The Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation is a generous charity providing annual scholarship grants to students at more than 200 accredited educational institutions, including the University of Virginia, which are located in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Thousands of women medical and nursing students receive financial assistance each year. The Medical School Foundation selects and awards scholarships on the basis of need to Christian women who reside in one of the specified states.
Lettie Pate Whitehead was born in Bedford County, Va., in 1872. Her husband, Joseph Brown Whitehead, a young attorney, secured an exclusive contract to bottle and sell Coca-Cola throughout most of the U.S. When Mr. Whitehead died at the age of 42, Mrs. Whitehead assumed responsibility for the family’s business affairs, overseeing not only the expansion of the Coca-Cola bottling business, but also the family’s real estate investments. She became one of the first women to serve on the board of directors of a major American corporation, serving as director of The Coca-Cola Company for almost 20 years beginning in 1934. Mrs. Whitehead felt a keen sense of duty to those in need. Through the benevolence of this gracious and generous woman, many charitable institutions and individuals continue to benefit from the extraordinary legacy of Lettie Pate Whitehead.