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Project Dignity founder wins Athena Award

Athena winner Barbara Morgan talks about Project Dignity.

FLAT ROCK — Barbara Morgan, founder of Project Dignity of WNC Inc., a nonprofit whose mission is to provide feminine hygiene products to women and girls in need, was presented with the 12th annual Henderson County Athena Award at the Chamber’s Business and Professional Women’s Luncheon held at Kenmure Country Club on May 16.


Upon finding out that low-income and homeless women could often find access to housing and food but no place to turn when it came to feminine hygiene products, Morgan started Project Dignity of WNC, Inc. in early 2017. Today the organization provides feminine hygiene products to all public schools in Henderson and Buncombe counties.
After accepting her award from the 2018 Athena Award recipient Lee Henderson-Hill, Morgan challenged the 250 luncheon attendees to incorporate the eight Athena Leadership Principles in their daily lives: Live authentically, learn constantly, build relationships, foster collaboration, advocate fiercely, act courageously, give back and celebrate.
“Who knows, perhaps you may find out while dealing with a family members mental health issues, that you can’t buy non-food items with government food stamps,” she said. “Think about all the girls and women who can’t buy feminine items with their stamps. You could help them change their lives when they have regular access to a month’s supply of feminine products. Oh, and by the way, you’re fostering collaboration, giving back and building relationships. It’s then that you celebrate every moment. You give thanks for the guidance of the holy spirit on your chosen journey.”
The keynote speaker for the luncheon was Terry Bellamy, director of Economic Development for Madison County and former Asheville mayor. She spoke of the importance of building relationships because “you can’t do life by yourself.” She encouraged luncheon attendees to build bridges and give compliments.
This is the 12th year the Henderson County Athena Award has been presented. Other nominees for this year’s award were Peggy Frisbee Allen, Jackie Dula, Julia Hockenberry and Patsy Farmer Jones.
The program was initially brought to the attention of the Henderson County Chamber of Commerce in 2008 by Henderson County business woman Vanessa Y. Mintz. Vanessa was a long-time sponsor of the program until her death in February 2011. The Henderson County Athena program is sponsored by Pardee UNC Health Care, Morris Broadband and Judy Stroud of State Farm Insurance. The award is given in memory of Vanessa Mintz.