Foundations History

The Sapelo Foundation grew out of Richard J. Reynolds, Jr.’s interest in Sapelo Island, one of the many barrier islands along the Georgia coast. This coastal region, rich in culture, history and natural resources, captured the interest and imagination of the young tobacco heir upon his first visit in the early 1930’s. Over his lifetime, Mr. Reynolds developed a deep appreciation for the beauty, history and culture of Sapelo Island. He was especially intrigued by the vast saltmarsh ecosystem separating Sapelo from the mainland. In 1953, he created the Sapelo Island Marine Institute as a research affiliate of the University of Georgia. The Sapelo Foundation served as the vehicle for the development and operation of the institute until 1976 when the University of Georgia took charge and the foundation turned towards funding charitable activities.


Fiscal year 7/1-6/30

FY2011 FY2010 FY2009
Net Assets $34,256,021 $28,978,406 $26,832,952
Administration $ 422,631 $ 410,764 $ 378,908
Taxes $ 31,702 $ – $ –
Grants & Scholarships $ 930,301 $ 903,807  $ 907,028



  • Irene Reynolds Schier, President
  • Nicole Bagley, Vice President
  • The Honorable Senator Nan Grogan Orrock, Secretary
  • Bettieanne Hart, Treasurer


  • William K. Broker
  • Henry H. Carey
  • Philip N. Carey
  • Michael Grant
  • Midge Sweet

Staff and Counsel

  • Phyllis Bowen, Executive Director
  • Barbara S. Bowdry, Office Manager/Program Officer
  • Benjamin T. White Alston & Bird, L.L.P., Counsel

The Reynolds family members continue to play an active role in the foundation.

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