Originally created 07/13/97

Greater Augusta Community Foundation gets $1.5 million - anonymously



An anonymous donor has given $1.5 million to the Greater Augusta Community Foundation to help the charity organization address the area's "most pressing needs."

The gift comes just a few weeks after local businessman Julian Osbon bestowed $1 million on the growing foundation.

With $3.5 million in the pot, the organization is well on its way to become a stable and staffed charity that can make a difference in the Augusta community, President Charles Bellman said Friday.

But more money is needed.

Only 1.5 percent of donations are channeled to the Greater Augusta Community Foundation's administration. With an executive director and secretary expected to come on board soon, about $10 million is needed in the fund, Mr. Bellman said.

While large donations are particularly welcome, not only millionaires need apply, he said.

"You could put up $500 for a (particular) fund, and then next year another $500 if you want to build it up," he said. "This is a broad program."

The charity was formed 18 months ago to help fund a variety of short-term community initiatives, ranging from assistance to battered women to arts projects and educational programs.

"We're not in competition with, for instance, the United Way. They are in the day-to-day business," Mr. Bellman said. "We see ourselves as a catalyst in the community. We fund experimental programs, and new programs. Because we're private, we're more flexible than the government."

Since its inception, the foundation has helped set up summer school lunches for needy children and assisted the Shepeard Community Blood Center get off the ground.

And when the Augusta-Richmond County Museum, then on Telfair Street, needed additional storage space, the foundation stepped in and helped them build it.

"It was a pressing need, so we kicked in the money," Mr. Bellman recalled.

There are many more pressing needs that must be met, and the Greater Augusta Community Foundation is counting on area residents to help out. For more information, call (706)724-1314.