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2019 Inductees


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Joyce Grantham

Felton Economic Improvement Council, Inc.


Born in New Bern, Joyce Grantham Felton was the first pre-school lead teacher for the Perquimans Head Start Center in May 1970. Joyce partnered with community businesses and private organizations to provide jobs, in-kind donations and support to the program’s families. She formed a partnership with the Perquimans County schools to use her classroom for a model classroom to assist kindergarten teachers in their initial set-up and institute the first breakfast program. As the Education Disability Assistant, Joyce established and organized activities that had a major impact on families and communities in ten counties and Cluster A programs. In 1992, she organized the first Parent Luncheon. She funded education scholarships for Head Start teachers and assistants to receive their associate degree in Early Childhood and a Nutrition scholarship for the nutrition staff to become Safe/Serve certified. She worked with the local community colleges to establish the Early Childhood associate degree program and was a partner in selecting the curriculum. She was also a vocal instrument in sharing the need for the Edenton campus of COA to offer culinary arts classes so that people interested in food service could become trained and marketable for employment. Joyce has been a strong financial contributor to the Hyde and Perquimans Head Start Centers, purchasing extra materials, toys and equipment for these centers as well as toys and a bag of fruit for all fifty-five children at Christmas. She also sponsors an appreciation luncheon for the staff of these centers at the beginning and ending of each program year

Board of Directors

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James Milton Smith

Choanoke Area Development Association, Inc.


Retired Halifax County native and Board member, James Smith, has represented the low-income community and provided faithful service to the Choanoke Area Development Association of NC, Inc. for 10 years. As a leader of numerous Board committees and cochair of a successful fundraising campaign, James is always ready to represent CADA when needed, going as far as calling in from a hospital emergency room. His nearly perfect attendance record for meetings speaks for itself. Service is not new to this Vietnam veteran, who retired after a 28-year career in corrections after earning his degree with the GI Bill. While employed with the Department of Corrections, James initiated a food harvesting service for Seniors, while working for the Department of Corrections, which he continued after his retirement. Not one to pass on opportunities to make a difference in his community, he mentors youth as a volunteer with the Boy Scouts and a local high school baseball team. This devoted family man is described as the “wind beneath their sails” by CADA and exemplifies the spirit of Community Action. His service and common sense approach is an inspiration.

Community Champion

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Dennis Gaddy

Community Success Initiative (CSI)


Dennis Gaddy is the Executive Director of Community Success Initiative (CSI) a non-profit corporation with a vision to create communities where people discover their potential, set worthy goals for their lives, and take action in a positive way, with an emphasis on men and women who are transitioning from prison and jail, or who otherwise find themselves entangled in the criminal justice system. Dennis Gaddy’s personal mission is to help others to be their best, and for the last 20 years, he has refined his skills, leading him into the field of success coaching, training, and consulting people, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor, or socio-economic status.

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Maggie Kane

A Place at the Table


Maggie Kane is the Founder and Executive Director of A Place at the Table, the first pay what-you-can cafe in downtown Raleigh. She graduated from North Carolina State University in 2013 and began working for a nonprofit with people experiencing homelessness. By befriending many people living on the margins, she knew something needed to be done. Maggie has a heart to serve, a desire to always be inclusive, and a passion for loving people. Through her work with people on the streets, she realized the power of community, the importance of dignity, and the beauty in bringing people together over incredible food. February 2015, A Place at the Table was birthed and Maggie never looked back.


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Pat Bennett

Mountain Projects, Inc.


The longest serving Mountain Projects employee, Pat Bennett, has touched the lives of thousands of people in Jackson County over the past forty-one years. She chose Mountain Projects for her internship in the spring of 1977 as an Early Childhood major at Southwestern Community College. She spent a semester working in the rural mountains, serving Head Start children in their homes. Pat loved Mountain Projects and applied for a job in the fall of 1977, was hired in the Head Start program and worked there for ten years before moving to the Central Services Department as an Information, Referral and Assistance Case Manager. For more than 30 years, Pat has listened with compassion and care to every client and links them to both internal and external resources to assist them. She developed and now oversees a non-traditional GED program which operates two nights per week after seeing a need. Pat cooks home cooked meals for participants and makes sure their basic needs are met, so they can learn and realize their educational potential. She has received numerous cards and letters over the years from graduates who progressed and obtained degrees in higher education due to the GED program. Everyone served by Pat holds her in the highest regard. Customer feedback is always consistent and includes comments of Pat’s treatment of kindness and non-judgmental support toward them.

