Deserving Students Receive Educational Opportunities from Scholarships given by CFWNC

By Dasha Morgan- As students get ready for the coming year and start to make their plans for college, they must address financial planning. The Community Foundation of North Carolina will soon announce this year’s recipients.

Shown here are CFWNC Scholarship Officer Lezette Parks with Raleigh Cury, who received a scholarship in 2017 which allows her to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after graduating from Asheville High School.

Last May, the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina approved scholarships totaling $540,000 to 103 students in 59 schools in 19 counties in Western North Carolina.

This is only a small, but important part of what this trusted 40 year old philanthropic organization contributes to the Western North Carolina community under the leadership of Elizabeth Brazas, President, her staff, and the Board of Directors.

In December 2018 Julie Klipp Nicholson, became the first COO of this incredibly active organization which impacts so many lives.

Over the years, many recognized leaders from Western North Carolina are, and have been, on the Board, such as Marla Adams, Thomas Arnold, and Lowell Pearlman. The Community Foundation manages more than 1,100 philanthropic funds with a total of $302 million (December 2018) in assets.

They distributed $18.1 million in the fiscal year 2018 to hundreds of nonprofit organizations in the region and beyond. There can be no doubt this has a significant impact of the community.

The CFWNC scholarships are open to North Carolina residents who are public high school seniors, who attend the NC School of Science and Mathematics or the UNC School of the Arts High School or who study in a home school registered with the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education.

They must meet high standards of excellence, have a financial need and fulfill certain requirements to be eligible for these scholarships. Quite naturally this is all quite competitive with many hoping to get a scholarship. January was a deadline for many of the scholarships, but March 15 and later is the deadline for others. More specific information on this can be found at

Three deserving individuals who have received scholarships are Connie Feinberg, Justin Sech, and Raleigh Cury. In 2017 Connie from Tuscola High School in Haywood County, was the recipient of the 4-year-renewable Nathaniel Ellis Cannady, Jr. Scholarship, valued at $20,000, and the one-time Chuck D. Hargrove Memorial Scholarship, valued at $500. This allows her to pursue her dream of attending N.C. State University.

Connie Feinberg

Justin Sech of Asheville High was the 2017 recipient of the Irving Jacob Reuter Award $7,500/yr for four years, valued at $20,000, and the Dr. Brian Ling Memorial Scholarship one- time award of $1,000. He is attending John Hopkins University.

Raleigh Cury also of Asheville High School received the four-year Marilyn Lester and William Lester Scholarship and the one-time Newton Academy-Forster/Stevens and William Bradley Ayers Scholarship Funds, which allows her to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. With a CFWNC scholarship these and many other high caliber students are on their way to making their dreams come true.

The individuals were selected by a committee of 60 community leaders, who are part of the WNC Regional Scholarship Committee. As Jennie Eblen, former member of the WNC Regional Selection Committee said, “Sharing the resources of the Foundation and its generous donors through scholarships changes lives and strengthens the economic future of our region and state.

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.”

If you look at the CFWNC website one sees that there is a wide selection of possibilities and dollar amounts, with specific eligibility requirements for scholarships. For instance, residents of the 18 westernmost counties who are graduating seniors of a WNC public or private high school or certified home school, and who are relatives of active duty, decorated Viet Nam Veterans can receive a one-time $1,000 award from the Captain John G. Gardner, USMC, Viet Nam Veterans Memorial Scholarship.

Dependents of current year-round full-time and flex employees of The Biltmore Company, who have completed one year of service, may receive a one-time $2,000 award from the John Francis Amherst Cecil Scholarship. There are many possibilities to consider when seeking a scholarship.

The Foundation offers several options for donors who are interested in supporting educational opportunities for deserving students across our region. Many donors have chosen to honor a loved one, alma mater, community or profession by establishing scholarship endowments.

The Foundation currently manages 50 scholarship funds. Gifts of any amount to support scholarship awards to high school students may be made to the Foundation’s Fund for Scholarships. With a gift of $25,000 or more, a donor can create a named scholarship fund with awards made through the Foundation’s WNC Regional Scholarship program.

With a gift of $100,000 or more, a donor can create a named fund with your preferred selection criteria and a customized selection committee. Many donors choose to create a scholarship fund when they want to recognize and support the achievement of students, but don’t want the rigors of managing a scholarship program or selecting recipients on their own. CFWNC handles all aspects of the awards.

The Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1978 by retired businessman Ray Hust and a group of local visionaries to build a permanent pool of charitable capital for the 18 counties of Western North Carolina. Over the years it has grown to $302 million (December 2018) and is a trusted organization with wide community support.

CFWNC works with individuals, families and corporations to create and manage charitable funds and makes grants to nonprofits or public agencies in this region. CFWNC actively manages more than 1,100 funds as the source for this grant making. Since its inception, The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina has granted more than $234 million—quite an amazing achievement.

Power of the Purse® Luncheon
Many are aware of the soon to be held Power of the Purse® luncheon on May 21 with featured soccer champion and equality activist Abby Wambach. The luncheon benefits The Women’s Fund, a CFWNC permanent endowment. Wambach was the United States’ leading scorer in the 2007 and 2011 Women’s World Cup tournaments and the 2004 and 2012 Olympics.

As Elizabeth Brazas, CFWNC president, says, “She is fighting for equal pay for women and is a strong advocate for gender rights and the rights of the LGBTQ community.”

Over the years, Power of the Purse® brings well-known female speakers and personalities to a luncheon at the Crowne Plaza Expo Center to speak and to celebrate the power of women’s philanthropy. The afternoon includes the announcement of grants from Women for Women, a Community Foundation giving circle. Past speakers of national renown have included Maria Hinojosa, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Mae Jemison, Piper Kerman, Olympia Snowe, Dee Dee Myers, Anna Deavere Smith, Gloria Steinem, Jennifer Buffett, Cokie Roberts and Anna Quindlen.

The Expo Center is usually packed with attendees, many of whom are patrons and sponsors who have attended Abby Wambach’s coffee and book signing earlier. Many are part of the Women for Women Giving Circle, which supports the facilitation of safe living and work environments for women and girls. Reservations for this May luncheon can be made online at for this event.

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