Coweta Community Foundation holds first fundraiser
by Sarah Fay Campbell
The first fundraiser for the newly expanded Coweta Community Foundation board of directors was a success, raising more than $8,000 in one night. "A Coweta Affair" was held Saturday at White Oak Country Club.
"It was a terrific first event," said Amy Sweet, chairwoman of the Coweta Community Foundation board of directors. She said the $8,000 total was particularly impressive because most of the attendees at the event were representatives for the various nonprofits that have joined the foundation.
"We didn't set it up as a big fundraising event because we really wanted all the groups that are getting together to really have a night just to mingle and get to know each other better," Sweet said. The money was great, but what really came out of the event was "just a comfort level that we are all going to be able to work together" in the future.
The Coweta Community Foundation has added 10 members to its board, doubling the size, and has expanded its focus to become a community fundraising entity that will provide grants to local organizations. Hopes are to provide a way for people to give through payroll deductions.
The foundation will still provide what it has been providing for years — directed giving, managing donor-advised funds and individual gifts and bequests as an endowed pool of assets. "It's a great way to perpetuate your legacy," said Sweet. Now, "it has just broadened its perspective," Sweet said. "We're not changing what we are doing or who we are doing it for, we're just adding to," she said.
They're in the process of upgrading their website, www.CowetaFoundation.org, and searching for a director of donation support, which will be a full-time position.
"We're very excited about that position," said Sweet. The new hire will "hit the ground running" and will "have a lot to do from day one," she said. They're looking for someone local and have already had several applicants, according to Sweet.
The event Saturday featured a silent auction, door prizes, a 50/50 raffle, beer and wine tasting, and plenty of food. There was also information about the various nonprofits.
"It's a real opportunity for growth in charitable giving for Coweta County," said Cynthia Bennett of Meals on Wheels of Coweta.
"We appreciate all the support from the community," said Corina Ludewig of Special Olympics, who sat at a table with Teresa Bush, Larissa Bockenek and Renea Walton of Special Olympics.
"I think it's awesome," said Bush.
"It's lots of fun, with lots of great people to talk to," added Bockenek.
Bonnie Thomas, with Family Patterns Matter and the Asian American Business Association, found the event to be a "great exchange of ideas" and a "great community model."
Alfrieda Thomas of Breakaway Childcare said she’s been looking forward to starting partnerships with other organizations. "There's plenty to share and no one can do everything," she said.
"There's a whole lot of love in this room," said Mike McGraw. "Love for a community that cares so much for and wants to work hard on the challenges facing the community on a daily basis."
"We're very excited about the turnout," said board member James Welden as he and his wife, Kelley, bid on silent auction items. "We're even more excited with the artists participating in helping us raise money for a great cause."
"I think it will end up being a great start to an annual event," said board member Ginger Jackson Queener.
The organizations partnering with the Coweta Community Foundation include Breakaway Childcare Center, Bridging the Gap, Cancer Support Group of Coweta County, CORRAL — the Coweta Organization for Riding, Rehabilitation and Learning, Coweta CASA — Court Appointed Special Advocates, Coweta County Special Olympics, Housing Authority of Newnan/Family Self-Sufficiency Program, Meals on Wheels of Coweta, Family Patterns Matter, Inc., One Roof Ecumenical Alliance Outreach /Coweta Community Food Pantry, Prevent Child Abuse Coweta, Rutledge Center Inc., Shenandoah GYSTC, Stepping Stones, and The Community Welcome House.
Board members include Sweet, Will Conoly, Lorraine Cunanan, James Welden, Ginger Queener, Meredith Gardner, Susan Paulk, Jess Barron, Deidre Bembry, Carson Sears, Jennifer Lichty, Glenn Flake, Scott Walker, Scott Waller, Reese Griffith, Richie Jackson, Jerry Davis, Larry Taylor, Blake Bass, Gerald Walton, and Linda Dixon.