Murrells Inlet, S.C. (Dec. 3, 2008) — Nearly two dozen of Horry and Georgetown Counties’ most influential leaders will participate in a new initiative to help them look beyond town borders and address regional challenges. The inaugural class of the American Leadership Forum, Waccamaw Region Chapter, will focus on building the skills and network necessary to advance the entire region.
The effort is being launched by the Waccamaw Community Foundation and The Lee Institute with a $290,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Founded in 1980 in Houston, the American Leadership Forum is a national nonprofit that aims to enhance community leadership through collaborative problem-solving.
“The Waccamaw Region is challenged by unseen geographic and demographic boundaries,” says Jonathan Kresken, President of the Waccamaw Community Foundation. “This initiative will unite an impressive group of proven leaders … Careful training and the camaraderie they gain by working together will empower them to tackle issues important to the entire region.”
“Knight Foundation looks for opportunities to transform communities. Building a network of better-connected leaders through the forum has that potential," said Susan Patterson, Knight's program director in Myrtle Beach.
Selected through a rigorous nomination process, participants currently include:
- James W. Adamson, M.D. – Medical Doctor associated with Conway Medical
- Barbara Blain-Olds – Assistant City Administrator of Conway
- P.J. Browning – Publisher of The Sun News
- Brad Dean – President & CEO of Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce
- Dave DeCenzo – President of Coastal Carolina University
- Lynne Ford – United Way Director of Resource Development Georgetown
- Cindy Elsberry – Superintendent of Horry County Schools
- Liz Gilland – Chairwoman of Horry County Council
- Marilyn Hatley – Mayor of North Myrtle Beach
- Greg Hembree – Horry County Solicitor
- Sel Hemingway – County Administrator, Georgetown County
- Jonathan Kresken – President and CEO of Waccamaw Community Foundation
- Thomas Leath – City Manager of Myrtle Beach
- James L. Lee – Pastor of Mason Temple Church of God in Christ in Conway
- Fred Richardson – CEO of Grand Strand Water and Sewer Authority
- Myers Rollins – General Manager/CEO Coast Regional Transportation Authority
- Jim Rosenberg – President/CEO of Burroughs & Chapin Co., Inc.
- Geale Sands – Executive Director Francis P. Bunnelle Foundation
- Bishop John Smith, Jr. – Bishop, Greater Bibleway Church in Conway
- Harold Stowe – Vice Chairman of Waccamaw Community Foundation
- Dennis Wade – President and CEO of The Jackson Companies
The participants have agreed to take part in a rigorous, year-long leadership development program consisting of monthly seminars and intensive dialogue regarding:
- collaborative leadership;
- understanding differences;
- ethics; and
- leadership systems.
Fellows also participate in a five-day wilderness experience, run by North Carolina Outward Bound. Upon graduation, “Senior Fellows” will continue to work together while also joining an active, nationwide network of more than 1,000 graduates.
“The American Leadership Forum distinguishes itself from other leadership training models," says Anne Udall, the Institute’s Executive Director. "It actively recruits top-level leaders in all areas of a community, creating a critical mass of accomplished leaders across different sectors of influence – individuals who understand community issues can be solved only through consensus building and the establishment of trust among diverse leaders."
For more information about the new Waccamaw Region Chapter of the American Leadership Forum or about the Waccamaw Community Foundation, please visit www.waccamawcf.org or call 843.357.4483(GIVE).
The Lee Institute, a nonprofit, was created by the Lynnwood Foundation in 1997 to honor and replicate the example of community visionary, Bill Lee. The reality that collaboration builds strong communities is the defining principle of The Lee Institute.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation promotes excellence in journalism worldwide and invests in the vitality of the U.S. communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Knight Foundation focuses on projects with the potential to create transformational change. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.
Founded in 1999, the Waccamaw Community Foundation is a public charity that currently manages nearly $20 million in charitable assets. The organization's mission is to rally philanthropic resources for the purpose of building a stronger community and a better quality of life for the people of the Waccamaw Region. In 2007 alone, the foundation disbursed over $1.5 million in grants to 200-plus non-profit organizations.
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.