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Foundation honors Waddells with Sauer Award

Hall and Sonja Waddell were honored as 2019 Sauer Award winners. Hall and Sonja Waddell were honored as 2019 Sauer Award winners.

FLAT ROCK — The Community Foundation of Henderson County honored a couple who have been leaders in business and generous donors to charities with the annual Richard C. and Vina L. Sauer Charitable Leadership Award.

Hall and Sonja Waddell received the foundation’s highest honor before a full house at the Kenmure Country Club.
Active in contributing to organizations for health, education, business and religious life, they have given time and donations to First United Methodist church and world missions, Pardee Hospital and Cancer Center, the Boys & Girls Club, Clemson University the Hendersonville High School Alumni Association and the Community Foundation, foundation member Stan Duncan said in presenting the award.

"Your 2019 Sauer Award recipients come from a family with roots now encompassing a breadth of five generations across our community’s heart and history; a bridge connecting the past to the present and poised for the future," he said. "They have been pivotal in health, education, business, religious life, and always cognizant of the quality of life and well-being of Henderson County residents. As with other Sauer Award recipients they are humble and tend to avoid the limelight of public recognition."

Hall Waddell served as the first chair of Henderson County Alliance of Human Services and on the county Planning Board and Pardee Hospital and has been a longtime supporter of the Chamber of Commerce and Business and Merchants Association.
Waddell recalled that he didn’t know what a foundation was when WHKP owner Kermit Edney and attorney Kenneth Youngblood approached him about getting involved. The fund had two accounts, one named for sportscaster Charlie Renfroe, the other dedicated to wildlife.
“That’s kinda how it got started. Kermit and Ken were instrumental in starting the foundation and promoting the Foundation,” he said. He came to believe in the foundation's approach to charitable giving when he saw how effectively it used donations.
“It just was fascinating to me how you could put a fairly small amount of money into an endowment and all of a sudden you could look back 20 years later and the fund has doubled and you’ve already given away half of what you put in,” he said. “And the foundation doesn’t tell how you to give. You give to what you want. … To those who a lot has been given, a lot is expected so I challenge you to keep that in your heart.”

Keynote speaker Gene Cochrane, former interim president and CEO of national Council on Foundations and retired president of the state’s largest charitable foundation, the Duke Endowment, urged the audience to look to the future, not the past, as they serve the community.
“I think we have to acknowledge what was great in our past and figure out not what worked in the past but figure out what will work in the future,” he said. He also cautioned that funders should be discerning when they receive funding requests.
“With all the good work that you do one of the important you can also do is get really comfortable with the ability to say no because not all ideas are good, not all programs will work,” he said. He recalled the comments of a charitable organization executive honored recently at a retirement dinner.
“We tried to fund projects not to make people happy,” he said. “We tried to fund projects to make better lives for the people in our community.”
Cochrane urged the community leaders to be open to new ideas.
“Ideas matter,” he said. “I encourage each of you to look for those idea that will make this a better place.”
“Be positive,” he said. “You’ve got a great community here, you’ve got great resources, you’ve wonderful people so I challenge you to build on that, be proud of that and be positive about it.”
Board Chair Cindy Causby reported that the foundation closed its 2018-19 fiscal year with total assets of $111 million in 624 charitable funds, the highest number ever. New donations in the foundation’s most recent fiscal year totaled $5.5 million and 94 percent of the foundation’s assets are permanently endowed.
“These endowed funds are going to provide support for those in need for many years to come, well beyond our lifetime,” she said.
Foundation President McCray Benson praised the service and dedication of two board members who died in the past year while currently serving, Tom Darnell and Patricia “Pat” Jones.
Established in 1994, the foundation’s most prestigious award is named for Richard Sauer and wife, Vina, who came to view every challenge as an opportunity to inspire positive change. In 1992 the couple made the single largest gift in the foundation’s history with the intention of supporting various causes close to their hearts as well as supporting high school seniors in their pursuit of higher education. They routinely gave in support of their community without the need or want for recognition.
Past Sauer award recipients were Frank Ewbank, Kenneth Youngblood, Morris Kaplan, Kermit Edney, William “Jamie” Jamison, William “Bill” Stokes, Jr., Marcia Caserio, Eleanora Meloun, Tom and Sue Fazio, Frank Byrd, Dr. Colin Thomas, Dot Marlow, Duane and Peggy McKibbin, Jeff Miller, Dr. Kathleen McGrady family, Teddi Segal, Marian Lowry, Dr. Stuart and Carola Cohn, Mary Garrison, Thomas Shepherd, Ruth Birge, Phyllis Rothrock, Bernd and Toby Linder, and Grace Poli.
Since 1982, the Community Foundation of Henderson County has been helping people transform their philanthropic dreams into reality. Donors are able to make lasting contributions to causes close to their heart through a variety of giving methods. To learn more about the foundation visit or call (828) 697-6224.