Heywood said he grew up and came of age professionally into a world where civic giving was the norm. "If you've seen it at home, it comes natural to you. To the extent I do this and enjoy it, it's because I see others around me doing it," Heywood said.
A pipeline of people continues to give time and money, Heywood said.
But Charleston was once a larger city with more such people, Heywood said. The corporate base that generated so much talent, energy and money has dwindled. Union Carbide shrank, sold to Dow, and then shrank some more, especially in the number of research chemists and chemical engineers who worked at Carbide's vast Technical Center.
"They were the stalwarts," Heywood said. "They provided funding and a base of volunteers."
People continue to accumulate philanthropic wealth, but it's hard to predict where or when someone might establish a major foundation like the Clays did, Heywood said. It might come from anywhere, perhaps eventually from a group of people now in their 20s and 30s who have joined the group Generation Charleston, which has dedicated itself to making Charleston a better place to live and has focused on, among things, bringing more housing to the downtown.
"Where's that next generation?" Heywood said, repeating a question. "Here's a group that has self-identified themselves."
Kyle Mork spent four years in Charleston when he was a boy and his father, John Mork, was running Eastern American Energy. His father went back to Colorado in 1991 and continues to run the privately held company, now called Energy Corporation of America. By 2004, when Kyle Mork returned to Charleston, he had an engineering degree from Cornell University. He leads the company's oil and gas exploration efforts in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, where the company drills deep wells in the Marcellus Shale.
In much of the 20th century, the wealthiest West Virginians often made their money in coal. They lived in Southern West Virginia, often in the big cities of Huntington and Charleston.
Now, the coal industry has hit a rough patch, Mork said. But the Marcellus Shale is generating new fortunes, much of it in the northern part of the state. His company has its own philanthropic foundation. "I've been asked to work on all sorts of things," said the younger Mork, 33, referring to his civic and philanthropic work. "My problem is finding the time."
"Every nonprofit wants to bring aboard the next generation," said Judy Wellington, Clay Center president and CEO. "But they're the ones building their careers, so they don't have enough time."
All nonprofits face challenges, but the Clay Center also faces a unique one because it absorbed the former Sunrise Museum three years after it opened, Wellington said. Because of the merger, leaders reconstituted the board, put board members on three-year terms, staggered the terms, and restarted the clock for all board members. Three three-year terms is the limit.
"They're all starting to term out," Wellington said. "Twenty of our 42 members will term out over the next three years." They can sit out a year and return, but often they do not, and leaders have to find new blood, either among Heywood's generation, where those who have time to give have already made their commitments, or the next one down, where those who have the urge to give are still building careers and family.
Wellington said that when she arrived in Charleston to run Sunrise in 2000, Newton and Jim Thomas were dominant players in the nonprofit world. "They were devoted to community service, and they had more disposable time. Kyle Mork and his wife just had a baby," Wellington said. "So you can see the difference."
Former Gazette reporter Bob Schwarz continues to occasionally report from his home in Phoenix.