Fund established to support youth leadership development marks 10 years and nearly $40,000 in grants awarded

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the Dewey Wells Citizenship Fund was established at the North Carolina Community Foundation by Judge Dewey Wells to encourage good citizenship and character among Avery County’s youth.

As of 2023, the fund has distributed nearly $40,000 in grants to give young people access to programs that encourage them to succeed and grow.

“This is not a generic youth fund. My objective is to assist in the development of character and promote good citizenship among young people, with the primary intended beneficiaries being Boy and Girl Scout units, including enabling them to better serve children living in low-income situations.” said Wells.

A Boy Scout himself, Wells attained the status of Eagle Scout and was honored with the Silver Beaver Award for service as an adult.

Born in Raleigh, Wells attended Mars Hill College and Wake Forest University, eventually graduating from the Wake Forest University School of Law. He married Ann Dixon of Henderson, and together they have four sons, a daughter, and sixteen grandchildren.

Wells was partner in law firms in Elizabeth City and Winston-Salem, was the president of the North Carolina Bar Association, and was admitted to the American College of Trial Lawyers. In Elizabeth City, Wells served as Resident Superior Court Judge for the First Judicial District. He was attracted to law as a career because of his admiration for the rule of law, the role of lawyers in the founding and success of the United States, and the opportunity it provides to serve others.

Wells had no connection to Avery County before acquiring property there in 1985 and moving there a decade later, in 1995. Now retired, he enjoys flyfishing and bird hunting with his two setters. And his philanthropy has made an impact on youth in the county.

“Philanthropy is a wonderful attribute of citizens of the United States. It enhances the quality of our lives in many ways,” he said.

Learn more about this fund and how to apply for grants.

Wells with local scouts in 2019
Wells (far right) with local Scouts