“In 1905 Claud Hatcher, a pharmacist in Columbus, Georgia, introduced a new syrup, Royal Crown Ginger Ale. For a variety of reasons, what became Royal Crown Cola and is still bottled and sold, never achieved the national or international popularity of that other carbonated beverage from Georgia. The company, which for a period operated under the name Chero-Cola and then Nehi, managed to survive the Great Depression. Legend has it that DeWitt Clinton Pickett, a business associate, played a major role in saving the company from ruin.

When Hatcher died in 1933, he left a significant portion of his estate to establish a philanthropic endowment. Also according to legend, he honored Clinton by naming it the Pickett & Hatcher Educational Fund. Since then, this remarkable, revolving loan fund has awarded more than $100 million to college students nationally, but primarily from the Southeast.

Source: Alan Rothschild, “100 Years of Philanthropy in Columbus,” Columbus and the Valley (June 2016), 15-22.”

Excerpted from The Liberating Promise of Philanthropy.

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