2016 Community Luncheon

A record crowd of 1,200 community members gathered at the Benton Convention Center on May 4 for the 2016 Community Luncheon.  After Foundation highlights, the 2016 Winston-Salem Foundation Award and 2016 ECHO Awards were presented to an exemplary group of community builders.  Following the awards, keynote speaker Jamie Vollmer presented a keynote on why the health of the school system should be a critical concern of all of our community, and moreover, how we as community members can help improve student outcomes.  At the conclusion of the luncheon, Reynolds American Vice President Brice O'Brien made a special announcement about a new education partnership called Project Impact. (Click here for more information on Project Impact.)  To review the luncheon program, click here


The 2016 Winston-Salem Foundation Award (click here for more information) 

  • Sylvia Oberle 

2016 ECHO Awards (click here for more information)

  • Laurie Coker
  • Robin Embry
  • F3 Winston-Salem
  • Goler Community Garden at the Downtown Health Plaza
  • Sylvia Oberle 

Watch video of the award presentations.

Luncheon photos are posted here on our Facebook page.


Keynote speaker Jamie Vollmer is a public education advocate working to raise public support for America's schools.  Over the past 20 years he has worked with educators, parents, and community leaders across the country to secure the understanding, trust, and support they need to help local school systems increase student success. In 2010, he published the book Schools Cannot Do It Alone.


Project Impact is a community initiative of local businesses and individuals, as well as local and national foundations, committed to providing additional operating funds to Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools to address critical student achievement gaps and improve third-grade reading and math proficiency scores over time. Using strategies proven successful in other districts, Project Impact will fund:

  • Pre-kindergarten expansion
  • Extended learning options
  • Expanded staff development and instructional support

Focus areas include intensive early intervention among at-risk groups and lower-performing schools. Project Impact will fund programs to be evaluated over six years, starting with the 2016-2017 school year.  Gifts to the Project Impact Fund will provide additional resources for programs that will accelerate third-grade reading scores in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.  For more information, go to www.Projectimpact.ws.


  • Serves about 54,000 students in 81 schools
  • Is the 4th largest school system in NC, and the 81st largest in the nation
  • Employs more than 7,000 people


Learn more about The Forsyth Promise, a diverse partnership aligning community resources to ensure the best educational outcomes for our county’s children.


Many thanks to the 84 sponsors who signed on to be Community Investors, Community Builders, and Community Supporters - their generous support allowed the Foundation to provide greater community access to the Luncheon - which is what the gathering is all about.  Special thanks to Reynolds American Inc. for sponsoring our Keynote Speaker and to Flow Lexus, Mercedes-Benz of Winston-Salem, and Wells Fargo for their sponsorship at the Community Investor level!

A great crowd of 1,100 community members gathered at the Benton Convention Center on May 6 for the 2015 Community Luncheon.  After Foundation highlights were delivered, the 2015 Winston-Salem Foundation Award and 2015 ECHO Awards were presented to an exemplary group of community builders.  To review the luncheon program, click here.

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