Bob and Kathy Roper moved to Mathews County in August 1995. Since that time they have been making a positive difference in the lives of people in Mathews and Virginia.
Bob attended Woodberry Forest School and Hampden-Sydney College. After graduation he worked as a real estate developer in Charlottesville before joining Philip Morris in New York City in 1974. He held a series of marketing positions until becoming Director of Brand Management in 1985. In 1987, Bob transferred to Philip Morris International and he and Kathy moved to Tokyo, Japan. While there he served as President of Philip Morris Japan and created their marketing presence in that country. They returned to New York in 1993 where Bob assumed the position of Vice President of Marketing for Philip Morris International. He retired in 1995 and they moved back to his native Virginia where they built their home on Burton Point in Hallieford.
Kathy grew up in the theater in New York City and began her acting career at an early age. She has worked in movies both at home and abroad and had a starring role in a popular daytime television drama. She is an accomplished Broadway actress and received a Tony nomination for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical for her role in "The Sound of Music". Kathy is a professional registered Parliamentarian and a member of the American Pen Women. She practices Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging, and has traveled back to Japan several times to attend Ikebana International meetings. She also serves as Parliamentarian for both organizations.
Since moving to Mathews, Bob and Kathy have lent their talents to numerous endeavors to help the residents of the County and Virginia. "It was time to give back to our community and society in a meaningful way," Bob said. Bob and Kathy established the Robert and Kathleen Roper Family Fund in 2000. Their goal was to support general charitable purposes with priority given to organizations meeting the needs of at risk children. The fund has provided grants to support the Boys and Girls Club, the Fresh Start Program at Hands Across Mathews, the Continental Society and art programs for underprivileged children at the Bay School.
Kathy served as an officer on the board of the Bay School, the Mathews Historical Society and the Mathews Garden Club as well as becoming a member of the Mathews Woman's Club and a volunteer at the Mathews Memorial Library. Bob sought out nonprofit organizations that were addressing his areas of interest where he could use his particular talents. He was drawn to the Mathews Community Foundation and joined the board in 2000. He was immediately impressed with the talent he found. "There is a culture of volunteerism and charity in Mathews and when combined with that talent, you have a powerful force for good works."
Many of those good works were brought about during Bob's years as Chairman of the Mathews Community Foundation. During his long and productive chairmanship not only was a broader fundraising effort initiated, but ever-increasingly, the operations of the MCF became more organized and more professional in method. Bob remarked that, "I had seen elsewhere how instrumental community foundation endowments have been in strengthening the fabric of a community. We are very fortunate to have participation by a broad cross-section of the populace and they are making a huge difference in improving the quality of life for everyone that lives and works here." This has been borne out as the Mathews Community Foundation has awarded almost $1,500,000 in grants over the last ten years. Of his time with the Foundation, Bob said, "One of the most gratifying aspects of my investment of time and money in the foundation is to see the broad-based financial support by the people of Mathews. Their gifts have ranged from $5.00 to several thousand dollars and have produced a large and growing endowment that will support out community in perpetuity."
Bob serves as Chairman of the Advisory Council of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science where he contributed to the VIMS Strategic Plan and led an effort to align the Council's working committees and he is also a Trustee of Woodberry Forest School.
Bob and Kathy like to spend time on their boat, Discovery and with their two children and four grandchildren. They have truly engaged with life and with their community to make a positive difference.
Learn more about establishing a family fund