Cemala Foundation Honored with Philanthropy Award

Posted on November 20, 2023

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The Cemala Foundation has been a loyal partner and generous supporter of UNC Greensboro for nearly three decades. Cemala was honored as the 2023 Outstanding Philanthropic Organization – Greensboro by the Association of Fundraising Professionals NC Triad Chapter. The area’s National Philanthropy Day Awards were presented on Monday, November 20.  

During the course of its partnership with UNCG, the foundation has contributed more than $3 million in grant funding to a wide array of initiatives on campus. Recent grants support the cultural arts, including sponsorship of the popular University Concert and Lecture Series, which brings world-renowned performers and speakers to UNCG and is the longest-running series of its kind in North Carolina. Cemala funding also supports the Scaling Student Success Program, services offered to improve retention and graduation rates for UNCG students. Additionally, students enrolled in Cemala’s UNCG Master of Public Affairs Fellows Program have employment opportunities in Guilford County government and non-profits. 

“UNCG makes remarkable, real-world impact every day because of the Cemala Foundation’s generosity,” says Vice Chancellor of University Advancement Beth Fischer. “Their ongoing partnership with the University is vital to our mission to transform education, our students, and our region.” 

Under the creative leadership of its Board of Directors and Executive Director Susan Schwartz, the foundation has three primary focuses: early childhood development, transformational spaces and opportunities, and workforce training. All three form a holistic approach to community-building that “from cradle to career…supports growth and advancement initiatives.” 

A founder of the nonprofit “Ready for School, Ready for Life” and its critical “The Basics Guilford” initiative, Cemala focuses on increasing skill and proficiency in language acquisition and literacy for children aged 1-4, as well as supporting young children with social and emotional challenges. Cemala also provided Project LLIFE (Language and Literacy Impacting Families and Educators) at NC A&T State University a $500,000 grant to increase language skills and literacy for children aged of 1-4 in underrepresented families in southeastern Greensboro. The early intervention program “Bringing Out the Best” is another Cemala-supported project that has created positive, long-lasting change for Guilford County children and their families for more than 20 years.  

The Cemala Foundation dedicates significant time and resources to guarantee Greensboro becomes a nationally recognized hub of commerce, culture, nature, and the arts. In addition to being a founding member of Action Greensboro, Cemala provides leadership and guidance to improve quality of life through increased natural beauty and access to community arts. The Downtown Greenway is perhaps Cemala’s best known contribution, but Cemala also guides the continued growth of Greensboro’s Carolina Theatre, the Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts, Greensboro Opera, and the Community Theatre of Greensboro. 

Cemala’s investment in industry and education inspires others to dedicate their own resources and expertise. By backing the Aviation Cluster – investing over $923,000 for aviation programming and scholarships at Guilford Technical Community College; supporting summer internships and aviation camps at Guilford County Schools’ Andrews Aviation Academy; and helping with new marketing campaigns – Cemala has created much-needed momentum for others to invest in this critical technical and manufacturing trade. Because of the region’s recent aviation boom, Greensboro-High Point is considered one of the top aerospace clusters and aerospace manufacturing centers in the nation. 

When Martha and Ceasar Cone II chartered the Cemala Foundation, they envisioned a vibrant city – a place where businesses, families, and individuals could thrive. The Cemala Foundation believes that by helping others help themselves, communities can evolve as healthy, prosperous centers of culture and industry. 

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