Bulletin Board

Significant Accomplishments Over Time

2017 was another successful year for the H. N. G. Foundation. While maintaining our primary mission of growing our Foundation endowment, we volunteered as temporary treasurer for the Party Rock Relief Fund by distributing over $30,000 donations to Gorge fire departments, EMS and other fire relief groups.

The Foundation collaborated with the H. N. G. Chamber, Lake Lure Mayor B. Keith, Chimney Rock Mayor, P. O’Leary, and the Rumbling Bald Resort to sponsor a celebratory event to honor all fire fighters and other organizations who fought the Party Rock Fire. Additional fire-fighting donations were collected during this January 2018 event.

The Foundation’s Endowment grew to over $148,000 since our founding in 2006. The cumulative investment earnings generated from this fund have allowed us to grant $21,750 to Gorge non-profit organizations since our 2006 founding.

The 2017 endowment growth of 22% over 2016’s has allowed us to grant to Gorge non-profits as follows:

  • • $1,400 to the Hickory Nut Gorge Outreach for community needs related to the Party Rock Fire.
  • • A $500 award to Chimney Rock Volunteer Fire Department and a $500 award to Chimney Rock Development Association in honor of Buck & Barbara Meliski who were the ‘2017 Community Impact’ honorees.
  • • $1,800 granted to the ‘Little Garden that Grew – Life Roots’ Project which is an outdoor educational and agricultural garden annexed to the back of The Mountains Branch Library.

Eight new Founder’s Circle (F C) members enrolled into the 10-year Founder’s Circle pledge program which now has 65 memberships (120 persons). Annual pledged donations of both existing and new F C Members totaled $16,600 in 2017 which went directly to the Foundation’s endowment.

Over the last two school years, $400 grants from the ‘Tatanka Principal’s Discretionary Fund‘ were granted to LLCA for school uniforms for financially challenged families and for STEM supplies for middle school students. This ‘Tatanka’ Fund is an affiliated fund to our H N G Foundation Fund and it reports to our Board how its grants are used by LLCA. Our Board then reports to the Founder Circle members.

At an August Board-of-Directors Retreat, the Foundation Board refined its strategy and operating objectives to create stronger governance, to solicit increased donations and build an operations fund. The key objectives / projects identified to accomplish these goals, were:
1. Define a wider scope marketing plan and a realistic budget aimed at building the endowment
2. Establish a new ‘Builder Circle’ Pledge program to fund hiring professionals who will promote and advertise the Foundation through the revised marketing plan
3. Research how other foundations raise operations funds and adapt these to our marketing
4. Survey ‘F C’ members’ for their top choices to which the foundation should grant and what philanthropic goals do ‘F C’ members want our Foundation to achieve.

Bringing Quality Healthcare Closer

The Gorge residents and those of nearby communities have longed for primary health care closer to home to avoid a lengthy round trip for family check-ups, routine tests, and special medical supplies. Thanks to the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) and a skilled staff of doctors and medical professionals, this wish has come to life at the Lake Lure Facility. The gratitude of the Gorge and area residents have been overwhelming as reflected by a large number of new patients now receiving care at MAHEC’s Lake Lure Facility. And to expedite diagnosis for patient injuries and referring them to specialists at large, there is a nearly-reached fundraiser goal to fund an X-ray facility and an X-ray technician at Lake Lure MAHEC. The Foundation partnered with MAHEC in this project by a 2017 award which has generated matching funds by area foundations. And when the X-ray service is up and running, this will save significant time and anxiety for patients who will get quicker, more accurate diagnosis and the all-important referral to a medical specialist.

Feeding the Hungry with Love

We have long admired the work of the Hickory Nut Gorge Outreach. What began with Mary Ann Ransom, the first recipient of our annual Community Impact Award, placing donation jars at local restaurants, has today grown to a thriving regional organization that feeds hundreds of families and individuals around the Gorge through its food pantry and holiday food baskets. And as if that were not enough, this organization celebrates the arts in the Gorge by organizing and hosting two arts and crafts festivals annually. Funds raised from the rental of booths to artists go a long way in funding the Food Pantry. For this reason, we find HNG Outreach always deserving of our support.

Building Bridges

With the infectious enthusiasm of Bill Miller and his board of volunteers, there isn’t anything not to love about the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge. Plus, it’s simply a beautiful sight to behold and to enjoy. From a quiet dream to its high-profile implementation, this organization has welcomed the involvement of everyone in the project. And as a result, the bridge is so much more than a visitor destination. All that went into making it a reality characterizes the kind of people and organizations that we love to support.


Bringing People Together

Sometimes the simplest things are the most important parts of what makes a community into a real community. To passersby, the old building that houses the Upper Hickory Nut Gorge Community Club might not look like much. Inside, it tells a great story.
It was established in 1958 in Gerton, as an offshoot of the Homemakers’ Club. The club was launched by a group of interested native and summer residents of the Gorge, who worked together to improve the area and to build a better community in which to live.
Through the years, community spirit and enthusiasm have been boosted. The countryside around the area has become more attractive and roadsides have been improved and beautified and a spirit of fellowship has prevailed through the years. For this, we felt like the Upper Hickory Nut Gorge Community Club was deserving of our support.

Perseverance Deserves Support

To the throngs of athletes that come to Lake Lure and Chimney Rock Village every year for the Olympiad Charitable Sports Festival, it probably looks like a professionally managed, highly funded event. That’s because of the commitment and persistence of a handful of individuals who are beyond dedicated. And while board members and volunteers have come and gone through the years, the core group has created a unique three-day sports festival that has donated thousands of dollars to worthy causes, increased tourism and put the Gorge on the regional map as an ideal destination for competitive athletics and outdoor recreation. For this, we say job well done and we are happy to support the Olympiad in any way that we can.

A School Changes Everything

Long before Lake Lure Classical Academy opened its doors in 2010, the communities of the Gorge were all abuzz at the thought of a school being here once more. Not since the 1950's had there been our very own school. And like so many dreams and plans that germinate in the Gorge, the school took root because of the commitment, vision, and diligence of a handful of hard-working volunteers. Today, the school is embarking on an ambitious, but reachable goal of building a state-of-the-art high school. When LLCA opens its doors to the new high school, our Foundation will be there to support their efforts, just as we were when they held their grand opening on the first day of school in 2010. Because having a school in the Gorge indeed changes everything.