“It’s fun to give money away. It really is”

Editor's note: The following article is republished with the permission of the Montgomery County Herald.

“It’s fun to give money away. It really is”

That was a favorite saying of the late Earle Connelly who had a passion throughout his lifetime for making personal donations to many worthwhile organizations in Montgomery County. In 1992 Earle along with many other Montgomery County leaders founded the Montgomery County Fund (MCF). He had a vision of what a community foundation such as the MCF could do for our county and the benefits it could provide for years to come. Earle had a personal goal to speak to someone every single day about the MCF and through the years until his death in 2015 became its greatest ambassador. For the past 25 years, thanks to that vision, the MCF has been the source of grants for public school groups, school classrooms, youth organizations, community centers and scholarships for many deserving youth and adults. In fact, the MCF Board of Advisors has awarded 320 grants totaling more than $300,000 over this 25 year period. This calendar year the Board awarded in May more than $26,000 in grants to 12 organizations in our county including the Communities in Schools, 4-H, Boy Scouts, Family Crisis Center, Prevent Blindness NC, East Middle School, MC DARE program and the Early College program at MCC.

It is often asked by many people “exactly what is the Montgomery County Fund”? The Montgomery County Fund was created in 1992 and is an affiliate foundation of the North Carolina Community Foundation. MCF is led by a volunteer advisory board that helps to build local assets in the form of permanent endowments, makes grants and leverages leadership – all for the benefit of the Montgomery County community. “The Montgomery County Fund is a resource for our local community designed to help support our quality of life,” said Brady Dickson, MCF board president.

The North Carolina Community Foundation handles all the administrative costs for the Fund and directs its investments. Dawn Neighbors, Regional Director for the NC Community Foundation says: “ the wonderful thing about our affiliate model is that the people who are the “boots on the ground” in our counties across our state and who have personal knowledge of the needs and resources in their communities, are the volunteers who drive the work being done.”

The Fund has 15 board members who represent the diversity of our communities and who volunteer their time and talents to support the efforts of the MCF. Their responsibilities include reviewing grant applications and awarding grants to qualifying non-profit organizations and in addition board members frequently discuss and analyze documented needs in the county and discuss ways to provide resources in those areas. Without exception they care deeply about their community and are always looking for ways to help, improve and grow Montgomery County.

The Board is committed to continue Connelly’s mission of telling the story of the Fund and let the public know that no contribution is too small to support the Board’s efforts to continue making grants where they will have the most benefits for Montgomery County. “Every $5 helps,” says board member Kerry Hensley. “Those five and ten dollars add up to many dollars. This is especially true in November which is designated as the Chairman’s Challenge month in which contributions to the Fund earn matching funds from an anonymous donor.” Each of the 15 Board members has shown their support by making a personal pledge to this year’s Chairman’s Challenge.

On this the twenty-fifth year of its existence, the Montgomery County Fund’s Board of Advisors wants to get everyone involved in helping the fund grow and therefore increase the amount of money available for grants to the many worthwhile charitable organizations in Montgomery County. Please mail contribution to PO Box 243, Mt. Gilead, NC 27306 with the check made out to the Montgomery County Fund or you can give online at nccommunityfoundation.org and click on the GIVE NOW button on any page, noting that your gift is for Montgomery County under special instructions or the dropdown box.