NCCF Board honors Cherry Ballard with award and fellowship fund

At the most recent board meeting, the board of directors of the North Carolina Community Foundation had the distinct honor of presenting Cherry Ballard, NCCF’s longest serving staff member at 33 years, with the Lewis R. Holding Philanthropic Award. Named for the Foundation’s founding chairman, the leadership award is presented to individuals who model the philanthropic vision and stewardship exhibited by Lewis R. Holding.


Ballard exemplifies the values of philanthropy and vision exhibited by Lewis R. Holding, according to Carmen Ames, Holding’s daughter, who presented the award to Ballard. “Thirty-three years ago, my father embarked on the tremendous undertaking of establishing the North Carolina Community Foundation. The essence of this endeavor, in his words, was to foster the growth of a profound philanthropic spirit among all North Carolinians. Cherry was the first employee hired. The vision in order to be realized required several ingredients, not the least of which was donor collaboration and participation. It required faith, willingness, an unfailing positive attitude, stamina and sacrifice. It required the courage of convictions and the magic of belief.”

“My father believed in people, and in the importance of having good people. He saw in Cherry then what we have all come to appreciate: her innate ability to motivate and inspire donors from all walks of life, to guide them in their giving and grantmaking, to ensure a firm platform for their leadership and to meet all comers with a welcoming smile and grace.”

Ames also shared with the board that Ballard was more than just Holding’s right hand. “My father and Cherry forged a bond of admiration, respect, friendship and affection that endured for the rest of my father’s life.” she said. “Cherry literally undertook every staffing need the North Carolina Community Foundation required and has been the bedrock and sustaining force of this Foundation for 33 years.”

Throughout her time at the Foundation, Ballard was a generous teacher to all of the employees who came after her, sharing her wealth of knowledge and experience for everything from the technical to the historical, with her impeccable and caring memory for the people and the places that built the Foundation.  Therefore, the board of directors felt inspired to create the Cherry A. Ballard Fellowship to honor her legacy. 

This fellowship is intended for current or recently graduated college students.   This paid position provides an opportunity to gain experience at a philanthropic organization and to receive an introduction to a career in philanthropy.    

The North Carolina Community Foundation is honored to recognize the tremendous accomplishments and decades of service of Cherry Ballard with this fitting tribute.  If you would like to contribute to the fund, you can click here to make a gift directly, or you may request a contribution from your donor-advised fund.