Planning Committee Meeting Notes – 6/2/2017

Meeting Participants: Willa, David, Charity, Pauline, Edwin, Fatimah, Omar, Les, Richard, Lauren


Ms. Gardenheight and Fatimah participated in the last alumni meeting in Asheville. They spoke about increasing attendance; may need to have food and music.

Lauren is halfway done with the excel spreadsheet that has friends/supporters contact info. She plans to upload the sheet on the cloud (google drive) and create a link so that Fatimah can edit, but others can only view.

Fatimah has contacted Simone about email addresses. She requested that notices are sent as a blind copy to those who signed up to receive email updates because the group has made commitments that email addresses would remain private and not shared with others.


David mentioned there has not been a change in funds since the last meeting. The group has one unpaid bill. The outside of the building is done. David found some extra siding in his dad’s barn that will be donated to the school — approximately (10) 16-ft pieces that appear to be new. New railings are needed. During the National Trust visit, it was mentioned that gutters can be placed on the new addition of the building if needed. Doors have been ordered — (2) for the main level; (1) for the bottom. When this phase is complete, there may be enough of the exterior done and ready for paint. David has also called Scott to get some assistance on what needs to be done with the foundation of the building. A decision still needs to be made on electrical; need to have Scott, Les, Paul, Dan, and David participate in those discussions.


David plans to follow up with Wells Fargo.

There is a new interim superintendent (James Causby); the former superintendent of Madison Co Schools has retired. 4042 money comes from the state to the school board; the group plans to make a request to the interim superintendent/school board that some of the funds are allocated towards finishing the interior of the school.

Willa is finishing up the Brick & Mortar grant for Rosenwald funds through the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Lauren will assist in uploading photos to the online application.


The National Trust visited a couple of weeks ago. Jennifer Cathy of the State Historic Preservation Office joined them. Jennifer Cathy recommended that a partial gutter could be placed over the handicap ramp. The door will hang the way in which it currently does as the electrical wiring is on the other side. Jennifer also took samples of a 5-panel door/flat panel to do research and provide recommendations.

Jennifer recommend track light on both sides of the building. She had no preference for galvanized vs. steel pipe as handrails; only recommended that pipe has a diameter of 1.5” and that wooden handrails are not used. Everyone recognized that the HVAC system would be visible and mini-splits would likely be used (one on each wall plush the addition).

Gene Fox has provided recommendations of the flooring. The floor needs to be scrapped by hand to remove the tar; he thinks he can find wood that would match for any replacements/repairs. The floor needs to be sanded very lightly with a screen. There’s a story in the floor; so it needs to be left as old-looking as possible.


The school may have original been a one room building; but turned into a two-room building when Yancey County wanted to send students here.

Richard gave an update. Dan is working on an exhibit at the Rural Heritage Museum about the Civil War. Dr. Lunsford approved a Joe Anderson memorial with 3-panels. A metal container would be added; the group should consider adding brochures about the school to it. Title of kiosk would be “From Slave to Founder.” Would like to invite the alumni to the dedication during Founders Week; would like to see the planning committee attend. Would be on Oct 8 on a Sunday afternoon. Would be good to tie in a tour of the school. There will be a showing of the film Bonded; a second film story is in the works. Teresa and Ryan are involved.

The group briefly talked about planning for the school’s grand opening to coincide with homecoming 2018.


Les attended the training in Charlotte as a representative of the group. It was less about board development and more about fundraising. The training was led by Rob Boylan; didn’t talk specifically about Rosenwald Schools. Les shared a grassroots guide shared at the training. Some notes from the training:
• First gifts are rarely major gifts
• Most gifts are not from the wealthy
• Need to ask
• People give those who give
• Lack of volunteers
• Preservation cannot compete with social services
• Make donor the hero of the ask
• Have a donor field trip before the ask
• Unrestricted donations are the best
• Connect memories with philanthropic need
• Better to go as a team
• Stories from the heart, what’s new?
• “leadership” gifts
• Fundraising goal systems: formulas


The Friends Committee will hold meetings at the school during the summer/fall, pending construction. There was not a meeting in May; the group instead participated in the tourism day event at the I-26 welcome center. At tourism day, Willa spoke with Candance Wallace, an AmeriCorp member. We may be able to schedule a volunteer project with the group. Need to follow up with Candace as the main point of contact as approval from the organization first is needed.

Les mentioned that all the panels are fixed. Recommended that the group consider new panels with fewer words.

Willa mentioned that the National Trust office in Charleston will close on June 30.

Planning for the OLLI program will occur during the July and August meetings. Richard recommended that Charity’s part last no more than 15 minutes.

Fatimah will follow up with the Jewish Film Festival about getting a copy of the Rosenwald film.

Willa will provide an update to the school board during its July meeting.