Buck & Margaret Welling

Margaret and Buck Welling have both passed away in 2010.  We honor them for their devotion to family and this community.  They had a great personal and professional impact on charitable giving in Greenville County. 

Irvine T. (Buck) Welling Jr. had just entered a new phase in his life as the Chairman Emeritus and Historian of Hollingsworth Funds, Inc., South Carolina’s largest charitable foundation.  His lifetime of leadership and accomplishment was publically recognized in 2009 with an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Furman University and the Distinguished Citizen Award from the Blue Ridge Council, Boy Scouts of America.

Buck grew up in Darlington, SC and became an Eagle Scout at age 15.   In 1939, he graduated from USC with an accounting degree and was hired by Elliott Davis. Two years later Buck was called to active Naval duty and married his fiancée, Margaret Norwood.  During World War II Buck served in Norfolk and the South Pacific. In 1945 Buck and Margaret returned to Greenville and he rejoined the Elliott Davis accounting firm. In 1952 Buck became one of the four owners of the practice which today employees 300 people. More importantly, Buck and Margaret raised three children here and enjoy spending time with their eight grandchildren and four great-granddaughters.

As his professional practice expanded over the years, Buck added one client who had a tremendous impact on his life and the future of Greenville.  In 1964, he was hired by John D. Hollingsworth.  “That changed my world and changed my life,” said Buck.  He traveled extensively through Europe as he worked for 36 years with Mr. Hollingsworth and also helped him craft his charitable legacy.

During this time, Buck and Margaret were also developing their own charitable plans.  As a CPA, Buck understood the advantage of using appreciated stock to support local charities.  He said “I like to give stock and it’s easier to give that to my Donor-Advised Fund at the Community Foundation and then suggest grantees for that fund.”  This allows donors like the Wellings to get a deduction for the full value of their stock contributions without paying capital gains tax on the unrealized appreciation.  And it leaves more money to give to charities they recommend on a schedule they determine.

Buck’s professional advice and personal recommendation were critical in helping Mr. Hollingsworth make one of the largest charitable bequests in the country at his death in 2000.  Under provisions of Mr. Hollingsworth’s wishes, 45% of the annual income distributions are designated for Furman University; 10% to the Greenville YMCA; and 45% to other 501(c)(3) charities operating within Greenville County.  The Community Foundation was added as a designated charity and facilitates the application process for a wide variety of non-profit organizations. Hollingsworth Funds has distributed more than $21.5 million in financial support during Buck’s tenure as Chairman and President.