History of the Atherton Family
Juliette M. Atherton, the widow of Joseph B. Atherton, expressed her commitment to the welfare of the people of Hawai‘i with the creation of the Juliette M. Atherton Trust. On December 21, 1915, Mrs. Atherton transferred 20 percent of the outstanding shares of the Atherton Estate to her children, Charles H. Atherton, Mary A. Richards and Frank C. Atherton. The 1,500 shares would be held in trust to continue the charitable work that Mrs. Atherton was vitally interested in throughout her life.
Juliette M. Atherton
Mrs. Atherton originally retained the right to amend or revoke the Trust. In 1921, the Trust became an irrevocable charitable trust when she gave up her rights and amended the governing documents. This action was taken in recognition of the exemplary service performed by the Trustees, and that they and succeeding Trustees would perpetuate the Trust’s philanthropic purposes as intended by Mrs.Atherton. The Deed directed that the Trust income be used for:
“…grants, loans and other forms of payment toward assisting in the establishment, maintenance, or promotion of such religious, charitable, educational, benevolent, scientific, or other like purposes, works, or enterprises, whether public or private, including schools, colleges, hospitals, asylums, homes and the like institutions and objects for the public benefit, and including also the support and education of individuals during their attendance at any educational institution, and whether to corporations, associations or other organizations or any private individual or individuals, as the Trustees shall in each case in their discretion and of their own volition approve.”
Frank C. Atherton
Frank C. Atherton, business executive and philanthropist, was born in Honolulu on July 1, 1877. He was the son of industrialist Joseph B. Atherton and Juliette M. Atherton, daughter of pioneer American missionaries to Hawai‘i. Mr. Atherton attended Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. Upon his return to Hawai‘i, he entered the world of finance and later became interested in industry. Like his forebears, he devoted much of his time to religious and civic works. On December 24, 1935, 10 years prior to his death, he established the Frank C. Atherton Trust to continue his support of religious, educational, and charitable programs and organizations. Grants and donations from the Frank C. Atherton Trust were primarily used to support charitable projects and programs in the State of Hawai‘i. In accordance with the purposes expressed in the Trust agreement, grants were for:
“… the making of donations, contributions, subscriptions, loans and other forms of payment for or toward assisting the establishment, maintenance and/or promotion of such religious, scientific, educational and other charitable purposes and enterprises whether public or private, including churches, societies, schools, colleges, hospitals, asylums, homes and like institutions and objects for the public benefit.”
Mr. Atherton appointed Eleanore S. Atherton, Marjory A. Wightman and himself as Trustees.
Atherton Family Foundation
In 1975, the Trustees of the Juliette M. Atherton Trust initiated action, which resulted in the creation of the Atherton Family Foundation, a nonprofit corporation organized in the state of Hawai‘i. A charter of incorporation was granted on November 4, 1975. The Trustees then voted unanimously to transfer all investment property and income of the Trust to the Atherton Family Foundation and transfer instruments were executed in January, 1976. In December 1976, the Trustees voted unanimously to transfer the property of the Frank C. Atherton Trust to the Atherton Family Foundation and executed appropriate instruments shortly thereafter.
Historically, the policies, the type of requests considered, and the primary fields of interest of the Juliette M. Atherton Trust and the Frank C. Atherton Trust were similar in nature. Both Trusts considered educational programs and institutions the highest priority, and gave careful attention to religious organizations and health and social services.
The consolidation of the two trusts fulfilled several objectives: to provide more efficient administration, allow greater flexibility in foundation policies, to increase protection and growth of the investment assets, and to increase the number of members and directors.
The diversity of the Directors’ perceptions and experiences has enhanced the Foundation’s capacity to respond to the community and broadened its representation of charitable interests.
The Atherton Family Foundation is now one of the largest endowed grantmaking private resources in the State of Hawai‘i devoted exclusively to the support of charitable activities. It perpetuates the philanthropic commitment expressed during the lifetime of Juliette M. Atherton and Frank C. Atherton, and of the family who have followed them.