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Smith to leave western N.C. funder

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Pat Smith, president of the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, plans to retire effective August 2009.

She has been with the organization for 25 years, the last 19 of which as its president.

“After 25 years, I will leave knowing that the foundation is strong in every way and poised for the next era of leadership and service to our mountain region,” Smith says in a statement.

The foundation has begun the search for Smith’s successor, an effort that will be led by Eleanor Owen, former board chair, with the help of Chicago search firm Kittleman & Associates.

Smith served as the foundation’s accountant before becoming president. During her tenure, the funder’s assets grew to more than $170 million from $5 million, and annual grantmaking jumped to more than $11 million from $600,000.

She also helped launch Women for Women, a giving circle administered by the foundation that includes more than 300 members and has awarded over $750,000 in grants to needy women and girls.

The foundation oversees more than 800 funds and has awarded more than $100 million in grants and scholarships since its inception in 1978.

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