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Community Foundation awards scholarships

The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (CFWNC) recently approved scholarships totaling $558,000 to 96 WNC students in 53 schools in 19 counties.

 More than 60 volunteers from the community worked to review applications and select recipients.

 Top recipients in The Smoky Mountain News coverage area are:

• Winson Zhang from Pisgah High School who was awarded the Clyde and Mildred Wright Endowment Fund Scholarship valued at $14,000 over four years.

• Canon Helpman from Swain County High School who was awarded the Gene and Lee Meyer Scholarship valued at $12,000 over four years.

• Carly Hester from Smoky Mountain High School who was awarded the Gene and Lee Meyer Scholarship valued at $12,000 over four years.

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• Ben Payne from Swain County High School who was awarded the Gene and Lee Meyer Scholarship valued at $12,000 over four years.

 Scholarship endowments can have broad eligibility criteria or can be focused on a particular school or county, offered to students pursuing a degree in a stated field or available to those who will attend a designated college or university. 

“Being able to volunteer as a member of a CFWNC scholarship committee has been immensely rewarding,” said Leslie Barry, a volunteer reviewer for the Irving Jacob Reuter Award. “I feel particularly invested in the process, as I attended WNC public schools myself and now my husband, Hal, and I have children in our public school system. After reviewing these scholarship students through the lens of an alumnus, a parent, and, now, a committee member, I can honestly say the caliber of students in our area is extraordinary and we, as a community, should be extremely proud to recognize and celebrate them.”

CFWNC works with families, businesses and nonprofits to strengthen communities through the creation of charitable funds and strategic grantmaking. A permanent charitable resource, the Foundation manages over 1,200 funds and facilitated $23.5 million in grants last year bringing total giving to more than $328 million since its founding in 1978. Learn more at .

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