In Memory of My Dear Friend and Mentor, Bill Horney

There is a lot of talk these days about Vision; who has it? How is it manifested? And what can it do for an organization and indeed an entire community?

I recently ran across an intriguing definition that describes Vision as “the art of seeing what is invisible to others” and interestingly enough this quote is attributed to Jonathan Swift, the author and satirist who penned the classic, “Gulliver’s Travels.” This definition has resonated with me as I have watched our community’s transformational change and has underscored the critical importance of acknowledging, nurturing and, ultimately, supporting this mindset in High Point. I believe we can and should be one of the finest and most progressive communities in the nation, however; this will only happen if we are willing to embrace a new vision of who and what we are.

I recently shared with my leadership that our Community Foundation, as a catalyst granter, must always strive to provide groundbreaking, visionary leadership. This takes courage as visionary projects can, and often times do, struggle at first. As Henry Carter, the former President of the Winston Salem Foundation and a valued mentor, would always remind me, “All philanthropy is a risk.” When I look at the projects we have championed such as the Say Yes Guilford initiative, the Stadium Catalyst Project, the Downtown Rejuvenation efforts and our Initiative Funds—Heart of High Point, Student’s First and most recently Women in Motion—I am proud to say that we have been willing to stretch, be innovative and courageous enough to address emerging issues that will directly influence all of our lives today and tomorrow.

Of course I cannot talk about visionary leadership without mentioning the outstanding work Dr. Qubein has accomplished at my alma mater, High Point University. HPU has faithfully served as an invaluable and persistent catalyst bringing swift and dramatic transformation to our community. Dr. Qubein has recreated us into a “university town” which brings so many positive benefits economically, culturally and intellectually and we, as a community, have an obligation to step up and keep up. Today’s most dynamic and progressive communities where young people want to live, raise a family and run a business must be driven by vision, action and results.

Let me close with this thought, in 1997 we lost a great voice in American journalism, Herb Caen was a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle where he wrote over 16,000 articles during the late 30s to the mid-90s. His column, “It’s News to Me” ran every day except Saturday and was once called “a continuous love letter to San Francisco.” Herb had a life-long love affair with his city which he celebrated in prose, volunteerism and leadership. This is what he had to say about what makes a city great, “A city is not judged by its length and width, but by the broadness of its vision and the height of its dreams…”

High Point can be that “City Upon the Hill,” but it will take all of us embracing change, pulling in unison, investing financially in our future and having the courage and patience to support visionary leadership. Your Community Foundation believes in the unlimited potential of this amazing town we all call home… We are, For High Point, For Good, Forever…