Tim and Diane Naughton deliver transformational gift to enhance enrichment services for APAH children

Tim and Diane Naughton.

Upon his recent retirement after a 30+ year career with AvalonBay Communities, Tim Naughton, the former CEO of the real estate investment trust, describes desire to help the most vulnerable as an important part of his approach to philanthropy in his retirement.  He and his wife, Diane, a former healthcare executive, who shares this philosophy, recently contributed $250,000 to support APAH’s Next Generation Fund, which focuses on enrichment activities for APAH children and youth.  In recognition of Tim’s leadership and APAH, AvalonBay contributed a matching gift of $250,000, making the combined gift of $500,000 one of the largest in APAH’s history.  During a recent conversation with APAH, Tim shared what led to this extraordinary commitment and the type of impact they hope it might have on the community.

Tim and Diane grew up in the DC area, in Fairfax and Arlington, respectively, met in college at the University of Virginia, and raised their family in the Northern Virginia suburbs.  Tim pursued a career in real estate investment and development, drawn to its entrepreneurial nature and impact on the community and built environment.  Diane initially pursued a career in healthcare as a hospital administrator, and, over time, became an advocate on healthcare issues as a writer and community volunteer.  Together, they have often directed their philanthropy to align with their professional interests in the areas of housing and healthcare.  Both have long admired the progressive nature of Arlington, a community they describe as inclusive with a set of shared values and a history of providing for its most vulnerable populations.  As a result, as they looked for ways to get involved in the local community, they were attracted to nonprofits like APAH that were making an impact in an area important to them.

Tim first encountered APAH during the redevelopment of Arna Valley, which, as part of its overall development program, included an affordable housing community known as Arna Valley View.  In 2014, AvalonBay decided to sell Arna Valley View to APAH, recognizing that APAH’s expertise, reputation, and commitment to affordable housing would be in the best interests of the residents of the community.  While AvalonBay is best known for having built a large portfolio of market rate apartments across the country, they often provide an affordable housing component as part of their projects, which is a priority for most of the high-cost communities in which they do business.  As part of this process, AvalonBay, at times, partners with nonprofits like APAH who are often better able to address the needs of lower-income populations.  “By building new communities with an affordable housing component, AvalonBay is providing part of the solution to address an acute need for low-income residents in the community,” Tim stated.  “We’ve recognized that, over time, we can provide even more benefit to the community by partnering with groups like APAH who can often provide the kind of targeted social support and programming needed by these residents.”

Toward the end of 2021, APAH began working on a holistic strategy to reach more APAH children and youth.  Out of that effort came a new framework around youth programming: the Next Generation Fund.  This initiative seeks to foster the expectation and provide support to enable every APAH child to graduate from high school and pursue college, or vocational training, to achieve a family-sustaining job, and break the cycle of poverty.  When the APAH team approached Tim about this ambitious Fund, he immediately understood the need and the opportunity to help with its launch.  In our conversation with Tim, he explained that this gift will allow APAH children and youth “to explore a passion, feed their curiosity, or develop an innate talent that might otherwise go undiscovered.  While access to quality housing is critically important to one’s wellbeing, participating in enrichment activities is equally important to their personal development.  These activities usually have a cost, so having access to some additional resources that can help fund these activities is vitally important for these young folks to thrive and to help motivate them in pursuing something that might lead to better and more fulfilling lives.”

The gift will kickstart the initiative, including a pilot period important in determining its potential reach and impact.  When asked what he and Diane would like to see as results of the program, Tim stated, “unlocking the creative instincts of a young person by pursuing an activity or passion that may not have been previously available to them would be a great outcome in and of itself.”

APAH President and CEO, Carmen Romero, expressed her gratitude to Tim and Diane and by saying, “this gift represents an important milestone in the close partnership between APAH, the Naughton family, and AvalonBay that has developed over many years.  We are incredibly grateful for Tim and Diane’s leadership and commitment to APAH and the children and youth we serve.  Make no mistake, this will be a life-changing gift for so many, and we could not be more grateful.”

While not the primary motivation for their gift, Tim and Diane are hopeful that their gift might encourage others to do the same.  As Tim explained, “We hope that in learning about the Next Generation Fund, it might stimulate others to explore ways in which they want to help, and that some of them might be inspired to join this initiative and help make an even bigger impact on shaping the lives of many of the young people living in APAH’s communities.”