Press Releases

2011–Sep⁠t⁠ FYI: Panama C⁠i⁠⁠t⁠y G⁠i⁠an⁠t⁠s Lead G⁠i⁠f⁠t⁠s for The Columns Campa⁠i⁠gn

By: The James Madison Institute / 2011

Donor Spotlight:
Panama City Giants Pledge Lead Gifts
September 2011
The purchase of The Columns building was made possible because of two important lead gifts – and due to the steadfast commitment by the Institute’s entire Board of Directors.Several years ago, JMI President Bob McClure developed a plan that called for the Institute to move its headquarters downtown – a strategic decision to give the Institute and the ideas it promotes more prominence.That dream could only be realized with adequate funding. Giving his full commitment to this strategic move, then-Chairman of the Board, L. Charles Hilton, of Panama City, came forth with the first pledge of $500,000.“When this gift was pledged, it was a sign that we could go forward in finding a new headquarters in downtown Tallahassee,” said JMI President Bob McClure. “We would only agree to move if we found a new building that was situated within a short walk of the state capitol, could house our growing staff, and have enough space for the Institute to host events and receptions. Of course, this meant we were talking about $1 million minimum for anything that met these criteria.”“This made the $500,000 lead gift by Mr. Hilton all the more important,” said Dr. J. Stanley Marshall, who founded the Institute in 1987. “Charlie Hilton is a very special man and he has always shown a loyalty to the principles of limited government and free-markets. But his gift gave the Institute’s board and staff the determination to go forward in acquiring the right building from which we will operate our mission.”This then allowed other board members and close friends of the Institute to come forward with their own gifts in the “quiet phase” of the capital campaign.Longtime JMI board member, K. Earl Durden, also of Panama City, made the next lead pledge of $200,000 to the campaign. After he passed away in April 2010, his family honored his very generous commitment.“The Institute plans to recognize these two patriots with significant naming opportunities at The Columns when we open our headquarters later this year,” said McClure. “We have been so inspired by their lifelong commitment to liberty and by their determination to see this organization further our nation’s founding principles in Florida’s public policy arena.”