Plough Foundation, which has given over $300 million to Mid-South non-profit organizations, will close in four years


MEMPHIS, Tenn. ( — Leaders of countless vital non-profit organizations in Memphis, which have benefited from the Plough Foundation’s 100’s of millions of dollars in grants, are expressing both gratitude and concern after learning it will be closing its doors.

Closing the Plough Foundation signals the end of an era. Since businessman man Abe Plough established the foundation in 1960, it has granted more than $300 million to social, arts, civic, and health causes for the greater good, for the greatest number of people, as stated in a notice posted to the organization’s website.

The latest records show Plough granted nearly $18 million in one year to more than 50 diverse organizations.

Hattiloo Theatre founder Ekundeyao Bandele remembers the Plough Foundation’s eagerness helping build the $4.3 million theatre in the heart of Midtown’s Overton Square.

“Mainly because they believed that Memphis deserves a diverse cultural landscape and they saw where they could be a part of that change,” said Bandele.

Plough’s absence will leave Hattilloo short one of its highest donors. 

“It definitely leaves a vacuum,” said Bandele. “I think every nonprofit organization is looking for ways to diversify its revenue.”

Millions of dollars from Plough since 1989 helped the Mid-South Food Bank feed seniors and more. In 2016 it donated a million dollars.

“It will leave a big hole, obviously of their heart for giving to serve their community,” said new President/CEO of the Mid-South Food Bank Cathy Pope.

The Plough Foundation made sure a new facility happened for the food bank. Plough provided funding for a new refrigerator and freezer, crucial to the work the Mid-South Food Bank does. 

Four years from now, Plough won’t be giving the same financial support, but with those items the Mid-South will still benefit from the generosity of Plough.

“I think they’re a great example of how when communities come together and we serve our neighbors and we give locally and work locally what a difference we can make,” said Pope.

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