Foundation Forum by Jennifer Tolle Whiteside, NCCF CEO

Acknowledging 25 years; receiving without forgetting

I was so pleased to attend the recent 25th anniversary celebration of the new Hanover County Community Foundation. I now know how US Postal employees must feel. We drove through rain, wind, sleet and snow to attend and would have done it all over again! What a wonderful event, and how very proud we are to have this group as an affiliate partner. (Check out some scenes from the celebration in New Hanover here, on our Flickr feed.)

We were so honored to have Dr. Nido Qubein provide the inspirational keynote for the evening. And a quote he likes to borrow has remained with me: “Always give without remembering. Always receive without forgetting.” One thing I will never forget is how gratified we were in 2009 when we learned that the New Hanover board had voted to partner with us and become part of the North Carolina Community Foundation. As I told the 200 plus guests assembled for the celebratory dinner, it was no secret that we had long sought alignment with this foundation, in part because of its reputation for excellence.

We are also proud to celebrate our 25th anniversary this year at NCCF.

A quarter of a century is certainly something to acknowledge – and to reflect on the tremendous support we have had along the way. Our list is long. The groups are many. I will only touch on a few in this forum.

Of course we begin with our founders -- those who had faith in their vision and confidence in what we could accomplish before it was something you or I could touch or see. Too many names are on this list, but we will mention only two for now: Lewis R. Holding and Elizabeth Fentress, our first board chair and first CEO, respectively.

Also on our list: past and present NCCF state boards of directors and affiliate leaders, who helped chart the course. Our donors and our fundholders also deserve our deepest appreciation. We thank them for their trust, generosity and commitment to philanthropy. Our goal is always to help you achieve your goals and fulfill your philanthropic intent.

We have come a long way in 25 years and are ready for the next 25. Our model is strong, our vision is clear and our plan is steadfast.

In March our board will vote on the recommendations from the FUTURES Committee, a group that worked this past year to develop a plan to strengthen our organizational structure and ensure continued growth. These recommendations were presented at our affiliate forum in October, and the committee has been working to integrate the feedback and suggestions received from our network.

Our Board Chairman James W. Narron will pass the gavel to Stuart Dorsett in April, ending four years of steadfast leadership that led to growth even during some turbulent economic
times. l will have to write another column about everything I’ve learned from Mr. Narron. He has truly been an inspiration to our board, affiliate leadership and staff. Mr. Dorsett brings a wealth of experience with years of service on not one, but two, affiliate boards, leadership on our statewide board and professional experience as an attorney and leader of the Trusts and Estates Practice at Ward & Smith P.A. 

Despite all that has changed and grown over the past 25 years, I am always most struck by what has not. The vision was clear, the needs were there. And the fundamental principles of our work remain the same. We were given a plan of excellence. We can never forget that we have received so much.

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