In 1988 Bill and Fran Hollister expressed their wish to build a memorial garden at ERUUF's (then) new and permanent site on Garrett Road. The expense of the garden and its continuous care required funding not represented in the annual operating budget. A group of ERUUF leaders considered options available, with a structure that would support the memorial garden plus other projects at ERUUF. The Eno River Fellowship Foundation was the result.

The founding members were Shirley Collins, Kay Edgar, Clara Yager, Rick Searles, Gene Magat, Charles Milone and Russ Schulke. Original donors to the Foundation included Ivor and Shirley Collins, Rick and Georgie Searles, Gene and Phyllis Magat, Phillip and Helen Pratt, Warren and Joan Ganong, Margaret Hudson, Bill and Fran Hollister, and Bob and Maggie Behn.

Through outright gifts, bequests and return on investments, the fund grew to $35,000 in four years. The Foundation then set a goal of reaching $100,000 by the year 2000. That goal was surpassed and by 2005, the Foundation's endorsement value had reached $240,000. As the result of a major bequest in 2007, the value has now surpassed $864,000.