A Legacy of Service, Courage and Character

A Legacy of Service, Courage and Character


The Early Years

The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation was founded in 1930, but its roots go back nearly 80 years earlier, when Algernon Sydney Sullivan himself was a young lawyer in Indiana.

He used his legal talents and personal wealth to help those in trouble in his community, sometimes at great personal cost.


The Move to New York

When Algernon and his wife Mary Mildred Sullivan moved to New York in 1856, they remained dedicated to the cause of helping people in trouble.

Both of the Sullivans were decidedly anti-slavery, but they cared about the South and advocated for the humane treatment of Confederate prisoners during and after the Civil War. A believer in equality for all, Algernon also sponsored the first African-American member of the New York Bar Association.


A Lasting Legacy

Algernon founded the law firm Sullivan and Cromwell, which eventually grew into an international firm and is still highly respected today. He built a reputation for taking on clients who could pay him little or nothing when he believed their cause was just.

By the end of his life, Algernon was so respected that all courts in New York were closed in his memory upon his death in 1887. He remains the last private citizen to receive such an honor.


Honorable Life and Death

The honor that Algernon would have appreciated the most, however, was the one he received when the New York Southern Society—an organization he himself founded—established the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award in 1890, just a few years after his death in 1887.

The award was created to recognize college students in the South for “excellence of character and service to humanity.”


Establishment of the Sullivan Foundation

Algernon and Mary’s only son, George, continued and cemented the Sullivans’ legacy when, in 1930, he created the Sullivan Foundation to ensure the continued existence of the awards and scholarships.

The Foundation remains as strong as ever today and has grown to expand the reach of the Sullivan spirit far beyond what Algernon and Mary would have ever thought possible.

Meet our Team

Meet our Team

Steve McDavid


Oxford, MS

Caroline Burlingame

Director of Operations

Oxford, MS

Courtney Carlton

Alumni Engagement

Oxford, MS

Jody Holland

Faculty Engagement

Oxford, MS

Josh Nadzam

Student Support

Lexington, Kentucky

Christopher Gergen

Corporate & Philanthropic Relations

Raleigh, NC

James R. Gulley, SR.

Research Fellow

Oxford, MS

Kevin Seddon

IMC & Content Development

Oxford, MS

Jason Browne


State College, PA

Contact Us

Contact Information
1109 Van Buren Ave, Oxford, MS 38655

Phone(662) 236-6335
Email: admin@sullivanfdn.org

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Board of Trustees

Board of Trustees

Andrea Crouch

Lookout Mountain, GA

David Farrand

Summit, NJ

Steve McDavid

Oxford, MS

John Hardy

Oxford, MS

Thomas Rankin

Durham, NC

Peter Rooney

Atlanta, GA

Dr. John McCardell

Beaufort, SC

Perry Wilson

Franklin, TN

Kathy Potts

Jackson, MS

Stacey Spillers

Marietta, GA

Elizabeth Randall

Oxford, MS

Gray William, Jr.

Chappaqua, NY

Trustee Emeritus

Darla Wilkinson

Mendham, NJ

Trustee Emeritus

Elizabeth “Betsy” Verner

Atlanta, GA

Trustee Emeritus

A legacy of serving and leading change.

A Note from Steve McDavid, President of the Sullivan Foundation

At the heart of the Sullivan Foundation lies a commitment to service and leadership, inspired by Algernon and Mary Mildred Sullivan.

Today, we empower young changemakers, offering them tools and opportunities to shape a brighter future. Through scholarships, retreats, and our Sullivan Fellows program, we’re building bridges to a more compassionate world.

Every story of our recipients fills me with pride and hope. Together, let’s continue to inspire and be the change we wish to see.

Steve McDavid


“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Eleanor Roosevelt, Sullivan Award recipient
First Lady of the United States

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Eleanor Roosevelt, Sullivan Award Winner
First Lady of the United States