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Donor Profile – Lewis and Faye Manderson

Andrew Carnegie once said, “You should spend the first half of your life making money and the second half of your life giving it away.” Judging by the professional success and generous spirit of Shepherd Center donors Lewis and Faye Manderson through the years, one could say that the Mandersons have lived their lives in a way that beautifully reflects the essence of Carnegie’s message.

Lewis, originally from Cordova, Ala., and Faye, originally from Chattanooga, Tenn., began their life together in Tuscaloosa, Ala. After meeting serendipitously in the parking lot of the office building where they both worked, Lewis and Faye started dating and later married. Going on 36 years together, Lewis and Faye were very active in the Tuscaloosa community before adopting Atlanta as their home in 1983.

Now retired, Lewis enjoyed a successful career. After running Creative Displays Inc., an outdoor advertising company, for more than 20 years, Lewis sold the company and served as president of Manderson and Associates Inc. He then established the management firm, MGH Management Inc., and later founded Cordova Capital Inc., a venture capital fund.

While Lewis worked hard outside of the home, Faye worked equally as hard inside the home by raising their six children and volunteering for causes such as Buckhead Christian Ministries and others. Both Lewis and Faye agree that their children have been their greatest success and have brought them the most gratification, as has the feeling they experience when giving back to their community.

“Helping others is one of the most gratifying things you can do,” Lewis says. Faye agrees: “It’s almost addictive when you start giving back. If you are fortunate enough to be able to help other people, you feel obligated to do so. It makes you feel good in your heart, and helping people is fun.”

Lewis and Faye have had “fun” donating to many wonderful causes. They include: The University of Alabama’s graduate business school, which has been named The Manderson Graduate School of Business; the Druid City Hospital Cancer Center, which has been named the Lewis and Faye Manderson Cancer Center; and Shepherd Center, to which they have recently made a significant bequest.

The Mandersons’ involvement with Shepherd Center began in 1988 when friend and Atlanta attorney David Flint called Lewis and asked him to make a contribution to Shepherd. Lewis agreed, and he and Faye, both impressed by the lifechanging work that Shepherd does, have donated annually to the Center ever since. Most notably, their donations have supported the construction of the locker rooms in the pool area and the renovation of the Billi Marcus Building lobby.

It is their latest gift, however, that is the most transformational, says Ty Tippett, senior director of planned giving at the Shepherd Center Foundation. Both Lewis and Faye have named Shepherd Center in their estate plans and, in doing so, will enhance Shepherd’s ability to expand its services and help more patients recover and flourish after a spinal cord or brain injury.

“As members of our Bridge Builders Society, Lewis and Faye have made a transformative commitment to leave a lasting legacy to the future generations of patients and patient families who will benefit from the high-quality research, medical care and rehabilitation provided by Shepherd Center,” Ty says.

Donors Faye and Lewis Manderson.

In recognition of Lewis and Faye’s planned estate gifts, which are among the largest ever received by the Center, Shepherd renamed the hospital’s main driveway entrance “Manderson Way.” Shepherd also commissioned the creation of two bronze busts of Lewis and Faye that are permanently displayed in the renovated Marcus Woodruff Pavilion entrance lobby alongside those of Shepherd’s founders, two medical directors and other major donors.

Honored by this recognition, Lewis and Faye were thrilled to see the final bronze busts unveiled during the dedication ceremony held at Shepherd Center on June 15, 2012. Starting with drinks and hors d’oeuvres on the terrace and continuing with dinner and a program in the Callaway Auditorium, the event was, as described by Lewis and Faye, “a fabulous evening.” Many of the Mandersons’ family and friends attended, as did numerous individuals from Shepherd Center, including co-founders Alana and Harold Shepherd, CEO Gary Ulicny, Ph.D., and medical director Donald Peck Leslie, M.D. Dr. Leslie, in addition to treating Lewis for chronic back pain, has become close friends with Lewis and Faye.

“Lewis and Faye just have a love for life and for helping others,” Dr. Leslie says. “Sustaining the innovative programs at Shepherd Center requires a lot of money, and Lewis and Faye have been so generous with their time and their financial resources. It’s what makes my life absolutely charmed to be able to work at Shepherd.”

About Shepherd Center

Shepherd Center provides world-class clinical care, research, and family support for people experiencing the most complex conditions, including spinal cord and brain injuries, multi-trauma, traumatic amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pain. An elite center recognized as both Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News as one of the nation’s top hospitals for rehabilitation. Shepherd Center treats thousands of patients annually with unmatched expertise and unwavering compassion to help them begin again.