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Forsyth County Community Foundation marks first milestone

CUMMING — The Forsyth County Community Foundation made its initial grant award presentation Tuesday morning.

The foundation, the first affiliate of the Gainesville-based North Georgia Community Foundation, chose Habitat for Humanity North Central Georgia as the recipient.

“We’re pleased to award $3,000 to Habitat … to purchase construction materials for a single-family home built in Forsyth County this fall,” said Mary Helen McGruder, chairwoman of the group.

The presentation occurred during a meeting of the Rotary Club of Lanier Forsyth.

Other members of the foundation’s advisory committee are Jack Allen, Phill Bettis, Jayne Iglesias, Lynn Jackson, James McCoy, David Seago, Jeff Stephens and Kevin Tallant.

Formed in April, the foundation is the result of nearly two decades of work.

“One of the reasons that we’ve tried so hard to get a community foundation here is that it is a mark of a progressive community,” McGruder said. “Sort of like the [Cumming campus of] University of North Georgia, when you grow up you have certain things in your community.”

The foundation works by pooling contributions from donors, and determines the best way to serve charitable needs within the county. The foundation does not issue grants itself, but uses funds from individuals who open accounts.

“This is one that [could] help us as we move forward,” McGruder said. “They ensure that local funds stay local and that local people are making decisions about the philanthropy that directly impacts our community need.”

Callie Flack, vice president of programs for the group, said it “allows this community to benefit from cost-efficient centralized professional services.”

“Doing that frees up the local advisory board to really focus on asset building and determining the real true needs of this community, so that they can work locally for the people here to raise the money and get it back into the Forsyth County community. ”

Tuesday also marked the first official meeting for Michelle Prater, the new president and chief executive officer of the North Georgia Community Foundation.

Those interested learning about the Forsyth foundation can contact Flack at (770) 533-7395 or