Benwood Foundation

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The Benwood Foundation is a charitable foundation created in 1944 by George Hunter in honor of his uncle, Benjamin Thomas who pioneered the Coca-Cola bottling industry and founded the Coca-Cola Bottling Company. George Hunter was the heir of Benjamin Thomas, and much of the wealth related to the Coca-Cola Bottling Company passed on to the Foundation. As of 2004 The Benwood Foundation distributes between $4 and $5 million annually in grants and donations.[1]


Upon George Hunter's death in 1950, 70 percent of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company stock went to the Foundation. This led to a probate law precedent-setting lawsuit when family members sued regarding the tax status of the donation. A 1952 court ruling stated that the Foundation did not have to pay death duties, which became the responsibility of the residuary estate. The ruling was upheld on appeal.[2]


The Foundation's grantmaking focus is on Public Education, Arts & Culture, the Environment, and Neighborhood & Community Development.

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  1. ^ Benwood Foundation Taking Time To Reassess, The Chattanoogan, December 12, 2004
  2. ^ Ned L. Irwin (1998). "Benwood Foundation". The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture.