CFWNC Newsletter Fall 2015

Page 1

the community foundation of western north carolina PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

Fall 2015

We ended our fiscal year on June 30. By any measure, it’s been a successful year for CFWNC. In partnership with our fundholders and affiliates, we distributed an all-time high of $15 million in grants. In partnership with our fundholders and affiliates, we distributed an alltime high of $15 million in grants. We also awarded scholarships of more than $400,000, our largest cycle to date, to WNC students working to achieve their higher education goals. And, through the support and trust of generous people who work with us to achieve their charitable goals, the Foundation surpassed $255 million in assets under management and ended the year with a record $34 million in contributions. “This is why we are here,” reported our treasurer, Ed Towson, at the August board meeting. He reminded us all that “it’s easy to get lost in the numbers, yet the numbers are the means by which we are able to deliver the support and services that are so important to our community.” He’s right. It takes the full complement of CFWNC’s resources – development, investments, programs and communications – to accomplish our mission of improving lives and communities in Western North Carolina. Our organizational focus on relationships – with fundholders, board members, the regional network of nonprofits, WNC professional advisors – has made our success this year and every year possible. This newsletter celebrates several of these relationships and includes information about grants – from the focus areas, the affiliates, the Asheville Merchants Fund, capacity funding and our Women for Women giving circle. You’ll read about the Gragg Family, who opened a fund to carry forward their parents’ belief in the power of education and

Elizabeth Brazas with CFWNC board chair Jim Stickney and board members James Baley and Melanie Johnson. Photo by Michael Oppenheim.

experience; and co-workers whose strong friendship empowered one of them to change her life through a volunteer legal program supported by Women for Women. What strikes me in reviewing this work is that each and every one of these programs or funds starts with a philanthropic impulse – a drive to share, support or improve. We are truly fortunate to live in a region where so many people care. Whether they open a fund, launch an innovative program, fund a scholarship in memory of a loved one, guide clients in planning their legacies, volunteer or teach, many people act on their philanthropic impulse. Together, we invest in our communities and our region. Together, we make this good work possible.


Dr. Mae Jemison to Speak at 2016 Power of the Purse® The first African-American woman in space, Dr. Mae Jemison, is the featured speaker for the 12th Annual Power of the Purse® taking place Tuesday, May 24, at the Expo Center at the Crowne Plaza in Asheville. Reservations can be made beginning in March at

Dr. Mae Jemison

“Dr. Jemison is a scientist, a medical doctor, an astronaut, a dancer, a role model and a dedicated STEM advocate,” said Elizabeth Brazas. “We are delighted that she will bring her message of education, empowerment and achievement to Western North Carolina next May.”

Dr. Jemison served six years as a NASA astronaut. In 1992, she flew aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, STS-47, a cooperative mission between the United States and Japan. She performed experiments in material science, life science and human adaptation to weightlessness. Because of her love of dance and as a salute to creativity, Jemison took a poster from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater with her on the flight. "Many people do not see a connection between science and dance," says Jemison. "I consider them both to be expressions of the boundless creativity that people have to share with one another." Jemison also took several small art objects from West African countries to symbolize that space belongs to all nations as well as a photo of Bessie Coleman, the first African-American woman to fly an airplane. Prior to her work with NASA, Jemison was an Area Peace Corps Medical Officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia. She earned her M.D. from Cornell University and practiced medicine in Los Angeles. She is currently leading the 100 Year Starship, an initiative exploring human interstellar space travel, and is the founder and president of two medical technology companies. Jemison is a strong, committed voice for science literacy and a sought-after speaker on health care, social responsibility, technology and motivation. Masthead photo courtesy of the Organic Growers School.

Piper Kerman speaking at the 2015 Power of the Purse® Photo by Michael Oppenheim.

The 2015 Power of the Purse®, featuring Orange is the New Black author and prison reform activist Piper Kerman, raised a record $131,000 for CFWNC’s endowed Women’s Fund. Spendable income from the Fund is distributed through the Women for Women grant program.


Photo courtesy of The Boys & Girls Club of the Plateau.

