In the 23 years since the High Point Community Foundation first opened its doors for business, we have worked out of three locations. Our first was a single room that grew into a suite-for-two provided rent-free by Phil Phillips at his First Factors offices. The second was located on the second floor at the Bank of America building on N. Main Street where we have worked for the past 13 years. This location was arranged by Scott Tilley of Scott and Stringfellow and was partially underwritten by Bank of America’s commitment to support community nonprofits.
This past week, the Community Foundation completed its third move as we relocated to a new suite of offices on the second floor of the new Congdon Yards building on W. English Road. We are honored to be a part of this new chapter in High Point’s history, which is transforming English Road into our city’s new business epicenter. The Earl and Kitty Congdon Foundation and the Congdon family have displayed their bold vision and underscored their steadfast commitment to our community by creating a dynamic venue that will propel High Point into a new era.
The Congdon family has always been one of the Foundation’s most faithful advocates, friends and donors over the years, so joining in this new venture was an easy decision to make for the Foundation’s leadership. I took an unusual approach to raising funds for the move and the upfit of the new offices by going to the Foundation’s family which includes past trustees, donors and faithful friends. An anonymous donor put up a very generous challenge grant and the rest came from individual gifts from families, businesses and vendors.
It was important to me that we did not use Foundation assets that could have gone to grants to pay for our new offices. I wanted us to be able to say that this move, this new era for the Foundation, was supported and underwritten by our entire Foundation family. So, in a sense, this beautiful new home belongs to all of us and it symbolizes the keen sense of ownership and commitment of our trustees, donors and friends which has always driven our success.
Another key aspect to this move has been the design and upfit of the office and the acquisition of new furniture which has been completely handled by three foundation trustees. The design and layout have been expertly overseen by John Kennett of Freeman Kennett Architects. The purchase of office furniture and donated Davis furniture has been handled by Ashley Williams, who is a second-generation trustee following her father, Danny Davis. Finally, the office construction has been supervised by Stephanie Young of I.L. Long Construction. These three remarkable trustees of the Foundation have been a tremendously talented and committed team who have brought expertise, experience and commitment to the project.
So, a new era begins for the High Point Community Foundation and it seems only fitting that the new facility was once the site of the Millis Hosiery Mills. For it was Jim and Jesse Millis who gave the Foundation the initial $5 million unrestricted gift that started it all in 1998. Some might call this a remarkable example of symmetry, but we at the Foundation see this as the culmination of faith, vision, generosity and commitment. For good… for High Point… forever.
Paul Lessard is president of the High Point Community Foundation.