The High Point Community Foundation today announced May 9th that the Earl and Kitty Congdon family of High Point has pledged $2 million to support bringing the Say Yes to Education initiative to Guilford County – the third large commitment from High Point for this ongoing county-wide effort.
The pledge, which illustrates the widespread support for this initiative in High Point, comes from a family that has long been known for its generosity to the community. Earl and Kitty, along with their three children, David, Karen, and Audrey, have run their family business, Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc., and see Say Yes as a key factor in revitalizing their hometown community.
“Our family believes strongly in education,” said Earl Congdon, executive chairman of Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc. “Say Yes is the best opportunity we have ever seen for the young people of High Point and all of Guilford County to further their education.”
This latest pledge brings to $19 million the total pledged so far in an ongoing $28-million initial fundraising effort for Say Yes in Guilford County. All pledges are contingent on Say Yes to Education officially selecting Guilford County as the nation’s next Say Yes community. In January, Say Yes notified Guilford that it is the leading candidate for this designation. To be officially selected, Guilford County must achieve several remaining goals – one being fundraising. Say Yes is aiming to make a decision by this fall.
“The Congdon family has played a key leadership role in so many great things in High Point including; our Community Foundation, the United Way of Greater High Point and High Point University,” said Paul Lessard, president of the High Point Community Foundation. “They truly understand and believe in the importance of the private sector driving key community projects. Their entire family – Earl and Kitty, David and Helen, Karen and Stanley, and Audrey and Jack – have all been very committed to providing not just resources but their leadership and vision to this community, and we are so grateful and proud of this remarkable commitment to the Say Yes initiative.”
Since early 2014, when area leaders began exploring a potential partnership between Say Yes and Guilford, everyone has stressed that not only would Say Yes serve all corners of the county, but that the effort to secure the opportunity would be a community-wide endeavor, as well.
“I am so grateful to the Congdon family for becoming such a significant supporter of the Say Yes initiative in Guilford County,” said Maurice O. “Mo” Green, superintendent of Guilford County Schools. “Becoming the next Say Yes community will have a remarkable impact in the lives of our young people who may not be able to afford college otherwise. Every dollar pledged to this initiative is one step closer to eliminating that barrier and giving students and their families a new sense of hope.”
In early 2014, Guilford County Schools and the Guilford Education Alliance – with the support and assistance of The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro and the High Point Community Foundation – launched an exploration of a potential partnership with Say Yes to Education.
Founded in 1987, Say Yes is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that organizes and galvanizes communities around the goal of every student in the public school system graduating high school, and then helps those students access, afford and complete a college or other post-secondary education. A key component of a Say Yes partnership focuses on how a community addresses the social, emotional and financial barriers that prevent students from achieving this goal.
“We want to thank the Congdon family for their vision, leadership and commitment to Say Yes and especially to our local public schools.” said David Miller, High Point community leader and philanthropist. “High Point has always had a reputation for stepping up when needs like this have arisen and this speaks volumes about the character and commitment of this community. Say Yes will change the way we do public education, it will forever alter the lives of our young people and it will transform the economy – thanks to people like the Congdons.”
People can follow Guilford’s Say Yes efforts at GuilfordSaysYes.org and on Facebook at facebook.com/Guilford-says-yes.