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Community Foundation bestows top awards

Presenting the 2022 Dot Marlow Award to Dr. Steven Crane were the Rev. Julie Songer Belman, Dottie Kinlaw and Valorie Songer.  [PAULA ROBERTS PHOTOGRAPHY] Presenting the 2022 Dot Marlow Award to Dr. Steven Crane were the Rev. Julie Songer Belman, Dottie Kinlaw and Valorie Songer. [PAULA ROBERTS PHOTOGRAPHY]

The Community Foundation of Henderson County honored recipients of its Richard C. and Vina L. Sauer Charitable Leadership and Dot Marlow Philanthropic Catalyst Award during the first in-person annual luncheon since 2019 on Tuesday.

The event, held at Jeter Mountain Farm, drew a large crowd of nearly 250 people. The event also featured highlights from the foundation’s past fiscal year, looked back at 40 years of the organization’s history.

Past board Chair Bill McKibbin reported that in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022, the foundation awarded $5 million in charitable grants, received $6.2 million in new contributions and had total assets of  $120 million. More than 94 percent of the 700-plus charitable funds held at the Foundation are endowed, meaning they will provide charitable support in perpetuity.

McKibbin thanked Cindy Causby and Shirley McGee, who recently completed board terms with the foundation board, for their leadership and service. Carolina McCready, Lutrelle O’Cain and Kevin Young were welcomed as new members of the board.

In his remarks, current Board Chair Stan Duncan said that in the 40 years of Community Foundation of Henderson County’s existence thre foundation had paid out more than $80 million in grants and annuities. He thanked the attendees in the room for their contributions to making a difference in Henderson County. “Your unseen and unselfish actions define who we are by your philanthropy,” he said. “In short, you are building a stronger, kinder, healthier, vibrant, more loving community. As Community Foundation of Henderson County celebrates its 40th anniversary, we want to thank you for all you’ve done and for setting an example for future generations of givers and doers.”

Board Member and Scholarship Committee Chair Dora Katsadouros shared highlights from the foundation’s Scholarship Program, noting that for the 2022-23 school year, the foundation offered $575,000 in scholarship assistance to more than 250 students. “Award recipients attended 47 different colleges and universities across 13 states,” she said. “Our students chose colleges ranging from Blue Ridge Community College here in Henderson County all the way to Johns Hopkins in Maryland, and as far away as the University of Southern California on the West Coast.”

The luncheon’s program also featured a video from scholarship recipient and 2016 West Henderson High School graduate Alexis Morse. After receiving her scholarship, Morse graduated from Wingate University in 2020 with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Chemistry and then received her master’s degree in biomedical research from Wake Forest in 2022. She is currently enrolled as a molecular and cellular bioscience Ph.D. student at Wake Forest and anticipates continuing research to assist in the field of vaccine development. Morse thanked attendees and Community Foundation for the scholarship support that has allowed her to pursue many opportunities throughout her education.

Community Foundation of Henderson County’s two awards – the Dorothy Dellinger “Dot” Marlow Philanthropic Catalyst Award and Richard C. and Vina L. Sauer Charitable Leadership Award – were presented at the conclusion of the luncheon.

“We are proud to honor the legacies of Richard and Vina Sauer and Dot Marlow through these awards each year,” said foundation President/CEO McCray Benson. “I think it helps us in every generation to have an example of a permanent testimony as to what individuals can do and how we can make a difference. It inspires us to leave our own important legacy.”

Dot Marlow directed a powerful philanthropic energy for positive impact in Henderson County and to honor her and the countless contributions she made to the Foundation and the Henderson County community, the Foundation established the Dorothy Dellinger “Dot” Marlow Philanthropic Catalyst Award in 2019. The recipients of this award reflect her spirit to take action, begin new endeavors, and commit to a project. Past Marlow Award Winners include Kathleen Lees, Albert Lyons and Renee Kumor.

The 2022 Award was presented to Dr. Steven Crane, family medicine practitioner and volunteer medical director for 20 years at The Free Clinics. Dot Marlow’s daughters Dottie Kinlaw and Valorie Songer, and her granddaughter, the Rev. Julie Songer Belman, presented the award to Dr. Crane.

A video was shown highlighting his dedication to The Free Clinics.

“One of the pieces of his mindset that reflects Dot to me is that commitment to community matters,” Free Clinics Executive Director Judy Long said. “Dr. Crane has this vision of how our community can be the best — particularly through the health care lens, but in a broad global lens of what will it take for us all to live and be as healthy as we can.”

SauerJaneDavis Jane Davis, pictured with Community Foundation President/CEO McCray Benson, received the 2022 Sauer Award Recipient. [PAULA ROBERTS PHOTOGRAPHY]The Richard C. and Vina L. Sauer Charitable Leadership Award exemplifies the generosity of a husband and wife team who supported many local charities during their lifetimes and then through their will left the first $1 million unrestricted gift to the Community Foundation. Their endowment, along with other gifts, provides resources to numerous causes throughout Henderson County.

Jane Davis was honored with the 2022 Sauer Charitable Leadership Award. Jane and her late husband, Tom, moved to Henderson County in 2000, immediately plunged into volunteer work and also set up a scholarship at Community Foundation of Henderson County for local high school graduates heading off to pursue their post-secondary educations.

“Jane just totally embraces work. She just came in and was all in,” said John Murphy, the retired education director at Bullington Gardens, where Jane volunteers. “Not just the donating part, but helping with the gardens and helping the organization as a whole. She personally redid some of the gardens, helped with writing grants, and put on events. She even helped write the bylaws for us to become a 501(c)(3) organization.”

Past Sauer Award Winners include Dirk and Paige Willms, Ron and Norma Rosenberger, Hall and Sonja Waddell, Grace V. Poli, Bernd and Toby Linder, Phyllis C. Rothrock, Ruth Birge, Thos. R. Shepherd, Mary R. Garrison, Dr. Stuart and Carola Cohn, Marian P. Lowry, Teddi Segal, Robert and Doris Eklund, the Dr. Kathleen McGrady Family, Jeff Miller, Duane and Peggy McKibbin, Dot Marlow, Dr. Colin Thomas, Frank Byrd, Tom and Sue Fazio, Eleanora Meloun, Marcia Caserio, William "Bill" F. Stokes, Jr., William E. "Jamie" Jamison, Kermit Edney, Morris Kaplan, Kenneth Youngblood and Frank Wyttenbach Ewbank.

A highlight film of each recipient’s interview can be seen at and