Founded to honor Elizabeth Kates, the first warden of the Virginia Correctional Center for Women (VCCW), The Elizabeth Kates Foundation works to help offenders turn their lives around and enable them to return to society as productive citizens.
The Foundation, started in 1942, has paid for college correspondence courses as well as providing assistance in GED programs and purchasing academic materials and supplies.
Elizabeth Kates was the first warden when the prison was built in 1932. She retired in 1964. The Commonwealth pays for the basic essentials, but Ms. Kates wanted to provide more services. In 1942, Kates and some of her sorority members of Pi Beta Phi broadened the services. Over the years, The Foundation has provided scholarships for on-site college classes, correspondence classes, educational materials, textbooks, televisions, computers, and graduation gifts for the completion of GED and academic programs.
The Elizabeth Kates Foundation continues today as an all-volunteer organization governed by a 16-member board of directors. The Foundation’s mission is supported by numerous donors and volunteers. Working closely with the Department of Corrections, The Foundation has responded to changing needs for rehabilitative services, the increased numbers of women incarcerated in Virginia and the building of additional correctional facilities for women.