Local nonprofits thank Omni Grove Park Inn for donations

The Asheville City Schools Foundation, Children First/Communities in Schools of Buncombe County, Eliada Homes, the American Legion, Homeward Bound and the Council on Aging of Buncombe County publicly thank the Omni Grove Park Inn for helping raise almost$61,000 for their collective causes.

Here are more details from Erica Bell, director of Development for the Asheville City Schools Foundation:

The Omni Grove Park Inn showers local nonprofits with charitable proceeds from parking lot fees

(Asheville, NC) As a snowplow navigates the paved streets of Asheville today, it reaches a host of neighborhoods, city streets, rural back roads, alleys, and even parking lots. Often the snow gets piled up in these parking lots to the frustration of a tourist or local Ashevillean alike when looking for a spot.

Now, imagine Asheville as a “Snow-Globe” but the snowflakes are actually dollar bills waiting to be scooped into the accounts of local charitable organizations. This snow-globe-like scenario is essentially what happened when the Omni Grove Park Inn designated a portion of its parking fees during the Gingerbread House Competition to local nonprofit organizations.

Thousands of visitors flock to the Omni Grove Park Inn to feast their eyes on national entries in the annual Gingerbread House Competition. With the influx of visitors, parking has long been a challenge at the historic hotel. The Asheville City Schools Foundation, Children First/Communities in Schools of Buncombe County, Eliada Homes, the American Legion, Homeward Bound and the Council on Aging of Buncombe County would like to publicly thank the Omni Grove Park Inn for helping raise almost$61,000 for their collective causes.

Shake the “Snow Globe” and see where the dollars fall into place and are being put to work right now in the greater community.

It is no secret that decisions made in Raleigh are adversely affecting our North Carolina teachers. Asheville is no exception; however the Asheville City Schools Foundation (ACSF) strives to make teachers a priority. Executive Director Kate Pett is thankful for this gift and states “One of the main programs of the ACSF is to provide grants to teachers. Thanks to this gift, hundreds of children’s lives will be impacted with improved learning because of the five teacher fellowships that will be awarded.”

One example of a teacher grant being put into action right now is teacher fellow Jerome Hughes’ implementation of a Test Prep project for Asheville High School’s AVID program — which helps first-generation college-seekers successfully prepare for a college education. Each AVID student had access to online test prep, which had a personalized test prep calendar, access to videos with experts explaining in detail how to work each problem, full-length practice tests, and individual profiles that tracked student progress and identified areas for improvement. AVID juniors improved their actual SAT scores by 311 points above their PSAT scores as a result of this grant.

At Children First/Communities In Schools of Buncombe County, the mission is to empower children and families to reach their full potential through advocacy, education and services. “As Communities In Schools, we surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life” says Executive Director, Allison Jordan.

“It really meant a lot to our organization that The Omni Grove Park Inn provided such generous financial support to our community. This year is tight for us financially and this gift will truly make a difference in our strategies to reduce poverty. We are always grateful for undesignated gifts that allow us to be flexible in putting it towards the area of most need within the organization.”

Over all The American Legion is the largest veterans’ organization in the world, with nearly 2.5 million members. The American Legion was founded in 1919 and since that time has touched virtually every facet of American life, fulfilling its main objective of service to the community, state and nation.  For many years the Asheville Legion Post 70, with its approximately 255 military veterans, has conducted a program designed to benefit in the development of youth in Buncombe County, namely, the Asheville-Cardinals American Legion-Post # 70 Baseball Team.

The team consists of boys grades 10 through 12 recruited from Buncombe high schools, to compete with Legion teams from around the state, and possibly the nation. The gift will be used to help supply a rented baseball field with lights for home games, professional coaches and umpires, quality uniforms and equipment, insurance for the boys, transportation and meals for away games, and various other expenses.

It is not just children who have felt the effects of recent funding losses and federal sequestration over the past two years; seniors also have suffered reductions in services.  The Council on Aging of Buncombe County (COABC) is dedicated to promoting independence, dignity, and wellness for older adults through education, innovative programs, and coordination of resources. With the gift, the COABC will fill gaps for the 400-plus people on a waiting list for in-home aide services and senior dining service days, and have the flexibility to use the funds where they are needed most.

Eliada Homes will use its gift for the Foster Care program.  Since 1903, Eliada has been caring for WNC’s abandoned, abused, neglected, and troubled children. Today, 44 children live in Eliada foster homes with parents who are specially trained and equipped to meet the unique needs of these children.  Eliada will use Grove Park funds to provide training and support for current foster families, and to recruit other families to care for even more children. Forty-four families, all of whom have at least one foster child living with them, will benefit from extra training and support, which will enable their foster children to have a stable, loving place to reside until they are adopted or can go back home. Eliada Homes shares, “A gift to Eliada is an investment in the lives of children and in the future of our community.  The Omni Grove Park is making a long-term investment in our community by giving a gift today to change the life of a child.”

Homeward Bound of WNC works with others to end the cycle of homelessness.  This gift will help move Asheville’s homeless neighbors in Western North Carolina from shelters, cars and camps into safe and affordable housing of their own. “The gift from the OMNI GPI will end homelessness for 20 to 35 people in Western North Carolina!” says Beth Russo, Director of Marketing and adds, “The nearly $10,000 Gingerbread gift will get these individuals and families off the streets and out of shelters by providing funds for their rent and utility deposits through our housing program.

Homelessness ends with housing, and OMNI GPI recognizes the value in providing housing for all our community. Their gift demonstrates incredible support in making our community a better place for everyone to live in.”  Since 2006, Homeward Bound has moved 1,079 people from homelessness into housing. These families, with the partnership of Homeward Bound and Omni GPI will have the opportunity to be housed, and to become self-sustaining members of our community.

Who knew that a parking lot could bring so much into our community? Thank you to The Omni Grove Park Inn for helping these six nonprofits advance forward in their respective missions and not backslide in their vital programs to the community. For information about the donations and Omni Grove Park Inn, please contact Tracey Johnston-Crum at Tracey.Johnston-Crum@omnihotels.com.


Helpful web links:

About The Omni Grove Park Inn: www.groveparkinn.com

Asheville City Schools Foundation: www.acsf.org

Children First/Communities in Schools: www.childrenfirstbc.org

Council on Aging of Buncombe County www.coabc.org

Eliada Homes: www.eliadahomes.org

Homeward Bound: www.homewardboundwnc.org

About Margaret Williams
Editor Margaret Williams first wrote for Xpress in 1994. An Alabama native, she has lived in Western North Carolina since 1987 and completed her Masters of Liberal Arts & Sciences from UNC-Asheville in 2016. Follow me @mvwilliams

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