Biz Roundup: Local nonprofits team up to fulfill Christmas wishes with holiday party for children

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 19, 2021

ROCKWELL — The young residents of Nazareth Child & Family Connection’s residential home were treated to a traditional Christmas party last weekend, complete with opening of gifts, a non-traditional Christmas meal and other fun. 

Cases for a Cause, another local nonprofit, put on the big party at the Saleeby-Fisher YMCA with a huge helping hand from the community. More than $9,000 was raised for the event, which meant every child’s Christmas list was filled, along with a full meal for the more than 100 people in attendance. That total did not include the many individual gifts that were dropped off for children. 

“We all like presents, but I told the children we wanted them to know that everyone there thinks about them, loves them and prays for them,” Alex Hiatt, founder and president of Cases For A Cause, said in a news release. 

Vernon Walters Jr., the president and CEO of Nazareth, says the annual Christmas party is one of the biggest and most rewarding days of the year, not only for Nazareth residents, but staff members.

“To see the kids light up and enjoy the party every year is amazing,” Walters said. “Some of the children have never had a real Christmas, or if they had one, it wasn’t big. It is a blessing to see what this day means to them. And we are so grateful for the folks with Cases For A Cause putting it on.”

Gifts ranged from games to clothes to gift cards. Everyone was also treated to a taco and burrito bar lunch, a choice the residents voted on in advance. The children were middle and high school age.

Sponsors helping Cases For A Cause with the event included Ryan Noble Construction Inc., William Ryan Enterprises Inc., Rowan Custom Cabinets, Brenda Jane Bryan, Mr. and Mrs. Gregory Alcorn, Darby and Betty Dillard, Smiley’s Cycle Works, Rolling Thunder Chapter 6, Jaybird’s Custom Cycles, Mr. and Mrs. Paul David Cranford, Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Speck, East Rowan YMCA and Smoke Pit Salisbury.

Cases For A Cause is a nonprofit organization that works to support the physical and emotional wellbeing of children in foster care by building relationships, providing for their basic needs and educating the community while advocating for the children.

Nazareth Child & Family Connection is committed to providing a safe and nurturing environment for every child, individual and families. In addition to the residential services for children and foster care program, Nazareth Child & Family Connection has outpatient facilities in Salisbury and Lexington serving individuals with mental health, substance abuse, developmental disabilities, as well as behavioral health needs.

For more information about giving or employment opportunities at Nazareth, contact Jennifer Ethridge, director of human resources, at 704-279-5556 Ext. 1112 or by emailing

Rowan EDC staff members selected for leadership positions within Charlotte Regional Business Alliance

SALISBURY — Two Rowan Economic Development Council staff members have been named to leadership positions with the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance.

The CRBA promotes economic development in the Charlotte region and works directly with the Rowan EDC on business expansion and relocation projects. Rowan EDC President Rod Crider and Rowan EDC Director of Business Services Kendall Henderson both will serve in leadership roles with the organization.

Rod Crider has been named the chair of the CRBA’s Economic Development Advisory Council, beginning on Jan. 1. Crider served as vice chair in 2021. 

The EDAC is composed of professional economic development leaders from each of the 15 counties in the Charlotte Region. The Council exists to provide professional guidance and assistance in planning and implementation of aggressive economic development strategies for the benefit of the member counties and the entire Charlotte Region.

Within the EDAC is an Existing Industry Committee, which Henderson will now lead.

“I am delighted to step into this leadership role and am excited to collaborate with my peers across the Charlotte Region in such a pivotal time,” Henderson said in a news release. “Coming together as a collective to speak on important issues, promote advancement and share successes ensures that we are committed to the continuous growth and acceleration of the Charlotte Region and its economy.”

Kannapolis Parks and Recreation receives recognition placing it among the country’s top departments

KANNAPOLIS — The Kannapolis Parks and Recreation Department has been recognized for excellence in operations and service, which means the department is in the top 1% of all parks and recreation agencies in the United States.

