While some people plant trees, light candles, or have quilts made from the clothing of loved ones who have passed away, others create scholarships or commemorative/memorial funds in the loved one’s name.

"To give back when you’ve lost so much is one way to move forward,” says David Aft, President of the Community Foundation, which oversees more than 190 active charitable funds. “Giving back allows family and friends to concentrate on something very positive - something that will leave a mark on their community, or on the world.”

Here are a few examples of funds that honor loved ones.

Christian Bryant Foundation Fund


Christian Bryant was an honor student at Girls Preparatory School (GPS), a cross-country star who loved running, and a young dreamer devoted to improving the world. But complications from the treatment for leukemia took her life at eighteen.

In the wake of her passing, her family established the Christian Bryant Foundation Fund at the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia to assist families of children in the greater Chattanooga and Northwest Georgia communities who are facing catastrophic illnesses. Funds donated in Christian’s name are deposited directly into the fund, and the family members award grants to eligible organizations that align with their mission. To date, the commemorative fund has awarded over $168,000 in grants.

“Our Memorial Fund is much easier and less time-consuming than managing a private foundation,” says Robyn Bryant. “It honors Christian and will help hundreds of families today, and for generations to come.”

Forever Green Dalton Fund


To commemorate his father’s life and to recognize the 10th anniversary of his father’s passing, Tom Durkan and his children planted a ginkgo tree in a local park and established a permanent endowment at the Community Foundation. The Forever Green Dalton Fund has provided annual grants to the city of Dalton to help plant trees in city parks and greenspaces.

“Creating the Fund gave me a meaningful and tangible way to remember and honor my father,” says Durkan. “Planting a tree is an act of hope, because coupled with the act of planting is the belief that one day future generations will find shade beneath its canopy. That thought makes me happy. Tom Senior would have liked it, too.”

Kate Chapman Memorial Fund

Tragedy struck the close-knit community of Calhoun on Sunday, March 20, 2016 when a young, rising star, Kate Chapman, 22, passed away from injuries sustained in a car accident. Even in the darkest hours of their grief, the Chapmans were united in making sure that Kate’s legacy of serving her community lived on.

“I got a phone call from a family member asking about memorial funds,” remembers David Aft, President of the Community Foundation. “We had the fund ready by the end of the day and family and friends began contributing in Kate’s name.”

“After some time, the Chapmans formulated the mission of the Kate Chapman Memorial Fund,” he continues. “There’s really no timeline for making the decisions after the fund is created and begins building.”

In 2017, the Kate Chapman Memorial Fund made a significant grant to the Boys & Girls Club of Calhoun to help them erect a playground area next to their facility.

“When we heard about the Boys & Girls Club project, we knew immediately that Kate would have wanted us to be involved,”Kate’s mother, Julie Chapman says. “We also developed an annual scholarship for college-bound seniors at Calhoun High School."

“We hope the fund continues to grow and help children and students throughout the community,” Julie says. “Through their success, Kate’s memory will continue to be alive.”

Chris Storey Basketball Scholarship and Memorial Fund


Christopher Sean Storey was known for many things - a million dollar smile, his love of his family, his tireless volunteer work, his work with young athletes, and his willingness to always do what he could to help someone in need. His life was cut short in 2016 when he had a fatal allergic reaction.

In the wake of their grief, family and friends organized and created the Chris Storey Basketball Scholarship and Memorial Fund. The $1,000 scholarship is given to one basketball player from one of the three Whitfield County high schools for use at the college of the student’s choice.

“The scholarship, which is awarded each year during March Madness, goes to students who achieve great things on and off the basketball court,” says David Aft, President of the Community Foundation.

Isabel Pridgen Charities


Sixteen-year-old Isabel Pridgen was a 10th grade student at Dalton High School, a member of the Catamount Marching Band, an active member of Christ Church Presbyterian youth program, and most of all, a loving daughter to Will and Marla Pridgen of Rocky Face, Georgia. But the unthinkable happened. She was diagnosed with myeloid leukemia and passed away a few weeks later on October 8, 2014.

“Our community was in shock,” remembers David Aft, President of the Community Foundation. “So many people were spiritually wounded and were searching for something meaningful to do to commemorate Isabel’s short life. We helped the family set up the Isabel Pridgen Charities.”

The commemorative fund focuses on helping area families whose loved ones are battling childhood cancer by providing them with helpful things during their time of need, such as transportation, toys or food. Grants also support scholarships to area music students to help them with education-related expenses.

“Survivors often find comfort in the knowledge that they can do good in the name of a loved one,” says Aft.


  • You can honor a loved one with a commemorative or memorial fund.

  • The Foundation accepts funds of all sizes.

  • The purpose of the commemorative or memorial fund can be determined now or at a later time.

  • Friends and relatives can contribute directly to the commemorative or memorial fund by writing a check to the Community Foundation and adding the name of the fund to the top of the check. These contributions may be tax deductible for the donor.

  • Managing a commemorative or memorial fund is easier and much less expensive than trying to manage a foundation.

For more information, contact David Aft at (706) 275-9117 or send him an email message by clicking here.