Family of Laurie and Jane Harty Abbott Donates $500,000 to Georgia Historical Society Endowment

Savannah, Ga., December 17, 2020 – The family of Laurie Kimball Abbott and Jane Maud Harty Abbott have made a $500,000 contribution to the Georgia Historical Society Endowment in memory of the Abbotts and in recognition of their philanthropic pursuits, especially their passion for education and service to the Georgia Historical Society.

“On behalf of GHS and our Board of Curators I want to express my sincere and heartfelt gratitude to the Abbott family for this wonderful gift. It is such a meaningful way to recognize two great and good people who did so much to advance the mission of this institution,” said Dr. W. Todd Groce, President and CEO of the Georgia Historical Society. “By creating the Laurie Kimball and Jane Harty Abbott named fund as part of the GHS Endowment, they are securing an enduring legacy for their parents that will benefit the people of Georgia for generations to come.”

Laurie Kimball Abbott moved with his family to Savannah when he was eight years old. After graduating from Savannah High School, Armstrong Junior College, and the University of Georgia Law School he married Jane Maud Harty and they raised five children in Savannah.

Laurie and Jane were very active in a variety of local and statewide organizations including the Georgia Historical Society, where Mr. Abbott served on the Board of Curators and as President from 2002 to 2004 and Chairman Emeritus until his death in 2006. Additionally, Mr. Abbott played a key role in the creation of the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography and the Georgia Marine Extension Program while chairman of the Ocean Science Center of the Atlantic Commission.

In 2010, Mrs. Abbott established the Laurie K. Abbott Endowment Fund at GHS, ensuring that their shared dedication to Georgia history education would continue in perpetuity. Mrs. Abbott died in May 2020, and with her passing the family has chosen to add funds to and rename the fund in honor of both parents as the Laurie Kimball and Jane Harty Abbott Fund with an additional $500,000 gift.

“We are happy to honor our parents with this gift to the Georgia Historical Society,” said Tony Abbott, speaking on behalf of the family. “Our father was deeply committed to the Georgia Historical Society, serving many years on its Board of Curators and as president from 2002 to 2004. Our mother was supportive of our father’s efforts and created a home environment that nurtured the beliefs of giving back. We are grateful.”

This gift is part of the GHS Next Century Initiative, a combined $15 million endowment and capital campaign designed to expand and strengthen GHS as it enters its third century of service to the people of Georgia.

Nearly half a century ago, the Georgia Historical Society created an Endowment Fund to ensure the future of GHS, one of the oldest historical societies in the nation. Governed by an independent Board of Trustees, the purpose of the GHS Endowment is twofold: to provide perpetual care for, and access to, the oldest archival collection of Georgia history in the nation and to ensure the delivery of rich and varied educational programs that teach history to hundreds of thousands of students each year.

The Georgia Historical Society Endowment Fund extends to donors a unique opportunity to provide perpetual support in fulfillment of GHS’s educational and research mission to collect, examine, and teach Georgia history.  Individuals, families, companies, and foundations can be recognized for generations to come by supporting the GHS Endowment with gifts of cash, bequests, and other types of planned gifts. For more information regarding the GHS endowment and to view a list of other named funds visit Anyone wishing to learn more or to establish a named fund please contact Caroline Rhodes at