Since opening the first Parker’s retail gas station on St. Simons Island in 1988, the first in the Brunswick area, Patrick Parker said he’s been trying to give back to the community as best he can.

“We don’t want to live anywhere else. It’s a great place to raise a family,” said Parker, president of Parker’s Convenience Stores. “We think it’s important to give back to the communities that have supported us over the years.”

Wednesday marked Parker’s latest act of goodwill, a $1 million donation to the Communities of Coastal Georgia Foundation.

The money is going into what Paul White, executive director of the foundation, dubbed the Parker Family Fund, a donor-advised fund. He described donor-advised funds as charitable funds managed by the foundation on the back end.

Contributions from the fund are informed by the will of the donor, he explained.

It’s a popular format, White said. The foundation has many donor-advised funds ranging from $10,000 to $10 million in scope.

When setting up the fund, Parker said one of the questions the foundation asked was “What are your interests in the community.”

Parker declined to say Wednesday what he told the foundation, but he said he did have various community service and charity groups in mind.

“The best part will be giving this away,” Parker said.

Parker also expressed his admiration of the foundation. He knew many of the people who founded it 16 years ago, but it wasn’t until he heard of White through a friend that he considered giving to the organization.

The fund will serve Glynn, Camden and McIntosh counties.

According to the foundation’s website, it manages more than $50 million in nearly 100 distinct funds.

Parker’s Convenience Stores manages 11 retail gas stations in Georgia — seven in Brunswick, one on St. Simons Island, one in Darien, one in Surrency and one in Hinesville.

The company’s corporate headquarters is located on St. Simons Island.

This article originally appeared in The Brunswick News on December 16, 2021.