National Philanthropy Day

AFP-WNC National Philanthropy Day® Award Recipients

 2016 Awardees

On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, the Association of Fundraising Professionals Western North Carolina Chapter celebrated the importance of philanthropy and recognized those who are doing extraordinary work in our community. Our 2016 National Philanthropy Day awardees are:

Outstanding Philanthropists: Barbara and George Groome

groomesGeorge and Barbara Groome have giving hearts and hands. Together they have contributed many, many hours of service in our community and contributed, raised or assisted in raising millions of dollars for multiple organizations serving WNC. Their interests and efforts are concentrated mostly in the areas of basic human services, youth development, education and health services.

Barbara’s contributions through her 20-year teaching career at Asheville Middle School included her leadership in the Advancement Via Individual Determination Program (AVID), a college readiness program for students who will be the first in their family to continue their education beyond high school. Approximately 98% of students in the program attend college. Through this program she worked with 280 middle school students. There is now a named AVID scholarship for Barbara at UNC Asheville.

Always wanting to improve the lives of others, George joined a small group of advanced estate planning professionals 2004 to develop a program to create $1 billion of new charitable capital nationwide in 10 years. The program helped individuals and families think through their Legacy Plans in disciplined yet creative ways. Even with the challenges of 2008 & 2009, Colton Groome & Company exceeded its $100 Million share of the nationwide goal before 2014. These Legacy Gifts—including the Groomes—will enhance the ability of organizations to serve WNC to for generations.

Outstanding Volunteer Fundraisers: Pam and Tom Siekman

photo-tom-pam-siekmanPam and Tom Siekman feel a call in their retirement to use the talents and experiences they were fortunate to gain from their careers to help those less fortunate, the underserved, and those marginalized by society. Before moving into the world of volunteerism fulltime, Pam was a respected expert in corporate change management while Tom had a long career as a corporate lawyer.

Now Pam is using the leadership and organization talents developed during her career in the fight against AIDS serving as president of the board of directors of the Western North Carolina AIDS Project (WNCAP) as well as chairing for several years their annual “Raise Your Hand Auction & Gala.” Pam also serves on the board of directors for OurVoice, and works with the Development Committee at the Haywood Street Congregation and Downtown Welcome Table.

Tom has served as president of the board of Pisgah Legal Services as well as providing advice to clients having difficulties with housing or commercial matters. Tom is also a Guardian ad Litem representing children in the Juvenile Court System. At the Haywood Street Congregation, Tom represents Pisgah Legal on the Advisory board of the Respite Center. For lunches provided by ABCCM, Tom has been a driver picking up food donated by restaurants and supermarkets.

Tom and Pam have made a commitment to use their professional skills to help others. They have a strong belief in community and believe that if we would all work together, using our unique gifts and talents to help others, we would indeed build a world where love for neighbor prevails and all people prosper.

Outstanding Fundraising Executive: Tami Ruckman, CFRE, Eliada Homes

tamiTami Ruckman, CFRE, has been working as a Resource Development officer for a variety of non-profits in Kentucky, Georgia, and now in Asheville for the last 25 years. Resource Development is the way by which Tami ensures that the people and causes she cares so deeply about have the funding they need. In her current role as Director of Development for Eliada Homes, Tami’s job is to lead volunteers and staff to engage the community in the mission of Eliada. Tami is a 5th generation native of Buncombe County, and grew up in Enka. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Music, a Master’s degree in Social Work, and has been a CFRE since 1995. She joined Eliada in 2013 after having served as Development Officer at two other children’s homes in North Carolina and Kentucky, and the YWCA of Asheville. She is most proud of the long-range changes she has been able to make in organizations she has served, including three successful capital campaigns that have resulted in two domestic violence shelters that today house more than 40 survivors of violence, and a children’s home campus that houses 90 sick and abused children.

Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy: Emily Snider

emilyEmily was born in India, and adopted by a couple in the U.S. when she was 16 months old. While everyone thinks that adoptions all work out just fine, some just don’t. At the age of 18, Emily placed herself into the foster care system. After a few stops, she found a wonderful foster mom Dee Turner, and stayed with her until she came to the Eliada Students Training for Excellence (ESTA) program to learn Culinary Arts.

Because of her extroverted personality, almost instantly she became a vital member of Eliada’s Resource Development Team. Over the course of two years, she has represented Eliada at more than 30 donor events, spent considerable time writing letters and cards, made thank you calls, and visited donors with a member of the Development Team, bringing along her homemade cookies. She represented Eliada to the Community Foundation which resulted in a $50,000 grant, and spoke to the Duke Endowment Board of Directors which resulted in a $100,000 grant. Emily has represented Eliada on WLOS numerous times, and most recently, spoke at Eliada’s Lunch of a Lifetime in front of 900 guests.

