Special to the Jewish News -
1 ewish charitable organizations in the Detroit
area lost one of their best friends and support-
ers when Virgil H. Carr, head of the United
Way Community Services, died May 30,
2003, after suffering a stroke earlier in the week.
Mr. Carr, 63, of Farmington Hills, had been presi-
dent and chief executive officer of the metro area's lead-
ing charity group since 1993 when he came to Detroit
from Chicago where held a similar position for eight
years. Mr. Carr entered Henry Ford Hospital in
Detroit May 19 after apparently suffering an adverse
reaction to medication. He later had the stroke, never
"Virgil's death is a terrible loss for the, United Way
Community Services in Detroit and for the United
Way nationally, but it's especially devastating for our
Jewish community," said Robert Aronson, CEO of the
Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. "He was
more than just an administrator ... he was a social
activist, who took a special interest in the Jewish com-
munity, attending many meetings of our Jewish organi-
zations. He was a strong leader who helped maintain
unity in the city.
"When the United Way turned away from Jewish
organizations elsewhere in the country and reduced dona-
tions to them, Virgil did not abandon us here, but always
kept on good terms with our Jewish charities. He was
totally committed to the betterment of the entire commu-
Three Jewish agencies will receive about $1.6 million
from the United Way Community Services this year:
Jewish Family Service of Metropolitan Detroit (IFS),
$757,000; Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan
Detroit (JCC), $490,000, and
Southfield-based JVS, $412,000.
Barbara Nurenberg, president and
CEO of JVS, called Mr. Carr a "pro-
fessional's professional ... a very
astute person who was not only a
leader in his field, but a great leader
in general ... a man with a vision
who wanted to create a better
"He came into his fund-raising job
with a social service perspective, and
he really understood social planning.
He not only knew how to raise
funds, but he knew exactly what they
should go for in the community. He
always attended our JVS annual
meeting, took notes and gave a
speech that showed he understood
our goals and our problems and precisely what we
Norman Keane and Karen Fink, executive director
and associate executive director, respectively, of JFS,
agreed that Mr. Carr understood the workings and
needs of social service agencies and what they are for.
"He respected and cared for people and always seemed
to have time for everyone," Keane said. "He was the
Joel Tauber, president of Tauber Enterprises in
Southfield, served on the community-wide committee
to help select Mr. Carr for the United Way
Community Services job. "He was a terrific person ...
just great for the city,' he said. "He was goal-oriented
and very focused on what was really important, and he
was very inclusive ... he always brought everyone —
from all walks of life — to the table for discussions, so
that it gave people a warm feeling, and
you just wanted to support him.
"He was amazed at the fund-raising
abilities of the Jewish community ...
how 90,000 people could raise so
much money for important causes."
Mr. Carr was the first African-
American president of United Way
Community Services. Under his leader-
ship, the organization became one of
the nation's largest charities in terms of
funds raised, collecting $73 million in
2001. Although donations were
reduced to $67.3 million in 2002
because of the economic downturn,
Mr. Carr maintained the same $75
million goal for this year.
Born in Waterloo, Iowa, the 12th of
13 children, he had brothers and sis-
ters and nephews and nieces all living in the same
house without running water. Becoming the first per-
son in the family to attend college, he won a wrestling
scholarship to Iowa State University, obtaining a degree
in education, then a master's degree in social work at
Washington University in St. Louis.
He first came to Michigan in 1979 as head of Family
Services of Detroit-Wayne County, then left in 1985
for the Chicago United Way position.
Mr. Carr is survived by his wife, Mygene Lipscomb-
Carr; two sons, Rodrick and Ronald; two daughters,
Lisa Tarver-Adams and Kim Carr-Irvin; seven grand-
children and three brothers.
Contributions may be made to the Virgil H. Carr
Legacy Fund, United Way Community Services, 1212
Griswold, Detroit, MI, 48226. Arrangements by
Swanson Funeral Home in Detroit. ❑
The Family of the Late
Forestry • Water • Community Development ■ Security
Announces the unveiling of a
monument in his memory at
10:00 a.m., Sunday, June 15, 2003
at Hebrew Memorial cemetery.
Cantor Larry Vieder is officiating.
Family and friends are invited to attend.
Of a LoveD oNe.
Plant trees in Israel through
Jewish National Fund,
the most meaningful way
to memorialize those you love.
In Loving Memory of
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who passed away May 31, 1998.
Sadly missed and always remembered
by wife Sarah; children Steve & Carole,
Sue & Abe, Lisa & Steve & Michael;
grandchildren Jessica, Jeremy, Josh,
Jason, Brandon & Alli
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