Charitable foundation in Jackson shuts down after decades of donations

JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — It’s been a staple of the Jackson community for 35 years.

After donating millions of dollars over the decades to various organizations, the Weatherwax Foundation is closing its doors.

6 News has details on the closing and what this means for the community.

Thursday was a day of celebration for Lily Missionary Baptist Church.

The church held a special outdoor event with food and music as they announced enough funds had been raised to pay off the mortgage on their mission center.

“It is the program that services the youth in the Jackson community,” said Pastor James Hines.

The church raised $250,000 to receive a matching grant of $75,000 from the Weatherwax Foundation.

But after 35 years, this will be the last donation from the Jackson-based charitable foundation.

“The trust itself that set up the foundation had a sunset clause and it was the 27th of July of this year,” said Larry Bullen, Chairman of the Weatherwax Foundation.

It was founded to honor the Weatherwax Family, who were business leaders in Jackson.

“In the last 21 years, the foundation has distributed over $40 million. They didn’t want it to go on forever, because the next generation should do likewise. It was a great run,” Bullen said.

The closure of the Weatherwax Foundation is set to cause a big gap in how non-profits in Jackson are funded.

But it’s also an opportunity for other organizations to step up.

Fellow foundations that also donated to the church are confident Jackson will continue to be generous.

“Weatherwax will be missed. But I see other foundations, other groups, and other individuals stepping in too,” said Gerald Knight of the Speckhard-Knight Foundation.

“A lot of the young people are running foundations that are resulted from family businesses that have been in the area for years,” said Anthony Hurst, President of the Hurst Foundation.

Pastor Hines says the foundation is leaving a legacy that can be seen all over Jackson.

“The Weatherwax Foundation, even though it’s closing, will live for generations, because of the lives of children and adults they touched,” Hines said.

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