An enormous gift made possible by one of Statesboro’s most generous and caring families will go a long way to preserving and highlighting history in Bulloch County well into the future.
The Bulloch County Historical Society recently received a grant of more than $140,000 from the Jack N. and Addie D. Averitt Foundation. Jack Averitt passed away in 2007 and his wife some years earlier.
“The society will use these funds to further its efforts in the areas of preservation, interpretation and publication of local history,” said Jan Anderson, president of the Society.
Delma Presley, who is chairman of the Averitt Foundation, said the grant is easily the largest single gift ever given to the Historical Society. He believes the largest previous gift was $10,000.
Jack Averitt was dean emeritus of the Jack N. Averitt College of Graduate Studies and professor emeritus of history at Georgia Southern University where he served for 35 years.
Presley said in his discussions with Averitt about the foundation part of its mission is to “preserve in perpetuity the Averitt home in the Woodlawn subdivision as a learning classroom of local history.”
Jack and Addie Averitt supported the goals of the Historical Society, Presley said.
“The Averitt Foundation selected the Bulloch County Historical Society, because this local organization for four decades has worked to help all citizens better understand our past,” he said. “The Society has developed a list of specific projects that will truly benefit the entire community.”
Presley said society members understand a gift the size of $140,000 gives them a “major responsibility to use it wisely.”
“The board of directors believes the grant will enable the Society to implement its plans for local historic tourism, preservation of records, publications, as well as several projects in oral and visual history,” he said. “We also endorse their efforts to provide resources in local and regional history for school children.”
Anderson said the society recently conducted a survey of the society’s current membership. The board hopes to complete plans for its initial projects by the end of the month.
“Dr. and Mrs. Averitt sincerely wanted to enhance the quality of life of both longtime residents and newcomers,” Presley said. “The grant provides a wonderful way to make our community more aware of the heritage we all share.
Membership in the Bulloch County Historical Society is open to anyone with an interest in local and area history. The next meeting will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 15 at RJ’s Restaurant.