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    T. Ortega Gaines - T. ORTEGA GAINES -
    SUSAN ANDERSEN When Susan Andersen was a senior in high school, she got a gift she would always remember: help from a local insurance company to pay for a chunk of her college education. Years later, she got a chance to pay it back by helping women who arguably need help most: mothers with school-age children. So she founded the ANSWER Scholarship Endowment, which helps women – single and married – to achieve their dream of a college education. Since the program started in 2005, it has provided 53 scholarships to 29 women through many gifts, Andersen says. For more information on the program, go to
    Robert Lahser - ROBERT LAHSER -
    TIM MORGAN & MARY McCRAY This fall, the Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) gave the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education its annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence, the first time a North Carolina district has been so honored. Key to the board’s success has been its chair Mary McCray and vice chair Tim Morgan, who have provided the steady and focused leadership needed to get the board working together successfully on CMS needs. The board deserves applause for its work and commitment.
    Robert Lahser - ROBERT LAHSER -
    ALAN BURNS Alan Burns is passionate about the environment. His long-time devotion to environmental issues in this area did not go unnoticed. He was recognized this year as the nonprofit Clean Air Carolina’s 2013 Volunteer of the Year for his years of service helping with the 5K Run & Walk for Clean Air and his development of, a website focused on the global causes and solutions to global warming and climate change. For more information on Clean Air Carolina, go to
    MORGAN FERONE To earn her Gold Award with the Girl Scouts, Myers Park High School senior Morgan Ferone did something that might have longer-lasting impact than even she recognizes. She created a curriculum of lesson plans to teach children the basics of physics while having fun. Morgan’s lessons reached 130 students, grades three to five, at six sites this summer for Freedom Schools, a nonprofit that provides educational summer programs for at-risk students grades K-12. By making physics fun, she might have sparked an interest in one of those students that could lead to a ground-breaking scientific discovery. She says “physics rocks.” We think she does.
    ANNE SPRINGS CLOSE Anne Springs Close, 88, is an incredible force for public good but doesn't seek or receive much public attention. As chairwoman of the Springs Close Foundation, she oversaw grants of more than $1 million this year for basic critical needs (food, shelter, emergency medical care) in York, Chester and Lancaster counties. The Foundation recently topped $100 million in grants, with Close serving as its chair for 30 years and participating on the board since she turned 21.
    N.C. teacher pay now ranks near the bottom nationwide.
    KATHRYN SHUPE Kathryn Shupe is among the special people who give a lot of themselves to help others. Her commitment to helping a bright student with a reading disability who came from a struggling family was not only compassionate but a life-changer. Shupe was an elementary school teacher when she met Tai-Asia Rios but has remained a friend and mentor after she became an administrator, giving Tai-Asia academic, emotional and financial help along the way through to her graduation this year. In Shupe, Tai-Asia found a second family. Now she is well on her way to a better future.
    RUSTY COOK SQUASH OUT HUNGER Rusty Cook at Cook’s Farm in Union County raises hundreds of acres of squash and donates what the farm can’t use to the Society of St. Andrew, a Christian nonprofit that salvages fresh produce to distribute to the needy. A group of churches in Lancaster County has partnered with Cook since 2010 to pick up bins of squash and zucchini that can’t be sold. They call themselves appropriately “Squash Out Hunger,” and sometimes pick more than a ton of zucchini or yellow squash in a week. The churches involved include Hopewell United Methodist, Eastside Baptist, Union Baptist, Oak Hill Baptist, New Hope Baptist, Spring Hill Baptist, Freedom F. W. Baptist , Zion United Methodist, Bethlehem Baptist, New Hope AME Zion, Fork Hill Baptist (all in Lancaster, S.C.) and Ft. Lawn United Methodist in Ft. Lawn, S.C. and Cornerstone United Methodist in Rock Hill. The Ministry has distributed hundreds of thousands of pounds of food in the four years.
    Robert Lahser - ROBERT LAHSER -
    With a name like the Par Busters, the core activity of this group of men is obvious: golf. But these men do much more than get together on the links, and Charlotte and the surrounding communities are better off for it. In fact, the group could rename themselves the Par Busters Philanthropy, and the name would be just as appropriate. Each year, the Par Busters adopts a school, raises money and organizes food, clothing and toy drives for families and children in need. The men are lunch buddies with the students, and the group has a First Tee golf program for underprivileged children. This year, it held its inaugural James Ross Scholarship Fund Golf Tournament to raise money for vocational training and substance abuse programs in the Grier Heights community and for the Community Culinary School of Charlotte which helps former prison inmates. For more information about the group’s activities, contact Bernard Barnes at 704-274-5437. Pictured are: Back row (L-R) Otis Worthy, Andre Springs Sr. Second row from back, (L-R), Charlie Clark, Kendu Dunlap, John Granger , Mitchell Smith, Sam Fleming , Alvin Thompson, Third row from back, (L-R), Otis Green, Raymond Henderson, Tommy Simpson, John Love, Ace Drakeford , Ray Johnson, Front row seated, (L-R), Olin Grier , Leroy Roseboro, Alonzo Pettis .
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