Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder supports education for female students in nine Southeastern states and elderly care facilities in Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. New grantees are rarely considered, but the foundation does accept inquiries.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, elder care, women & girls

IP TAKE: In terms of grantmaking, this is a good funder to know for nursing home or hospice grant seekers in the Southeast. Contact the foundation to inquire if any new funding opportunities are available.

PROFILE: The Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation seeks to provide “support for the education of female students and for the care of elderly women in nine Southeastern states.” The foundation was chartered in 1946 to help poor and needy Christian girls and women in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. The funder is part of the Southeastern Council of Foundations and the Georgia Grantmakers Alliance. It is affiliated with, but a separate grantmaking entity from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, the Joseph B. Whitehead Foundation, and the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation.

Lettie Pate Whitehead was the wife of Joseph B. Whitehead of the Coca-Cola Company. She was a businesswoman and philanthropist herself. In fact, she became one of the first female directors of any major U.S. corporation when she was appointed to the board of The Coca-Cola Company in 1934. She held the position for almost 20 years, and passed away in 1953.

Most of the foundation’s grants support its scholarship program and to elderly care facilities in Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. Elder care grants support nursing homes and hospices that are entrusted to use the funds to provide need-based financial aid to elderly Christian women. Grants are not made to individuals. There are currently five participating institutions in Georgia, six in North Carolina, and five in Virginia. It is rare for new grantees to be added to this list, but grant seekers can reach out to Joan McKelvey at mckelvey@woodruff.org to inquire about funding opportunities.

The Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation also provides scholarship support for female students at more than 200 schools. The foundation prioritizes assisting students pursuing health education, and many grants reach the medical, nursing, and allied health fields. These need-based scholarships are given to Christian women who live in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, or Virginia. More than 10,000 students receive scholarships each year, however, students must contact their educational institution to apply. A list of participating institutions can be found on the funder’s website, and although new schools are rarely added to this list, grant seekers can contact Ms. McKelvey to learn more about this program as well.

In a recent year, the foundation paid over $45 million across 216 grants, ranging from $48,000 to over $2,000,000.  Most of the grants supported general undergraduate education, followed by health education. Comparatively, elderly care makes up a much smaller percentage of grantmaking. At the end of the year, the foundation had over $1.3 billion in assets. Current financial data can be viewed here.

General questions can be directed to the staff at 404-522-6755 or by email at fdns@woodruff.org. The Foundation shares an office and staff with other Whitehead family philanthropies, however, each foundation is governed by its own board and charter.


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