Help Repair our Learning Center!

Passionate women have always been the heart and soul of Agnes Scott. Women with a vision for the future. Women who empower themselves and each other. Women who get things done.

As a newly-hired professor—and a new mother—in 2016, Janelle Summerville Peifer was inspired by this legacy to answer a long-standing community need: a daycare center for the faculty, staff and students of Agnes Scott College. 

“Frankly,” she said, “I couldn’t see why Agnes Scott—a college dedicated to empowering women—wouldn’t have a daycare center.” As Peifer is quick to point out, numerous studies have shown that childcare duties fall disproportionately to women, most of whom work outside the home as well.  What’s more, over a fifth of American universities and colleges have a daycare center for faculty, staff and/or students. But Scott didn’t.

So Professor Peifer gathered a team and got to work.

Inspiration, she quickly found, was the easy part. She learned that the Agnes Scott community had in fact been striving to build a childcare center for three decades. Another full year of work followed: research into child development and education, jumping through bureaucratic hoops, filling out funding applications and conducting staff interviews. She even recruited her mother, Dr. Natalie Nelson Summerville, to interview for the director position and leave her job in Northern Virginia to start Grand Magnolia. With her expertise in curriculum and instruction, she quickly developed a developmentally-attuned vibrant curriculum and poured her savings, time, and energy into helping it succeed. As the leader and heart and soul of Grand Magnolia, Dr. Summerville has done amazing work to develop a rich learning environment. 

The process seemed endless, until at last, it was done: Grand Magnolia Early Learning Center opened its doors to a group of waddling toddlers (including Professor Peifer’s own son, Roland) on August 14th of this year. Three highly-qualified educators eagerly awaited their entrance.


Then tropical storm Irma sent a tree crashing through Grand Magnolia’s roof.


Thankfully, insurance will cover some of the repairs, but additional funds are needed, especially if the center is to open again soon. That’s where you come in.


Why should you donate to the Grand Magnolia Learning Center?

Perhaps you are a Scott alumna yourself, and you see the value not just in the Learning Center, but in the tradition of Scotties empowering Scotties. Or maybe you simply recognize the importance of high-quality, affordable childcare for every family.
Whatever your motivation, the Grand Magnolia Family deeply appreciates your support.

P.S. Who is Jennie Williams and why is she the administrator of this page?

I am a dear friend of Janelle Summerville Peifer who was deeply saddened to hear what happened to the Grand Magnolia Learning Center! I offered to set up this page because I believe in Janelle, I believe in the Learning Center, and I believe in women helping women.


Oh my goodness! What an incredible show of support! I am absolutely floored by the expressions of solidarity and love and the immense generosity that people have demonstrated. In the midst of uncertainty moving forward, I am so thankful for this wonderful community that has shown a passion for supporting the mission that drives Grand Magnolia. We believe in a world that supports families, children, and women and you are helping us rebound from this setback to continue to grow in this regard. You are wonderful!

And an update from the person running this fundraiser:

Holy Moly, everyone. Per your suggestions,  I have increased the goal in light of this TREMENDOUS outpouring of support. We set the original goal at $5,000 because we we were sure that 5Kwas an ambitious goal. Frankly, we are still convinced that 5K was an ambitious goal!

That said, actual repairs will certainly be more expensive. We've read that post-storm repairs tend to hover around $10,000.  

Of course, the damage is being professionally assessed this week and next. (The tree only fell three days ago!) We will certainly update you all then. In the meantime, please know that ALL funds will be used for the Center, and they are so grateful.

  • SJ Smith 
    • $100 
    • 48 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $250 
    • 48 mos
  • Corey Dunn 
    • $50 
    • 48 mos
  • Jill Thomas 
    • $50 
    • 48 mos
  • Mary Morder 
    • $10 
    • 48 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Jennie Williams 
Decatur, GA
Natalie Summerville 
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