Cashiers Community Fund Awards Grants In August, the Cashiers Community Fund announced $127,575 in grants to nonprofits, including schools, food pantries, medical clinics and more, serving Cashiers and the surrounding region. Since 1994, the Cashiers Community Fund has awarded $914,225 to projects serving the Cashiers community. The recent grants include: Blue Ridge School Education Foundation – $10,000 to support the Communities in Schools program at Blue Ridge School. Summit Charter School – $9,860 to purchase iPads for each middle school student. The Boys & Girls Club of the Plateau – $10,000 to support the Triple Play Program that demonstrates how eating smart, keeping fit and forming positive relationships add up to a healthy lifestyle. Big Brothers Big Sisters of WNC – $5,215 to expand the one-to-one mentoring program that supports academic achievement for children in the Cashiers community. Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust – $5,000 for Kids in Nature educational programs for the Boys & Girls Club, Summit Charter School and the Cashiers Recreation Center Camp.

Hampton School – $10,000 to support highquality child care for children, ages twelve months to twelve years, in a safe and nurturing learning environment. Cashiers Valley Preschool – $10,000 for improvements to its facility and to provide children in the Cashiers community with a positive early childhood learning environment and experience. Cashiers-Highlands Humane Society – $10,000 toward the new Adoption Center that will expand the capacity of the local no-kill shelter. Blue Ridge Mountains Health Project – $10,000 for staffing and dental supplies for the general dentistry and hygiene programs. The Community Care Clinic of HighlandsCashiers, Inc. – $10,000 to support free health care services to uninsured, low-income residents, primarily from southern Jackson and southern Macon counties.

Fishes and Loaves Food Pantry – $10,000 to provide free food to people in need to help alleviate hunger in the Cashiers community. Highlands-Cashiers Hospital Foundation – $5,000 to upgrade communication technology for Cashiers Medical Center and improve patient services within Mission Health System. Life Challenge of Western North Carolina – $10,000 to provide residential shelter, rehabilitative care and life skills education to low-income, at-risk women in Jackson County. The Bascom – $7,500 for the Community Arts Education Initiative that delivers art education to residents of Jackson County in collaboration with the school system and local nonprofit organizations. Cashiers Valley Community Center – $5,000 for the new thrift store, which supports the community center.

“Our independent grant cycle allows us to respond to community needs by funding a diverse selection of nonprofits,” said Board Chair Tommy Valenta. “The Cashiers Community Fund was created, in partnership with The Community Foundation, to meet needs, large and small. We are grateful to all who have supported the Fund and who help Cashiers now and in the future.”


The Fund for Haywood County awarded $2,050 to Girls on the Run of Western North Carolina to enable teams of 3rd to 8th grade girls from five Haywood County schools to participate in Girls on the Run, an experience-based afterschool program that integrates self-confidence and running for health.

CFWNC and The McDowell Endowment partnered to fund McDowell Technical Community College’s Camp Opportunity, which serves 120 low-income children from McDowell County in 6th through 8th grades. The camp helped children explore their interests and introduced future career paths. Eight to ten different classes were offered each day, including photography, graphic design, art, technology, carpentry, science, healthcare, advanced manufacturing and mathematics. Expert instructors from McDowell Tech and partnering agencies led the classes, with Early College students serving as classroom assistants.

Photo courtesy of The Fund for Haywood County.

Photos courtesy of The McDowell Endowment.


2015 Grants Support Capacity Building CFWNC believes in helping regional nonprofits fulfill their missions effectively. To that end, we award capacity grants of up to $7,500 that align with our focus areas. During our last fiscal year, $82,500 supported eleven nonprofits in important capacity building work. The grants went to: SAFE of Transylvania County to develop a strategic plan in response to the organization's need for clear, meaningful and measurable outcomes for its programs and services. Asheville City Schools Foundation for strategic planning to address racial equity, improve the In Real Life program and expand advocacy efforts. Organic Growers School for branding and fundraising planning. North Carolina Stage Company for a strategic planning process to guide decision-making with the goal of delivering current and future offerings in a financially sustainable way.

Bluebird Farm

Western North Carolina AIDS Project to improve staff effectiveness and organizational culture and to diversify revenue streams by implementing a strong fundraising program.

Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project to plan for financial sustainability and strengthen capacity to support farmers and build the local food system.

Helpmate for strategic planning focused on program, structure, facility and partnerships.

Mitchell County SafePlace to develop a strategic plan, train board and staff and develop a fundraising and communication plan to support infrastructure development and expanded impact.

