In August of 2023, The Jean J. and Laurence S. DeLynn Foundation made a tremendous investment in the next generation. Their donation of $100,000 to support the Student Success Center at Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) and the Students Active in Leadership (S.A.I.L) peer-to-peer mentoring program ensures more low-income students can access individualized relationships and comprehensive resources they need to get ready for life after high school. Thanks to this incredibly generous gift, more students will graduate better equipped to succeed.
Of The Jean J. and Laurence S. DeLynn Foundation’s donation, Jennifer Vigne, president and CEO, said, “We are honored by this gift and the faith that the foundation has in our work supporting students so that they can find and confidently pursue their unique pathway—be it postsecondary education, the armed forces, or a career. This gift is a resounding investment in the future.”
The mission of the Jean J. and Laurence S. DeLynn Foundation is to empower individuals to lead healthy and fulfilling lives while reaching their fullest potential. Established in 2023 to continue Jean and Laurie’s philanthropic legacy, the foundation supports cancer research and treatment, higher education, youth development, and arts and culture programs. The foundation’s grantmaking primarily focuses on Morgantown, West Virginia, and Sarasota, Florida, the communities that enabled Jean and Laurie to achieve their personal and charitable goals during their lifetimes.
Much of the DeLynns’ philanthropy centered around education. At West Virginia University (WVU), their generosity supported fellowships, lectureships, and cancer research. They endowed the chair of oncology at the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Institute. Through Mon Health, they supported cancer services, the expansion of the South Tower, and upgrades of several departments.
The Jean and Laurence S. DeLynn Scholarship was established in 2007 at the Your Community Foundation Inc. to support Mylan Pharmaceuticals families. A favorite annual event for Jean was to host the scholarship recipients and their family members for lunch where she would share stories and advice. Mrs. DeLynn was one of the founders of the WVU Cancer Gala, an annual event that has not only raised needed dollars for cancer research, but an event where cancer education and awareness were at the center. She and Laurie also started the DeLynn Golf Tournament, the proceeds of which continue to benefit Mon Health Medical Center.
Jean and Laurie were active in their Sarasota community where they supported wellness initiatives and local youth mentoring programs as well as the ballet, theater, and philharmonic.
However, much of their community support was done anonymously. What mattered most to the DeLynns was making a difference. Indeed, at the time of her husband’s death, Jean was comforted by these words: “You can shed a tear that he is gone, or you can smile because he has lived. You can close your eyes and hope he comes back, or you can open your eyes and see all he has left.”