The History of CFHC

Community Foundation of Henderson County began with the vision, dedication and compassion of 14 local leaders who established the organization in 1982 to manage two funds — the William C. Armstrong Scholarship Fund and the Charlie Renfrow Scholarship Fund — and to provide a permanent vehicle for citizens to give back to their community.

CFHC Building
cfhc's office is in suite 300 of 401 N. Main St. in downtown Hendersonville, NC.

The William C. Armstrong Scholarship Fund was started by the Henderson County Wildlife Club, which wanted to honor the memory of William "Bill" Armstrong, one of its charter members, by awarding a scholarship to a Henderson County student studying wildlife. However, the club soon discovered the great amount of legal issues involved in creating such a fund.

A similar dilemma faced a group of citizens responsible for managing the Charlie Renfrow Scholarship Fund established in memory of Charlie Renfrow, a beloved local sports broadcaster. The paperwork and other responsibilities proved too burdensome.

Establishing a community foundation was the logical answer, providing management of these two funds and the vehicle for other people in the community to establish their own funds, or make tax-deductible contributions to improve the quality of life in Henderson County for future generations.

One of the unique features of the Community Foundation is that it builds endowments — permanent funds that will continue to support the causes donors care about, forever. CFHC's founding directors understood these long-term benefits, and the board of directors and professional staff at CFHC are deeply indebted to them for their foresight and determination. Read more about the Community Foundation's founding board and community leaders who helped CFHC become a reality.

The Community Foundation's first paid executive director was Priscilla Cantrell who helped build legacies for 18 years. She started work in a one-room office at the Community Foundation with assets of less than $1 million and little grant money.

In fact, the Community Foundation was advised that a such a foundation in Henderson County would not succeed because the community was too small and too rural, because it had no homegrown industry, because it had no university and because it had a population of less than 150,000 people.

But thanks to our giving community, the Community Foundation continues to thrive and currently manages more than 570 funds that at the end of this past fiscal year were comprised of more than $87.7 million in assets and resulted in more than $2.9 million in grants and scholarships being distributed.

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