Community Foundation distributes $356,000, announces Lewis Coiner Leadership Award recipient

community foundationRepresentatives of 89 nonprofit organizations serving Staunton, Waynesboro, and the counties of Augusta, Nelson, and Highland gathered in the ballroom of the Best Western PLUS in Waynesboro Tuesday to receive over $356,000 in grants from the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge.

The Community Grants Program is made possible through the generous and thoughtful support of many donors throughout the community. Those individuals and corporate donors have established individual endowments and pass-through funds of varying size and for many different purposes.

Nonprofit organizations serving our community submit applications to the Foundation by early February to be considered for a grant.  The Foundation, which received a record 107 applications this year, assembles an 18-member committee of community members to review each proposal, weigh their merits, and recommend to the Foundation’s board of directors a plan for distributing its available funding.

The nonprofit organizations selected for 2018 represent the widest possible range of charitable activities, including health and human services, childhood development, education, art and culture, and much more.

In addition to the presentation of grants, the Foundation also presented Caroline B. Smith of Highland County with its Lewis Coiner Leadership Award.  This award was established in 2002 to recognize residents who have distinguished themselves through their exemplary history of altruism and community leadership, particularly through the advancement of the community’s charitable interests.

This award pays respect to its namesake and first recipient, Mr. Lewis Coiner, for his remarkable contributions to the establishment and early success of the Community Foundation.

The Foundation received nominations for eighteen outstanding individuals and couples who each have a history of generous and consistent philanthropic support, and have made a long-term impact on their community.

As Lewis Coiner once stated, “We are in this world to help other people and if we don’t do that, what good are we?”  In addition to Lewis Coiner, the only other recipient of this award prior to Caroline Smith was the late Barbara Hunter Grant for her unselfish stewardship of the community.

Caroline Smith moved to Highland County in 1996.  She and her family established Healing Farm, a 700 acre beef cattle operation.  She has been a tireless volunteer and philanthropist, having been a board member of the Highland County Arts Council, Highland Education Foundation, Highland County Chamber of Commerce, Highland Fair Association, Highland County Public Library, and The Highland Center, for which she currently serves as board Chair.

Caroline was also a board member and driving force behind the establishment of Allegheny Meats, a start-up USDA meat-processing facility serving the agricultural community of Highland and surrounding counties.

Caroline established and directed the children’s drama camp for twenty years.  The local newspaper in Highland County quoted her saying “I love drama camp – I think of it as a world created in a one-week energy burst put forth by a magnificent team of teachers and talented children who love to be pushed to their respective limits.”

In addition to raising her own two children, Caroline has also fostered a child in need of a good home.  She has made room in her home for interns at The Highland Center and been a regular friend in service to her neighbors, taking many Highland County residents to doctor’s appointments and other destinations when they needed transportation.  She has also been a mentor and life coach, encouraging people to work harmoniously and to do their best, and provided support to many individuals, artists and others, throughout the community.

In naming Caroline Smith as its newest Lewis Coiner Leadership Award recipient, the Foundation will also direct $10,000 to the nonprofit organization(s) of her choice at a special ceremony in Highland County later this year.  Through this Award, the Foundation is pleased to recognize Caroline as a true servant leader who has dedicated her life to attending to the needs of others.

As the Foundation celebrates its 25th anniversary, it continues its commitment to broad-based engagement for the greater good of the community.  With over $26 million in assets, the Foundation has distributed over $10 million since its founding in 1992.  As part of its mission to enrich the quality of life in our community, the Foundation will once again be in a position to distribute approximately $1 million to the community this year in the form of grants, scholarships, and awards.

Prior to the grants presented on Tuesday evening, the Foundation had already distributed $421,696 in grants and scholarships since January, bringing its total philanthropy for 2018 to $777,696.  This includes $35,000 in grants from its two Youth Philanthropy Councils, and over $85,000 in scholarships.  Through other programs, including the 25th annual Dawbarn Education Awards slated to be presented on November 28, the Foundation will distribute additional funds in the coming months.

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