Perry marks history at the foundation as its first African American chairman
Martinsville, Va. — The Harvest Foundation Board of Directors is under new leadership, electing Henry County resident Kelvin Perry as chairman. He is the first African American to serve in this role at the foundation.
“It is a great honor to be a part of the Harvest Foundation family and to take on this role,” Perry said. “There’s a little weight on the shoulders because I realize the commitment necessary to do this job well and to make sure that we continue to do what is needed to move Martinsville-Henry County forward. I’m blessed to have the support of an amazing staff and fellow board members who have the biggest hearts and best intentions when it comes to our community.”
Perry said Harvest is in a unique position to support impactful community conversations around diversity, inclusion, and equity. But in order to do that, Perry said “we have to live by what we preach. Having a staff and board that truly is representative of our community is a great start. I want residents to feel like they have a voice and a seat at the table, and know that we want to see our community strive for excellence at all levels. Everyone deserves an opportunity to succeed.”
Over the next two years as chairman, Perry said he would like to focus on community conversations around K-12 education, moving the needle on economic mobility and poverty, and building workforce pipelines that companies can depend on for future workers.
“Collectively, we have a responsibility to the children being born today that by the time they matriculate to the 12th grade, they have everything needed in order to succeed no matter what path they decide to take,” Perry said. “I hope we can start those conversations with stakeholders within the community. Let’s take the gloves off, deal with the hard questions, and become the model that other communities will want to follow.”
Perry joined The Harvest Foundation Board of Directors in 2017. He’s served on various committees including the Grants Committee, Finance and Administration Committee, and chaired the Governance and Nominating Committee.
“I am looking forward to the work we will accomplish throughout the year with Kelvin as our new chair,” said Kate Keller, president of The Harvest Foundation. “I believe his guidance and knowledge of our community will expertly move us through some critical areas of our strategic plan over the next two years. We are grateful for all of our volunteer board members and the dedication they bring to Harvest and Martinsville-Henry County.”
Perry is the project manager for the Office of Economic Development and Tourism in Danville, Virginia, previously working in the banking industry for more than 30 years. He served as president of Imperial Savings and Loan Association and as chief operating officer, then as president and chief executive officer of First State Bank in Danville. He lives in Henry County with his wife Pelzetta. They have one son and two grandchildren. He also is the pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Martinsville.