(July 15, 1972 – January 13, 2021)
Dear friends and partners,
It is with a heavy heart that I share that Tonya Taylor, JFP’s founding Executive Director, died unexpectedly in her home on January 13. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Tonya twice – here at JFP, and also when she served as our first Development Director at The News & Observer. Tonya brought her wealth of experience, connections, and passion to create two highly successful organizations.
If you met Tonya, you instantly felt her energy. She was full of ideas and, in her mind, the sky was not the limit for anything that needed to be accomplished. Her positive impact on JFP and the many other organizations that she was involved with will be felt for generations.
As we endeavor to get our hands around this unexpected loss, we also honor and continue the work of JFP that Tonya and all of us believe in so deeply. In the near future, we will be launching a national search for our next Executive Director. And for the next few months, Sean Malone will be serving as Interim Executive Director. Sean can be reached at email@example.com, (414) 803-8988.
Tonya did incredible work positioning JFP for exponential growth in the year ahead. We are deeply committed to realizing that growth – both in JFP’s activity level, and in the impact our work can achieve. You’ll be hearing again from us soon. In the meantime, below you’ll find Tonya’s obituary from her family. I know you join me in send our love and support to Tonya’s family.
Orage Quarles III
Board Chair, JFP
Tonya Rachelle Taylor
died unexpectedly in her home on January 13, 2021 in Chapel Hill, NC. Tonya was born July 15, 1972 in Jacksonville, Florida. She graduated from Elon University, where she joined the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and was a devoted Elon Alumni.
She was a Philanthropic Professional who worked tirelessly in Chapel Hill, NC and many other cities in the United States with various Charitable Organizations and Colleges. She also led philanthropic projects in the United Kingdom and Africa.
Tonya was an avid member of the Fortune Magazine Business Council, the Elon Alumni Association, Jack and Jill of America, and a founding board member and public relations chair of the Young Women’s Charter School of Rochester.
Tonya was the first black editor and chief of The Pendulum Newspaper at her alma mater, Elon University. Her work as an influential black student certainly shook things up around campus. She brought attention to real problems that African American students faced at the school.
Tonya had over twenty-five (25) years of experience in institutional advancement in higher education, healthcare, and the public sector. She had a proven record of success in multi-million-dollar fundraising initiatives. Tonya was a very passionate advocate of black women and children’s health. Throughout her career, she accomplished so many things. Her proudest moments were while she was directing and managing a fundraising consulting firm which served organizations all over the country. She recently accepted an Executive Director position at the Journalism Funding Partners. She was, and has always been, instilling real positive change.
She loved to write, cook, host, decorate, and create. She was so creative. If there were ever something bland or dull, she found a way to make it beautiful. She made everything just as beautiful as she was. She also loved jazz music. She draws inspiration from jazz artists and enjoyed traveling the world to hear them play live when she had the opportunity.
Tonya was a very loving and generous soul. May her memory live on through her family and friends.
She is survived by her daughter, Taylor Lauren Freeman of Durham, NC, her Parents, George and Gwen Taylor of Coral Springs, Florida, her Best Friend Seanelle Hawkins of Rochester, NY, Her NY City Team, Beate Parra, Tim Gladden, Michele Richard, and Debra Hutto, of the San Francisco Bay area, host of Aunts, Uncles, Nieces and Nephews. She lived a Friend and Family filled life, so loved and respected by so many close Friends and Colleagues.