Haslam gives $45M to family charities over decade

Friday, December 16, 2011, Vol. 35, No. 50

NASHVILLE (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam over the past decade has given more than $45 million to two family-run charitable foundations that support education, religion and culture.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that governor has given the money to the Charis Foundation established by Haslam and his wife in 2001, and the Haslam Family Foundation set up by his father in 1998 (http://bit.ly/vM6yO3 ).

"We've obviously been blessed," Haslam said. "Part of what goes with that is a responsibility to be generous."

The foundations have a combined $100 million in assets, which the governor said he hopes is enough to sustain them for the next 50 years.

Haslam has refused to disclose how much money he has made from his unspecified stake in the family-owned Pilot Flying J truck stop chain. He told the paper that releasing details of his income would meet "a National Enquirer standard, not a good government s tandard."

Haslam said he believes in the general principle of tithing 10 percent of income to charity or church, but stressed that it would be inaccurate to try to estimate his personal income base on his charitable given.

"Sometimes you give out of your earnings and sometimes you give out of your assets," he said.

The most recent Charis repot to the IRS was filed on Nov. 15 and covers 2010. It says the foundation's assets totaled about $15 million, and that the foundation gave away more than $5.8 million between 2001 and 2010.

In 2010, Charis gave $614,500 to 23 charities, including $125,000, was to United Way of Greater Knoxville and $75,000 each to Webb School of Knoxville and Emerald Youth Foundation of Knoxville, which says its purpose is "to develop Christian leaders who use their knowledge, skills and gifts to renew their communities."

The Haslam Family Foundation was established by Pilot founder James A. "Jim" Haslam II, the governor's fa ther. Bill Haslam and his brother, current Pilot CEO James A. "Jimmy" Haslam III, each gave $30.5 million to the foundation between 2001 and 2010.

The brothers' biggest annual donation was $10 million each in 2008 and 2009, according to IRS reports.

Over the same 10-year period, the family foundation gave $19 million, with the University of Tennessee, the UT Foundation and United Way receiving the most.