The mission of the Rye Foundation is to make a life-changing impact on North Carolina children
by providing grants in the areas of Religion, Youth, and Education.

News from the Rye

Rye Names Camp Cale As Winner of Ray Bryan Award and $25,000 Prize

During their recent meeting in Greensboro, Matt Thomas (left) of Camp Cale and Warren Steen of the Rye Foundation discussed the need for increased philanthropy in the rural and coastal regions of North Carolina.

The Rye Foundation has announced the winner of its annual Ray Bryan Award, and the recipient is Camp Cale in Hertford.

Warren Steen, the President of the Rye Foundation, said the award recognizes a faith-based organization which is making a positive and lasting impact on children and youth.  He reported that the award is given each December, and the winner receives $25,000 to enhance and expand its programming.

“We are surprised, excited, and humbled by this wonderful news,” said Matt Thomas, the director of the 90-acre camp.

According to Thomas, the camp will use the funds to launch a leadership initiative to identify “leaders of tomorrow” in area high schools. Participants are expected to come from a 5-county region that includes Nags Head, Manteo, and Hertford. They will receive extensive training to recognize and utilize their God-given talents, and many are expected to return to the camp as counselors.

Based in Winston-Salem, the Rye Foundation makes charitable investments in the areas of religion, youth, and education. The foundation has earmarked a total of $100,000 to honor the life and legacy of Mr. Bryan, a Goldsboro businessman and philanthropist who died in 2016 at the age of 84.

“Ray Bryan really cared about children,” said Steen, “and he believed that God has a special plan for every child. The award that bears his name will ultimately help thousands of boys and girls across our state.”

Philanthropic support from the Rye Foundation includes major gifts to the following Eastern North Carolina organizations: Boys and Girls Homes in Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina Baptist Assembly at Fort Caswell, Matthew 25 Center in Tabor City, Camp Vandemere near New Bern, and Young Life on the Crystal Coast in Morehead City.

Rye Provides Camp Scholarships for Military Children

From a distance, the picturesque, pastoral setting almost seemed to portray a normal day at summer camp.

Children walked from the morning chapel service toward a calm lake, where canoes and kayaks awaited. In the distance, others moved quickly to arts and crafts activities.

However, the day was anything but routine for the 238 boys and girls who attended Camp Corral, held at the historic YMCA Camp Hanes in King, North Carolina.

One important factor set this summer camp apart: every participant came from a family that had a parent wounded or killed in battle.

Several of the attendees were able to participate due to generous scholarship funding from the Rye Foundation. Two of Rye’s priorities are offering support to children of prisoners and children from military homes.

“This is a very special week,” said camp director Val Elliott, “and we are thankful for the Rye Foundation and its financial commitment to these children.”

During a recent site tour, leaders of the Foundation visited with children and staff members, attended the chapel service, and enjoyed lunch in the dining hall.

A daily highlight is seeing the boys and girls gather at the flagpole and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

The informative site tour was part of an ongoing strategic plan to observe quality programming that is “making a difference” in the lives of North Carolina children. Other tours have been to Camp Vandemere near New Bern, Kamp Kiwanis in Lexington, Cale Camp in Hertford, the Mount Sinai – McCreary Community Center in Catawba, and the beloved Presbyterian Orphanage in Black Mountain.


A timely update on activities and events at the Rye Foundation

Magazine Coverage Recognizes Foundation’s Impact

We have received numerous positive comments about the March issue of Forsyth Family magazine, which contains an in-depth feature article on the philanthropy of the Rye Foundation. It is titled, “Making a Difference in the Lives of Children.” Three of the first to offer their congratulations on the coverage were a Presbyterian minister, the former district governor of Rotary International, and the president of the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce.

Camp for Military Families

One of our recent charitable gifts went to Camp Hanes in Stokes County. Each summer, the camp hosts a specialized week, and every child who attends has had a parent wounded or killed on the battlefield. Last year, a total of 265 children participated. Plans are being finalized for a site tour this summer.

Memories of Billy Graham

When the Rye Foundation was established, our very first gift was $25,000 to the Billy Graham Training Center for its youth camp. Soon thereafter, Warren Steen had the privilege of introducing Mr. Graham to each member of our Board of Directors, and he thanked each one personally. A photo of that event hangs in the foundation office, and reminds us all of his lifetime of Christian service.

A Closing Question

Author Bob Buford was right. He wrote that many of us spend years and years in a search to be successful. Then, we evaluate our priorities and seek to become significant. What kind of legacy do you plan to leave ?

Groundbreaking Held for Prison Ministry in Columbus County

TABOR CITY - Friends and supporters recently gathered in Columbus County to break ground on a 5,160 square foot building which will provide overnight accommodations for family members who are visiting relatives at the adjacent prison facility.

Visionary leaders are building the Matthew 25 Center within sight of the Tabor Correctional Institution, home to 1,750 prisoners.

Funded by area citizens, churches, and businesses, the Center is designed to provide a place of shelter and retreat. Architectural plans include a dining area, playground for children, and four hotel-type rooms.

The Rye Foundation has made an investment of $10,000 in the project.

Burnett Coleman, a retired banker who led the fundraising drive, explained the primary purpose of the Center in three words - maintaining family relationships. “We believe it is important for children and other family members to have ongoing contact and dialogue with the inmates,” he said.

Warren Steen, the President of the Rye Foundation, attended the groundbreaking and left with a great appreciation for the supporters in southeastern North Carolina. “These leaders really understand that when a prisoner comes to Tabor City, their family is in crisis,” Steen said. “And they realize that the children need extra encouragement and support, so they can choose a different path in life.”

Steen referenced a report issued by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. It showed that 179,000 children in North Carolina had experienced separation from a parent or step-parent due to incarceration. He said that the Rye Foundation has funded other projects aimed at helping prisoners’ children in Burgaw, Taylorsville, and Winston-Salem.

5 Ways to Help Children

  • Make a gift of cash.
  • Make a gift of stock.
  • “Leave a legacy” by including the Foundation in your will.
  • Establish a family fund.
  • Take advantage of a “named gift opportunity” and place the name of a family member on a building or special fund.

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