Our Story

The Lizzy Foundation is located in Smithfield, Virginia and is dedicated to delivering programs and providing resources to combat teen suicide.  The Foundation is named for Lizzy Altizer, a bright, talented teenager who left this life decades too soon.  After her death, her father Mike Altizer founded this organization with the hope of helping others.  

Our Mission:

The Lizzy Foundation is dedicated to saving lives by engaging our community in the prevention of suicide through awareness, education, support, and intervention.

Our Vision:

To provide a strong, compassionate presence to help those dealing with the pain of depression and prevent suicide.

Meet the Board

Mike Altizer, Founder

Mike and his family moved to Smithfield in 1999. They became involved in community service right away. Mike and his wife Linda (deceased) both assumed leadership roles in various organizations.  Mike served as President of Smithfield Recreation and Linda was long time Directer of TUMC Vacation Bible School.  Their son Joshua graduated from Smithfield High and is currently a senior at VCU.  Their daughter Lizzy , in who’s memory this organization was founded, fell victim to suicide.  If through the efforts of this foundation we can save even one person, then the reward is well worth the work.

 

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Lisa Munford, Chairman

Originally from Tucson, Arizona, Lisa settled in Hampton Roads after serving in the United States Navy from 1986 – 1999. She is currently working as a Principal Equipment Design Engineer for AT&T.  Lisa has served on the Newport News Public Schools Talented and Gifted (TAG) Advisory Board in several capacities, including a term as Chairman, and is an active member of her church and local community in Smithfield.  Lisa is trained to facilitate Talk Saves Lives and More Than Sad AFSP programming and is committed to bringing awareness to the issue of adolescent suicide prevention.

 

Bob Harris, Treasurer

Retired: Director, IT,  U.S. Senate.
Trinity UMC Finance Chair,  UMC York District Trustee.
Past positions: Red Cross & Paul D Camp Foundations. Cofounder IOW Disaster Recovery Task Force. Coauthor Trinity Child Protection Policy, Chairman Virginia Council on Information Management, IOW Planning Commissioner, Trinity Building Fund Manager, Wesley Sunday School Teacher, Lay Leader, Director U.S. House Info Systems, Deputy Assistant Director CBO, Chief Info Systems OMB. Ohio State BS Ag economics and statistics. USDA Statistician in Ohio, Tennessee and DC.  Father and grandfather. 

 

Kristin Wilda, Secretary

Originally from Charleston, SC, Kristin Wilda is a long-time resident of Smithfield. Married to Mike for 35 years, she is a local business owner and also the founder and volunteer director of Smithfield Hands & Hearts, a non-profit for local adults with intellectual disabilities.  
 
Among the many titles she’s held in the work force, the one most meaningful to her is “Mom” to five children and “Nini” to four grandchildren. She hopes to draw upon that experience to bring value to our foundation.
 

Board Members

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Samantha Borders-Shoemaker

Samantha Borders-Shoemaker is a PhD Candidate in Conflict Analysis & Resolution and a board member of The Lizzy Foundation.  Specializing in interpersonal conflict and navigating difficult conversations, Samantha is deeply involved in helping others find peace and support.  She brings to the board her expertise surrounding conflict and offers regular community classes on navigating political difference in dialogue.  Samantha is dedicated to giving back to her community and is a trained facilitator for Talk Saves Lives, More Than Sad, and TimeSlips.

 

Patty Chaney

I am a retired senior and live in Carrollton, Va.  For many years I worked in specialty and general dentistry practices.  I enjoy working one on one with people and feel strongly that it is important to listen when others are hurting/struggling with life issues and are in need of direction.  The Lizzy Foundation I feel is striving to make a difference in providing the help which is needed.  In offering education, information and training the stigma attached to mental illness can be diminished and thus prevent suicide.

 

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Jim Hughes

Jim Hughes is the retired vice president of Submarines and Fleet Support at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries in Newport News, Va.  Named to that position in 2011, Hughes was responsible for all aspects of the Virginia-class submarine construction program, Columbia Class support program, as well as submarine and surface ship fleet maintenance in Newport News and world-wide.  He is a member of, and has held leadership positions in the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers and the Naval Submarine League and was previously a member of the Naval Institute, the American Society of Naval Engineers, the Naval Surface Ship Association, and the Navy League.  He is currently the president of the Colonial Virginia Council of the Boy Scouts.  Jim is a trained facilitator of Talk Saves Lives and More Than Sad.

 

Fran Hyde

I grew up in Beaconsfield Quebec Canada.  I Studied at McGill University in Labor Management Relations.  Virginia became our home upon marrying and the position of navy wife.  I began a position as a field representative with American Federation of Teachers and later worked for Hampton City Schools.  I focused on raising two wonderful children after moving to Smithfield in 2001.  I enjoyed being involved in church, schools and community.  As our children became more independent, I substituted in the schools and worked in tax preparation for the season. I continue to work in Smithfield and care for my community. 

The Altizer family is dear to us and we desire to move the mission of the Lizzy Foundation forward.  My wish to advocate the messages of suicide prevention and depression awareness in our community is the reason I serve this board. I am undergoing training in “Talk Saves Lives” and “More than Sad” programs and I endorse the principles of American Society of Suicide Prevention.

 

Robin Zeman

Robin was born in Buffalo, New York but has lived in the mid Atlantic states for nearly 25 years. Robin and her family moved to Smithfield in the fall of 2015. In July 2016 she accepted the position as the Director of Youth Ministries and Small Group Coordinator at Trinity United Methodist Church. Robin has been involved in enriching lives of children and youth for over 30 years, working with the United Methodist Church, Boys and Girls Club and Head Start programs.  She is trained to facilitate Talk Saves Lives and More Than Sad AFSP programming and is committed to assisting youth in positivity and individual mental health and wellness.

Former Board Members and Friends of the Foundation

 

Steve Edwards

Steve Edwards, Deputy Commonwealth Attorney Isle of Wight County, Former Chairman of the Board Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors and Executive Director of Gwaltney Frontier Farm, a 501 (c) 5 Breed Conservation non-profit, which administers the programs of Mill Swamp Indian Horses, married to Beth Edwards since 1982 with three daughters and five grandchildren.

 

Robin Gearey

Robin worked for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command in Washington D.C. as an engineer, where she helped design marine structure projects for the Navy.  From there, Robin went to work for Newport News Shipbuilding doing Project Management work in various aircraft carrier overhaul programs.  Robin is now an entrepreneur and business owner.  She owns commercial retail property in Newport News that is leased to other businesses.  Part of this complex, is home to her franchise business, My Salon Suite, which provides 27 private suites for beauty professionals.  Robin and her husband Bruce live in Smithfield, VA and have a son, Noah.  Robin is active in her church, their own 501c3 charitable trust, and many other activities in the community.