Kristin Cooper, NC’s First Lady, to keynote mini-grant fundraiser

Kristin Cooper, NC’s First Lady, to keynote mini-grant fundraiser

North Carolina’s First Lady, Kristin Cooper, is supporting local teachers and the Lenoir County Education Foundation mini-grant program by keynoting a fundraiser luncheon in Kinston on Oct. 23.

The luncheon will begin at noon at Olivia’s at 110 E. Caswell St. Registration is open now at www.kinstonchamber.com or by calling 252-527-1131. Tickets are $35 per person.

Proceeds from the luncheon fund mini-grants the Education Foundation awards to Lenoir County teachers each year. In 2017, mini-grant awards totaled more than $15,500 and went to 40 teachers at 13 schools. In the past four years, the Education Foundation has provided more than $50,000 to help teachers pay for classroom projects, supplies and activities designed to enhance learning.

The mini-grant program is supported entirely through fundraising events like the luncheon and donations.

Because teachers’ grant applications always exceed the number that can be funded, community support for this and other Education Foundation fundraisers is essential to the success and growth of the program, according to Laura Lee Sylvester, executive director of the Foundation and president of the Kinston-Lenoir County Chamber of Commerce, its parent group.

“Last year, the Education Foundation awarded a record number of grants, but too many really creative grant proposals still had to be passed over,” Sylvester said.  “Our annual mini-grant luncheon is one way we hope to expand the program and reward more worthy grant ideas. We are very excited that Mrs. Cooper is going to be part of that effort this year.”

Since Gov. Roy Cooper took office, Mrs. Cooper has used her platform to improve the well being of children in the state and has made literacy an important element of her advocacy.

A native of Oklahoma City, she attended public schools, received her undergraduate degree from the University of Oklahoma, graduated from the Campbell University Law School and worked as a staff attorney to the legislature in Oklahoma and in North Carolina.

Mrs. Cooper has been active in the guardian ad litem program for children in Wake County since 2003, using her legal training to represent foster children in court. She has also served on the North Carolina Arts Council and on the board of directors at Raleigh Little Theatre, where she and the Coopers’ three daughters have volunteered.

She is an amateur birder and enthusiastic gardener and is working with Audubon North Carolina to restore native plant life to the grounds at the North Carolina Executive Mansion.

“Kristen Cooper is an excellent choice to keynote this fundraiser for a number of reasons,” said Patrick Holmes, public information officer for Lenoir County Public Schools and a member of the Foundation’s board of directors. “She is obviously very accomplished and she’s an excellent speaker, but mostly she has the welfare of North Carolina’s children at heart and – just like our teachers – she wants to see them thrive.”

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