Ida Cason Callaway foundation and Herschend expand relationship with Callaway Resort & Garden

Published 11:00 am Thursday, April 7, 2022

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PINE MOUNTAIN—Herschend Enterprises (Herschend), the nation’s largest family-owned themed attractions and entertainment company, announced recently that it has reached an agreement to expand its relationship with the Ida Cason Callaway Foundation (Foundation) following two years of successful management of the Callaway Resort & Gardens, according to a press release from Callaway Resorts & Gardens.

Under the organizations’ new agreement, Herschend will assume ownership of the Resort assets – including the lodge, spa, golf courses, beach area and conference center. In addition, Herschend will lease and manage the Foundation’s Virginia Hand Callaway Discovery Center, Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center, Ida Cason Memorial Chapel and gardens. As it has done for more than 70 years, the Foundation will continue to operate as a non-profit 501c3 with funding provided through resort revenue, gate sales and community donations.

Herschend’s lease and management arrangement will strengthen the Foundation’s position and help preserve its renowned community assets. 

“This is an exciting and important milestone for the Foundation – one that assures we can continue our philanthropic efforts in the community and continue Cason and Virginia Callaway’s vision of ‘creating a garden so beautiful that it would make visitors want to go home and lead better lives,’ for generations to come,” said Fran Rogers, Ida Cason Callaway Foundation Chairperson.

“Herschend Enterprises’ expertise in commercial operations has already led to a significant increase in funding, with the new arrangement providing us an even greater opportunity to grow and achieve our mission of conservation, education and land stewardship.”

“We’re honored to carry on the Callaway legacy by bringing our more than 70 years of experience in destination marketing to further develop Callaway as Georgia’s premier resort destination,” said Herschend Enterprises CEO Andrew Wexler.

“We are wholeheartedly committed to preserving and strengthening all that makes Callaway so beloved and special – and look forward to celebrating the area’s natural beauty with a focused effort on world-class events and activities that complement the surrounding landscape.”

Herschend plans to invest more than $20 million over the next five years for renovations and improvements to the Resort and additional advancements to its world-class events.

“Herschend’s enhanced investment is poised to positively impact the Foundation’s growth and tourism to Pine Mountain, Harris County, and across the Chattahoochee Valley,” said Sonny Horton, VP & GM at Callaway Resort and Gardens. “We’re also thrilled for the Resort employees becoming part of the Herschend team, which will provide them exceptional new benefits, including free tuition through Herschend GROW U. and Share It Forward, Herschend’s employee assistance not-for-profit.”