Richmond-area companies and donors make bold commitments to heart and brain health

The American Heart Association Founders Day June 10 celebrates 99 years of work dedicated to heart disease and stroke

June 10 commemorates the anniversary of the founding of the American Heart Association (the Association), the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. Leading up to the Association’s June 2024 centennial, Richmond is celebrating the organization’s 99 years of work as the organization looks to build it’s next century of equitable health for all.

Since 1924, the Association, devoted to a world of healthier lives for all, has saved and improved lives, pioneered scientific discovery and advocated for healthy public policies in communities across the country. These bold moves have helped transform the nation’s health and significantly reduce heart disease and stroke death rates.

“We pledge to continue our relentless work to eliminate heart disease and stroke, increase the rate of bystander CPR, and ensure equitable health in every community,” said Mitch Haddon, CEO of ColonialWebb and Eastern States regional Board Chair for the Association. “We remain steadfast on our journey to transform heart and brain health and to ensure all people have the opportunity to live longer, healthier lives.”

The American Heart Association was founded by six cardiologists, but the distinguished achievements of the organization for the past century are the result of more than $5 billion invested in scientific research and the passion of more than 40 million volunteers, supporters and employees.

“As we close out our first 100 years and begin the next, our work remains as important as ever. In Greater Richmond, hypertension, or high blood pressure, continues to disproportionately burden Black and Hispanic communities, and contributes to higher rates of heart disease and stroke” said Chandra Hurst, the Association’s Richmond Board Chair and Vice President at Virginia Community Capital. “We know that we can’t achieve our monumental goals alone and are grateful to the Richmond community for the passion and commitment they give to support the mission of the American Heart Association.”

The local signature events have named event chairs that will drive the Association into the next century. These chairpersons have demonstrated the bold leadership needed to catapult the Association’s next 100 years of relentless work and transformative innovation. The 2023-2024 Richmond chairpersons are:

  • Linda Hines, Medicaid Health Plan President, Virginia Premier, Richmond Heart Challenge Chair
  • Utibe Bassey, Vice President, Dominion Energy, Richmond Heart Ball Chair
  • Brandon Shaw, Business Unit Leader, Clark Construction, Richmond Hard Hats with Heart Chair

The Association’s centennial is a celebration of the lifesaving achievements and shared vision for a bold second century that will exponentially advance heart and brain health. The Association will continue to lead breakthroughs in science and technology, implement evidence-based community impact through sustainable clinical and community change, improve health care and advocate for federal, state and local policies drive healthier lifestyles.

Reaching for bold goals is made possible because of like-minded individuals and organizations who share in the vision of better health for Richmond. Two area couples and six area companies have pledged more than $100K of support of donations of time, talent and funds as Second Century campaign donors. These generous individuals and companies include:

  • Autum and Dr. Eric Edwards
  • Linda and Gary Edwards
  • HCA Virginia
  • Phlow Corporation
  • Molina Healthcare
  • VCU Health
  • Encompass Health
  • Virginia Premier/Sentara

To learn more about accomplishments in the first 100 years of the American Heart Association or how to participate in the Second Century campaign, visit