Kelly Chopus — Reformer Prophet: On Life and Meaning


Kelly Chopus is an instigator of connection and change. She is CEO of the Robins Foundation, a family foundation that seeks to lead transformational change for children and families in greater Richmond, Virginia. Kelly has had an extensive career in philanthropy, community engagement, corporate communications, community building and professional and amateur sports management. She previously served as Director of Community Relations for the Goodrich Corporation and directed operations for the Goodrich Foundation. She was Vice President for Business Operations of the WNBA Charlotte Sting and an associate producer of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympiad. She is a graduate of Colby College.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in the rewards and challenges of foundation-led philanthropy and a life of taking risk for the public good. 

In This Episode
In This Episode


  • Kelly explains the strategic focus of the Robins Foundation and her approach to community engagement and transformational change.
  • She shares what the ghost of Christmas future has to do with her work.
  • She describes the city of Richmond and what she thinks Richmond thinks of itself.
  • She talks about how she sees her role, what keeps her up at night, what she does well and what she could do better.
  • Kelly shares the personality traits that define her and how her mind works to see what others may not be seeing.
  • She reveals what she is most proud of in her work, what she looks for in the people she hires, and what she hopes to accomplish in the years ahead.
  • She talks about the challenge at the heart of philanthropy and the most important change that must be made.
  • Kelly shares the personal burdens and rewards of her current work.
  • She reflects on growing up in Connecticut and the origins of her mission-based consciousness.
  • She describes Salt Lake City and what about Utah she carries with her.
  • She talks about the Winter Olympics, the WNBA and a key lesson she learned in sports management.
  • She shares a powerful memory from her time at the Goodrich Corporation and how it impacts her today.
  • Kelly reveals what motivates her, the crossroads she is facing, and the most important thing in life she teaches her children.

Mark Peres adds a personal word that begins this way, “When I listen to Kelly talk about being an instigator of change and the love of community that drives her work, I think about the stories of Edell Quinn and Nate Bartlett…”

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