Helping Hands February 9th, 2015

Welcome from the Director

Annette Clapsaddle

AnnetteDear friends and colleagues, For over 12 years, the Cherokee Preservation Foundation has had the honor to be a part of our community’s efforts to preserve, protect, enhance and create an improved quality of life for our people. We are proud that many of our grantees celebrated 10+ years of service to the Qualla Boundary and western North Carolina last year. As we move into 2015, we will continue to see the fruits of their labor. I would like to express my deep gratitude to all our friends and partners of the Foundation and look forward to another fruitful year of new opportunities to grow and sustain.


Making a Difference

A Great Leader Never Stops Learning

For Debora Foerst, being the principal at Cherokee High School can sometimes be challenging. Because a principal’s job description is so broad, she has her hands in virtually everything related to students, teachers, and parents. Foerst understands the importance of continuously working to improve her leadership skills and keep her skill set properly aligned with the constantly changing educational environment.When she was invited to participate in the Pathways for Nonprofit Leadership Program, offered by WNC Nonprofit Pathways, Foerst eagerly accepted. Being in the program would provide an opportunity to fine-tune and sharpen her professional, and personal development skills even more in order to become a more effective leader.

“I was invited to attend the leadership program by the Cherokee Preservation Foundation, a founding partner of Pathways,” said Foerst. “The folks there supported me throughout the process and were so encouraging.”

WNC Nonprofit Pathways offers the four-month professional development program twice yearly to a small group of gifted leaders from across western North Carolina. Upon completion, each participant will have stronger skills and capacities to lead in effective, sustainable ways.

“With my background as a teacher and a development administrator, I recognized that this program would be a good, solid stepping stone in my role as a high school administrator,” said Foerst. “It is important to build a foundation to become the type of leader who can make positive change and inspire others.”

An essential part of the leadership program is goal-setting. Research shows that setting specific goals is important, especially in making change happen. Foerst set out to make a list of areas she wanted to improve to help her become a more well-rounded, valuable leader.

“I have always set high standards for myself and so my primary focus in the program was to seek ways to obtain an enhanced level of performance,” she said. “It was important for me to find ways to be more actively involved in school projects and more knowledgeable in relevant educational issues. I also wanted to set a goal to achieve a higher degree, and become more organized in my work space.”

Foerst believes she is moving in the right direction in her role as a high school principal and believes the impact of participating in the Pathways for Nonprofit Leadership Program has provided her a new skill set to grow into a more effective school leader. She feels stronger in assessing situations as they come up and utilizing available resources to make them work in any situation.

“I’m so grateful for the support and encouragement of the Cherokee Preservation Foundation and WNC Nonprofit Pathways,” Foerst said. “There is still so much to do, but I’m more focused in my leadership role and look forward to the future.”

For more information about the Cherokee Preservation Foundation, visit

For more information about WNC Nonprofit Pathways, visit


Jones-Bowman Leadership Award Program Fellows Serving Others and Enriching Their Community

The holiday season is always a busy time filled with work, shopping, gatherings, food preparation and family traditions. For the Jones-Bowman Leadership Award Fellows, the holidays provided a time to make new traditions – giving their time to a worthy cause.

Jones-Bowman Leadership Award Fellows with Ms. JoAnn Catolster Eslinger from the Yellow Hill Community.

“During the middle of December, the Jones-Bowman Fellows spent time giving back to elders in the community for their group project,” saidJones-Bowman Leadership Award Program Coordinator Alicia Jacobs. “They wanted to give back to elders this year by sharing in the holiday spirit. Not only was time spent giving back, it was an opportunity to gain knowledge for our students.”The 2014/2015 Jones-Bowman Fellows are Kayla Smith, Carmen Johnson, Alexa Armachain, Josh Gossett, Devyn Smith, and Tim Swayney.

The Fellows spent time with Ms. JoAnn Catolster Eslinger from the Yellow Hill Community. They decorated her tree and also a tree they had brought.

“After we decorated the trees, we sat down as a group and spoke with Miss JoAnn. Miss JoAnn was a wonderful lady who gave us advice on education and life and told us how proud she was that we were continuing our education. Miss JoAnn also offered her advice for us anytime we needed,” said Jones-Bowman Fellow Kayla Smith. “This year’s project was a wonderful one and allowed us to give back and spend time with this amazing lady.”

The Fellows also presented Ms. Eslinger with a Jones-Bowman handmade Christmas ornament, made by Jones-Bowman Fellow Josh Gossett.

The Fellows also presented Ms. Eslinger with a Jones-Bowman handmade Christmas ornament, made by Jones-Bowman FellowJosh Gossett, along with a Christmas gift basket. “The group project this year was amazingly beneficial and enriching,” saidGossett. “The fact that we were able to give back to elders within the community really was a blessing. The time we spent with Ms. Eslinger really helped put perspective on how blessed we are!”

Through their community involvement, the Fellows gained valuable insight into building relationships, developing new skills, making social connections and gaining new perspectives.

“The group project was an awesome experience for me as a member of Jones-Bowman,” said Fellow Tim Swayney. “We enjoyed visiting Ms. Eslinger. She gave me great wisdom on never giving up on my dream that I have my mind set on.”

Fellow Alexa Armachain agrees. “Ms. Eslinger expressed how she was proud of us and our accomplishments which helped encourage me to keeping working hard toward my own goals,” she said.

The Jones-Bowman Leadership Award was established in 2007 to honor the memories and leadership of Principal Chief Leon Jones and Mr. James Bowman, founding members of the Board of Directors of the Cherokee Preservation Foundation. The Cherokee Preservation Foundation and other contributors fund individual learning plans of the Fellows.

For more information on the Jones-Bowman Leadership Award Program, contact Alicia Jacobs at the Cherokee Preservation Foundation-828-497-5550.


About Cherokee Preservation Foundation

Established in 2000 as part of the Second Amendment to the Tribal-State Compact between the EBCI and the state of North Carolina, the Cherokee Preservation Foundation is an independent, not-for-profit foundation funded by the EBCI from gaming revenues generated by the Tribe. The Cherokee Preservation Foundation is not associated with any for-profit gaming entity. The impact in grant distribution on the Qualla Boundary and the western seven counties of the state totals more than $70 million dollars, with every dollar of support matched by $1.55 in other funding or in-kind resources, making the total impact of the Cherokee Preservation Foundation and its partners in the region more than $156.5 million. With a core mission to improve the quality of life for the EBCI, the key areas addressed include cultural preservation, economic development and job creation and environmental sustainability.

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