Angels in Hunt Country

by Editorial


Manuel Johnson is a co-chairman and senior partner at the Washington-based investment firm of Johnson Smick International. He formerly served on the Federal Reserve System board and as assistant secretary of the treasury. His generosity extends to serving as president of the prestigious Upperville Colt and Horse Show and as chairman of the board at the National Sporting Library.

The sporting library, co-founded in 1954 by George Ohrstrom, Sr., and housed in a handsome white washed stone adaptation of a carriage house, has a 15,000 volume collection of books, covering all horse-related disciplines as well as shooting, angling, and the sporting arts. The Ohrstrom Family continues to be supportive, as is Jacqueline Badger Mars.


Mars is also among the philanthropists listed across the street at the stately Middleburg Community Center. Here, youngsters gather on Halloween and Easter, revelers dance at the hunt ball, and swim lessons and antique shows are offered. It is a beloved cause of many benefactors in the hunt country.

Maggie Bryant, her family, and the Bryant Foundation donate to numerous charitable entities in Middleburg. Washington real estate guru Robert Smith, who lives at Heronwood Farm in Upperville, munificently supports many local charities, as does Sheila Johnson, who donated the Sheila C. Johnson Performing Arts Center at Hill School. Later this fall, she will open her Salamander Farm for a fashion show to benefit Windy Hill.


Over on the aptly named Reed Street, devoted bibliophiles dedicate time and money at the Middleburg Library. Writer Marc Leepson served as president for ten years: “We have a very impressive response rate of 50 percent when we send out our annual fund raising letter,” he says. “It just shows the tremendous and widespread support the community has for our small gem of a library.”

For the purposes here we have reviewed charities within the village. In the bigger picture of philanthropy, there are groups faithful to preserving the countryside and saving dogs and horses. Any omissions are totally unintended, and let us not overlook the many contributions of “Anonymous.”

I recently received an email from Helen Wiley, who allocates tedious hours to worthy causes. “Fire department meeting here at 11 and horse show meeting at 5,” she said. The Middleburg Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. (which includes the Rescue Squad) is a non-profit organization with approximately 35 volunteer members. “We’re doing a fund raiser in November at Hill School: “Sip and Savor,” with tastings of local restaurants, breweries, and wineries.”

The co-chair of the event? Judy Washburn.

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