Publix heiress passes, was active conservative funder in Georgia

Carol Jenkins Barnett in an undated photo. (Photo: Publix)

Dec. 10, 2021 by David Silverberg

Publix heiress Carol Jenkins Barnett, an active funder of conservative political causes, especially in Georgia, passed away on Tuesday, Dec. 7, at the age of 65.

“It is with great sadness that Publix Super Markets shares the passing of Carol Jenkins Barnett, former chair and president of Publix Super Markets Charities,” the company stated in a press release issued the next day. “In 2016, she was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease.”

Barnett was deeply involved in the 2020 Georgia campaigns of Republicans Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue for the US Senate. The Carol Jenkins Barnett Family Trust gave $100,000 to a super political action committee (PAC) called the Keep America America Action Fund. The super PAC could spend unlimited amounts of money on issues rather than candidates and it pushed hard for a Republican victory in the Jan. 5 Georgia runoff elections.

Both Loeffler and Perdue lost their races in Georgia. Perdue is now running as a Trumpist candidate in the Georgia Republican gubernatorial primary against current Gov. Brian Kemp.

Barnett also contributed $100,000 in her own name to the Georgia Senate Battleground Fund, $10,000 to Purdue Victory Inc., $2,800 to the Purdue for Senate campaign and the same amount to the National Republican Senate Committee, headed by Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.).

In North Carolina she contributed $2,800 to the re-election campaign of Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), who succeeded in keeping his seat.

Barnett was a daughter of the chain’s founder, George Jenkins. According to the press release she was born and raised in Lakeland, Fla., the company’s headquarters. She began working in the Publix chain in 1972 as a cashier at the Grove Park Shopping Center in Lakeland and later worked in Publix’s corporate marketing research and development department. In 1983, she was elected to the Publix board of directors where she served for 33 years. Her net worth was $2.1 billion, according to a 2020 Forbes magazine estimate.

She was active in philanthropic and charitable work, contributing to organizations such as United Way, Florida Partnership for School Readiness, and Family Fundamentals. She became president and chair of Publix Super Markets Charities, an outgrowth of a charitable foundation launched by George Jenkins in 1966.

Also politically active among the Jenkins family members is Julie Jenkins Fancelli. According to a Nov. 18, 2021 Pro-Publica article, “Texts Show Kimberly Guilfoyle Bragged About Raising Millions for Rally That Fueled Capitol Riot,” Fancelli contributed $3 million to the “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol.

Fancelli was also active in the Loeffler and Perdue races.

To read more about Publix political activities, see “Publix: Where politics bring no pleasure.”

Liberty lives in light

© 2021 by David Silverberg


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