Pack Place Performing Arts for planning during the major restructuring of the Pack Place complex. The ARC of Buncombe County to assist with an executive transition and improve program services.

Photo courtesy of the Organic Growers School.

Latino Advocacy Coalition of Henderson County to build key personnel support, help with facilities management and improve current programming and financial reporting.

Asheville Merchants Fund Awards $350,000 in Grants The Asheville Merchants Association was formed more than a hundred years ago to support the idea that retail cooperation would increase sales. The Association existed for decades and witnessed downtown Asheville’s dramatic metamorphoses. Its legacy lives on through the annual holiday parade and an endowment fund at CFWNC that makes two-year grants to support economic development. The goal of the Asheville Merchants Fund is to strengthen the community through asset development and entrepreneurship; quality jobs and workforce development; social infrastructure encompassing family success and affordable housing; and youth success in school. Awards are announced every two years, and this year $350,000 was awarded to seven Buncombe County nonprofit organizations.

Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP)

Green Opportunities received $50,000 to provide incentivized job

Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity received $50,000

Mountain BizWorks received $50,000 to provide customized

received $50,000 to increase Buncombe County local food sales for farmers, farmers markets and restaurants. The project will increase local food sales by expanding consumer education, building community relationships and funding cross-promotional campaigns through ASAP’s Local Food Guide. More than 100 farms, 13 farmers markets and 80 restaurants and other food-related businesses will benefit.

to continue the Adopt-A-Lot challenge grant program to purchase affordable building lots. The funds will leverage an additional $100,000 in donor sponsorships to purchase at least ten additional lots in Habitat neighborhoods.

Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry

received $50,000 to support a program for homeless women living at the Steadfast House for Women. The Steadfast House provides transitional housing and life and job skills training to help residents secure employment and increase self-sufficiency. Funds will support 50 participants over the two-year grant period.

Buncombe County Schools Foundation received $50,000 toward the Graduation Initiative to continue providing at-risk students alternative pathways for academic success and a high school diploma. Grant funds will support “Minimester” and “Twilight School” classes as part of a program that anticipates graduating a minimum of 60 students who would otherwise not earn a diploma.

training and placement services to 210 low-income adults with significant employment barriers. Programs offered at the Arthur R. Edington Center combine hands-on vocational instruction with case management. Trainees have opportunities for employment in social enterprises and job placement assistance upon completion of a 14-week program in the culinary and building trades.

business training and microloans to a target population of low-to-moderate income entrepreneurs in Buncombe County. Grant funds will support training classes and individualized coaching for 250 entrepreneurs per year, and will provide capital for start-ups and existing small businesses experiencing barriers to traditional lending sources. This program has been an important part of developing Asheville’s small business community for the past 25 years.

OnTrack Financial Education and Counseling received $50,000 for its Affordable Housing Program, which helps to make housing more affordable for potential homebuyers and renters in Buncombe County by helping them to stabilize finances, improve credit and build assets. The services are used by several other organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, Homeward Bound, programs working with victims of domestic violence and employee-assistance programs of major employers. “The goal of these grants is to strengthen the community through economic impact,” said Tom Hallmark, chair of the Fund’s Advisory Committee. “In reviewing applications, we looked for opportunities to fill gaps, increase employability and help build a more well-rounded community and workforce in Buncombe County.”



CFWNC also makes Learning Links grants in Swain County. In 2014-2015, classroom grants to teachers have supported student conference attendance, craft classes, design seminars, digital music technology experiences and additional STEM instruction.

Swain County Schools Focus on STEM Education

Photos courtesy of Swain County Schools.