Because she is not afraid to tell her own story, she makes an indelible impression on donors and volunteers. She understands the importance of relationship, and takes ownership of what she is given to do. She’s now living independently, driving a newer car than most of the staff, and is employed full-time at Kanuga Conference Center in their Hospitality and Guest Services in a wonderful role in the Housekeeping division. She is also Eliada’s pride and joy.

Outstanding Business in Philanthropy: Dixon Hughes Goodman

dhg_logo%20cmykDHG Asheville leverages its breadth of experience with its unique ability to connect with clients nationwide. The firm cultivates unparalleled long-term business relationships and delivers personalized service backed by deep industry knowledge. The first DHG office in Asheville was established in October of 1979 and has since grown into a significant hub of 130+ employees within the region. As a national firm within an intimate city, the local office exudes the similar character and charm that makes Asheville unique and desirable. The Asheville office maintains a culture of fellowship, support and accountability for each other. Whether the firm’s staff celebrates personal and professional milestones or challenges each other to reach annual goals, every member contributes to each other’s success and enjoys celebrating those successes together.

The DHG Asheville office also has a longstanding philanthropic tradition throughout the local community and its surrounding areas. The firm supports a variety of organizations and charities, including those with a focus on healthcare, education, disaster relief, the arts, animal rights, food banks, the elderly, mentoring and children’s causes. Active volunteerism is an integral part of the office’s culture – a quarter of DHG Asheville employees gave 50 hours or more of their time to the community during the 2015 fiscal year alone. Specifically, DHG Asheville offers collective support to the American Red Cross, the Asheville Downtown Association, the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, Eliada Homes, United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County, and YMCA of Western North Carolina.

Outstanding Foundation: Duke Energy Foundation

duke-energy-foundation-logo-4cCommunity and service are core to everything Duke Energy does. The Duke Energy Foundation invests to address needs where our customers live and work. Annually, the Foundation funds more than $30 million in grants, focusing on: K-to-career, the environment and community impact.

Investments in education span kindergarten-to-career and central to company investments. Reading proficiency is the most important predictor of school success and high school graduation. Supporting childhood literacy, helps bridge the achievement gap and seeks to end the cycle of poverty.

Additionally, fostering an interest for science, technology, engineering and math helps create skilled-workers to bring innovation to life.

Duke Energy remains dedicated to environmental stewardship through investments to protect and restore wildlife and natural resources, with a special focus on water and air.

Arts and culture are foundations for community vitality. Grants provide access to and encourage an appreciation of the arts and culture.

Duke Energy continues the legacy of our founders, whose dedication to service, education and environmental stewardship continues to enhance communities.


AFP-WNC appreciates the support of our NPD 2016 Lead Sponsor


and our 2016 National Philanthropy Day Sponsors for this very special event.


Our Past Awards Recipients

Fundraising Summit Award

2015 – United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County, 2014 – Dr. Olson Huff, 2011 – The Janirve Foundation, 2008 – Pat Smith, 2006 – Norman Fink and Marshall Monroe, 2003 – John Gile (Lifetime Achievement Award), 2002 – Mimi Cecil

Outstanding Philanthropist(s)

2015 – Janna and Rick Lutovsky, 2014 – Bill and Bonnie Kinschner, 2013 – Mack B. Pearsall, 2012 – Charles and Jody Silver, 2011 – Teddi Segal, 2010 – S.M. “Buddy” Patton (in memoriam), Marilyn Patton and Barbara Blomberg, 2009 – Don and Lisbeth Cooper, 2008 – Charles D. and Cary Owen (Charlie and Cary), 2007 – Dr. Kathleen McGrady, 2006 – Margaret and Duane McKibben, 2005 – Tina McGuire, 2004 – Mark and Teri Muir, 2003 – Paul F. Toebke, 2002 – Mr. and Mrs. Jack Ferguson, 2001 – Dr. Keith Black, 2000 – Morris and Leah Karpen, 1999 – Joel B. Adams, 1998 – Dr. and Mrs. George M. Bilbrey and James A. Cooper, 1997 – Martha Guy, 1996 – J. Wesley Jones, MD, and the Junior League of Asheville, 1995 – Adelaide Daniels Key, 1994 – Pamela Mills Turner, 1993 – John Teeter, 1992 – Raybern H. Dean.

Outstanding Foundation

2014 – The Glass Foundation, 2013 – Western Carolina Medical Society, 2012 – The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, 2011 – CarePartners Foundation, 2010 – Eblen Charities, 2009 – Mission Healthcare Foundation, Inc., 2008 – Community Foundation of Henderson County, 2007 – Melvin R. Lane Fund of The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, 2006 – Sisters of Mercy of NC Foundation, 2005 – Vineyard Family Foundation of Hendersonville, 2004 – New Leaf Fund, 2003 – The Susanne Marcus Collins Foundation, 2002 – The Janirve Foundation.

