Motivated by a desire to promote Christianity, Anna T. Jeanes, a wealthy, single Quaker from Philadelphia, became interested in southern blacks’ struggle for education. At her request and with her financial support, Booker T. Washington organized a board of trustees with the goal of providing supervisors as consultants and helpers for poor rural schools. The Jeanes Foundation, established in 1907, became known as the Negro Rural School Fund. Until the late 1960s, when black teachers and students were absorbed into integrated schools, the Jeanes Foundation paid for supervisors in Amherst and Bedford Counties.
The Jeanes Foundation was modeled on the work of Virginia Cabell Randolph, a black teacher in the Richmond area (not to be confused with the Lynchburg educator of the same name) who emphasized vocational education, visited her students in their homes, and helped improve their health and sanitation. She became the first Jeanes Supervisor and worked in Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia.