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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.

CFWNC Newsletter Fall 2015  

Community Foundation Newsletter

CFWNC Newsletter Fall 2015  

Community Foundation Newsletter