Shaped by childhood hardships of war, severe hunger, and the early loss of a parent, George Dragas developed a deep sense of empathy for others in need and instilled his spirit of philanthropy into the values of the company he founded and the children he raised.
The Dragas Companies’ 50 years of growth and success has since afforded it the ability to support charitable initiatives from its business earnings and through its complementary family foundation.
As its second-generation leader, Helen E. Dragas has advanced George’s original intentions for the Dragas Companies’ philanthropy by volunteering her time, donating resources, and initiating charitable programs that impact humanity in a sustained and multi-generational manner.
Areas of Focus
Simply put, education has the power to change lives and level society’s playing fields. By supporting education from many angles, Dragas philanthropy demonstrates the firm conviction that education is the primary equalizer of opportunity and has proven to be the most effective means of achieving a multi-generational impact on society.
Whether through support of local public-school requests, funding exceptional K-12 programming and financial aid, initiating and supporting a variety of higher education initiatives and institutions, or campaigning actively to make public higher education institutions more accessible and affordable, education has always been the centerpiece of Dragas philanthropy.
Family Crisis Solutions
Sometimes as basic as providing a meal or as complex as healing a trauma, Dragas philanthropy all comes back to supporting the things which give children the basic stability necessary for them to achieve a quality education.
• Housing [For Kids, Samaritan House, $1.5 million gift to Hampton Roads municipalities]
• Justice system navigation
• Crisis counseling and general child and family well-being
• Hunger alleviation
Society’s educational and charitable organizations depend on responsive, transparent governance to ensure their longevity and create open, equitable pathways for all, regardless of income or background. Contributing thousands of volunteer hours to numerous local, regional, and statewide governing boards has been a hallmark of Dragas leadership. At Old Dominion University, the Dragas Center for Economic Analysis and Policy at Old Dominion University conducts a wide range of objective economic, demographic, educational, social, transportation and military studies and is actively involved in widely cited economic forecasting activities for the region and the Commonwealth.
See how community service is a deeply ingrained aspect of working here.