after Wednesday’s announcement.

“This is a lady who truly loved kids and made the world better,” Mr. Frantz said in a telephone interview. “We got to know Ann, who worked a lot in the area caring for children as a nanny, babysitter.”

Ms. Walker, who died at age 82, helped with the three Frantz children, he explained.

“We thought she was amazing,” said Mr. Frantz, who spoke at her funeral at First Baptist Church in Warrenton. “We got to know her son and grandsons, although we didn’t get to meet them until Ann’s funeral.”

Even though they had made other contributions in her name, Mr. and Mrs. Frantz during 2019 continued to think about an enduring way to honor Ms. Walker’s memory, he said.

His sister-in-law works with a Boys & Girls Club in Delaware, which provided the spark to investigate the possibility of a gift to the one in Fauquier, said Mr. Frantz, 51, founder and CEO of an investment capital firm.

“Our family wanted to invest in an organization that believes in nurturing children as much as Ann did,” he added. “She believed that every child is a gift. She was a true blessing to our family on so many levels and we hope these funds, in Ann’s memory, can help provide opportunities to other families.”

In a press release from the club, Mrs. Frantz said: “Ann Walker was a truly special lady, who was always kind, thoughtful, gentle and loving with every child she came across. She raised a great son, two amazing grandsons and impacted dozens of other children, including our own. We look forward to seeing the club help continue her passion for children.”

The gift totals “tens of thousands” of dollars, said Mr. Frantz. He and the club declined to state the specific amount.

Invested with The Fauquier Bank’s Wealth Management division, the endowment will be self-perpetuating, the donor said.

He praised the club board of directors for their cooperation and thoroughness in providing information that led to the donation.

“Their intention is to fund kids whose families cannot afford services (membership dues),” Ms. Bell said. “It helps us, especially since we accept every child, regardless of ability to pay.”

She added that the endowment has deep meaning for the club and the community.

“Ann’s legacy in Warrenton is extensive one,” Ms. Bell added. “She was a member of the First Baptist Church on Alexandria Pike and sister to 92-year old resident Robert L. Walker, who along with his wife Eva Walker, for whom Eva Walker Park was named, were advocates for social and racial justice and equity here in Warrenton. Like her relatives, Ann had a true passion for community, as well as the nurturing love of children, and the Frantz’s are passionate about honoring Ann’s love and appreciation for children.”

Ms. Walker passed away Oct. 7, 2018, in Kansas, where she moved to be near her son, Donnell Rodgers, his wife Kathy and her two grandsons.

“The club is immensely grateful for the generosity of the Frantz family and the support of Donnell, Kathy and Ann’s family,” Treasurer Jim Spedden said. “This endowment gift marks the achievement of a key goal the club has had the last three years, and the club leadership is thrilled at the opportunity the Ann Walker fund will provide for the community.”

The club normally serves about 450 children, ages 5 to 18, at centers in Bealeton and Warrenton. The COVID-19 restrictions and the closure of public school buildings have dramatically lowered participation this summer, Ms. Bell said.

In response to the pandemic, the club has cut its $600,000 annual operating budget by about $200,000, she said. But, club leaders continue planning for a return to full operations and potential expansion, the director added.

Contact Editor “Lou” Emerson at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 540-270-1845.

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Becca · August 27, 2020 at 3:44 pm
What an amazing women, & a generous family. Am glad the money is being put to such good use.
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