CFWNC serves a broad and diverse region. Swain County lies within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It includes the state’s third highest peak, Clingman’s Dome, and four scenic rivers – the Nantahala, Tuckasegee, Oconaluftee and Little Tennessee, all flowing into Lake Fontana. It is also home to the infamous “Road to Nowhere” and has an unemployment rate of 16.7%, the second highest in the state. The median household income is $36,000, and 27% of the population lives in poverty. A new system-wide focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) is intended to increase opportunities and improve those statistics by providing Swain County students with the education and tools they need to compete in today’s economy. A $20,000 People in Need grant is augmenting funds provided by the Golden Leaf Foundation, Duke Energy Foundation and the Cherokee Preservation Foundation to introduce STEM projects into every classroom. Hands-on, inquiry-based, STEM materials and equipment, primarily in the form of age-appropriate robotics and coding/programming capabilities support, have been placed at the three elementary schools and the middle school math and science classrooms in Swain County Schools, engaging at least 1,300 students and 50 teachers. Basic programming required for even elementary robotics involves math, logic, critical thinking and creativity. Swain County High School also offered a Vex Robotics class that enrolled 24 students. Through the curriculum, the students worked on C++ programming certification, which can earn college credit. Several participating schools have also launched robotics clubs. All students at Swain East and West Elementary schools, as well as some classes at Swain County Middle and High schools, are learning age-appropriate computer coding. Rising 5th grader Braylon Aldridge is one student experiencing the benefits of a STEM curriculum. “Braylon is very creative and loves science. He recently presented at the community STEM night with his teacher,” said Katie Aldridge, Braylon’s mother. “Last year, he had the opportunity to present the 3D printer and coding at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) conference. We are excited for him to have this experience." While coding is typically taught in science and math classes, Swain teachers are finding ways to incorporate STEM into history, social studies and more. Regina Ash, STEM Director for Swain County Schools, said, “STEM instruction benefits students whether or not they are STEM inclined because they learn critical thinking and creativity in unique ways. STEM jobs pay more both for four-year or higher degrees and for two-year degree positions.” As STEM Director, Ash coordinates with Southwestern Community College and Western Carolina University to recruit students for STEM fields, particularly mechatronics and engineering. Teachers in the Swain program were invited to present at the state-wide NC Technology in Education Society conference. The session was overflowing with teachers interested in learning about the STEM focus and program implementation. It is projected that more than 8.5 million STEM jobs will be created in the United States by 2018. WOMEN FOR WOMEN

Escaping Domestic Violence with Help from a Friend The Women for Women Giving Circle awarded Pisgah Legal Services a $90,000 grant to expand the nonprofit law firm’s work to stop domestic violence. *Amelia and Janice met eight years ago while working at an area business where they cook breakfast. Before long they became more than coworkers; they forged a real and lasting friendship. Janice began to notice Amelia’s distress and other things, like Amelia’s boyfriend refusing to drive her to work. Amelia confided to Janice that he had recently beaten her with a metal chain and that he had been abusive for years. She feared for her life and also for their young son’s safety. Janice stood by Amelia, encouraging her to get a protection order, helping her find a new place to live, even teaching her how to drive. When Amelia’s abuser violated the temporary protection order and was arrested, Amelia was terrified to go to court, even with Janice by her side. Then Amelia was referred to Pisgah Legal Services. “Before I got a lawyer from Pisgah Legal Services, I almost gave up,” says Amelia. “I was that scared. But Gabby and Erin (her caseworker and attorney) were so good to me. I knew then that I had support and legal


Photo courtesy of Pisgah Legal Services.

help.” PLS Attorney Erin Wilson represented Amelia and obtained a oneyear protection order, custody of her son and possession of her vehicle. Amelia’s abuser was ultimately deported, and today Amelia is living a life free of fear and abuse. “I was so timid before, but after a while I started to feel free. Today, I am a different person.” Amelia says she will never forget the help she received from Pisgah Legal Services and the friend who supported her. “She is like my sister because she has helped me so much,” says Amelia. Janice agrees, “I always tell her that we are like sisters from another mother.” — Evie White

*Names have been changed.



Gragg Family Fund Honors Parents and Supports Students Butch and Kathy Gragg lived their entire lives in Western North Carolina. Harold “Butch” Gragg was born in Black Mountain and raised by his great-aunt. He served in the United States Marine Corps in Vietnam, earning two Purple Hearts and a Silver Star. After the war, Butch returned to Black Mountain and married Kathy, who was raised by her mother and maternal grandparents in Swannanoa’s Buckeye Cove. A shy kid and curious learner, Kathy made education a priority for her own children and those in their community. She earned an associate degree in accounting from a local community college and was the first black employee at a local bank.

