A Chesterfield County couple whose disabled daughter was cared for at The Virginia Home for 35 years alerted officials of the long-term residential care facility about a decade ago that they would be leaving the bulk of their estate to the private, nonprofit organization.
“I think none of us was surprised by their generosity,” said Robert A. Crouse, president and CEO of the Richmond nonprofit. “I think what surprised us was the magnitude of the gift. None of us in our wildest dreams would have imagined they could have made a gift like that.”
Crouse announced this week that Cyril and Margaret Motley had left the organization a bequest of more than $6 million, the largest gift in the 124-year history of the organization. Cyril Motley died in 2011 at age 90; Margaret Motley died this year at 95.
The Motleys — known to the staff as Bill and Peggy — were well-acquainted with The Virginia Home. Their only child, Deborah, who had a permanent physical disability, lived at the home for 35 years until her death in 2015. For 20 years or more, the Motleys volunteered on at least a weekly basis, doing shopping for residents and performing other tasks.
“They were very generous with their time and their financial resources,” said Crouse, who noted the Motleys made regular donations. “They lived their lives very simply. They didn’t take vacations. I had seen their home in South Side. It was nice but very modest. The only indulgence I ever saw from them was about every 10 years they would show up in a new Buick Riviera. That was it. There was just no pretense. Nobody would have ever guessed they were sitting on a nest egg like that.”
Bill Motley retired from Philip Morris, where he worked in a nonexecutive position, Crouse said.
“I don’t know exactly what he did ... but I would characterize it as a blue-collar job,” Crouse said. “During the time he [volunteered] here, he would occasionally show up in his work clothes, and he was dressed to do the kind of job where you might get your hands dirty.”
Crouse said the Motleys’ estate included holdings in a number of stocks, including Philip Morris, but he did not know the specifics of how they were able to amass such a sizable portfolio. Bill Motley also was a World War II veteran, according to a brief death notice from 2011.
The Virginia Home, located on Hampton Street near Maymont, provides lifelong residential care to about 130 adults with permanent physical disabilities. Half of the residents are under age 50 at the home, which provides round-the-clock nursing care and a broad range of services. Residents live there for an average of more than 20 years, said Michael Dowdy, vice president for advancement. One recent resident lived at The Virginia Home for nearly 60 years until his death.
The organization gets about two-thirds of the cost of coverage of care from Medicaid and the other one-third from fundraising or earnings from its endowment, Dowdy said. The Motleys’ gift will go into the organization’s endowment.
At Wednesday’s announcement of the Motleys’ gift, which included reminiscences of the Motleys by staff and residents, Crouse also made known that the organization’s board of trustees, in appreciation of the family’s generosity, was giving a name to the home’s newly refurbished lobby: Motley Lobby.
“For them to leave the bulk of [their estate] to The Virginia Home was something they did out of appreciation for the care we provided their daughter,” Crouse said. “I think they saw ... that we’re able to improve the lives of people who live here, and they wanted to see that continue.”