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Bagwells endow education fund
Chantal and Tommy Bagwell, chairman & CEO of American Proteins, present Elton Maddox, treasurer of the USPOULTRY Foundation, with a $1 million check on behalf of the Leland Bagwell Education and Innovation Fund. - photo by For the FCN

Tommy and Chantal Bagwell, owners of American Proteins in north Forsyth, recently presented a $1 million gift to the USPOULTRY Harold E. Ford Foundation.

The donation will be used to endow the Leland Bagwell Education and Innovation Fund.

The fund is in memory of Leland Bagwell, founder of American Proteins and past chairman of the Southeastern Poultry & Egg Association, now known as USPOULTRY.

It recognizes the many contributions the Forsyth County vocational agriculture teacher and leader made to the poultry industry.

According to a news release from USPOULTRY, the $1 million endowment will offer young people opportunities to be a part of the poultry industry, with a focus on innovation, education and giving lower-income students chances.

Tommy Bagwell, Leland Bagwell’s son, said the endowment is a perfect fit for the family.

“My wife and I decided to focus most of our philanthropy on education issues so as to provide an opportunity for students,” he said in a statement. “We established our own family foundation for this purpose.”

He added that normally the family does not give endowments, but made an exception in this case.

“The first reason concerns Harold Ford and my father, Leland Bagwell, and their friendship,” he said. “The second, the poultry industry is where our family has made its living.

“Finally, we could not think of a better steward of these funds than people from the poultry industry.”

President and CEO of Wayne Farms, Elton Maddox, who serves as treasurer of the USPOULTRY Foundation, said in a statement that the organization was “honored and grateful” to receive the funding.

“This endowment will help support the … mission of continuing to attract young leaders to our industry, as well as fund research that will ensure the poultry and egg industry’s sustainability and prosperity in the future,” Maddox said.

USPOULTRY is based in Tucker.