The James F. Byrnes Foundation
"Now I know that there are so many foundations -- Ford Foundation, General Motors Foundation and others -- and they have given only money to the recipients. We have never wanted to do that. That is very impersonal. We had hoped from the beginning, by restricting the awards to orphans -- one or two parents deceased -- to try to take the place, in some measure, anyway, of the deceased parent; to try to give a young person the feeling that somebody cares for them; try to give them freedom to appeal to us whenever we can help. Not solely during those years in college but in all the years that follow, whenever you think we can be of any service. And with all sincerity, I must now say that it has been the most rewarding thing we have ever done in life." James F. Byrnes
Established in 1948, the Foundation is financed from the proceeds of Mr. Byrnes' books, Speaking Frankly and All In One Lifetime, as well as contributions from friends and admirers of Mr. and Mrs. Byrnes. Also, the Foundation completed a five-year Living Memorial campaign in 1995 in which former scholarship recipients contributed $250,000 for use towards scholarships.
Judge Donald S. Russell, a longtime friend and professional associate of Mr. Byrnes, was named the first trustee of the Foundation. Miss Cassie Connor, Mr. Byrnes' executive secretary for much of his political career, succeeded Judge Russell.
The purpose of the Foundation is to assist students with the financing of a college education. In order to qualify as a candidate for a Byrnes Scholarship, however, the student must have lost either one or both parents and be a resident of South Carolina.
In 1968 the Foundation was incorporated as a nonprofit organization with three directors: Miss Connor, G. Richard Shafto, and R. Alex McCullough. Since that time, several distinguished South Carolinians have served on the board, including Robert L. Sumwalt, Sr., W.D. Workman, Jr. and General William C. Westmoreland.
The Foundation will be forever indebted to J. Richard Shafto and W.D Workman, Jr. for the leadership they provided during the years of transition after the death of Mr. Byrnes.
Activities of the Foundation today are under the direction of a Board of Directors comprised entirely of Byrnes Scholars
In 1964 a separate voluntary organization, The Byrnes Scholars, was formed by recipients of Byrnes Foundation Scholarships and functions as a supporting arm to the Foundation.
More than 1,000 James F. Byrnes Scholarships have been awarded since 1949 – young men and women who constitute a living memorial to "Mom" and "Pop" Byrnes. The annual stipend now stands at $3,250.
While Governor and Mrs. Byrnes were living, they strove to provide personal attention to every Byrnes Scholar; and in their absence, the directors of the Foundation and the executive secretary attempt to do the same. While they realize that no person or group of people can take the place of a lost parent, alumni and scholars like to refer to themselves as a family.
Any qualified high school or college student who is interested in applying for a Byrnes Scholarship should see his guidance counselor or write to the following snail-mail address to request the necessary forms: The James F. Byrnes Foundation, Post Office Box 6781, Columbia, SC 29260-6781.