Reading foundation raises $4,500

Published 3:57 pm Monday, January 16, 2012

Tim Woodley, from left, his wife, LaKisha, Hattie Francis and Larry Rose at the Jameer Woodley Reading Foundation's first Benefit and Auction at Paul D. Camp Community College. The foundation raised $4,500 with a sports memorabilia silent auction. GWEN ALBERS/TIDEWATER NEWS

FRANKLIN—Hattie Francis wanted to throw a party, but needed a reason.

So Francis and a few friends formed the Jameer Woodley Reading Foundation, with the intent of raising money to buy books for children in Western Tidewater.

On Saturday night, the nearly year-old foundation, of which Francis is the chief executive officer and president, raised $4,500 during its first Benefit and Silent Auction at Paul D. Camp Community College.

Proceeds from the sale of sports memorabilia, including an autographed basketball from Virginia Tech Head Coach Seth Greenberg and a Terrible Towel from Pittsburgh Steeler safety Troy Polamalu, will buy some 500 books.

“When you get into the picture books, they can get pretty pricey,” Francis said.

Larry Rose, a retired NCAA Division I college basketball official, used his connections to obtain the auction memorabilia, which also included a basketball from a Michael Jordan camp with autographs from 23 head coaches and a basketball signed by former University of Maryland Coach Gary Williams. Starting bids for all items ranged from $25 to $500.

The foundation is named after Rose’s grandson. Jameer Woodley on Jan. 9, 2009, was hit by the driver of a bus at Riverside Elementary School and died. He was the 4-year-old son of Tim and LaKisha Woodley.

Rose said he was pleased with the benefit attended by 125.

“I feel really good about it,” Rose said. “It comes from a lot hard work from Hattie and those guys. I’m glad it came out to be as successful as it was.”

The foundation will host the event next year.

“All the feedback has been extremely positive,” Francis said. “I think everyone had a great time.”

Other members of the foundation area Sara Johnson, Brittany Richardson, Jessica Jervey and Teri White.