Donor Advised Funds If you want to support a number of causes, give actively and access knowledge about charitable organizations, a donor advised fund is the tool of choice. A donor advised fund offers an immediate tax benefit and allows you to recommend grants on your schedule. These funds are CFWNC’s most popular fund option, and we manage nearly 350 for generous people across the region. A donor advised fund provides maximum convenience and flexibility to address issues now and as your priorities change over time, and it streamlines your giving because CFWNC manages due diligence, check writing and reporting. CFWNC offers two types of donor advised funds:

Mavis Gragg

The Gragg Family Fund was founded by sisters Mavis and Monica Gragg to honor Butch and Kathy, their parents, who passed away suddenly in 2012. The Graggs strongly believed higher education and seeing the world were the keys to a rewarding life. The Gragg Family Fund continues their legacy by providing access to higher education and travel to students.

"Being involved with our donor advised fund has given philanthropy a deeper meaning for me. It makes me want to be more educated about the causes I support." —Monica Gragg “In 2013, I met with a development officer from UNC-Chapel Hill, my alma mater, and told him about our interest in supporting minority students from Western North Carolina for study abroad and preparing for college,” said Mavis, an attorney and mediator working with a variety of nonprofits, law firms and e-commerce firms. “He suggested working with a community foundation.” “It was surprising how easy it was to establish a fund. I thought the minimum amount to establish a donor advised fund would be too high for us, but it wasn’t,” said Mavis, a PhD candidate who has lived in seven countries. “The process was simple, and CFWNC took care of the details.” The Gragg Family Fund began making grants in 2013 and has helped a UNC-Greensboro African Studies student study at Hull University in northeastern England, Monica Gragg supported a group of Ballou Senior Photo by Michael Oppenheim. High School (Washington, DC) students’ travel to Zambia, sent two Owen High School minority students on an Outward Bound course and hosted a free college-prep workshop in Asheville for 8th to 12th grade students. The sisters are building support for their fund and aspire to share more life-changing experiences. “I believe philanthropy is personal. People want to connect on a personal level and see the results of their giving,” commented Monica. “Opening the fund and helping students has made me humble and changed my view of what it means to give back.” "Most people think you need to be rich to establish a fund or to have an impact on an organization they support,” added Mavis. “When I’ve discussed the Gragg Family Fund with friends and colleagues, many of them share what their dream fund would be. I quickly let them know that it doesn’t have to be a dream, and the rewards are priceless.” If you would like to learn more about the Gragg Family Fund, visit To learn more about opening a fund, visit

•  A flexible endowment fund has a minimum balance of $10,000; you can make grants up to the fund balance over this amount. Your fund accrues investment returns, which can add to the amount available for grantmaking. This is CFWNC's most customizable charitable tool. •  An endowed fund has principal permanently invested, creating lasting charitable capital. An annual amount (currently 4.5% of the fund balance) supports grantmaking. If your philanthropic vision and intended impact extend far into the future, an endowed fund is right for you. You can establish a donor advised fund with a minimum gift of $10,000, which is tax deductible. Gifts to your fund may be made with cash, stock, real estate and other assets. When you create a donor advised fund, you determine its advisors, successor advisors and the causes the fund will benefit now and in the future. You can add to or replenish your fund at any time, in any amount. CFWNC’s stewardship ensures that your charitable intent is fulfilled. You manage your giving online or with the help of CFWNC staff – we are here to help you define your giving goals, identify and evaluate nonprofit organizations, connect with other fundholders who share your philanthropic interests, create a plan to involve your family in your grantmaking, and consider the future of your donor advised fund. To learn more about donor advised funds, call Sheryl Aikman or Becky Davis at 828-254-4960.

Funds Established 1/1/2015 - 6/30/2015 Designated Funds support specific nonprofits

named by the donor when the fund is established.