Outstanding Business in Philanthropy

2015 – Champion Comfort Experts, 2014 – Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, 2013 – Charlotte Street Computers, 2012 – State Employees’ Credit Union, 2011 – Asheville Savings Bank, 2010 – Parsec Financial Management, 2009 – Johnson, Price & Sprinkle, PA, CPA, 2008 – Carolina First, 2007 – Mast General Store,  2006 – Asheville Cardiology and Associates, 2005 – Office Environments, 2004 – Eaton Electrical, 2003 – HomeTrust Bank, 2002 – Ingles Markets, Inc., 2001 – Steelcase, Inc., 2000 – Wachovia Bank of WNC, 1999 – First Citizens Bank, 1998 – Nantahala Outdoor Center.

Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser

2015 – Rob Pulleyn, 2014 – Greg Burnette, 2013 – Cissie Stevens, 2012 – Harry Brown, 2011 – John Hartom and Lisa Blackburn, 2010 – Richard Hurley, 2009 – Richard “Dick” Allen, 2008 – Jennie Eblen, 2007 – Janice and Joe Brumit, 2006 – Dorothy Dellenger Marlow, 2005 – Colin E. Thomas, MD, 2004 – Doris Eklund, 2003 – Brenda Nash, 2002 – Ruth and Luther Barnhardt, 2001 – Alice and Arthur Green, 2000 – James W. Stickney, IV, 1999 – Phyllis Foxx, 1998 – Hugh and Margaret (Danny) Verner, 1997 – Marcia Burton Caserio, 1996 – June Lenoci and Sue McClinton, 1995 – W. Louis Bissette, Jr., 1994 – C. Robert Bell, Jr., 1993 – Ernest Ferguson, 1992 – Glenn Wilcox.

Outstanding Fundraising Executive

2014 – Donna Ensley, 2013 – J.Donald Harris, 2011 – Linda Wilkerson, 2010 – Alex Comfort, 2009 – John Pfaff, 2008 – Anita R. Metcalf, 2007 – Ann Fritschner, ACFRE, 2006 – Michelle Garashi-Ellick, 2005 – Carla Sutherland, 2004 –  Myra Grant, 2003 – Fern Wallin McCrimmon, 2002 – Raymond Cruitt, 2001 – Bruce D. Thorsen, 2000 – Patricia S. Smith, 1999 – Mark A. Bailey, 1998 – Albert S. Gooch, Jr., 1997 – George J. Pfeiffer.

Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy

2015 – Megan Raxter, 2014 – Samantha Davis, 2013 – Pageant Nevel, 2012 – Katy Conner, 2010 – Carter Tindall, 2006 – Anna Martin

T. Kennon Roberson Award for Management Excellence in Non-profit Health & Human Services Agencies

2015 – Rev. Judith Long, 2014 – Mark Upright with Eliada, 2013 – Paul Vest with YMCA of Western North Carolina, 2012 – Allison Jordan with Children First/Communities in Schools, 2010 – Ellen Clarke with WCCJ, 2009 – Robin Myer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of WNC, 2008 – Scott Dedman with Mountain Housing Opportunities, 2007 – Holly Jones with YWCA of Asheville, 2006 – Jim Barrett with Pisgah Legal Services, 2005 – Celeste Collins with Consumer Credit Counseling Service of WNC/OnTrack WNC, 2004 – Lewis Kraus with Habitat for Humanity, 2003 – Toby Ives with MANNA Foodbank, 2002 – T. Kennon Roberson with Asheville-Mountain Area Chapter of the American Red Cross.

A note regarding the T. Kennon Roberson Award for Management Excellence in Non-profit Health and Human Services: In January 2001, after a 36-year career with the American Red Cross, T. Kennon Roberson retired from his position as Chapter Manager of the Asheville-Mountain Area Chapter. He exemplified so many qualities of outstanding leadership in his field, the Red Cross Board of Directors established an annual Award for Management Excellence in Non-profit Health & Human Services in his honor. A committee of citizens was charged with the administration of this award, which annually recognizes the valuable contributions of professional managers in non-profit health and human services agencies in Western North Carolina. Beginning in 2012, this award is presented at the Association of Fundraising Professional’s National Philanthropy Day® Awards Luncheon in November.

About National Philanthropy Day®

Initiated in 1986, National Philanthropy Day® celebrates the endless daily contributions individuals, corporations and organizations across the world make to countless causes and missions. The event is coordinated by local chapters of AFP and held anytime in November. Through National Philanthropy Day®, participants are able to show appreciation for all that has been accomplished in the name of giving, as well as show that there is still more to do. It’s a way to remind our local communities, our society and the world, that the spirit of giving is alive and well.