“We are very proud to be recognized as one of the premier parks and recreation departments in the United States,” Kannapolis Parks and Recreation Director Gary Mills said in a news release. “Our City Council, staff members and citizen led Parks and Recreation Commission have worked hard to ensure we have a master plan for the development of quality parks and recreation programming. It is an honor to be recognized by our peers as a department who bring a variety of high-quality services to our citizens.”

The honor comes from the Commission for Accreditation of Parks and Recreation Agencies. All facilities, programs and events were independently and rigorously evaluated against established benchmarks to ensure the Kannapolis delivers a high level of quality parks and recreation services.

Kannapolis achieved 100% of the 154 standards that are required for the accreditation process. Standards include achievements in planning, administration, finance, programming, maintenance for the city’s parks and recreation facilities, services and programming.

Salisbury receives certificate of achievement for excellence in financial reporting

SALISBURY — The city of Salisbury finance department has been awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the U.S. and Canada.

“The city of Salisbury is honored to have received recognition from the Government Finance Officers Association for the quality of our annual financial report,” City Manager Lane Bailey said in a news release. “I’m proud of the dedication and great job our finance team has done with our budget. This award showcases the city’s continuous efforts to meet the highest principles of governmental budgeting and to provide transparent, valuable information to our residents.”

The award is for the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2020 and is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting.

“We are pleased to hear that we once again received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association,” Finance Director Wade Furches said in a news release. “This award reflects the commitment of City management and staff to follow general accepted accounting principles and work to keep expenditures within the adopted budget parameters. Every member of the Finance Staff has a hand in putting this report together and their hard work is displayed by receiving this award.”

Salisbury was judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program, which includes demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read its CAFR. 

Kannapolis celebrates recent downtown revitalization awards

KANNAPOLIS — The city of Kannapolis continues to receive recognition for its downtown revitalization project.

The city has received four recent awards from national and state organizations for what it’s done in and around West Avenue.

“It is an honor for the Kannapolis City Council, city staff and our residents to be honored for our vision and hard work to make these projects come to fruition,” Kannapolis Mayor Darrell Hinnant said in a news release. “In six short years we have created strategic plans, conducted thorough research on what was needed for our city and completed construction on these projects which have completely transformed Kannapolis. We are very appreciative of the support we have received from our residents and are pleased our efforts are being recognized across the U.S.”

Recent City awards are:

• American Planning Association – NC Chapter – 2021 Great Transformation Award. This state award recognizes projects that represent the highest standards of achievement in the state of North Carolina’s planning community. The Great Transformation Award was presented to the city for achieving its goal of transforming its downtown into a place where people want to congregate and a place for small businesses.

• Engineering News Record Southeast Award of Merit – Downtown Kannapolis Revitalization. This national award was given to the city, Barton Malow (contractor), and Populous (architect) for its complete transformation of the downtown core. From the replacement of infrastructure, to the streetscape and urban park of West Avenue to the state-of-the-art Atrium Health Ballpark the city is recognized for their work to revitalize this important economic driver of the municipality.

• 3CMA (the National City-County Communicators & Marketing Association) Silver Circle – West Avenue Streetscape Opening Event. This national award was presented to the city for its communications and marketing to residents regarding the revitalization of downtown and the subsequent opening event to unveil and celebrate the revitalization of downtown to its residents.

 • Charlotte Business Journal 2021 Heavy Hitters Award – Top Public/Private Development. This regional award also recognizes Kannapolis, Barton Malow (contractor), and Populous (architect) for the downtown revitalization project, specifically the Atrium Health Ballpark. From the beginning phases of the project which included the vision and planning by the city, to the construction of each component of the infrastructure, streetscape and ballpark this vision for downtown attracted attention across the Charlotte Region. The project was noted for the investment the city made in order to attract private investment which has resulted in over 35 new small businesses, a minor league season and hundreds of new residential units.

About Ben Stansell

Ben Stansell covers business, county government and more for the Salisbury Post. He joined the staff in August 2020 after graduating from the University of Alabama. Email him at

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