WNC Communities celebrated 65 years of community achievement through the WNC Honors Awards Program held on Saturday, Nov. 22. Over 250 community leaders from 15 counties and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians were recognized and rewarded for their exceptional community development programs at a luncheon at The Omni Grove Park Inn. Six communities with the Eastern Band of Cherokee were honored this year.
Community of Promise is the second highest honor with a cash award of $1,000. Big Cove, Big Y and Towstring were three of 20 rural community associations from western North Carolina to receive this honor. They were chosen because of the initiatives implemented by the community that show promise and can be replicated around the region.
Birdtown, Paint Town and Yellowhill were honored as Participating Communities and received cash awards of $300 each for their successful programs and projects implemented during the past year.
“Rural communities are the unsung heroes that work diligently to enhance the quality of life for residents in the EBCI, doing everything from senior meal sites, beautification programs, developing youth programs, health and wellness programs, as well as numerous events and educational opportunities to keep our great art, craft, and music traditions alive,” shares Linda Lamp, executive director of WNC Communities.
Generous sponsorships from Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, Biltmore Farms Inc, Duke Energy, Mission Health, Buncombe County Farm Bureau, Carolina Farm Credit, First Citizens Bank, Wells Fargo and HomeTrust Bank made it possible to award over $37,000 to 66 community centers and clubs throughout the mountains for innovative approaches to addressing community needs.
Communities voluntarily participate in the WNC Honors Awards Program by submitting an application to WNC Communities in September. Communities are judged on projects, fund raising efforts, collaboration with local organizations or businesses, economic development and sustainability, as well as their community future and vision.
– WNC Communities