About the Colby Foundation


The Lillian L. Colby Charitable Foundation strives to impact the greater Chattanooga region by advancing education and economic mobility, with special emphasis on the marginalized. The Colby Foundation will accomplish this work through collaborative, proactive grantmaking.


The mission of the Lillian L. Colby Charitable Foundation is to strengthen the greater Chattanooga region by supporting effective, well-led organizations and innovative programs that enhance opportunities for underserved children and adults. Special consideration will be provided to the organizations named in Mrs. Colby’s Trust Agreement.


  • Compassion. Mrs. Colby established the Foundation to aid the poor, homeless, hungry, battered or otherwise in need of assistance. We continue this noble effort with compassion for the marginalized in our community.
  • Individual Empowerment. We value programs and projects that empower citizens to contribute economically and intellectually to our community and to live meaningful lives. We value organizations that empower leaders to innovate to address root causes and to strengthen the community.
  • Community. Community is at the heart of everything we do. Our board strives to be a reflection of the breadth and diversity of our community and engages with members and leaders of the community to promote systemic change in metro Chattanooga.

Non-Discrimination Policy

The Lillian Colby Foundation does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, gender identity or expression, religion, national origin, political or union affiliation, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, or any other protected status recognized by local, state or federal law. Grant applicants must hold similar standards. Grant applications from organizations known to have discriminatory policies will not be considered.

About Lillian Colby

Born in 1920 to a farming family in Eagleville, Tennessee, Lillian Colby and her husband, Fred Colby of Signal Mountain, Tennessee, worked with youth and with agricultural development throughout Tennessee. Their permanent home was on Signal Mountain, close to Chattanooga, where after graduating from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Lillian Colby spent the majority of her professional career teaching at Thrasher Elementary School. She was passionate about folk and classical music, enjoyed traveling the globe, and was a strong supporter of Chattanooga’s Sister City program with Wuxi, China, even sponsoring a Chinese violinist’s education at UTC. Lillian Colby was an avid animal lover and an active member of Zeta Tao Alpha sorority, Daughters of the American Revolution, and a number of local clubs and associations. Mrs. Colby passed away on December 23, 2010.

Board of Directors

  • BettyeLynn Smith
  • Daisy Maurya Ballard
  • Catherine Colby
  • Clay Crumbliss
  • Kathleen Hunt
  • Dwayne Marshall
  • Henrietta Morris
  • Diana Summerlin
  • Marie Webb
  • Patti Lindblad
     Secretary, ex-oficio