Q&A with David Congdon
David Congdon is more than the President of The Earl and Kathryn Congdon Family Foundation. To the people of High Point, he’s a pillar of the community and the driving force that turned the dream of a more vibrant downtown hub into the reality of Congdon Yards. We sat down with David to discuss why the Earl and Kathryn Congdon Family Foundation decided to invest more than $30M to launch this development that has High Point at the edge of their seats.
What draws you to High Point?
When we moved the Old Dominion headquarters to High Point in 1962, I was just a kid. So I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of growing up in this community myself, and raising my own family here. I’ve experienced first-hand all the great things that this community has to offer.
Have you always felt like there was opportunity for growth in High Point?
Growing up in High Point, I always loved the community, but I was also aware of what we’ve been missing. One of the biggest things I knew our city was lacking in the past few decades was a busy Downtown core, with businesses that are open 365 days a year, so the people who live here 365 days a year can work there and benefit from them.
Why did you choose to get involved in the Congdon Yards project?
Besides knowing that it’s what our city needs to keep growing and stay vital, what really made me want to get involved was the other people at the table. People like Dr. Qubein and Patrick Chapin, who had such an ambitious vision of what downtown could be. I could just tell that these people had the energy and the passion and the will to drive this thing forward.
What inspired the Earl and Kathryn Congdon Family Foundation to invest in Congdon Yards?
The answer is pretty simple. This community is our home. And we believe in taking care of our home. Congdon Yards will be a catalyst for creating a downtown High Point that will attract businesses and talent and visitors all year long, and give the best and brightest people of our own city a reason to stay and build a life here.
Is there anything in particular about Congdon Yards that you’re most excited for High Point to see?
Besides the renovation of these historic buildings, I think it’s everything that’s going to come afterwards. All the new opportunities that are going to be created for our business community. All the new connections and resources that our local innovators and creators will now have access to. All the great programming that’s going to give the people of High Point more reasons to come downtown.
Has philanthropy always been important to your family?
If you look at our family’s company, Old Dominion, today, you’d see a pretty big operation. What you wouldn’t see is that we started with two employees, my grandparents Earl and Lillian Congdon. And a single truck running between Richmond and Norfolk, Virginia. My father, Earl Jr. and my uncle Jack knew that we had to become more in order to care for the people we needed to take care of. It was that kind of vision that made Old Dominion what it is today and put our family in the position to step up and invest in our community. It all comes down to that same sentiment—that you do your best to take care of the people around you. Just like my father and uncle didn’t do it alone, we know we’re not doing it alone either. We’re joining forces with so many passionate people across our community who all believe that High Point can become so much more. And we’re ready to help make that happen.