The Lyndhurst Foundation had its beginnings in the broad local and regional philanthropic activities of Thomas Cartter Lupton, a pioneer in the Coca-Cola bottling business. First organized in 1938 as the Memorial Welfare Foundation, these activities continued and expanded after Mr. Lupton’s death in 1977, when the foundation changed its name to Lyndhurst, a reference to the family home in Chattanooga. At that time the foundation leadership passed into the hands of Mr. Lupton's son, John T. Lupton, and Lyndhurst began to focus its attention upon primary health care, elementary and secondary education, and arts and cultural activities.
In the mid-1980s, the foundation redirected its energies almost entirely toward Chattanooga’s effort to revitalize its downtown and riverfront, to enhance its arts and cultural life, and to improve its schools and its natural environment.
In 1992, with the retirement of Mr. Lupton from the board of the foundation and the election of his children and his nephews as trustees, Lyndhurst once again set new priorities, centered on the enhancement and enrichment of the natural, educational, cultural and urban environment of Chattanooga and the surrounding region.
The year 2012 marked the first major organizational change for Lyndhurst since its founding, with the spin-off of five new smaller family foundations, and with the resulting legacy of a smaller parent foundation governed by ten new local trustees with a continued focus upon Chattanooga and the proximate region.