AshevilleHendersonvilleNews Stories

Vintage Carolina philanthropic benefit a hit ‘Now and Forever’

The Cliffs executive chef Edwin Bloodworth serves a plate, at Vintage Carolina. Photo by Pete Zamplas.

“Now and Forever: The Heart of Giving” was the theme of the March 7 event, and a foundation motto. “It’s simple elegance, of making a gift that makes life better for everyone,” President-CEO McCray V. Benson told The Tribune of the optional black-tie event he said drew about 415 people and grossed about $105,000. “It’s how we as a community come forward in our generosity, year after year.”

Scrumptious bites were from Champion Hills Country Club, Chef Michael’s Catering, The Cliffs, Dandelion Eatery, Hendersonville Community Co-op, and Hendersonville Country Club.



Saluda Grade Cafe sported many chocolates and other sweets. Kevin Duane Kerr fires up a melted treat. Photo by Pete Zamplas.

Champion Hills’ braised New Zealand lamb shank and goat cheese grits melted in one’s mouth. Executive chef Donald Paleno sprinkled fried, crispy collard greens on top for a healthy touch. Kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) squash bisque was a rich drink.

The station next door had Hendersonville Community Co-op’s assorted cheeses, manned by the co-op’s front end manager Josh Musselwhite and “cheesemonger” Zachary Stoker. A highlight was Three Graces Dairy’s herb-enhanced cheeseballs; the Rum Raisin Chevre is rolled in maple-candied walnuts. Fluffy Chevre (“goat cheese” in French) tastes like a lower-fat version of cream cheese.

Chocolaty treats were from Saluda Grade Cafe and Van’s Chocolates. Will Ralston, Van’s Chocolates owner, showcased many of his top sellers. He was excited with his shop’s remodeling.

Lindsey Nofsinger, a West Henderson student interning with Saluda Grade Cafe, was at its station. She was amazed by how “precise” their drying and shaping of sweets was.

Complimentary wine, beer and hard cider were from the likes of Bold Rock Hard Cider, Burntshirt Vineyards, The Country Vintner, Empire Distributors, Mutual Distributing Co., Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Southern Appalachian Brewery and Tryon Distributing.

Music was by jazz guitarist Dan Keeler and stand-up bassist Kevin Lampson, with dancing to Mr. C’s Mobile Disc Jockey.

Southern Appalachian Brewery co-owner Kelly Cubbin shows SAB craft brews. Photo by Pete Zamplas.

Saluda Grade cafe owner Kaye Vasquez said some of her workers went to college with help of CFHC scholarships. “They just need chances. This gives them an opportunity, serving our community.” Benson added these scholars can “take advantage of opportunities, and to be prepared for unseen challenges.”

Jan Shefter touts the chance for donors to establish and expand funds, in “perpetuity.” She attended with her husband, dental surgeon Dr. Glenn Shefter. As CFHC board president, Jan Shefter helped get Benson hired as its first paid administrator in 2005.

Many said they are proud to support the fundraiser and foundation, including Entegra Bank V.P. Bradley Jones who is the North Main branch manager. Entegra is Vintage’s main sponsor.

Tickets were each $120. The event usually nets $80,000, and there were about $105,000 in total receipts such as from sponsors and in-kind donations, Benson said.

CFHC distributes more than $2.5 million annually for various charities and scholarships, Benson said. “We are grateful for the persistence and generosity of community that has now built a foundation of approximately $90 million” since it began in 1982, Benson stated. “Each generation adds another layer for the next one to come.”

Spanning more than 530 endowment funds, this is a “permanent pool of charitable capital, from which grants and scholarships are awarded” in such areas as the arts and human services, Benson said. “It provides opportunity grants for new ideas.”

Newer funds target such groups as animals.


CFHC CEO McCray Benson, at right, greets former CFHC board member Stan Shelley at Vintage Carolina. Photo by Pete Zamplas.

The Bright Futures Scholarships (BFS) drew over 200 applicants by the March 1 deadline, Benson said. It is for “bright students who show great talent and promise in an area, but have a (financial) need. It gets them into leadership positions.” Twelve people have been on its renewable college scholarships.

The local Chamber of Commerce last month honored CFHC Scholarship Committee member Jim Heidebrecht as the champion for education. This was for his helping grow the BFS fund to over $300,000 in two years. He has “championed the call for the challenge” that resulted in an anonymous, primary donor matched others’ contributions, Benson said.

Learn more about the Community Foundation of Henderson County via 697-6225, or

Share this story
Show More

Related Articles