The Woods Foundation was established in 1998 by Robert J. Woods and Joan Jarrett Woods. Mr. Woods was born in Carlinville, IL, but grew up in Lincoln, graduating from Lincoln Community High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Yale University in 1942 and served three years as a map reader at the end of World War II. He earned his law degree from the University of Illinois in 1949. With that law degree in hand, Mr. Woods returned to Lincoln to establish a practice with his father, focusing on real estate matters, estate planning, wills, and trusts.
Mr. Woods married Joan Jarrett in 1951. Mrs. Woods was born in Bloomington in 1918. She graduated from the College of William and Mary and returned to Bloomington to work as a librarian. Mr. and Mrs. Woods met in Bloomington, and they were married for 47 years until Mr. Woods’ death in February 1998. Mrs. Woods passed away in December 2006.
The purpose of the Woods Foundation is to provide benefits for charitable, educational, and other pursuits through grants to non-profit and governmental organizations, primarily those located in Logan County. Today, the Foundation is run by a four-member Board of Directors.
The organizations supported through various grants and gifts provided by the Woods Foundation read like a who’s who of non-profit and philanthropic services in Lincoln and Logan County. A partial list of the local organizations that have been blessed by the Woods Foundation includes Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital, Oasis Senior Center, Christian Homes, St. Clara’s Manor, Habitat for Humanity, Community Action, Lincoln/Logan County Food Pantry, and Together for Lincoln.
A significant focus of the Foundation is education. For each of the past two years the Woods Foundation has given over $300,000 to Logan County schools for technology improvements. LCU has been a regular benefactor over the last 15 years, receiving grants for the Hargrove auditorium exterior renovation, the Jessie C. Eury Library renovation, technology and miscellaneous needs, and, most recently, a matching grant for the school’s new minibus.
“There is no doubt in my mind that LCU and the community have received an enormous blessing in the vision and generosity of the Woods family and the astute management by the Board that oversees the operation of this foundation,” said President Ray as he presented the award earlier this month. “It is this type of organization that deserves recognition for LCU’s annual Lincoln Community Leadership Award. I ask everyone to join with LCU in applauding their work here, in Lincoln, and the entirety of Logan County.”