•  Roberts Cemetery Maintenance Association Endowment Fund

Donor Advised Funds allow donors to make a

charitable contribution, receive an immediate tax benefit and recommend grants over time. •  Nancy and Robert Edgerton Fund •  Flicker Point NC Fund •  Fontaine Family Foundation Fund •  Richard and Rebecca Manske Donor Advised Fund •  Virgil and Margaret Wagner Charitable Fund •  Walker Family Charitable Fund •  Kendall Alexander Wernet Fund

Expectancy Funds will receive assets at a later time, typically through an estate plan, charitable gift annuity or charitable trust. •  Miller/Bieger Fund •  Sharp Kids Charitable Fund •  Angela Wells Fund

Field of Interest Funds support broadly defined

causes, using CFWNC’s expertise to identify appropriate grantees. •  Leon C. and Grace E. Luther Charitable Fund



CFWNC Welcomes New Board Members The Foundation is pleased to announce the following new board members who have been elected to serve a three-year term. These individuals are carefully selected for a variety of strengths and experience in order to guide the direction and growth of the Foundation. Caroline Avery is Director of Marketing at E.J. Victor, a company founded to pursue the art of creating furniture excellence – preserving quality construction methods to create exquisite furniture for the home. She was formerly Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Burke County, a nonprofit organization that provides giving opportunities, professional philanthropic support and responsible stewardship for the benefit of donors and qualified recipients.

New board members Caroline Avery, Scott Shealy, Melanie Johnson, Guadalupe Chavarria and James Baley, with Elizabeth Brazas.

James Baley is a lawyer with The Van Winkle Law Firm. He focuses his practice on estate and trust Photo by Michael Oppenheim. planning and administration as well as counseling businesses and their owners through a range of events, from formation to succession planning. He enjoys working with family businesses to achieve their business and personal goals, which are often intertwined. Before joining the firm, he practiced as a CPA in a large regional accounting firm, focusing primarily on tax planning and compliance for individuals and businesses. Guadalupe Chavarria has resided and worked in downtown Asheville for nearly 20 years. He started Studio Chavarria in 1998. He was appointed to the Downtown Commission and served six years, where he focused on urban development and the master plan for Asheville. Guadalupe also served as a Foundation Board member at UNC Asheville. During his term, he worked on fund allocation and budgeting. He served on the Asheville Affiliates Board for two terms helping raise community donations. Melanie Johnson is a partner in Dixon Hughes Goodman's Western Carolinas Practice Unit. She has been with the firm for nine years. In her current position, she provides tax and consulting services to both corporate and individual clients, including services relating to estate planning, asset preservation, real estate investment and development, long-term care and business valuation. Scott Shealy is Vice-President of Citizens Fuel Company, a petroleum marketing and convenience store company located in Asheville. He also manages Citi Brands, LLC, d/b/a Dunkin' Donuts, with six locations in greater Asheville. Scott earned his undergraduate degree in 1988 and his Juris Doctor in 1992 from the University of South Carolina. He worked as an Assistant District Attorney in Charlotte until 1996 when he relocated to Asheville to begin managing and operating the family business.

Angela Farnquist Joining Development Team

Photo by Lindsay Hearn.

In September, Angela Farnquist joined CFWNC as the Development Administrative Assistant. A Michigan native, Angela graduated from Western Michigan University with a BBA in sales and business marketing. Angela began her professional career with Thermo Fisher Scientific and then followed her heart into the nonprofit sector. She comes to the Foundation from Thrive, a mental health nonprofit in Hendersonville, where she supported program and executive staff. Angela enjoys giving back to the community and has volunteered with various organizations from Big Brothers Big Sisters to Our VOICE. A lover of the outdoors, she can be found exploring the mountains of our beautiful area where she enjoys hiking and backpacking with family, friends and her dog, Finch.

Maria Juarez to Retire in November

Photo by Michael Oppenheim.

Maria Juarez, CFWNC’s Scholarship Officer, will retire on November 20, 2015. Maria joined the Foundation in January 2004. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from The New School in NYC and a background that includes editorial and marketing positions in book publishing, managing Aquaculture Magazine and working with the Hispanic services division of Catholic Social Services in Asheville. “Maria has played crucial roles in the development and growth of the Foundation’s scholarship and Learning Links programs,” said Philip Belcher, Vice President of Programs. “We will miss Maria’s devotion to students and her passion for the Foundation’s work.” Most recently, Maria led the effort to move the scholarship application and review process to an online platform. In addition, fall 2014’s Learning Links grant cycle resulted in the greatest number of grants, and the highest dollar value, in the program’s history.


Early Childhood Development Grant Helps Region A Partnership for Children Open Far West Satellite Office Until July 2015, the Region A Partnership for Children (RAPC) served young children and families in the seven westernmost counties and on the Qualla Boundary with one office in the eastern part of the region in Jackson County. An early childhood development grant of $29,970 has helped the organization open a satellite office in Murphy that has significantly improved its outreach to families.


