02/25/05 — Nominees sought for Unsung Heroes award

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Nominees sought for Unsung Heroes award

By Winkie Lee
Published in News on February 25, 2005 1:45 PM

WINSTON-SALEM -- The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation is seeking nominations for its 20th annual Nancy Susan Reynolds Awards that recognize unsung heroes who are making an impact in North Carolina communities. Each award is accompanied by a $25,000 grant -- $5,000 to the winner and $20,000 that the winner designates for charitable organizations of his choice. The deadline for nominations is June 1.

Awards are given in three categories: advocacy -- on behalf of people, issues, or concerns that otherwise may be without effective voices; personal service -- for people helping other people; and race relations -- for people who are bringing about improvements in multiculturalism and serving as role models of racial understanding and cooperation.

"We are asking North Carolinians to pause for a moment, look around for these unsung heroes and nominate them for a Nancy Susan Reynolds Award," said Mary Mountcastle, president of the foundation. "Every day there are people in communities all across our state who render outstanding, unselfish service without any desire or expectation of recognition. But they deserve recognition, and by honoring them we also can inspire others to do good works. We are looking for these unsung heroes, and the only was we can find them is for their friends and neighbors to let us know about them."

The Nancy Susan Reynolds Awards luncheon draws hundreds of people from across the state each November and attracts significant media attention. Sometimes called "North Carolina's Nobel Prizes," the awards are believed to be the only ones of their kind in the country that honor and reward people who are quietly improving their communities.

The awards were established in 1986 in memory of Nancy Susan Reynolds, the daughter of Katharine Smith and R.J. Reynolds. She was a philanthropist and a founding member, president and lifetime trustee of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

"It is appropriate that these awards were named for Nancy Susan Reynolds, because she believed the kind of people we honor make a tremendous positive difference in their communities and, consequently, in the state and nation," Mountcastle said.

The selection panel considers the impact of the nominees' efforts and accomplishments; the difficulty of the circumstances surrounding the nominees' work, such as personal adversity, community attitudes and geography; and the degree of recognition already received.

The recipients of the 2004 Nancy Susan Reynolds Awards were Paul Braun of Morganton, who led a campaign to block the development of a pristine lake, for advocacy; Tony Foriest of Graham, a retired executive who is working to close the achievement gap among the races in Alamance County, for race relations; and Maria Pavsn, of Siler City, a Latino woman who turned her own agonizing experience with domestic violence into a career of reaching out to and counseling other battered Latinas, for personal service.

Nominations may be made by anyone except the nominee. Nominations may be submitted in these ways:

*Submit a nomination online at www.zsr.org by clicking on Nancy Susan Reynolds Awards or Forms & Publications.

*Download a nomination form at www.zsr.org by clicking on Forms & Publications.

*Write or call the Foundation to request a nomination form at: Nancy Susan Reynolds Awards, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, 147 South Cherry Street, Suite 200, Winston-Salem, 27101-5287; 1-336-725-7541 or 1-800-443-8319; Web site: www.zsr.org; e-mail: info@zsr.org.

The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, headquartered in Winston-Salem, was established in 1936 as a memorial to the youngest child of R.J. Reynolds. During its history, it has made grants of more than $350 million to projects in all 100 counties in North Carolina. Although it makes grants to a wide range of projects, it now gives special attention to five focus areas -- community-building and economic development; the environment; governance, public policy and civic engagement; pre-collegiate education; and social justice and equity.

More information can be obtained by contacting Jill Ray at 1-336-725.7541 or jillr@zsr.org.