the gilliam foundation history


An Important part of the lives of James H. Gilliam, Sr. and his wife Louise Hayley Gilliam has been service to the community and more specifically causes that benefit people of color. This desire to serve the community has also been important to their children James, Jr., and attorney and Patrice, an educator and psychologist. 


The vision of the community service was enhanced by the formation of The Gilliam Foundation, in 1998.  The Foundation became a vehicle for the Gilliam family to channel resources into the community, to share inter-generational ideas to address society's ills and to establish an endowment to fund future grants.


The Gilliam Foundation was the brainchild of James, Jr., who, along with being an attorney, was also a successful businessman, civic, social, and community leader and a philanthropist. Between 1980 and 2000, Jim Jr. contributed more than $7 million to fund the operations of the Foundation.  Initial officers of the Gilliam Foundation were Jim, Jr., his parents, wife, Linda, sister Patrice and his two daughters, Alexis and Leslie.  The Foundation also engaged the services of an experienced executive assistant and a certified public account. 


Jim, Jr. served as Chairman of the Foundation until his untimely passing in 2003.  From it inception through 2003, the Foundation made grants over $1 million. Jim's daughter Alexis currently chairs the Foundation.  Patrice, his sister serves as President and daughter Leslie serves as Secretary Treasurer.


Through December 2009, The Gilliam Foundation has made grants in excess of $2.5 million, and maintained an endowment for future grants of nearly $5 million.


The Foundation's support includes:

  • 'Seed" money for the formation of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League
  • Louis Redding endowed chair at the University of Delaware
  • Appleseed Foundation
  • Albert Einstein Academy
  • Boys and Girls Club
  • ​Clark Atlanta University
  • Christina Cultural Arts Center
  • East Side Charter School
  • Delaware Art Museum
  • Delaware Community Foundation
  • Delaware State University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Habitat For Humanity
  • Latin American Community Center
  • Morgan State University
  • Nativity Preparatory School​
  • Operation Warm
  • Rob's Barbershop Community Foundation
  • ​United Way of Delaware