Woodson Foundation Offers Critical Support Since 1963

Alumnae gathering in 1961. Pictured from left to right: Charlotte Jackson Berry ’51, Betty Neisler Timberlake ’45, Margaret Cunningham Woodson ’07, and Estelle Garland Atkins ’29.

For nearly five decades, the Margaret C. Woodson Foundation has delivered a one-fifth share of Margaret Cunningham Woodson’s trust fund to Mary Baldwin College annually, offering welcome and generous funding to important projects and initiatives. Woodson attended MBC from 1905 to 1907 and served on the college’s Board of Trustees for 23 years. She passed away on September 18, 1963, but her memory lives on at MBC. In the year following her death, MBC dedicated its recently constructed Woodson Residence Hall in honor of her service to the college. Since its inception in 1963, the Woodson Foundation has contributed more than $2.65 million to the college. Her portrait hangs in the Administration building today as a reminder of the heritage she has left behind.

President of the Woodson Foundation Board of Trustees Bob Shay is a great nephew of Margaret Woodson and feels a sense of responsibility to carry out her bequest thoughtfully. “For a number of years, the Foundation sent an undesignated amount to the college. A few years back, we decided that we wanted a clearer idea of what our donations are being used to support, and now the funds are earmarked for certain projects and initiatives based on discussions we have with the college administration,” he said.

Recently the Woodson Foundation has contributed to the Jesse Cleveland Pearce Science Center renovation and several research projects through the Summer Research Fellows program.

The Foundation for the Carolinas (FFTC) manages the Woodson Foundation, explained Meg Kluttz Dees ’93, vice president and manager of affiliate development for FFTC. Dees serves as a trusted advisor to the Woodson Foundation Board, in part due to her ties to MBC. “The [Woodson Foundation] Board really wants to honor Margaret Woodson’s wishes, and they have developed a special relationship with the college that will continue to strengthen over time and benefit MBC in perpetuity,” she said.

Shay, who remembers Woodson as “Aunt Margaret,” agrees. He said the reason the Board has chosen priorities like the Pearce renovation and undergraduate research is to encourage more young women to pursue studies in the sciences. “I think that’s something she [Margaret Woodson] would have wanted — she was a strong advocate for women’s education, and we are proud to carry on her legacy,” he said.