Giving Beyond The Horizon

The Hickory Nut Gorge Foundation (HNGF) was founded in 2006 by the late James P. Dunn and his wife, Susan.  Along with a handful of friends and supporters, the organization was formed out of our mutual desire to put the words, “leaving a place better than you found it,” into tangible results.

In its simplest terms, the Foundation was created as an endowment that will last forever. Our purpose is to help preserve, improve and serve the environment, wildlife and people who live in the Gorge, both now and in the future. 

Our organization awards grants to nonprofit organizations in the Gorge. Giving to the HNGF makes a permanent difference for future generations that will live in the Gorge. That’s because the earnings from your financial gifts are invested back into the Gorge. It becomes a legacy that outlasts our own lives.

Why Give?

It’s a good question.

Ways To Give

Assets to consider in planning your gifs include cash, securities, life insurance or real estate. By pooling gifts of all sizes, we can provide significant support for local needs.
Gifts in honor or memory of friends and family are always welcome.

You may give as little or and much as you wish. There is no set limit on contribution.

Other Meaningful Ways to Give

Include the Foundation in your will and in your estate planning

Work on one of our many volunteer committees

Join the board

Tell your friends & neighbors about us

Become a sponsor of the annual Community Impact Awards Gala


Bulletin Board

Bringing Quality Healthcare Closer

The Gorge residents and those of nearby communities have longed for primary health care closer to home to avoid a lengthy round trip for family check-ups, routine tests and special medical supplies. Thanks to the Mountain Area...

HNG Community Center

Helping the Upper Hickory Nut Gorge Community Center in Gerton renovate its kitchen. This building is one of the oldest community centers in the state of North Carolina and...

Olympiad and Lure of the Dragons

In the early stages of the HNG Olympiad and Dragon Boat Races, the Foundation provided essential seed money to help these all-volunteer driven organizations make necessary purchases to grow their events...

The Foundation


Chairman - Bob Keith
Vice-Chairman - Peter O'Leary
Treasurer - Jack Barton
Secretary - Dawn Regan


Board Members

Kevin Cooley
Tommy Hartzog
Ned Kiser
Jim Nordberg
Jim Rhodes
April Sottile
Ric Thurlby
Woody Turner


Past Board Members

Ann Herman-Nedhi, a Founder
James P. Dunn, a Founder
Valerie A. Hoffman
Angelo Grillo
Thomas McKay , a Founder
Edith Bond
Stuart Richardson
Cathy Leestma
Andy Bell, Advisor
Jim Proctor
Bill Miller
Cornee Yountz
Jeanine Nobel


Core Values

We are responsible for the future of the Gorge.
We are responsible to and for each other.
We strive to do the best thing, for the best reason, in the best way.

Our Awards

On appearances, the grants we award are not big and splashy in terms of specific amounts, but they are significant in far more lasting ways.

Founders Circle

As a small early-stage community foundation, building up the endowment upon which it exists, is vitally important. It is the only significant way in which to deepen the impact of the organization over time.