Hundreds of the most generous community leaders gathered at the JMU Festival Student and Conference Center to celebrate National Philanthropy Day on Monday, November 21, 2016. This has become an annual event of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and an appropriate way to start the week of Thanksgiving.
Groups and Individuals were honored for gifts to the community, including Ted and Stephanne Byrd for their commitment to nonprofit organizations. “This community was our home, (growing up), and being raised here and seeing the opportunities that were provided to us, gives us the ability in turn to make sure those opportunities exist for our kids and maybe their children,” said Ted. Ted’s first example of giving was to the church, followed by participating in trick-or-treat for Unicef. Stephanne encouraged everyone to get involved by sharing with the crowd a favorite quote by Arthur Ash, “Start where you are, use what you have, and do what you can.”
Ted and Stephanne have been involved with countless nonprofit organizations. Unless they are on vacation and don’t have computer access, there is hardly a day that goes by when they are not working for an organization to make our community better. They are a true living example of what giving and serving means. Stephanne and Ted are visionary and dream big. They utilize their time to work on those things that will have a lasting impact on our community. Their commitment to Harrisonburg and Rockingham County is relentless and we are a richer, more vibrant community because of their gifts.
Both Ted and Stephanne have given to many nonprofit organizations, too many to list. Ted was thanked for his leadership and gifts to the Salvation Army, as well as, the Massanutten Regional Library, and the American Frontier Culture Center. Stephanne was recognized for her leadership and gifts to the Arts Council of the Valley, Shenandoah Valley Economic Education, both at the local and state level, and for the very breath and life she gave to The Community Foundation.
Giving isn’t about the donation but rather the difference it makes. Congratulations to Ted and Stephanne Byrd, 2016 Individual Philanthropist Award honorees.
Karen Komara and The Scarf Factory was also recognized at the event, as Youth in Philanthropy honoree. Karen, a fifth grade teacher at Pleasant Valley Elementary School, taught her students an economics lesson by making scarfs and selling them for $4. The students learned the importance of giving back and selected the Harrisonburg Rockingham Free Clinic as the recipient of their proceeds.
Chad Layman, Kathy Sizemore and Stacy Farley were honored as the Spirit of Philanthropy for their work on a new event, K9s for Warriors Adventure Race, which raised around $200,000. K9 for Warriors program rescues dogs and trains them to be service dogs for veterans who are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder.
LSC Communications, (known formerly as RR Donnelley) was honored as the Corporate Philanthropist. LSC Communications have a culture of giving back to the community. Often employees recommend supporting project in and around the community.
Janet Wendelken was recognized for her professional accomplishments as the Sandra S. Neff Fundraising Executive Award. Janet has worked in the community for a long time, including work at MillerCoors, the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce, Rockingham Education Foundation, James Madison University and the RMH Foundation.
Congratulations to everyone.
As we continue to celebrate this Thanksgiving Season, thank you all for your gifts to this community as we Dream. Share. Build. Our Community.