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Good guy: Sharon Tatum

Sharon Tatum spent nearly 27 years working at the Virginia Law Foundation, much of that time as its executive director.

Her last day with the VLF was Aug. 31 – she is making a career move. This fall, she is taking classes at Virginia

Commonwealth University to earn an accounting certificate that will let her sit for the CPA exam.

Tatum started working at the VLF in 1985 and became executive director in 1989. Take a look at the VLF mission statement and you can see the kind of fine work Tatum did:

The law foundation, started in 1974, was set up as the nonprofit vehicle for lawyers in the commonwealth to improve the legal system and the administration of justice. According to the VLF website, the group supports projects that:

•?Provide civil legal services to the poor
•?Educate the public about law and about the legal profession
•?Offer not-for-profit continuing legal education of Virginia lawyers
•?Support public service internships for Virginia law students
•?Recognize and encourage excellence in the practice of law

Tatum noted that the foundation has been able to make grants of nearly $24 million over the years. That’s a lot of good done.

Like a lot of charitable entities, the VLF has taken a hit following the recession. But in the late 1990s, the group was among the 40 largest charities in Virginia, with revenues north of $5 million a year.

Tatum said she was very proud of the grant program that the VLF has been able to have. She added it was “a privilege” to work with “so many outstanding lawyers” at the foundation. Like many organizations, the leadership turns over every year.

And each year, there is a new class of Fellows (somewhere around 20 to 25) that needs to be brought into the fold.

Anyone who has been among that group knows the time and the degree of care Tatum put into the annual Fellows installation banquet, held each January in Williamsburg as part of the Virginia Bar Association winter meeting.

Frank Thomas, the current president of the VLF, said that the leadership saluted Tatum and wished her well as she pursued her plans to move into accounting.

“We will miss her professionalism and enthusiasm,” he said.

Indeed – best of luck to you, Sharon, and kudos for a job well done at the VLF. It has been a real pleasure.

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