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Monica Gullatt

Johnston-Lee-Harnett Community Action, Inc.


Monica Gullatt has worked in several departments with Johnston-Lee-Harnett Community Action, Inc. for twenty-four years – including the Head Start program, Weatherization Program and the Finance Department. Monica’s caring nature distinguishes her work, especially when it comes to not only her clients, but clients in other agency programs. She took it upon herself to take sign language classes in order to be more helpful. She is an asset to the agency and everyone depends on Monica to make sure their paychecks are correct. She takes great pride in making sure all staff are cared for. A quiet, behind the scenes person, she also supports the Central District by taking minutes and standing in whenever necessary. A mother of two, Monica embodies the spirit of community action in her daily responsibilities.

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Erma Faye Taylor

Greene Lamp, Inc.


Erma “Faye” Taylor has dedicated 46 years of her career as a servant to her community through the NCCAA. She began working at Martin Community Action, Inc. in 1972 and remained there for 43 years. Her first position as a Community Organizer involved working with low-income families to identify their needs in the communities where they lived. Her tenure with the Community Services Block Grant Program (CSBG) began as the Lead Senior Case Manager in 1987, with a promotion later to CSBG Director. Her commitment to helping people, help themselves; especially those that were impoverished, led to her promotion to CSBG Director in 2003 until 2012. Faye was asked by the Board of Directors at MCAA to step in as Interim Chief Executive Officer until the position was filled. For the past three years, Ms. Taylor has been the CSBG assistant Director at Greene Lamp Community Action. She also serves as the Equal Employment Officer (EEO) for the agency and serves on the Board at Greenville Utilities as a Commissioner. Ms. Taylor says “I have worked all my life helping people. I love it, the people were very appreciative and I still hear from them. They thank me for being there when they needed help.”

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Sandra Noble

Greene Lamp, Inc.


Sandra Noble’s long story with Greene Lamp Community Action started in September 1998. After her retirement from Caswell Center (NC State Facility for Intellectual Disabilities Individuals) with 30 years of service. After politely proceeding to catch up on undone housework, Sandra stumbled on to an ad for another job for a Greene Lamp Disabilities/Mental Health Coordinator job. After sorting through the boxes of papers and screening results for 311 children, Sandra remembers thinking "Wow, what have I done now!" After becoming associated with a network of Disabilities Coordinators, it wasn’t long before Sandra learned the Performance Standards, made referrals, attended trainings that exposed her to another opportunity as a Head Start Training Resource Specialist making on-site visits to all twelve Head Start Programs. After experiencing boredom at home once again, Sandra was back knocking on Greene Lamp’s door as a volunteer and Foster Grandparent Program Assistant. She says the job has allowed her the chance to help families of children with disabilities and educate them on how to advocate for their child, to ensure that their specific needs are met.

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Brenda Turner

Blue Ridge Community Action, Inc.


Early Childhood Specialist, Brenda Turner, has been with Blue Ridge Community Action (BRCA) for thirty-one (31) years. She started her career as a substitute and worked very hard to earn a Bachelor’s degree in 2008, while raising a young son who was also in school. Brenda and her son did homework together, which helped instill the importance of school. Over the years, she has received numerous awards, including Employee of the Quarter, Head Start Teacher’s Aide of the Year, Teacher of the Year, and recognition for her thirty (30) years of employment with the agency in 2018. Brenda has taught many children throughout her career. She takes on the role of Center Director and Assistant Center Director in their absence. She also serves as a Peer Coach at Northside Children’s Learning Center, a child care center operated by BRCA. Responsible for training and assisting new staff when they are hired at the center, she is a favorite teacher, often requested by many parents because of the positive, fun-filled learning environment in her classroom. This champion of education tries to make sure her students receive the head start they need to continue their growth in the public school system. Brenda feels that the relationship she established with the parents help foster that positive development.

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