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Harvey family legacy of love for the arts continues with newest grants
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Harvey family legacy of love for the arts continues with newest grants

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On New Year’s Day 10 years ago, the Richmond community struggled to understand the senseless deaths of a family of four, including two young children, who were found brutally murdered in their home.

Bryan Harvey, 49, his wife, Kathryn, 39, and their daughters Stella, 9, and Ruby, 4, were killed in their Woodland Heights home in Richmond on Jan. 1, 2006, in a crime rampage carried out by Ricky Javon Gray and Ray Dandridge.

The two men later killed a second family. On Jan. 6, five days after the Harvey killings, police found the bodies of Ashley Baskerville, 21; her mother, Mary Baskerville Tucker, 47; and her husband, Percyell Tucker, 55, in their home on East Broad Rock Road in South Richmond. The next day, Gray and Dandridge were arrested in Philadelphia.

Ashley Baskerville knew Gray and Dandridge and had served as a lookout when Gray killed the Harveys, authorities said.

Gray was sentenced to life in prison for the slayings of Bryan and Kathryn Harvey, and to death for killing their daughters. Dandridge was sentenced to life in prison.

“You don’t forget a tragedy like that, especially for people that were so well-known and so well-connected and so well-loved,” said Marlene Paul, who lives in the Woodland Heights neighborhood and was a friend of the Harvey family.

“But it’s almost as if their connectedness to the community is what helped hold the community together,” Paul said.

The Harvey family legacy lives on in an endowment that funds something that was very dear to them — the arts. Bryan Harvey was a well-known local musician. Kathryn Harvey was co-owner of the World of Mirth, a popular specialty toy and novelties shop in Carytown.

The Community Foundation this week announced the latest recipients of grants from the Bryan and Kathryn Harvey Family Memorial Endowment, established in 2006 by contributions from hundreds of donors.

Recipients are:

• Art 180: $3,500, for programs that help youth discover ways through arts to engage in and influence their surroundings.

• Girls Rock! RVA: $7,500, for a program that allows budding young musicians to check out guitars, drums and other instruments from Richmond Public Library.

• Milk River Arts: $2,000, to support career-focused mentoring and guidance for artists with special needs.

• Podium Foundation: $2,500, for a program that uses writing to inspire Richmond youth to develop the skills and confidence to succeed in citizenship, college and career.

“For me this is personal as well as professional,” said Paul, co-founder and executive director of Art 180, which was also a recipient when the grants were first given out in August 2006.

“It’s a beautiful tribute and a fitting legacy for people who were so well-loved by the community and contributed so much to the spirit of Richmond individually and collectively. To be associated with that is humbling and meaningful, and I just appreciate that their friends and family cared enough about Art 180 to know that we would use the money in a way that would be an appropriate reflection of what they were all about,” Paul said.

Patricia Conway said Girls Rock! RVA will use the money to expand the Richmond Instrument Lending Library — adding instruments and library sites. The program currently lends electric guitars, amplifiers, keyboards, and drum kits to youth ages 8 to 18 at the main Richmond Public Library. Plans are to expand to library branches in the East End and North Side of Richmond, Conway said.

“We are hoping to purchase instruments that might be less common from a rock ‘n’ roll style music — clarinet, saxophone, electronic drum kits, violins — just a wider variety of instruments,” said Conway, vice present of Girls Rock! RVA.

“Girls Rock feels very honored to be a part of the Harvey family legacy, and we hope that we’ll continue their work in spirit by encouraging the love of learning through play and the love of music,” said Conway, a librarian for Henrico County.

The Podium Foundation plans to use the funds for a new writing mentorship program in which Richmond high school students taking part in an after-school writing program will mentor middle school students who have a shared love of writing.

“For our high school students this helps them build professional skills. They manage the writing workshops. They are involved in the day-to-day running operations of the mentoring programs,” said Lindy M. Bumgarner, The Podium Foundation executive director and co-founder.

“I can’t think of any better legacy than to support the next generation of youth who can positively express themselves through arts and culture and contribute to Richmond. ... A lot of the youth that we work with have a lot of struggle in their lives, and they are then able to pick their own stories and put them out in a positive manner,” Bumgarner said.

Paige Harvey said there were no special community events planned to mark the day 10 years ago that she lost her brother and his family.

“Bryan and Kathy were very much involved in arts and music and the Richmond community. With the foundation we have been able to continue with what they would have wanted to happen in the Richmond area,” Harvey said. “Being able to continue that kind of giving back to the community... is something they certainly would have appreciated.”

The grants are a “legacy for the Harveys, but it’s also a legacy for the community,” said Lisa O’Mara of The Community Foundation. Contributions to the Harvey memorial fund have totaled $190,000. Grants totaling $60,000 have been awarded. Relatives and friends of the Harveys with The Community Foundation select the recipients.

People who want to donate to the Bryan and Kathryn Harvey Memorial Endowment can do so online at www.tcfrichmond.org/harvey or by sending a check to The Community Foundation, 7501 Boulders View Drive, Suite 110, Richmond 23225, indicating “Harvey” in the memo line on the check.

The outpouring of emotion and donations for the Harveys reflects how they personally touched so many people but also concerns about the randomness of the crime, said Dr. Martin Buxton, chief of psychiatry at HCA Virginia’s Chippenham and Johnston-Willis hospitals. The killers entered through an unlocked door.

“So much of our response to that event depends on our own life experiences and how well you knew them, if you did know them,” Buxton said.

“I didn’t know them but I had a reaction — there but for the grace of God. Here’s a family celebrating. They were having people over. Sometimes when I have company coming I leave the door ajar, things that probably everybody does.”

Doing something concrete such as making a donation or leaving a token at the stone marker erected in Forest Hill Park in honor of the Harveys can help people still grieving, said Buxton, also medical director of Tucker Pavilion.

“Remembering them, honoring them, helps mitigate the pain a little,” he said.

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