JCC’s Foundation hosted a virtual celebration to recognize the nominees and winner of the 2021 Philanthropist of the Year Award. This honor is awarded annually to an individual who has made a positive impact in the community through giving, and whose philanthropic leadership sets an inspiring example for all.
This year’s winner is Dianne Riley-Gray of Selma. Riley-Gray spent 40 years in education, until her retirement, both in the public school system and at the University of Mount Olive. She currently serves in a volunteer role with Friends of the Children and has previously served at The Free Will Baptist Children’s Home.
Nominees this year included Ruth Anderson of Clayton, Jennifer Narron-Hardy of Smithfield, and State Rep. Donna White, also of Clayton.
The guest speaker at the virtual event was North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction, Catherine Truitt. Truitt has devoted her career to education with many notable accomplishments which focus on ensuring that all students receive the opportunity for a quality education.
Prior to becoming Superintendent, Catherine served as Chancellor of non-profit Western Governors University North Carolina, with which JCC has partnered to make transfers to WGU easier.
The Linda Vann Lassiter Women’s Society was established in 2019 to honor the late Linda Vann Lassiter, who served on the board of the Johnston Community College Foundation. The Society brings together women from diverse backgrounds with a common goal: to improve the lives of those in the community and to emulate the values that Linda held so dear: faith, family, and philanthropy.
“Linda was such a selfless individual who strongly advocated for everyone to have access to higher education,” states Dr. Twyla Wells, Vice President of Advancement at JCC.
“The JCC Foundation is honored to continue the legacy of Linda as we remove barriers to education,” Dr. Wells adds.
Members of the Society share gifts of their time, talents, and annual financial contributions to the Linda Vann Lassiter Women’s Society Endowment Fund. The long-term goal of the Endowment Fund is to ensure every rising 8th grade female student in Johnston County will be eligible to receive the LVLWS Scholarship and to attend JCC upon graduation from high school.