Community Foundation of Greenville Receives $8.4 Million Bequest
Endowment fund will benefit programs that support early childhood education and special education for children and youth, and the Greenville Humane Society.
The Community Foundation of Greenville has received an $8.4 million bequest from Margaret Linder Southern to establish a permanent endowment. Mrs. Southern included this endowment in her estate plan, which will support her special interests – early childhood education, special education for children and youth, and the humane treatment of animals. The Community Foundation will carry out her wishes to make annual distributions, fifty percent of which was specifically designated for the Greenville Humane Society and the balance granted for organizations that benefit or provide services for early childhood education and special education for children and youth.
“This is the largest gift in our history and reflects the confidence Mrs. Southern had in the Community Foundation to carry out her charitable plans after her death,” said Bob Morris, President of the Community Foundation of Greenville. “This gift allows us to become a long-term financial supporter and advocate of agencies and initiatives that reflect her most cherished interests. As a result, more preschool and special needs children will receive the developmental services they need to fulfill their potential. Because she chose to establish an endowment, Mrs. Southern’s generosity will impact this community for generations to come.”
The Community Foundation of Greenville has established a twelve person committee to administer the Margaret Linder Southern Endowment Fund. Perry Gilreath, a Community Foundation board member and veteran grant-maker, will serve as the Chair. The committee will conduct a grant program for organizations that benefit or provide services for early childhood education and special education for children and youth, in addition to serving as the liaison with the Greenville Humane Society.
The first annual distributions from the Margaret Linder Southern Endowment Fund will be made in January 2014. Grants totaling $200,000 have been approved for distribution to five agencies that benefit early childhood and special education services for children and youth: Clarity ($50,000), Meyer Center ($50,000), Project Hope Foundation ($50,000), A Child’s Haven ($25,000) and Institute for Child Success ($25,000). The Greenville Humane Society will receive $200,000.
“We are incredibly honored to be named as a beneficiary of the Margaret Linder Southern Endowment Fund. This gracious bequest will enable us to make plans for expansion later in the year as well as accelerate efforts toward our long-term goals,” said Kim Pitman, Executive Director for Greenville Humane Society. “Mrs. Southern was an advocate for animals and children with special needs, and with this investment we can continue our dedication to serving both of these important causes in our community.”
“The early childhood community in Greenville is very grateful for Mrs. Southern’s generosity and for her understanding that quality early-care and education is critical for a child’s successful development,” said Susan Shi, Board Chair of The Institute for Child Success (ICS). “ICS is focused on promoting child well-being, school readiness, and building systems that support the overall development of young children in Greenville and in South Carolina and we are grateful and honored to be among the first recipients of Mrs. Southern’s bequest.”
Margaret Linder was born on August 8, 1918 in the Sans Souci area of Greenville. She graduated from Parker High School and Greenville Women’s College where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Education degree. She was married to Charles Southern, who graduated from Greenville High School and Furman University. The couple, who did not have any children, moved to Des Moines, IA, where Mrs. Southern worked as a special education teacher. They lived there until Mr. Southern’s death in the 1980’s after which Mrs. Southern returned to Greenville where she remained until her passing in October 2012.
Mrs. Southern had developed an interest in investing and when she returned to Greenville, she established a relationship with Michael Shain, of UBS Wealth Management. Mr. Shain was her trusted advisor for 20 years and helped Mrs. Southern to implement her plans for her estate by introducing her to Tod Hyche, estate attorney with Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP, and Bob Morris, President of the Community Foundation of Greenville. In 2004, Mrs. Southern executed the estate plan that has now resulted in this $8.4 million endowment at the Community Foundation of Greenville.
“The impact that Margaret Southern’s legacy will have on our community is very exciting and I believe that Margaret would be delighted that she could make such a difference to so many,” said Michael Shain, Senior Vice President, UBS Wealth Management.