The Bradley-Turner Foundation is an independent private foundation based in Columbus. In 2003 the foundation reported assets of $163.8 million, making it among the top ten private foundations in Georgia. Total giving in 2003 totaled almost $25 million.
The Bradley-Turner Foundation supports a variety of educational, cultural, health, and social service organizations. Its trustees primarily give to local or regional charities, and through these gifts, the foundation has been a major player in improving the quality of life in the Columbus area.
An early example of the foundation's philanthropy in Columbus occurred in 1947, when W. C. Bradley died. His daughter, Elizabeth, and her husband, D. Abbott Turner, donated funds to the city of Columbus to purchase the Bradley family home and grounds for public educational, library, recreational, or park purposes. The headquarters of the Columbus public school system moved to this location, a public library was established on the property, and the Bradley home was remodeled as a space for the Columbus Museum. Today the site, on Wynnton Road, remains an important greenspace and location for community cultural organizations. William Winn's book Building on a Legacy (1996), which celebrates the anniversary of the Columbus Museum, traces the involvement of the Bradley and Turner families and the Bradley-Turner Foundation in the establishment of the museum, which has emerged as one of the South's finest cultural institutions.
The Bradley-Turner Foundation has also been influential in the area of mental health and counseling resources. In 1955 the foundation opened the Bradley Center, a psychiatric hospital that also offers outpatient counseling and social service outreach. The concept for the center was influenced by D. Abbott Turner's friendship with the well-known preacher Norman Vincent Peale (a famous proponent of "the power of positive thinking") and by the Institute of Religion and Psychiatry in New York. The Bradley Center has expanded its facilities and programs multiple times and is today affiliated with St. Francis Hospital in Columbus.
The Bradley Center led to the establishment of the Employee Assistance Program at the W. C. Bradley
The Bradley-Turner Foundation
The Bradley-Turner Foundation has further influenced Columbus through its support of community revitalization and cultural infrastructure. In April 1996 the foundation issued a challenge to Columbus arts agencies to match a $20 million gift for the construction of the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, which soon expanded under a fund-raising umbrella known as "The Columbus Challenge." This effort raised endowment, capital projects, and programming funds for seven cultural agencies: the Coca-Cola Space Science Center, Columbus Museum, Columbus Symphony, Historic Columbus Foundation, Liberty Theatre Cultural Center, National Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbus, and Springer Opera House. The fund-raising challenge was met by 1999, and the final gift from the Bradley-Turner Foundation totaled $35 million.
In a 1995 article in the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, columnist Billy Winn shared with fellow residents the news that their city had been recognized as a model of progressive development and revitalization. Prominent Georgians, including Roberto Goizueta of Coca-Cola, credited this renaissance to the presence and leadership of the Bradley-Turner Foundation. The work of the foundation continues to enrich the quality of life in Columbus.
Tony Adams, "Uptown Renaissance: River Center, TSYS Campus, Civic Center Revive Downtown," Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, May 18, 2003, p. A30.
Eric Bruner, "Meeting the Challenge," Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, November 9, 1997, p. A1.
"Foundations of Giving: Private Investment for Public Benefit Widespread in Columbus," Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, June 8, 2003, p. F1.
William B. Turner, The Learning of Love: A Journey toward Servant Leadership (Macon, Ga.: Smyth and Helwys, 2000).
William W. Winn et al., Building on a Legacy: The Columbus Museum (Columbus, Ga.: Columbus Museum, 1996).
William W. Winn, "Columbus Gets Noticed in State," Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, June 20, 1995.
Laura McCarty, Georgia Humanities Council
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