Giving Back To Those Who Give

  • Share:
November 20, 2018
Daily News-Record  11/20/18
HARRISONBURG — The Shenandoah Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals celebrated National Philanthropy Day on Monday by hosting a luncheon at Hotel Madison to award community members who have given back to their community this year.
The luncheon was attended by about 300 people.
Each award was introduced with a video of the person who nominated the individual or business, explaining why the nominee was chosen.
The first award, Youth in Philanthropy, was given to Blue Ridge Community College’s National Society of Leadership and Success club, Enactus.
“Philanthropy has so far a reach that when you give back you don’t know what the impact it has around the world,” said BRCC President John Downey in accepting the award.
Enactus is a team of students who volunteer their time to build communities through education and economic development. Students use what they are learning in the classroom to address real-world challenges in their local community, nationally and globally.
The organization has helped and mentored 35 low-income single mothers and worked with ex-felons returning to college to obtain their degrees or entering workforce training. After Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005, the team worked to help 72 small businesses reopen by matching them with companies in the Shenandoah Valley in a business-to-business mentor program.
The next award, named in honor of Sandra S. Neff, was given to Sally Jane Conner for her fundraising work at BRCC. In her introduction video, she was described as someone who doesn’t get much recognition on a large scale, but someone who is always lending a hand or serving in some way.
“My father taught me the value of giving,” Conner said. “When I was in college I learned that few get by without the help of others.”
Union Bank and Trust received the corporate philanthropist award for its support of the United Way over the years.
“As a company, they have participated in our annual campaign as far back as our records show and have collectively given over $65,000 back to the community,” said Laura Holsinger, executive director of United Way Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.
Recently, Union Bank & Trust has been supportive at the state level by sponsoring the United Way’s ALICE — Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed — project. ALICE is an in-depth analysis of financial hardship by people who are employed but still not making ends meet, Holsinger said.
“We have the resources and we want to help,” said Greg Godsey, who accepted the award on the behalf of Union Bank & Trust.
The Spirit of Philanthropy award was given to Peter Yates, former editor and general manager of the Daily News-Record. Yates was a longtime member of the Harrisonburg Rotary Club, and had an active role in the Harrisonburg Rockingham Chamber of Commerce.
Yates also served as a member of the United Way, The Community Foundation, Salvation Army, Rockingham Memorial Hospital Foundation, Harrisonburg Rockingham Free Clinic, National MS Society, Arts Council of the Valley and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. He also served on a number of educational boards in the Harrisonburg community.
“I can think of no one who is more deserving of the Spirit of Philanthropy Award,” said Stephanie Byrd, who nominated Yates. “Peter asked all the important questions and was always willing to volunteer his time, talent, and resources to fulfill the missions of these and many other important organizations.”
While accepting his award, Yates quoted a Bible verse from Ecclesiastes about how everything and everyone has a season.
“My season in this community is over. It’s been wonderful,” said Yates, who is now publisher of The Daily Progress in Charlottesville. “I hope my purpose has been clear.”
Wallace and Carolyn Hatcher were chosen as the recipients of the final award given to individual philanthropists. They were very involved in the Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community, volunteering their time and financial resources.
They created the Chaplain’s Fund to provide weekly worship and vesper services, and the Arts and Education Fund to bring music and art events to VMRC.
The Hatchers also recently provided a $50,000 challenge fund for VMRC’s $3.8 million Reinvesting in Our Community Campaign, which has since concluded.
“This community is a fabulous place,” Wallace Hatcher said while accepting the award. “Carolyn and I feel we are blessed beyond measure and we enjoy giving back.”