Pest control founder donates $500,000 to fight illnesses, help children

Jeff Annis’ business model has long provided room to reinvest in Augusta-area charities. On Wednesday, that investment grew.

The Community Foundation of the Central Savannah River Area announced the donation of $500,000 to form a fund intended to financially assist local nonprofits that advocate causes most closely embraced by Annis and his wife, Beth.

Annis founded Advanced Services Pest Control in 1974, growing the business while cultivating an employee culture of civic involvement. He credits the team with repeatedly “inventing fundraisers and inventing ways to help charities.”

The foundation gift will reflect Annis’ history of giving that has included funding fights against heart disease and leukemia; helping organizations that assist medical patients and their families; and reaching out to area children in need.

“It can include literacy. It can include things that help people have more availability to food. It’s got to do with everything,” he said at the foundation’s office. “It’s got to do with the community being healthy. Healthy communities thrive.”

Community foundations are philanthropic groups that pool separate donations to best financially leverage funds toward a higher, more consistent level of charitable giving.

Annis’ contribution forms a donor-advised fund, which allows him to direct where and how money is spent, with guidance from the Community Foundation of the CSRA.

“Our mission is to engage individuals who have a philanthropic spirit and help them figure out how to do that,” said Libby Fennell, the foundation’s director of development and donor services. Annis, she said, “plays right into what we do.”

Annis’ gift is the foundation’s second high-profile donation in as many days.

Allen Soto owns and operates Augusta-based Vinea Capital, a network of assisted-living homes, clinics and services for adults and children with special needs. On Tuesday, Soto announced forming the Vinea Fund, designed to help charities that assist underserved adults and children.

Donors interested in contributing to the foundation or any of its funds can call (706) 724-1314 or visit its Sutherland Mill offices at 720 St. Sebastian Way, Suite 160, in Augusta.

Joe Hotchkiss, Augusta Chronicle