What is the Beeson Trust

An ongoing and unique program was implemented at Canterbury on October 15, 2001. Long-time member, Lucille Stewart Beeson, had died and left a great gift to our community. Her estate, valued in 2001 at $168 million, was left in Trust to 13 non-profits in the Birmingham area, including Canterbury. Canterbury was designated to receive 10.6% of the required annual distribution of the Trust. Its first distribution was received by the church on that late October 2001 day. Since that day, $167 million has been distributed to the designated agencies AND the Trust has grown to over $215 million.

Canterbury’s mission, as requested by Lucille Beeson, is to find ways to assist the needy elderly in Jefferson County, including health care. For the last 22 years, there have been dedicated teams of Canterburians who received proposals from agencies, attended site visits with applying agencies, and met quarterly to make grant decisions. And the work will continue far into the future.

  • Background and Mission

    The legacy left to Canterbury United Methodist Church by Lucille Beeson is administered by the Lucille Beeson Team, also known as “the Team.” The Team’s mission is “to enhance the quality of life of the needy elderly in Jefferson County.”

    The Team defines “needy” as “being in want” which can arise from a lack of access to resources, poor health, or otherwise in need of relief. The Team has established no strict age requirement for qualification as “elderly,” but generally conforms to national standards such as AARP which regards elderly as 55 years or older.

    The Team evaluates each grant request on its own merits; however, with limited funding available, there is a conscious attempt to address “Raw Edge Needs” and adhere to guidelines offered in Matthew 25…For I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me. I was in prison and you came to see me.

    Although Lucille Beeson vested in Canterbury United Methodist Church the responsibility of administrating her bequest, grants will be evaluated on a non-sectarian basis, without discrimination based on race, religion, nationality, gender, handicap, age, or sexual orientation. Nevertheless, applications will be evaluated in light of the principles held by The United Methodist Church and those set out in Lucille Beeson’s will.

Guidelines for Grant Applications


The Team will review submitted grants quarterly. The submission deadlines are:

  • January 15
  • April 15
  • July 15
  • October 15

All applications must be submitted by email, with all elements (as noted below) gathered into a single PDF, to lesliecarlisle@me.com no later than midnight of the applicable due date. Applications will NOT be accepted by hand delivery to the Canterbury United Methodist Church. The Team will endeavor to communicate its decisions on applications within eight weeks of each quarterly deadline.

What We Look For

To make the greatest impact with the funds available, the Team prefers requests that address a critical community need in the following areas:

  • Healthcare
  • Housing
  • Basic necessities
  • Education/Advocacy
  • Transportation

Limitations and Restricitions

The Team considers grant applications from agencies with the following criteria:

  • Nonprofit organizations only, that provide all of, or a significant portion of, their services in Jefferson County, Alabama for the needy elderly.
  • Tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Must have received its Letter of Determination from the IRS and be able to provide a copy in their grant application.

No grants are made to or for:

  • Political organizations or candidates for public office
  • Lobbying
  • Non-Profit organizations or foundations where grant proceeds may benefit a for profit company

Incomplete grant applications may not be considered.

An agency cannot submit a non-emergency grant request if it has been less than twelve months since the last Team grant was funded.

Beeson Trust Grant Applications

The Team has no specific application form. Proposals must be submitted in writing, scanned as a single PDF, and electronically mailed to lesliecarlisle@me.com. Please provide:

  • Why funds are being requested, and how many persons will be affected
  • If approved, how will the funds be used to enhance the quality of life of the needy elderly in Jefferson County
  • How will the success of this effort be measured

Please email, as a single PDF, the following:

Click Here
  • How Your Application is Reviewed

    By getting your application in well before the deadline, you afford the Beeson Team the opportunity to provide feedback on your application. Therefore, if further detail is needed to enhance the informative quality of your application, you will have time to provide that before the deadline.

    Each request is reviewed before the Team meets. Your agency will be contacted should additional information be required and a site visit may be scheduled. During this same period, please advise us should circumstances arise which would change or affect any aspect of your request.

Once ready please submit your application application by email to Leslie Carlisle.

Leslie Carlisle

Attn: The Lucille Beeson Team/Canterbury United Methodist Church 205.706.8828