By Pete Zamplas- Two business owners are providing cash each month to various local non-profit organizations, doubling to $24,000 the charitable community awards program that has an application deadline of Friday, Feb. 3.
Dan Poeta of Horizon Heating and Air Conditioning, LLC and Matt Johnes of Hannah Flanagan’s Pub and Eatery are joining forces in the Horizon and Hannah Flanagan’s Community Fund. By each donating $1000 per month, they are doubling to $24,000 the total money for 2017. This is the fund’s third year.
Each month, a selection committee chooses to award $2,000 total to one or more nonprofit in Henderson County with a different recipient each month. Already a “couple dozen” of applications came in over the first two weeks, Johnes said Friday.
Recipients in the first half-year, in early 2015, were Interfaith Assistance Ministry, then Homes for Youth and also Feed the Kids Coalition, Shriners’ Hospitals for Children and also Backpack nutrition, Helping Hand Development Center, Hands On! A Child’s Gallery, then Vocational Solutions.
“Dan did this for two years by himself” in starting the HHA Community Fund, Johnes said of Horizon owner/Pres. Dan Poeta. “This year, I asked to be involved. We encourage other small business owners to participate in the future.”
Johnes likes how the program is “structured through the Community Foundation, and thus well-organized.” Poeta also sees advantages in having the fund administered through the Community Foundation. “I don’t have a tremendous amount of time, in running a business. We are very blessed to donate to boost the resources of those folks (in nonprofits) who do have the time to help others.”
They like how to be eligible for the awards, nonprofits need to officially be 501(c)3 tax-exempt non-profit groups operating in Henderson County and to benefit local residents. The online application form features a box to type in the “organization’s mission or most significant activities.” Another required field to fill in is on the percentage of the group’s “income used for programs.”
Both businessmen give back. “The community has been so supportive of Hannah’s for so long,” 2010 Chamber Small Business Leader of the Year Johnes said. He has been a Hannah’s owner since 2000. He has been active in Downtown Hendersonville, such as helping lead the City of Hendersonville’s Merchants Advisory Committee.
Horizon won the chamber business leader award in 2013. Poeta is doubling the size of his local office facility. He said his family and business have “been embraced by Henderson County. We want to give back in a meaningful way.”
Poeta does so largely and year-round as president of the Henderson County Education Foundation (HCEF). He is in his second year of serving in that post. A reward is receiving “gratitude of (HCEF) recipients” such as teachers for grants and students for college scholarships. “We administered well over $100,000 in scholarships” in the past year, he noted.
Poeta put his feet to work to raise money for another good cause, in dancing in Flat Rock Playhouse’s Theatre of the Stars last winter in Playhouse Downtown. He and Amy Jones fronted a dancing foursome. Their routine benefited Vocational Solutions. Two of its clients joined in, such as with moves in a chilly wintry opening scene. It may not have been “poetry in motion,” but definitely was Poeta in Motion.
Applications for the charitable program’s entire 2017 calendar year are accepted by Feb. 3. To apply on behalf of a nonprofit, check http://horizonheatac.com/hha-community-fund/ or http://theoriginalhannahflanagans.com/community-fund-charitable-giving-wnc/.