Rosel Schewel Fund

Clockwise: Rosel Schewel, Margot Lee Shetterly, Gina Sobel & Susan Gaeta, Angela Dominguez
Clockwise: Rosel Schewel, Margot Lee Shetterly, Gina Sobel & Susan Gaeta, Angela Dominguez

In 2019, Virginia Humanities established the Rosel Schewel Fund to support public humanities programming that amplifies women’s stories—many of them as yet untold—and their ongoing contributions to Virginia’s history and culture.

The Rosel Schewel Fund honors the legacy of Virginia Humanities’ longest-serving board member who passed away on September 28, 2017. A resident of Lynchburg, Schewel was “an extraordinary citizen—a philanthropist, teacher, scholar, mentor, political activist, founder, board leader, and a champion for public education, racial justice and the rights of women,” said her longtime friend and collaborator Lynda Bird Johnson Robb.

Her many achievements include: integrating a Girl Scout camp in the early 1950s over heated objections and helping found organizations including: the Lynchburg League of Women Voters in the early 1950s, the Women’s Resource Center in the 1970s, and more recently, Beacon of Hope, a local non-profit devoted to mentoring high school students to help them gain entrance to college.

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We plan to launch the fund with intergenerational public events in Lynchburg, October 23-24, 2020, in partnership with the University of Lynchburg, where Schewel received a master’s degree in education and an educational specialist degree in counseling. Learn more »

Virginia Humanities seeks to grow the Rosel Schewel Fund to $500,000 by 2025. That amount will yield $25,000-40,000 annually to support women’s grant projects, fellowships, symposia, podcasts, residencies, author visits, and other programs. A statewide advisory committee co-chaired by Daphne Maxwell Reid of Richmond and Megan Beyer of Alexandria has been established to help accomplish this goal and advise the Virginia Humanities Board of Directors on a long-term structure for funded projects.

Countless individuals have benefited from and been inspired by Schewel’s generosity, bravery, and vision. The Rosel Schewel Fund will continue and celebrate the spirit of her work by providing meaningful programming by and about women to intergenerational audiences across Virginia.