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Renee Kumor wins inaugural Dot Marlow Catalyst Award

Renee Kumor, second from left, is congratulated by Dot Marlow’s daughters Valorie Songer and Dottie Kinlaw and her granddaughter, Julie Belman. Renee Kumor, second from left, is congratulated by Dot Marlow’s daughters Valorie Songer and Dottie Kinlaw and her granddaughter, Julie Belman.

Renee Kumor, who has crusaded for programs to better the lives of women and children in Henderson County for 42 years, was named the first recipient of the Dot Marlow Philanthropic Catalyst Award Monday night.

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“When talking about heroes in Henderson County, Dot Marlow, the Foundation’s ‘founding lady,’ is at the tip-top of the list,” foundation Chair Cindy Causby, flanked by Dot Marlow’s daughters and a granddaughter, told a festive crowd gathered at the Hendersonville Country Club for the Community Foundation’s annual Vintage Carolina fundraiser.
“Selfless, passionate, persevering, and empowering, four words that embody this year’s nominee,” she said.
A former Henderson County commissioner, Kumor has lived in the county since 1977, spending her time here proving “through hard work, hope and humility that one person can be the change we hope to see in the world,” Causby said. “Through decades of service, the recipient morphed from concerned citizen into a self-educated, experienced advocate for non-profits. Often inspiring others, this year’s recipient champions human services, children’s and women’s causes.”
During the ‘80s, alarmed by drug use, Kumor and a team of parents developed one of the first drug education programs in the area. For a rescue effort that saved Immaculata School during a financial crisis, Immaculate Conception Catholic Church named her a Guardian Angel. She and a few other women helped to found Mainstay, the domestic violence shelter now known as Safelight.
“When the director wanted to resign, our recipient convinced her to stay by enlisting volunteers,” Causby said. “Thousands of children in our community now experience a better start in life due to her involvement and leadership.”
Kumor “is not simply a leader, but a faithful leader of 40 years selflessly giving of her time,” she added. “She quietly brings competence and common sense, as well as heart and soul to countless
organizations.”