In January, 1982, in spite of discouragement from all corners, the fourteen founding board members boldly chartered and incorporated the Community Foundation of Henderson County. “The founding board was told a foundation would not be successful here because the community was too rural, too small, too poor to thrive,” says, McCray Benson, CFHC President/CEO, “and, boy, have we proved the naysayers wrong!”
The first fund was established in April, 1982 by The Henderson County Wildlife Club, and the second, the Charlie Renfrow Scholarship followed in September. In 1984 the Foundation awarded its first scholarship and published its first annual report. For the next several years the Foundation continued to flourish and grow, managing 96 charitable funds by 1992 and distributing over $300,000 to the community that year. 1992 marked the first decade of Community Foundation of Henderson County and with it the first cumulative $1 million awarded. In 1997 the Foundation awarded more than $80,000 in scholarships from 35 funds, and in 1999 annual awards surpassed the $1 million mark.
2003 saw the Foundation turn 20, and in 2005 the Perry N. Rudnick Foundation created an advised endowment that became a permanent component of CFHC. Vintage Carolina started in 2006; in 2007 the Foundation was certified by the Council on Foundations after meeting rigorous national standards. In 2011 the Foundation awarded more than $2.4 million in grants and in 2012 celebrated its 30th anniversary.
At 36 years, the Foundation is rightly proud of its work, with over $3 million awarded in grants and scholarships in the most recent fiscal year, 526 established funds, 60 known bequests, 11 years of Vintage Carolina, and a cumulative award total of over $47 million. “Our Foundation would not be what it is today without the dedication of our board members, both past and present, staff, and most of all the generosity of donors within our community. We are grateful for donors who recognize the importance of planning for the future and supporting needs and causes we cannot foresee,” says Benson.
Since 1982, the Community Foundation of Henderson County has been helping people transform their philanthropic dreams into reality. Donors are able to make lasting contributions to causes close to their heart through a variety of giving methods. Learn more about the Community Foundation of Henderson at www.CFHCforever.org, on the Foundation’s Facebook page, or by calling (828) 697-6224.