Full circle: NCCF scholarship recipients continue legacy of giving back

North Carolina Community Foundation scholarships have the ability to not only change recipients’ lives, but also create a legacy of community giving.

Take Garrett Lane and Katie Crumpler, two accomplished professionals embodying NCCF’s mission to inspire North Carolinians to make lasting and meaningful contributions to their community. These former scholarship recipients once benefited from the generosity of NCCF donors. Now, years later, they work with the NCCF and its affiliates to provide the same opportunities they received.

Photo of Garrett Lane
Garrett Lane
Katie Crumpler
Katie Crumpler

In 2017 and 2018, Lane was awarded the Bill Taylor Memorial Scholarship to pursue his master’s degree in accounting at Western Carolina University. The scholarship, he says, helped ease the financial burden and allowed him to focus on studying for his CPA exam – all four sections of which he passed on his first attempt, a rare feat. Now a Certified Public Accountant, Lane works as an assistant controller in the financial department of Cherokee Indian Hospital.

This year, he became an Advisory Board Member to the Eastern Band of Cherokees Community Foundation (EBCCF), an NCCF affiliate and the very board that oversees the scholarship Lane received six years ago.

 “[The scholarship] allowed me to be able to focus on my studies and not have to worry about the financial aspect,” Lane said. “It’s helped me to get the master’s [degree] and gain the experience to be able to come back and help in the community.” Now, Lane says, he is excited to be a part of the board that awarded him the scholarship and to make a similar positive impact on the lives of others.

Garret Lane with family
Garrett Lane with family

Shari Williamson, the NCCF Program Officer for the scholarship, said that Lane’s story exemplifies a culture of reciprocity. “To see Garrett benefit from and, in return, contribute to his community steals my heart,” she said. “I’m excited for him to experience a lot more reciprocity that will happen during his tenure on the board.”

NCCF’s team member Katie Crumpler (on staff for more than a decade) has also experienced a full-circle journey. She received NCCF’s F.H. “Sammy” Ross Jr. Scholarship (now called the F.H. “Sammy” Ross Jr. and Gary “GJ” Johnston Memorial Scholarship) during her second year as an undergrad at UNC-Greensboro, where she earned degrees in Political Science and History.

This crucial support paved the way for her master’s degree in public administration and a fulfilling career in the nonprofit sector. Crumpler’s own experience growing up in rural North Carolina fueled her desire to work at NCCF, an organization deeply committed to rural philanthropy. As a part of the NCCF team, she has championed scholarship programs, drawing on her own past to guide new applicants through the scholarship application process.

Katie Crumpler with family
Katie Crumpler with family
Katie Crumpler’s scholarship award letter from 2005.

For Crumpler, stories like hers and Lane’s speak to the transformative power of NCCF’s work. “We inspire people across the state to give back to their community,” she said. “The meaningful contribution made in my community has led to my work. I’m so grateful to be a part of that.”