Sumner County Schools have received an endowment of an estimated $8 million from William I. Brown, a Cottontown salesman and landowner, who willed the majority of his estate to the schools prior to passing away on Feb. 16.
Brown's will establishes the William and Martha Brown Education Technology Trust and specifies that the interest and dividends earned from the trust must be used annually to assist Sumner County Schools with technology.
"Mr. Brown loved the children of this county and our school system," said Dr. Del Phillips, Sumner County Director of Schools. "He wanted to pass on the wealth he acquired in a way that would make a lasting impact for the students of Sumner County."
Phillips added that the amount of the donation may even be a record for the state.
"We've tried to research to the best of our ability to verify, but I think this may be the largest donation any K-12 public school system in Tennessee has received from a single donor," Phillips said. "It's certainly the largest in Sumner County's history,"
Brown's legacy will also continue through his property, as the county purchased his Cottontown farm in 2015 to be the future location of a school campus. Brown also established in his will an additional $500,000 to be used in the development of a park on the future school site.
"People like William Brown are what make Sumner County such a great place to live," said Sumner County Executive Anthony Holt. "Mr. Brown saw the needs of our schools and wanted to help. Mr. Brown's generosity has left a legacy that will impact the lives of children for generations in Sumner County. He was a tremendous Sumner Countian who had faith in our county, our schools, and our future. He leaves a legacy that will last for generations."
School Board Chairman Andy Daniels said the endowment will go a long way toward reaching the school district's goal of expanding technology throughout the schools.
"Our goal as a school board is to make sure that we are providing our students with the best available resources to prepare them for the future," Daniels said. "This endowment will help us ensure that we are achieving that goal for many years to come."