Who We Are

Our History

Over a 150 years ago Thomas Maclellan wove his legacy and covenant into our foundation. Today, we are doing all we can to enable the courageous to look to the future, as we take inspiration from the past.

Thomas Maclellan born in Scotland

Thomas was born to John Maclellan in Castle Douglas, a small market town in Dumfries in southwest Scotland. The son of a businessman in the shoe retail industry, Thomas entered the banking world with the Bank of Scotland, later moving to Canada where he managed a bank branch in Saint John, New Brunswick.

Thomas pens Covenant with God

In the Scottish town of Blairgowrie, Maclellan made a covenant with God. Having come to terms with his own fallen nature and the grace of God through Christ, he covenanted control of his life and the proceeds to God Almighty.

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Thomas moves from Nova Scotia to Chattanooga

Thomas Maclellan immigrated to the booming industrial town of Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1892 after a three year stay in Topeka, Kansas and thirty years in Nova Scotia, Canada. Although he was a man of modest means, his entrepreneurial spirit was strong and his discipline was steady. He believed that God's providence would lead him into a fruitful professional venture. In Chattanooga, Thomas invested in the fledgling, 5-year-old Provident Insurance Company that served at-risk saw mill and coal mining workers, and helped it to become prosperous and successful.

Provident goes public, and Thomas Maclellan becomes the President

On January 31st, the Company raised $150,000 in capital by converting from a mutual assessment company to a stock company. Later this year, Thomas Maclellan became the President of Provident at the age of 73. By 1916, Provident Insurance Company had grown from a small business serving Tennesseans to a reach of 15 states. At the age of 79, Thomas passed away, but his legacy remained. As their prosperity grew, the family maintained the humble attitude of their patriarch, and preserved his commitment to glorifying God with the fruits of their work.

The Maclellan Foundation, Inc. is incorporated

Incorporated in 1945 by Robert J. Maclellan, his sister Dora Maclellan Brown, and his son Robert L. Maclellan, The Maclellan Foundation, Inc. (MFI) is the largest and oldest of the Maclellan Family Foundations. In 1945, MFI’s first meeting, a total of $700 was given away to local organizations, including a grant to Maclellan’s longest grantee, the Public School Bible Committee.

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The Maclellan Foundation, Inc. makes its first international grant

Maclellan initially focused its grantmaking primarily on the Chattanooga, TN area, supporting things such as local sanatoriums, orphanages, and community centers during the difficult time surrounding WWII. Maclellan’s first international grant was to provide relief in East Asia to those that were impacted by the war. The second international grant was given to provide Bibles for Japan in 1946 after it was first opened up.

Maclellan giving surpasses $1 million

In the first granting year of 1945, Maclellan gave away $2,009.39, mainly to local organizations. For the following three decades, giving increased exponentially. By the time the first man walked on the moon in 1969, Maclellan had given away over $1 million.

The RL and KH Maclellan Foundation is founded

In 1972, after the death of Robert L. Maclellan, the Robert L. and Kathrina H. Maclellan Foundation was established.

RL&KH Maclellan Foundation
Maclellan foundation leadership passes to the 3rd generation

The leadership of the Maclellan Foundation, Inc. passed down to the 3rd generation when Hugh O. Maclellan, Jr. became President and treasurer in 1987.

3rd Generation Leads Foundation Into the Future

The Foundation was strengthened in the hands of the third generation as the Founder’s son, Robert H. Maclellan (Scott) was voted onto the Board. Hugh O. Maclellan, Jr. became Chairman of the Board, and retained his current title of President.

The Maclellan Foundation, Inc. begins grantmaking focused on cultivating generosity

In 2000, Maclellan approved a grant to launch Generous Giving, Inc., their first grantee exclusively focused on promoting biblical generosity. Since 2000, Maclellan has given away over 40 million dollars to various generosity-focused projects. By leveraging grantmaking to inspire others in generosity, others have given away much more money than Maclellan could ever on its own.

Maclellan Foundation leadership passes to the 4th generation

The leadership of the Maclellan Foundation, Inc. passed down to the 4th generation when Chris Maclellan, son of Hugh O. Maclellan, Jr., became the Chairman of the foundation.

Maclellan Foundation Inc. passes the $600,000,000 mark

The Maclellan Foundation’s aggregated giving passed $600 million in total giving. This equated to $925 million in present value.