W-S Foundation gives 2016 awards

The Winston-Salem Foundation (WSF) presented the 2016 ECHO Awards to five recipients, who are shown with others in the photo. On the front row (L-R) are Laurie Coker, WSF Committee Member Silvia Ramos, Robin Embry, Sylvia Oberle, Dr. Carolyn Pedley of Goler Community Garden. On the back row (L-R) are WSF Committee Chair Stan Kelly, Chris Dyer and Drew Dixon of F3 Winston-Salem and Robert Jones of Goler Community Garden

W-S Foundation gives 2016 awards
May 19
11:00 2016

Submitted photo


The Winston-Salem Foundation hosted its annual Community Luncheon on May 4 with a record-breaking crowd of over 1,200 community members in attendance. The Foundation also announced the recipients of the 2016 Winston-Salem Foundation Award and the 2016 ECHO Awards.

The keynote speaker was Jamie Vollmer, an engaging speaker, author, and public education advocate working to raise public support for America’s schools. Once a harsh critic, he has become an articulate champion of America’s public schools. In 2010, he published the book “Schools Cannot Do It Alone.”  Over the past 20 years he has worked with educators, parents, and community leaders across the country to secure the  the country to secure the understanding, trust, and support they need to help local school systems increase student success.

The Winston-Salem Foundation Award was established in 1996 and is given to individuals

who demonstrate the Foundation’s values of generosity, excellence, inclusion, and integrity along with visionary leadership in a community activity or on behalf of a community organization, particularly in the recent past.

2016 Winston-Salem Foundation Award winner Sylvia Oberle recently retired as executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County, a position she has held since 2006.

Foundation officials said in a news release that under her leadership, Oberle has redefined what Habitat has been able to accomplish, expanding its impact throughout the community in innovative ways and positively impacting Habitat and non-Habitat homeowners alike.

Oberle has led Habitat’s Neighborhood Revitalization program, transforming blocks in the

Boston-Thurmond neighborhood, where now new Habitat homes and families are complementing newly-renovated and remodeled homes. She led the opening of the new Habitat ReStores in  Winston-Salem and Kernersville. Through private fundraising efforts steered by Oberle, a former furnishings building and warehouse were remodeled to serve as Habitat’s new headquarters, with Oberle, staff, and the board deciding to locate in the very neighborhood in which so much of Habitat’s work is taking place. Its new education center now offers space for hands-on workshops on home repairs – both Habitat homeowners and community members are

now benefitting from these classes. Oberle is a transformative leader who has opened dialogue about how to improve neighbor-hoods.She brings together people of diverse back-grounds, ethnicities, and faiths. She has made sure

homeowners have a voice in the rehabilitation of their areas.With this recognition comes a$10,000 Foundation grant, which Oberle has designat-ed to two organizations –Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County and to the Bethesda Center.

2016 ECHO Awards

The Foundation presented the 2016 ECHO Awards to five recipients who are creatively

building social capital. Each recipient is uniquely connecting people and building trust among

people in order to make our community stronger and each will receive$1,000 to grant to a

nonprofit organization of their choice.

*Laurie Coker – Embry is a social capital builder for individuals with mental health challenges.

In 2012, she founded the GreenTree Peer Center, a peer-operated support center where diverse community members form meaningful relationships— finding hope, health, and mental wellbeing. Lasting bonds have also formed between service providers and clients who are homeless or in transition.

*Robin Embry – In 2011, Embry founded the Carolina Center for Cognitive Rehabilitation, which empowers individuals living with cognitive and communication disorders resulting from brain injury or stroke. She uses a group and peer mentor model that breaks down walls of isolation while creating lasting relation-ships among a diverse population, spanning race, age, gender, and income level.

*F3 Winston-Salem –Fitness, Fellowship, and Faith is an informal group connecting men of all

ages, backgrounds, and fitness levels through free outdoor workouts.

According to its nominator, “sweat is a great equalizer” no matter who you are, and since 2014 the group has created relationships and a strong physical, mental, and spiritual support system for a very diverse group of men, including homeless guests at Samaritan Ministries.

*Goler Community Garden at the Downtown Health – Founded in 2009, this garden is located on the campus of the Downtown Health Plaza. Initially led by six physicians, it has flourished to become a community-led gathering space where the medical community, patients, neighborhood residents, and community groups are working together and building community. Diverse city residents are connecting — sharing stories, gardening tips, and healthy recipes as they tend the garden.

*Sylvia Oberle – Oberle has led the transformation of neighborhoods and built innumerable

trusting relationships in our city thanks to her inclusive leadership. From Habitat’s Unity Builds that intentionally includes many faiths and ethnicities, to its neighborhood revitalization programs, Oberle has purposefully led the effort to bridge social capital among diverse community members, whether volunteers, homeowners, or neighbors, while empowering residents to create change based on their own assets, skills, and talents.(Note: Oberle also received The Winston-Salem Foundation Award.)

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