skip to content
Click here to return to the Piper Center home page

Virginia G. Piper


About Virginia G. Piper

The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust is the result of the philanthropy and vision of a remarkable woman whose values shape the spirit and mission of the Trust. Grounded in the solid unpretentious values of the Midwest, Virginia Piper learned about philanthropy from her first husband, Paul Galvin, the founder of Motorola. After his death in 1959 she pledged herself to be a conscientious steward of his money and to preserve the philanthropic tradition he had established. From 1959 through 1969 Virginia resided in Evanston, Illinois and focused her philanthropy in the Midwest. In 1969 she married Kenneth Piper, vice president of Motorola, and with Motorola’s continuing expansion into Arizona during the late 1960s, they moved to Paradise Valley, Arizona. After Kenneth’s death in 1975, Virginia continued over the final quarter century of her life to expand her philanthropy, particularly in Maricopa County.

Known for her astute understanding of the organizations and projects she supported, she wrote that one must conduct philanthropic work with “judgment and heart.” She spent many hours each day at her desk responding to requests and corresponding with organizations, individuals, and scholarship recipients.

The hallmarks of Piper’s life were her spiritual faith, philanthropic efforts and personal compassion. The understanding she gained of the community led her to support efforts on behalf of children, the elderly, health, education, the arts and religion. Following her death in 1999 the Trustees determined that the Trust would continue Piper’s legacy by making grants to nonprofit organizations in these six areas, primarily in Maricopa County. In the years since her death, the Trust has awarded more than $88,100,000 in grants.

"In our own lives here in the world, we all have an opportunity to do good things on a daily basis for others, and doing them in an unselfish manner. For me, managing the stewardship of charitable giving is a moment-to-moment dignified responsibility of a truly high calling in human affairs and human relations."
— Virginia G. Piper