Having started a manufacturing business with my father after World War II and working with it for thirty-three years, we found ourselves liquid and debt-free for the first time in our lives when the business was sold! My wife and I realized that our personal desires and needs were not many. We decided that we had an opportunity to begin to repay the country, state and community that had afforded the opportunity for us to develop the company. We formed the Lipscomb Family Foundation with some of the assets obtained from the sale.
The Lipscomb Family Foundation was originally created to assist five institutions, all within the state of South Carolina. Our goal was to continuously add assets to the foundation in order to build the corpus to a level where it would generate enough return to do significantly meaningful things. Between 1980 and 1996 we were able to increase the corpus 550% through additional gifts and good management, while distributing more than twice the original funding of the foundation.
In 1994 we recognized that our four daughters had developed an interest in the foundation. We brought them onto the board and began their training. Attending foundation training sessions and conferences have given them excellent broad and specific training in the business of responsible, creative philanthropy. We quickly realized that to coordinate board meetings with these training meetings is very effective scheduling for our family. We extend our stay at the conference site one or two days; focused board work is done expeditiously without the distractions of every day life.
We believe that involving the next two generations while the founders are still active will, hopefully, pass our vision on to the young people of the family. Participation of our daughters and their children (on a limited associate level) has become a forum for building closer family ties and forming cooperative interests and projects. Our daughters and their families live in four different parts of the country. Each has interests and philanthropic concerns where she is. We decided to give each of our daughter’s families ten percent of the annual grant funds to use for those needing assistance in their respective communities. Our daughters are now encouraging their older children to be involved in grant research where they live. Our grandchildren, through the ten percent allotment of their mothers, have begun to learn what responsive, responsible philanthropy is.
The balance (sixty percent) of the grant funds are used for support of the organizations which have been major interests of the founders over the years. Each grant request stands on its own merit as decided by the board. All board members are involved in reviewing grant requests and have an opportunity to approve or disapprove the grant.
Our city, state, educational institutions, museums, hospitals and church have enriched the quality of our lives. It was a very natural decision to attempt to give back a small measure of the goodness that we and our children have received for so many years. As a family we have grown close, become more sensitive to the needs of others and are learning new concepts daily as we seek to be good stewards of our blessings.
Guy F. Lipscomb,
Lipscomb Family Foundation, Columbia, South Carolina
Year Established: 1979