William and Joanne Conway

William and Joanne Conway

William Conway is best known for co-founding the Carlyle Group, the global investment group he co-led for 30 years; he now serves as co-chairman of the board. Before founding the Carlyle Group, Conway excelled as senior vice president at First National Bank and chief financial officer at MCI Communications Corp.

Conway and his wife, Joanne, knew they wanted to give away much of their wealth, and they invested a lot of time and energy choosing which causes to support. They felt their gifts could have a lasting impact if they helped people develop employable skills, so initially they donated to nursing schools in and around the Washington, D.C., area.

“In the beginning, Mrs. Conway and I wanted to make a charitable contribution, one that would enable people to receive an education that would allow them to have better lives, to take better care of themselves, their families and, eventually, to take care of the rest of us,” Conway says. “We also thought there will always be a need for nurses, so nurses will always be able to find a job.”

Conway has donated millions of dollars to more than half a dozen universities, including Virginia Commonwealth University. Since 2019, Bill and Joanne Conway have given VCU’s School of Nursing more than $18.5 million.


The Conways’ generous contributions to VCU’s School of Nursing have provided need-based scholarships for many of the school’s undergraduate and doctoral nursing students.

“Their generosity will have an enormous impact on building a diverse pipeline of early-career nurses and future researchers and gives VCU the important responsibility of educating and delivering that workforce,” says Jean Giddens, Ph.D., professor, dean of the VCU School of Nursing and Doris B. Yingling Endowed Chair.