“Sports is metaphor for life. Everything that you learn in between those white lines about handwork, discipline, and teamwork, we want those same concepts to be applied to life.”

-Vernon Lee, JR.

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Celebrating 24 Years of Community Service.

Over the last 24 years, the Hampton Roads Youth Foundation has been exploring ways to create durable gains that measurably improve the lives of youth throughout the Hampton Roads area.

We believe that young people have contributions to make long before adulthood, but they remain an underutilized resource in our communities. They want to be trained as role models and learn the tools that will allow them to someday be productive citizens. The programs we develop will address the issues young people face in becoming positive people. Given the complexities young people face in today’s society, the Hampton Roads Youth Foundation will discover ways to assist youth with making the right decisions in preparing for life.

Our History

Formed in 1997, by a group of progressive thinkers, the Hampton Roads Youth Foundation (HRYF) was established with the objective of providing educational, social and economic programs for youth in the Hampton Roads community. The HRYF has worked successfully with allies who believe, support and stand for the same principles on which the organization was founded on.

From strategic partnerships to tireless volunteer labor, the HRYF has evolved to meet the challenges of the day, while remaining true to its original mission. With renewed commitment, the HRYF is poised to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Our Mission

The mission of the Hampton Roads Youth Foundation is to cultivate, develop, and manage programs which enhance and enrich the lives of at-risk youth in Hampton Roads, Virginia area by promoting academic excellence, social responsibility and community service.

Using sports as a metaphor for life, the Hampton Roads Youth Foundation (HRYF) strives to serve as a catalyst for academic success and responsible citizenship.  A 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization, HRYF operates with the intent to educate through community service. To maximize its impact and effectiveness, HRYF leverages its resources through group and individual donations, sponsorships, partnerships, community resources and volunteers.

Our Founders
Carl Francis, Co-Founder

Carl Francis, Co-Founder of the Hampton Roads Youth Foundation is also the Director of Communications for the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), and has served in this capacity since January of 1994. Francis received his B.A. in Journalism and Communications from Virginia Union University.

Read full bio below.

Vernon Lee, Jr., Co-Founder

Vernon Lee, Jr, Co-Founder of the Hampton Roads Youth Foundation and trusted business investment advisor to several middle market companies, institutional investors, entrepreneurs, and entertainment partners. As the Founder of Brightwood Management Partners, LLC his business involvement also includes deals with partners based in China, Africa, and the Middle East.


Read full bio below.

MEET THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Vernon Lee, Jr.
Co-Founder

Vernon Lee, Jr, Co-Founder of the Hampton Roads Youth Foundation and trusted business investment advisor to several middle market companies, institutional investors, entrepreneurs, and entertainment partners. As the Founder of Brightwood Management Partners, LLC his business involvement also includes deals with partners based in China, Africa, and the Middle East.

Mr. Lee is also Co-Chair of the Venture Capital Access Program (VCAP), which is a partnership between the National Association of Investment Companies (NAIC) and the Harvard Business School Alumni Angels of Greater New York (HBSAANY). 

He received his MA in International Affairs from University of Dayton and his BBA in Management from Howard University. He currently resides in Alexandria, VA with his wife and daughter. 

Carl Francis
Co-Founder

Carl Francis, Co-Founder of the Hampton Roads Youth Foundation is also the Director of Communications for the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), and has served in this capacity since January of 1994. Francis received his B.A. in Journalism and Communications from Virginia Union University.

In his first year as Communications Director, Francis created a public relations campaign that assisted the media and players in understanding the first time NFL free agency system in the newly agreed upon Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA.

In 2012, Francis helped produce the first ever NFLPA Collegiate All-Star football game featuring a select group of draft eligible collegiate players.  Carl was responsible for identifying talent, managing all press related events and assisting with game operations involving the players. The game was televised on NBC Sports and viewed by several fans from across the country.

Francis is also very active in his hometown of Hampton, Virginia. He and his wife, Cissy, have two sons, Branden and Blake.

James Church
Board Member

James serves as General Manager for Priority Auto Group, Priority Ford, and Priority Acura in Norfolk, Va.   James played football at the University of Richmond and broke several offensive records while he was there. He is very active in the Hampton Roads, Va community as a mentor, coach, adviser, and advocate for area youth.  He earned a Bachelor of Sociology degree from University of Richmond.

Keith Powell
Board Member
Sedric “Keith” Powell is a native of Hampton, Virginia and Hampton High School. He was the All-State Center that lead the Hampton Crabbers to win the State Title in 1985 and 1986. Coach Powell received his BS in Education from Norfolk State University and his MA in Education from the University of Phoenix.
Powell has been coaching for 21 years in the Commonwealth of Virginia and has served as the Head Coach for Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia, as well as served as an Assistant Coach to many other High School coaching staffs. Coach Powell is currently a coach at Hayfield High School in Fairfax, Virginia and has been employed with the Arlington Public School System for the past 18 years.
Coach Powell is married to Carla Williams Powell, whom are proud parents of two children, Gabrielle (19) a freshman at Morgan State University, and Jalen (17) a junior at Hampton High School.
Jaylyn Brown
Board Member

CEO/Founder of The JB Agency. A full-service firm offering premiere professional services to high end clientele. Our goal is to create a one of a kind personal experience from beginning to end. We specialize in PR & Marketing, Brand Building, Events and Community Development. Through our great success we have and continue to curate long lasting relationships with industry leaders.  She is a graduate of Hampton University

Your support will give young people the resources they need in order to reach their dreams.