Lake City, SC

This South Carolina entrepreneur is giving away millions

Ash Jurberg
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Recently I have been writing a series of news stories focusing on people who give back generously to local organizations. We all need to read positive news, and readers enjoy these uplifting articles.

Today I wanted to write about one Lake City, South Carolina entrepreneur who has given so much back to the city and state organizations.

Her name is Darla Moore - let's take a look at her story.

The South Carolina woman giving away millions

Darla Moore was born in Lake City, South Carolina, in 1954.

She attended Lake City High School before graduating from the University of South Carolina in 1975 with a BA in political science. After a brief stint in politics, Moore returned to study to earn her MBA before embarking on a career in finance.

She forged a very successful career, once called by CNN the "toughest babe in business" and "a cross between the Terminator and Kim Basinger," and became the highest-paid woman in banking in the United States.

Moore married Richard Rainwater, one of the country's top investors, and managed to triple her husband's net worth. She was the first woman to appear on the cover of Forbes and has also been inducted into the South Carolina Business Hall of Fame.

Her business, investment, and banking skills made her a fortune of more than $2.3 billion. And she has given a lot of it back to her community.


Moore is one of the most charitable people in South Carolina and has set many records with her donations.

"You get to a point where you have enough—where you say, “You know, I really want to give it away now.” It’s the hardest work you will ever do. The check writing is not the end. You’ve got to follow through and be attentive. You develop pretty strong opinions about things. Where your interest lies. Where you can have the most impact. What’s the most gratifying." Darla Moore

Some of her donations include:

  • $25 million to the University of South Carolina business school in 1998. The school was named after her, making the University of South Carolina the first major university to name its business school after a woman. In total, she has donated $70 million to the college.
  • She founded the Palmetto Institute in 2002. This independent non-profit organization focuses on increasing every person's wealth in South Carolina.
  • $10 million to the School of Education at Clemson University.
  • She has also made significant donations to the ArtFields Art Festival held in Lake City, USC's McNair Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research, and Claflin University's music department.
  • Moore also opened Moore Farms Botanical Garden on her grandparents’ land in Lake City.
  • $25 million to establish a center for education and workforce development in Lake City.

Your thoughts

What do you think of Darla Moore's charitable efforts? What other organizations in South Carolina would you like to see her support?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments below and share this article with others so they can join the conversation.

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