Mr. Dobbs was deeply committed to the city where he lived and worked. His corporate board service included Southern Bell, Atlanta Gas Light, Trust Company Bank, and Rich's, Inc. His community service was extensive. He served as president of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the Atlanta Rotary Club; he also served on the Fulton County Board of Health, the Atlanta Chapter of the American Red Cross, and the Arthritis Foundation. Mr. Dobbs maintained a lifelong commitment to education and was a trustee of Emory University, Young Harris College, Agnes Scott College, and Woodward Academy.
Much of his leisure time was spent enjoying nature. He and Helen, his wife of 48 years, loved the North Georgia countryside and shared their mountain retreat with countless friends and family members. He also loved the ocean and was known as a skilled boat captain who was always prepared for every contingency.
Mr. Dobbs died on June 9, 2003, at the age of 97. He was a true Southern gentleman, exhibiting modesty and restraint in every aspect of his life. Even in times when he could have commanded the spotlight, he remained humble and forthright. He was a man of few words. His story is best told by the way he lived his live - with honesty, integrity, perseverance, and generosity of spirit.
The Foundation was established in 1959 as the Helen and Howard Dobbs, Jr. Foundation and was later renamed the R. Howard Dobbs, Jr. Foundation. For nearly 40 years the Foundation operated as a small philanthropic vehicle for Mr. Dobb's interests. At the turn of the century, encouraged by his nephew and fellow trustee E. Cody Laird, Jr., Mr. Dobbs began to formalize the Foundation's governance and guidelines to prepare the way for a family philanthropy that would extend beyond his lifetime.
Today, the R. Howard Dobbs, Jr. Foundation operates with the mission to improve the quality of life for individuals, families and communities by supporting educational opportunities, improving access to health services, and promoting environmental stewardship. The Foundation is committed to honoring the life and impact of Mr. Dobbs through its work.
David joined the Foundation in 2007 following 11 years with the Rockdale Foundation as a founding Board member and its first Executive Director. An Ordained Presbyterian minister, David previously served on the pastoral staff of four congregations and as a pastoral counselor/marriage and family therapist. He earned an A.B. in Psychology from Davidson College and his M. Div. and Th.D. from Columbia Theological Seminary.
Rachel joined the Foundation in September 2021 after serving for 7 years at Atlanta Public Schools as the Executive Director of Partnerships and Development where she oversaw corporate, philanthropic, and external relations. Rachel has also served in various other nonprofit, community engagement and development roles focused on preK-12 public education. She holds a B.A. from the University of Maryland and an M.S. from Towson University. Rachel lives in Atlanta with her husband and daughter and is a graduate of LEAD Atlanta, the Atlanta Regional Commission's Regional Leadership Institute and Outstanding Atlanta.
Anna serves as the Foundation's Community Health Fellow. She brings several years of experience as a global health development specialist and researcher analyst with technical expertise working in both private and public sectors as a field expert across Sub-Saharan Africa and Caribbean regions globally, and Southeast regions within the US working on projects funded by CDC, USAID, State Departments of Public Health and private equity firms. Her work has consisted of client-facing and project-based roles in research and development for health systems strengthening and sustainability in priority areas such as rural and urban population health, maternal and infant health, behavioral health, and social entrepreneurship. Anna is a recent graduate from Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, and received a B.A in African American Studies from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA.