Proctor Foundation dissolving, leaving $500,000 for YMCA

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Proctor Foundation is dissolving, but its last gift of $500,000 — in fact, the largest gift in its nearly 40-year history — will go to the special populations swimming program at the J.F. Hurley Y.
“It’s a tremendous gift that will impact lives for years to come,” says Jamie Morgan, CEO of the YMCA of Rowan County.
The program was one of the first grants the foundation gave soon after it was founded in 1974, according to Patsy Rendleman, the daughter of founder Lucile S. Proctor.
“It’s really been our focus,” Rendleman says. Rendleman’s sister, Judy Norvell, had scoliosis.
“She needed to swim to keep her back strong,” Rendleman explains. “At the time, there was no indoor pool in Salisbury.”
“She went to UNCG because they had an indoor pool,” adds Edward Norvell, one of Judy’s sons.
Additionally, Lucile Proctor had a sister who was a principal at a school for special-needs children in Wayne, N.J. These two facts combined to give Lucile Proctor the idea to fund the special populations swimming program.
“The first emphasis of the Proctor Foundation was for special needs,” Norvell says. The foundation put in a lot of ramps around town before it was mandated by the ADA, he says.
Swimmers in the program come to the Y every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning. It takes extra guards and extra instructors, Morgan notes, along with many volunteers who have been with the program since it began.
The $500,000 endowment will be administered by the Foundation for the Carolinas. Its annual projected earnings of $20,000 to $22,000 will equal the grant that had been given each year.
“This way,” says Owen Norvell, Ed’s brother, “we can ensure that the program will be kept in perpetuity.”
With the recession and changes in regulations governing foundations, Ed Norvell says, the Proctor board of directors felt it best to dissolve.
“We wanted to give a few large gifts in keeping with our grandmother’s wishes,” Owen Norvell says.
Ed Norvell says that over the years, the foundation has disbursed $3.3 million in grants, making it a fairly small foundation. This is the biggest gift by far.
“If you look at the cumulative numbers, the foundation has affected a lot of programs,” Owen Norvell notes.
The move is bittersweet, Rendleman admits. “But we didn’t want to dissolve unless we could keep this program going.”
The Norvells and Rendleman credit other family members who have served on the Proctor board over the years. Rendleman’s brother-in-law, Edwin Norvell, was a board member, as was her husband, Richard Rendleman Sr. Other family members who have participated in the foundation include her son, Richard Rendleman Jr. and daughter, Pat Rendleman; and Ed Norvell’s wife Susan L. Norvell; along with attorney Rivers Lawther, who served as secretary/treasurer.
“We rotated being president for years,” Rendleman says. “I don’t know how many times I’ve been president.”
Owen Norvell is the foundation’s final president.
Lucile Proctor was inspired to start the foundation by her dear friend, Margaret Woodson, Rendleman says. “She saw how the Woodson Foundation helped the community.”
And Lucile Proctor would no doubt be pleased that her gift will continue to benefit the community for years to come.
Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.