RAPC provides services in partnership with public health departments, public school districts, family resource and child advocacy centers, professionals and private childcare providers. The satellite office hosts events related to Smart Start, advocacy, NC Pre-K and other early childhood and family support activities. CFWNC funds several of these initiatives in the far west, including the First 2000 Days, Parents as Teachers and Reach Out and Read.

Photo courtesy of RAPC.


$110,000 in Natural and Cultural Resources Grants Awarded Natural and Cultural Resources Focus Area Grants totaling $110,000 were recently awarded to the Asheville Area Arts Council, Asheville Art Museum, Carolina Public Press and NC International Folk Festival/Folkmoot. The Asheville Area Arts Council (AAAC) will receive $25,000, contingent upon AAAC’s receiving Our Town funding from the National Endowment for the Arts in April 2016. Funds will be used to conduct a collaborative, comprehensive assessment of Buncombe County’s cultural resources. Partnering policy makers will use the data to support job growth, provide feasibility information for arts and culture-based development and infrastructure, guide policy, enhance opportunities to serve the community and evaluate the need for programs and services. The Walnut Fund partnered with CFWNC to support this grant. The Asheville Art Museum received $35,000 to deliver its Literacy Through Art (LTA) program to students in Burke, Graham, Jackson, McDowell, Mitchell and Swain counties. LTA provides rural public schools with an arts-integrated, site-specific curriculum that fosters creativity and proficiency in the arts, language arts and communication skills. LTA includes nine 60-minute lessons, taught by an artist-in-residence, that meet the grade-appropriate NC Standard Course of Study goals and objectives in language arts and the visual arts. The final lesson is a visit to the Museum for a gallery tour led by a specially-trained docent and includes a hands-on studio activity. An anonymous endowment fund partnered with CFWNC to support this grant.

Students in the Asheville Art Museum’s educational programs receive hands-on art instruction that complements the NC Standard Course of Study goals.

Photo courtesy of the Asheville Art Museum. Carolina Public Press received $20,000 to provide in-depth, investigative and explanatory journalism on the present condition and future of our region’s water systems and national forests. The grant will fund nonpartisan reporting on the cultural, environmental and economic impacts of the region’s forests and water systems. The future management and use of these natural assets depends on the participation of informed and active citizens in public policy decision-making. A series of investigative articles and multimedia reports will help ensure the public is informed and able to participate fully in determining the future of the region’s critical natural resources. The Walnut Fund and the Little Acorn Fund - W partnered with CFWNC to support this grant.

NC International Folk Festival/Folkmoot received $30,000 to continue planning and development of the Center for Multi-Cultural Exchange, an effort to transition Folkmoot from a two-week summer festival into a year-round community and cultural resource. Folkmoot has a solid reputation for bringing high quality programming to rural Western North Carolina, including more than 8,500 international performers from 200 countries, over the past three decades. With a new and permanent 43,000 square-foot home and a new board of directors, executive director and marketing professional, Folkmoot has launched a $1.2 million-dollar campaign to restore its building, increase endowment resources and expand programming. The Fund for Haywood County, a CFWNC affiliate fund, co-invested in this grant. Through the Natural and Cultural Resources Focus Area, CFWNC works to preserve and cultivate sense of place by investing in cultural and environmental projects and programs that protect or enhance the quality of life in Western North Carolina. The grants help protect natural resources, including landscapes, vistas and historic sites, and support and develop the arts-based economy, which is an important economic driver in the region. Since inception, this focus area has invested $672,491 in the region. SCHOLARSHIPS

CFWNC Supports WNC Students Scholarships totaling $407,400 were awarded to 92 students in Western North Carolina. Top recipients include: Daniela Aliy of Buncombe County Early College High School, who was awarded the Nelle Crowell Fletcher and G.L. Crowell Endowment Scholarship, valued at $16,000 over four years. Alyssa Edwards of Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy, who was awarded the Nathaniel Ellis Cannady, Jr. Scholarship, valued at $20,000 over four years. Alesi Floyd of Rutherford Early College High School, who was awarded a Newton AcademyForster/Stevens Scholarship, valued at $20,000 over four years. Garrett Higdon of Franklin High School, who was awarded a Clyde and Mildred Wright Endowment Scholarship, valued at $20,000 over four years.

