Martha Rivers Ingram

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Martha Rivers Ingram
Martha Rivers Ingram, October, 2020.jpg
Ingram in October, 2020
Martha Robinson Rivers

(1935-08-20) August 20, 1935 (age 85)
EducationVassar College
Known forPhilanthropist, arts patron
Net worth$4.4 billion (September 2020)[1]
TitleChairman, Ingram Industries
Chairman, Vanderbilt University Board of Trust
(m. 1958; died 1995)
Children4, including Orrin H. Ingram II
John R. Ingram
David Bronson Ingram
RelativesFrederic B. Ingram (brother-in-law)
Ingrid Goude (sister-in-law)

Martha Robinson Rivers Ingram (born August 20, 1935) is an American billionaire businesswoman and philanthropist. In 1995, Ingram succeeded her late husband as chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Ingram Industries, one of America's largest privately-held companies. She is the co-author of three books, including two biographies and a history of the performing arts in Nashville, Tennessee.

Early life[edit]

Martha Robinson Rivers was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the daughter of John Minott Rivers and Martha Elizabeth Robinson. She was educated at Ashley Hall in Charleston. She graduated from Vassar College with a Bachelor of Arts in history in 1957.[2]


Upon graduation, she found employment at WCSC-AM/FM and WCSC-TV, a radio and television station, respectively, owned by her father.[2]

Ingram was appointed by her husband as director of public affairs at Ingram Industries in 1979.[2] After her husband's death in 1995, she became chairman and CEO.[2]

Ingram is the co-author of three books. Her first book was a biography of her husband published in 2001, six years after his death.[3] In her second book, published in 2004, Ingram wrote about the performing arts scene in Nashville during the Antebellum era.[4] She argued that it was destroyed by the American Civil War and that it never fully recovered.[4] Her third book, published in 2006, was a biography of Kenneth Schermerhorn, the music director of the Nashville Symphony.


The Martha Rivers Ingram Center for the Performing Arts.

Ingram was a co-founder of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center which opened in 2005.[5][6][7] She formerly served as Chairman of the Board of Trust of Vanderbilt University in Nashville. The Vanderbilt Blair School of Music has been the recipient of $300 million of Ingram company stock.[6][7]

Ingram was named in Business Week as the 50th most generous philanthropist, for her donations from 2000 to 2004.[6][8][9] In 2006 she was honored by the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee as the 2006 recipient of the 13th Annual Joe Kraft Humanitarian Award for her philanthropic efforts.[6][10] She received the Eli & Edythe Broad Award for Philanthropy in the Arts.[5]

Awards and Honors[edit]

Personal life[edit]

On October 4, 1958, she married E. Bronson Ingram II (1931–1995) at St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.[2][5] Her husband was the son of business magnate Orrin Henry Ingram, Sr., grandson of Erskine B. Ingram, and great-grandson of Orrin Henry Ingram. They had three sons and a daughter:[2]

Political activity[edit]

In 2015, Ingram donated to Democratic candidate Megan Barry's campaign to become the new Mayor of Nashville.[18]


  • Rivers Ingram, Martha (2001). E. Bronson Ingram: Complete These Unfinished Tasks of Mine. Franklin, Tennessee: Hillsboro Press. ISBN 9781577362166. OCLC 48551547.
  • Rivers Ingram, Martha; Kellogg, D. B. (2004). Apollo's Struggle: A Performing Arts Odyssey in the Athens of the South, Nashville, Tennessee. Franklin, Tennessee: Hillsboro Press. ISBN 9781577363101. OCLC 55675624.
  • Rivers Ingram, Martha; Kellogg, D. B. (2006). Kenneth Schermerhorn: He Will Always Be the Music. Nashville, Tennessee: Nashville Symphony Association. OCLC 73171322.


  1. ^ "Forbes The World's Billionaires". Forbes. 2018-06-08. Retrieved September 28, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b c d e f Inside A $15 Billion Dynasty, Bloomberg Business, September 28, 1997
  3. ^ "Ingram releasing book on her late husband". The Tennessean. November 15, 2001. p. 3. Retrieved February 3, 2019 – via CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ a b Bostick, Alan (June 8, 2004). "Ingram uncovers colorful history while chronicling performing arts in Nashville". The Tennessean. p. D2. Retrieved February 3, 2019 – via CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ a b c "Vanderbilt University: Board of Trust: Martha R. Ingram". Vanderbilt University. Archived from the original on 2008-05-05. Retrieved 2008-05-09. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ a b c d Martha Ingram's philanthropy page. Faces of Philanthropy, accessed December 29, 2010.
  7. ^ a b Martha Rivers Ingram Awarded for Philanthropy in The Arts. Brentwood Life, accessed December 29, 2010.
  8. ^ The 50 Most Generous Philanthropists. Business Week, accessed December 29, 2010.
  9. ^ Martha Ingram and Family profile. Forbes, accessed December 29, 2010.
  10. ^ Nashville Philanthropist Martha Ingram Named 13th Annual Joe Kraft Award Recipient Archived 2007-05-20 at The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, accessed on December 29, 2010.
  11. ^ "S.C. Business Hall of Fame inducts area native".
  12. ^ "Martha Ingram becoming part of Junior Achievement hall". Nashville Business Journal.
  13. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". American Academy of Achievement.
  14. ^ "2004 Summit Highlights Photo: Academy Awards Council member Naomi Judd presents the Golden Plate Award to philanthropist Martha Ingram". American Academy of Achievement.
  15. ^ "Nashville Music City Stars – Martha Ingram". Nashville Music City.
  16. ^ Hawn, Carleen (September 6, 1999). "Sibling rivalry". Forbes. Retrieved 29 July 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  17. ^ "Robin Ingram Patton | Vanderbilt News'". Vanderbilt University. Retrieved 29 July 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  18. ^ Harrison, Scott (September 8, 2015). "Barry vs. Fox: Who the biggest business names have their money behind for mayor". Nashville Business Journal. Nashville, Tennessee. Retrieved September 13, 2015.