Giving Back

Bill Young leads the UGA Foundation.

Sure it’s a tough time, but Bill Young, Jr., chairman of the University of Georgia Foundation, is optimistic. “We’re looking at things over the long haul,” he says.

The foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation, was created by alumni in 1937 to improve the quality of academics at the university and to provide scholarships that ensure the best and brightest can attend UGA.

As funding – particularly from the state – decreases, the foundation helps cover salary supplements to professors, endowed chairs and thousands of scholarships worth more than $6 million annually.

“There’s not a higher responsibility than this sacred fiduciary responsibility,” Young says. “I think about two things; the donor who sent the pledge to the UGA Foundation, and the impact that investment will have on students and colleges at the university.”

The foundation has seen its share of controversy. In 2005, after a contentious dispute with the administration, it became independent of the university, although it still manages the endowment. The university established the UGA Arch Foundation, to create and maintain a separate endowment to fund university academic programs.

Young, born and raised in Atlanta, comes from a family of Georgia Bulldogs. After graduating from Marist, he headed to Athens. “I graduated from UGA in 1978 with a Bachelor of Business Administration from the Terry College of Business,” he says. “Then I went to work in the family business.” That business is General Wholesale Company, an Atlanta-based beverage distributing company. Young became a UGA Foundation trustee two years ago; he will serve as chairman until July 1.

Despite the serious economic downturn over the past year, UGA Foundation donors have continued to give – making more than $21 million in new gifts and pledges during the 2007-2008 fiscal year.

“I think that speaks to the confidence level our donors feel,” he says. “It’s a testament to the stewardship and the way the foundation’s resources are managed.”

Categories: Influential Georgians