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Shreveport-based blood bank establishes its first endowment

Kate Archer Kent

Shreveport-based LifeShare Blood Centers announced the creation of its first endowment Wednesday made possible by a loyal blood donor who quietly bequeathed a life insurance policy to the blood bank. The endowment, currently $10,000, will serve like a savings account that will grow in perpetuity, according to LifeShare CEO Margaret Wallace.

“It’s a security. If something happens we have that as a backing because we have a responsibility to 117 hospitals,” Wallace said, who has worked for LifeShare for 30 years. “If everything that could happen happens, we’d have that money to support us -- to support the hospitals.”

At Wednesday’s news conference, the sister of the late Vivian Dell Holder talked about her life. The Ruston native spent 30 years as a missionary, working as a librarian all over the world. Lucy Holder Spillers says her sister gave her money to 12 organizations when she died in 2012.

“We didn’t know that she had accumulated that much of the money. We knew that she lived conservatively. But she was taking care of that money so she could take care of others both while she was living and then after she was gone,” Holder Spillers said.

The Community Foundation of North Louisiana manages endowments for about 30 local nonprofits with assets of $96 million, according to executive director Paula Hickman. She knew Holder through her church and says there can be many more Vivian Holders in the world.

“We often think to be a philanthropist you need to be a Rockefeller or a Bill Gates. But, everyone has something to give, and can make a difference in this community. Vivian certainly is an example of that,” Hickman said.

LifeShare's operating budget is $50 million, according to Wallace. It provides patients with 160,000 units of blood annually. Currently, LifeShare is in short supply of O negative.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.
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