40 Milestones of 40 Years


Community Foundation of Henderson County, Inc. was chartered and incorporated, becoming the third community foundation in Western North Carolina. The founding Board of Directors included 14 members.

The William C. Armstrong and Charlie Renfrow scholarship funds were established in 1982.

Henderson County sports broadcaster, Charlie Renfrow.


The first woman was elected to the Board of Directors, Dorothy Dellinger “Dot” Marlow.


Community Foundation awarded our first scholarships totaling $9,000 to eight students.


In 1985, the Foundation's assets surpassed $500,000.

That same year, grants and scholarships totaling more than $35,000 were awarded.


Priscilla Cantrell was hired as the Foundation's first paid employee. She led our organization for the next 18 years.

In 1987, the Foundation became stewards of more than $1MM.


Seven local women established the Women in Need of Support (WINS) Fund to provide financial assistance to working women to help improve their lives. Since established, WINS has awarded nearly $150,000 to local organizations and programs.


Richard and Vina Sauer leave the first-ever $1MM gift to Community Foundation of Henderson County.


Community Foundation awards first-ever Richard C. and Vina L. Sauer Charitable Leadership Award to Frank Ewbank, one of the Foundation’s founding directors and community leaders.


Sherman’s Sports owners establish a fund to aid in the replacement and new planting of trees on Main Street in Downtown Hendersonville. Dozens of healthy trees will be planted over the next two decades.


The Children and Family Resource Center (CFRC) of Henderson County opened its doors to serve children and families in need. Community Foundation of Henderson County awarded CFRC a $150,000 startup grant to be used over a 3-year period. It was the largest grant ever awarded in Foundation history.

$1MM was awarded in grants and scholarships in a single year for the first time in Foundation history.


Current office space at 401 N. Main Street is purchased, securing a permanent home for the Foundation.


Community Foundation awards more than 100 scholarships in a single year for the first time.


Richard J. Scott and Betty M. Scott leave over $14.2 million in a bequest to Community Foundation. It is the largest gift ever received in Foundation history.


The Perry N. Rudnick Foundation creates a $6.2 million advised endowment to become a permanent component of Community Foundation of Henderson County. The Perry N. Rudnick Endowment Fund typically awards more than $200,000 in grants each year.


The Baker-Barber Collection is established through an endowment at the Foundation. Housed at the downtown Public Library, the Baker-Barber Collection is a permanent part of our collective history and culture, and makes the photographic history of Henderson County available for generations to come.

Current President and CEO, McCray V. Benson, joins the Foundation in 2005.


The first gala, Vintage Carolina, takes place at Hendersonville Country Club and becomes an annual event for donors and the community for the next 15 years.


$3.5MM was awarded in grants and scholarships.

In 2007, funds from the Betty A. and Richard Scott Memorial Endowment are used to build the Etowah Branch of the Henderson County library.


Grants from the Foundation and Perry N. Rudnick Endowment helped open Henderson County Heritage Museum’s first major exhibit, Let Freedom Ring.


Neighbors Helping Neighbors initiative was established to assist with economic crisis. The initiative ultimately morphed into the present-day Nonprofit Forum.


Field of Interest and Community grant funds were awarded to support Operation Blue Water, a project that aimed to expand water quality monitoring and increase education efforts on building near streams and stream banks.


Local high school students, Derek Campano and Nick Stoker, create the ‘Wings of Support’ Donor Advised Fund and become the Foundation’s youngest philanthropists.

A $60,000 grant is awarded to place a behavioral health counselor and clinical addiction specialist on site at Mainstay (now Safelight), Hendersonville Rescue Mission, and in Henderson County Public Schools.


A bequest created by Andrew and Patricia Lapple in 1989 came to fruition in 2012 through a $1MM trust exemplifying the power of planned giving.


A planned gift setup by Chet Phillips is realized creating support for Community Foundation of Henderson County and United Way of Henderson County in excess of $2MM.


The largest unrestricted endowment fund was established by William and Paula Bowyer in 2014.


The Foundation supports the first season of David Holt’s State of Music, a PBS series airing in 49 states. State of Music will eventually receive support from Community Foundation of Henderson County for six seasons.


A bequest setup by Ray and Rita Dunk creates two 4-year scholarships worth $8,000 annually.


Community Foundation's assets surpass $100 million.


A $20,000 grant is awarded to Henderson County Education Foundation for the creation of Letterland Alive!, an original play written and performed by Flat Rock Playhouse apprentices that brought Henderson County’s district-wide phonics program to life. The play was performed for all 13 county elementary schools’ kindergarten and first graders.

That same year, $42,000 was awarded to Veterans Healing Farm to purchase a mobile office.

The Foundation supports the “Bring the Hive Alive” bee mural project with a sponsorship in 2019. Located within the Azalea Public Parking Lot, the mural and pollinator garden is later completed in 2021.


In collaboration with multiple community entities, Community Foundation of Henderson County established COVID-19 Response Fund for Henderson County which receives and distributes more than $400,000.

In 2020, the cumulative total of grants and scholarships awarded in Foundation history surpasses $55MM.


A grant is awarded to Hands On! to help create the People’s Museum that honors the history and impact of African-Americans and People of Color within the Henderson County community.


Community Foundation of Henderson County celebrates 40 Years committing an additional $250,000 to the community through grantmaking and other projects.