HAVENS HELP US: County benefits from local man’s legacyPublished 8:50pm Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Beaufort County charities have benefited from a fairy godfather for more than two decades, and there is no end in sight.
The Jonathan Havens Charitable Trust is the legacy of Jonathan Havens. His nephew, J. Havens Moss, set up the trust in 1989.
Havens owned Havens Oil Co. and introduced soybeans to the area in 1916 when he grew an experimental crop.
“He died without a wife and without having children,” said attorney David Francisco, director of the trust. “He set this up to benefit his county.”
Together with Greenville accountant James Sullivan and a representative from trustee Bank of America, Francisco reviews applications and doles out funds every May.
The three-person board may only spend distributed income from a fund worth more than $1 million. The annual totals range from $50,000 to $100,000.
“All of the money is spent in Beaufort County,” Francisco said. “It has a history, quite a history.” Hospitals and the City of Washington have seen thousands of dollars over the years. The annual Lights of Love event was funded by the trust.
Nonprofits divvied up more than $60,000 in 2011. According to tax records, Purpose of God Annex received the largest grant, $25,000. Ruth’s House was awarded $10,000.
“I remember one year, we did one for the Trinity Episcopal Church,” Francisco said. “They were having their organ repaired.”
The trust has been a huge supporter of the arts. The recent Abrams Brothers concert is one example. Beaufort County students saw a free show by the bluegrass group. The Beaufort County Concert Association, through the trust, partially funded the free event.
Joey Toler, director of the Beaufort County Arts Council, said the council applies for grants every couple of years.
“I especially like the Jonathan Havens grant because it’s money we can use to update computers and upgrade the facilities,” Toler said. “And it’s not a rigorous application.”
The application asks how the funds will be used. The trust also requires follow-up paperwork showing how the funds benefited the recipient organization.
Most grants cover arts programming, not the daily maintenance of facilities. The Jonathan Havens Trust bought risers for choral productions, music stands for orchestra performances and concert lighting for the Civic Center’s stage.
The funds paid for the Mac computers and financial software for the arts council, and it bought the shelving that lines the walls of the BCAC gift shop.
“We also look at what they do for the residents of Beaufort County,” Francisco said. “I think it’s wonderful. I think if folks have enough assets and don’t want to leave it to family, or want to do something good with their money, this is a great thing to do.”