Understanding Lyndhurst’s “Spin-Off Foundations” and Where Grants Have Been Going

The Lyndhurst Foundation is well known around the city of Chattanooga, but it might surprise some grantseekers to learn that this funder is actually paying attention to 16 counties. Since 2012 and through 2019, this family foundation is open to funding programs in these surrounding tri-state counties: DeKalb, Jackson, Marion, Sequatchie, Bledsoe, Rhea, Hamilton, Walker, Catoosa, Dade, Whitfield, Bradley, Meigs, McMinn, Polk and Murray.

Despite the county you’re working in, this is not the type of foundation to which you can simply send an unsolicited proposal for a grant. However, it is useful for local nonprofits to get a sense of where Lyndhurst grants have been going to determine if a connection is possible here. Let’s take a look at some recent Lyndhurst support to shed some light on this foundation’s Chattanooga-area giving.

What’s really interesting about the Lyndhurst Foundation is that it operates as a parent foundation for five smaller spin-off foundations. These spin-offs represent the five branches within the third generation of Thomas Cartter Lupton’s descendants, who all are active with the family philanthropy.

One of these such spin-offs is called the Footprint Foundation, which recently awarded a $60,000 grant for local education to give science curriculum a boost in four grade classes and get art back into second grade classes. The Footprint Foundation is led by Executive Director Lisa P. Flint and focuses geographically on Chattanooga and Northern California.

Unfortunately, the Lyndhurst Foundation website does not mention the names of or link to its spin-off foundations, so it can be difficult for grantseekers to wrap their heads around the organization’s collective giving. But with a little research through old local newspapers, we uncovered the following information about the Lyndhurst spin-off foundations. Each of the five grandchildren of Lupton was apparently entrusted to match the $10 million given from the original Lyndhurst Foundation to create new separate family foundations.

  • Alice L. Smith, who lives in Chattanooga, created the Footprint Foundation
  • Katherine Crosland Juett, who lives in Dallas, Texas, created the Sapphire Foundation
  • Margaret L. Gerber, who lives in Memphis, created the Promise Foundation
  • George R. Fontaine, who lives in Houston, created the Riverview Foundation
  • T. Cartter Lupton II, who lives on Sullivan's Island, S.C., created the Pathfinder Foundation

Aside from these spin-offs, the parent foundation is still making grants in Chattanooga itself as well. In a recent year, the Lyndhurst Foundation gave $4,368,487 in grants. During this grantmaking year, 23 grants went toward art and culture, with the largest grants going to the Chattanooga Chamber Foundation ($245,000) and the River City Company ($162,500). With this funder, the largest opportunities consistently lie with the arts.

Interestingly, nature conservation and physical health are lumped into the same category with this funder, and 17 grants were awarded in this category in the most recent year with data available. These grants went to groups in Chattanooga and Nashville, Tennessee; Washington, D.C.; Bozeman, Montana; Rome, Georgia; and Piedmont, Alabama.

Nine grants went to downtown and urban development, seven went to economic improvements, four went to education, and two other grants were awarded as well. As a general rule, most Lyndhurst grants have been between $5,000 and $150,000 lately. To learn more about this locally focused grantmaker, check out the full profile of the Lyndhurst Foundation in our Southeast Funders section.

Related: Lyndhurst Foundation