Caroline Hopkins of School of Inquiry and Life Sciences, who was awarded the Marilyn Lester and William Lester Scholarship, valued at $40,000 over four years, as well as the Clyde and Mildred Wright Endowment Scholarship, valued at $18,000 over four years. Abby Nelson of North Henderson High School, who was awarded the Clyde and Mildred Wright Endowment Scholarship, valued at $18,000 over four years. Suzanna Schultz of Mitchell High School, who was awarded the Clyde and Mildred Wright Scholarship, valued at $18,000 over four years, and the Charles C. and Suzanne R. McKinney Scholarship, valued at $10,000 over four years.

Bradley Schmidt of Henderson High School, who was awarded the Nathaniel Ellis Cannady, Jr. Scholarship, valued at $20,000 over four years. Adam Wagner of A.C. Reynolds High School, who was awarded the Clyde and Mildred Wright Endowment Scholarship, valued at $20,000 over four years.

Adam Wagner

Scholarship endowments can have broad eligibility criteria or can be focused on a particular school or county, offered to students pursuing a degree in a stated field or available to those who will attend a designated college or university. “Sharing the resources of the Foundation and its generous donors through scholarships changes lives and strengthens the economic future of our region and state,” said Jennie Eblen, member of the WNC Regionals Selection Committee. “Serving on a CFWNC Scholarship Committee is an extraordinary opportunity. We support educational goals and aspirations of talented and motivated students who are scholars, athletes, musicians, artists and community servants. It's an honor to assist these bright students.”


A walking tour, From the Cradle to the Grave: Walking in Thomas Wolfe’s Shoes, received funding from CFWNC. The tour is available starting October 3rd, Thomas Wolfe’s birthday, from the Thomas Wolfe Memorial State Historic Site in Asheville. Visitors can complete the tour to learn about the author and to visit places that Wolfe knew in his short lifetime, 1900 to 1938.

Our Affiliates


Phone: 828-254-4960 Fax: 828-251-2258

Management Team

Sheryl Aikman, Vice President, Development Philip Belcher, Vice President, Programs Elizabeth Brazas, President Lindsay Hearn, Communications Director Graham Keever, Chief Financial Officer


Black Mountain–Swannanoa Valley Endowment Fund Cashiers Community Fund The Fund for Haywood County Highlands Community Fund The McDowell Endowment The Fund for Mitchell County Rutherford County Endowment Transylvania Endowment The Yancey Fund

Board of Directors

James W. Stickney, IV, Chair A.C. Honeycutt, Jr., Vice-Chair Laurence Weiss, Secretary G. Edward Towson, II, Treasurer

Board Members Maurean B. Adams Caroline Avery James Baley Guadalupe Chavarria William Clarke Jennie Eblen

Ernest E. Ferguson Charles Frederick Howell A. Hammond Susan Jenkins Melanie Johnson Stephanie Norris Kiser

Lowell R. Pearlman Scott Shealy Anna S. (Candy) Shivers Sarah Sparboe Thornburg Stephen Watson

Nonprofit Organization U.S. Postage


4 Vanderbilt Park Drive, Suite 300 Asheville, NC 28803

Asheville, NC Permit No. 518

To receive future newsletters electronically and to subscribe to CFWNC E-News, please send an email with “subscribe” in the subject line to It’s easy to support CFWNC Use the Donate Now button at to make a tax-deductible contribution to any of our funds or to honor a friend or family member.

Confirmed in Compliance with National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations


Fancy Bear Farms Local Honey Accounting Associate Naomi Davis has worked at CFWNC since 1997. She serves a critical role in the Finance Department and moonlights as a farmer. She and her husband Scott live with several horses, chickens, dogs and cats along with nine productive beehives on a small farm in Fairvew. If you attend a CFWNC event in the coming months, the likelihood is high that you will receive a bear filled with local Fancy Bear Farms wildflower honey flavored by the sourwood and Tulip Poplars that dot the hillsides surrounding their home. Scott, who also teaches motorcycle safety at A-B Tech, oversees the honey business and hives. Look for Fancy Bear Farms at local tailgate markets!

Photos by Michael Oppenheim.