Foundation launches new initiative with luncheon

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The Coweta Community Foundation successfully launched its new Women’s and Children’s Fund at “The Power of the Purse,” an Oct. 22 luncheon at The Newnan Centre. Highlights of the day included a motivational speech by Barbara Dooley and the presentation of the Foundation’s first Woman of the Year Award to Newnan attorney Leah Sumner.

The purse theme was carried out in the decorations and table arrangements at the luncheon, and a Silent Auction of high-end purses resulted in a good-natured bidding war that helped raise money for the Foundation’s new Women’s and Children’s Fund. This new fund will benefit any organization that serves the women and children of the community, and these organizations and providers will be able to apply to this fund beginning with the Foundation’s 2016 grant cycle.

Barbara Dooley, who is well known for her own volunteerism and philanthropy, had the audience in stitches with her humorous stories, many of them gathered in her 55 years as wife of the former University of Georgia head football coach, Vince Dooley. She spoke of her own experience with breast cancer and drew laughter when she noted that she never really feared dying because, “If I die, I get Jesus. If I live, I get Dooley.”

She also encouraged her audience to “stay on the road to achievement” by sharing the story of the time she tried to rent an airplane to get to Tuscaloosa to watch the Bulldogs play, but instead she ended up breaking down on I-20 with friends and hitchhiked her way to the game. When the driver who picked them up found out who she was, he commented, “Lady, you sure have a cheap husband.”

MaryClaire Dangel-Palmer of Cancer Treatment Centers of America, the luncheon’s Title Sponsor, presented the Foundation’s first Woman of the Year Award to Leah Sumner of Sumner Meeker in Newnan. Sumner, a graduate of Vanderbilt University with a degree in Business and Public Policy, received her degree in Law from the University of Georgia.  Dangel-Palmer noted that Sumner was the organizing Chairman of the Leadership Coweta program and a member of the Central Educational Center Steering Committee. She has also served on the Board of the Summit Family YMCA, served as a charter member of the Masterworks Chorale, was lead counsel in the land acquisition and 501(c) 3 designation for Dunaway Gardens, and was also one of the founders of the Coweta Community Foundation.

“We couldn’t have been more thrilled with the great turnout for our first Power of the Purse luncheon,” said Ginger Jackson Queener, board chair of the Foundation. “Barbara Dooley is such a wonderful speaker, and so many people have commented on how much they enjoyed hearing from her. Also, we were delighted to be able to honor Leah Sumner for all that she has given to this community over the years.”

The Coweta Community Foundation is a publicly supported 501(c)3 organization that helps focus local philanthropy on the community’s changing needs. The Foundation manages individual gifts and bequests as an endowed pool of assets, distributing grants to a wide variety of organizations that enhance and support the quality of life in Coweta County, while maintaining the charitable intent of the donors. For more information, visit cowetafoundation.org.