Rye Makes $20,000 Investment in “Meals and Mentors”

WINSTON-SALEM – With its latest philanthropic gift, the Rye Foundation is helping teenaged students turn obstacles into opportunities.

Winston Salem Street School "Meals and Mentors" Volunteers

Volunteers for the Winston Salem Street School’s “Meals and Mentors” program prepare lunch for the students.

A charitable gift totaling $20,000 has been strategically directed to the rebranded “Meals and Mentors” program at the Winston-Salem Street School. The popular event brings role models to the school each Friday, and has been successful in improving classroom attendance.

Every Friday, a guest speaker talks with students, and then the entire student body enjoys a meal prepared by a local civic club, business, or church. Past speakers include Police Chief Catrina Thompson, businessman and former basketball star Skip Brown, and nationally – known author Dr. Gary Chapman.

“Before coming to the Street School, many of our students had very poor class attendance,” said Mike Foster, executive director of the school. “We have tried to make Friday a fun day, with a great speaker, student clubs, and a great meal. Now, they look forward to being at school.”

Founded in 2004, the faith-based Street School has produced 280 graduates. It features small classes, frequent field trips, and a dual enrollment program which allows seniors to learn job skills at Forsyth Tech Community College.

Foster and development coordinator Bonnie Flythe both expressed their appreciation to the Rye Foundation for its financial commitment. “It is really encouraging to know that there are leaders in our community who believe in giving teenagers a second chance,” said Flythe.

Bryan Award Reaches $150,000

Latest Winner is Pitt County Nonprofit
Students at the Building Hope Community Life Center receive instruction and encouragement from adult role models.

Students at the Building Hope Community Life Center receive instruction and encouragement from adult role models.

GREENVILLE – The Rye Foundation has named the recipient of the annual Bryan Award, and the winner is Pitt County’s faith-based Building Hope Community Life Center.

Warren Steen, the President of the Rye Foundation, said the Bryan Award is the highest honor given by the foundation and includes a charitable grant of $25,000 to expand and enhance programming. He said the award is named for Goldsboro businessman and philanthropist Ray Bryan, who died in 2016 at the age of 84.

Atlas Kelly, the executive director of Building Hope, described the organization as “a Jeremiah 29:11 ministry.” which helps children and youth to discover and develop their God-given talents. The Center offers after-school programs, summer camps, and a Service Saturday, where participants give back to the community in hands-on activities such as painting and raking leaves.

Rye board member Ingram Hedgpeth traveled to Greenville for a recent site tour at Building Hope and came away impressed. “It was uplifting to learn that their mission places an emphasis on academic achievement and spiritual development,” he said. “This is exactly the kind of project we are looking to support.”

Steen expressed his appreciation to Sid Bradsher of Heart for Eastern North Carolina, whose phone call started the process that led to the big announcement. “I want to thank Sid for his role in connecting the Rye Foundation with Building Hope,” he stated.

The $25,000 award will be used to:

  • Launch a new program for young entrepreneurs.
  • Sponsor summer camp field trips to colleges and area businesses.
  • Increase technology at the Center.

Building Hope is the sixth winner of the Bryan Award, and a total of $150,000 has now been distributed to help children’s charities fulfill their mission.

All-State Choir Performs Again

Rye Provides Scholarships for Singers

After a two-year hiatus due to the global pandemic, the All-State Youth Choir brought “the sound of music” to audiences this summer.

Over the years, the Rye Foundation has given thousands of dollars in scholarship support for the teenaged musicians.

In the past, the group has performed in Duke Chapel and aboard the Battleship USS North Carolina, as well as in churches and retirement homes throughout the state. This summer, the Choir traveled to Albemarle, Asheboro, Greensboro, Kannapolis, and Winston-Salem.

Phil Campbell, the minister of music at First Baptist Church in Lincolnton, is the long-time leader of the All-State Choir. He expressed his appreciation to the singers, their parents, volunteer leaders, choral director Shane Stephens of Lincolnton, and accompanist Michael McKnight of Greenville.

The theme verse was Psalm 104:33, which says, “I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live.

“This has been an emotional summer,” stated Campbell. “Our singers have brought hope and encouragement to many people as they lifted their voices in song.”

Since the Choir was established, over 1,000 singers have participated in the ministry. Leaders of the Rye Foundation firmly believe that their gifts are investments in the future.

Rye Announces Winner of 2022 Bryan Award:

Johnston County Projects Receive $25,000

CLAYTON – In Johnston County, 19 percent of children face “food insecurity”, and the Rye Foundation decided to do something about it.

The Board of Directors voted to name The Woman’s Club of Clayton as this year’s recipient of the Bryan Award, the highest honor given by the Foundation. It includes statewide publicity and a charitable grant of $25,000.

Since 1918, the club has forged partnerships and focused on improving the quality of life for area citizens. The grant will enable it to expand financial support for three faith-based organizations:

  • Clayton Area Ministries
  • Backpack Buddies
  • Serve the Need of Johnston County

Rye board member Ingram Hedgpeth led a delegation to Clayton, and a memorable day included a site tour and meetings with community leaders. Subsequently, club president Betsy Grannis and vice president Sarah Brooks traveled to Winston-Salem and made an outstanding presentation at Rye’s “Champions for Children Day.”

Hedgpeth explained that Clayton Area Ministries operates a food pantry which serves over 500 families each month. He said the popular Backpack Buddies program has great support from area churches, and Serve the Need provides a free Thanksgiving meal for 2,000 children and adults.

Warren Steen, the president of the Rye Foundation, stated, “During his lifetime, Ray Bryan was one of our most generous supporters. He believed that every child needs positive role models, and they also need encouragement and direction in life.” A Goldsboro business leader and philanthropist, Mr. Bryan died in 2016 at the age of 84.

The Bryan Award recognizes his legacy of service and is given annually to a child-centered charity.