The largest contribution Berks County Community Foundation received from an individual donor in Fiscal Year 2016 was $2.1 million to establish the Richard L. Henry Memorial Fund.
The fund was established by the estate of Maxine R. Henry, who died at age 88 on October 29, 2015, so that she and her late husband, Richard, could continue to support causes that mattered to them.
Richard Henry died, also at age 88, on January 29, 2014.
“We’re pleased to administer this fund, which will make annual distributions to Berks Women in Crisis; the Jewish Federation of Reading, Pa.; St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; and Ronald McDonald House locations in Philadelphia and Hershey,” said Kevin K. Murphy, Community Foundation president. “In addition, the fund will address issues related to breast cancer and visual impairment among residents of Berks County.”
Distributions from the fund will begin later in 2016.
The couple’s daughter, Jill Henry, said the fund was purposefully established in only her father’s name.
“It’s so typical of her,” Jill said with a smile while speaking of her mother. “She revered him. They were a team, and I’m realizing that more and more, but she was ‘old school.’”
“She comes from a different time when the wife was in the background to support the husband,” said William Morgan, CPA/PFS, a wealth advisor at Buckingham Asset Management. “Dick thought the world of her, and they were equals, but she wanted to honor her husband.”
Born in Philadelphia, the couple moved to Berks County and Richard became owner of Quality Roofing Supply Company, which was started by a friend of his on Morgantown Road in Reading.
“Dad was sensitive to how people could be much better off with just a little bit of help,” Jill recalled. “They grew up with so little, so it means a lot to them to be able to give. They always wanted their donations to stay in the community.”
Morgan had a working relationship with Richard Henry since 1980 when Morgan worked on the Quality Roofing account for Herbein + Company Inc. Morgan later was the couple’s wealth advisor.
Morgan did the couple’s tax returns for decades.
“I saw what contributions they made,” Morgan said. “They truly had causes that they cared about. They were kind and took time to speak with people. They took a genuine interest in others.”
They supported specific causes for personal reasons.
“Maxine Henry was a noble warrior who fought metastatic breast cancer for, I believe, 35 years or more during which she was a warm and dedicated friend to a small army of people,” said Dr. Gerald Marks, a boyhood friend of Richard’s and now a professor of surgery at Lankenau Medical Center, Wynnewood, Pa., and chairman of the Marks Colorectal Surgical Foundation.
Richard Henry was also a significant contributor to the professorial chair that was created in Marks’ name at Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Medical College (now called Sidney Kimmel Medical College).
“I can’t say enough good things about Richard and Maxine, who are both dearly missed by an indescribably large network of friends; I miss them terribly,” Marks said. “How fitting that their thoughtful generosity would be punctuated with the establishment of a memorial fund.”
When Maxine decided it was time to structure her charitable giving, she and Morgan met with Franki Aitken, senior vice president for finance and operations at the Community Foundation.
“Maxine ticked off her charities that she wanted to support and she felt good that she would leave a legacy,” Morgan said.
Less than a week after the paperwork was completed, Maxine passed away.
“It’s taught me something: Don’t delay these kinds of things,” Morgan said.