Donors In Focus

Impactful Gifts

Women have a profound impact on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Established in 2002, the Carolina Women’s Leadership Council is a network of alumnae, parents and friends who are committed to supporting Carolina and mentoring future generations of women philanthropists and volunteers.

Mary Mills '82 and Lee Borden '82

Mary Mills and Lee Borden of Goldsboro, NC, made a commitment to establish and endow a family scholarship in 2021. The W. Lee & Mary Mills Borden Founders Scholarship is a merit-based academic scholarship designed to reward those who have shown a strong work ethic and academic achievement in high school. “Lee and I are both Tar Heel graduates, class of 1982,” said Mary Mills. “We have two children and a daughter-in-law who are also Carolina alums. We chose to endow a merit-based scholarship in the hopes of helping to attract worthy students to UNC. Sometimes a small financial recognition of an applicant’s achievements can help that student select Carolina over a competing university.” Lee enjoyed serving on the Shuford Program Advisory Board as well as the UNC Board of Visitors, and Mary Mills serves on the Women’s Leadership Executive Committee.

Charlotte ’86 and John Wickham ’84

Charlotte and John Wickham of Charlotte, NC, pledged gifts to UNC Kenan-Flagler, Arts Everywhere, and the Institute for the Arts and Humanities. Charlotte and John have helped expand creative opportunities at Carolina. Charlotte is an active member of the Carolina Women’s Leadership Council and sits on the Arts Everywhere Board and the Board of 100 Women at UNC Kenan Flagler, John is a chair of the Institute for Arts and Humanities Advisory Board, and they both volunteer across campus. “UNC is such an asset to our state and the world at large,” Charlotte said. “Students and faculty alike come to UNC, then go out and make an impact in our local communities and internationally. We volunteer and give back to UNC because it has given us more than we could ever return. It’s been an honor, and our hope is that Carolina will not only thrive but grow.”

Laura and Mike Grace ’PT

Laura and Mike Grace of Charlotte, NC, first discovered the Learning and Writing Center (LWC) at a first-year orientation session with their son Patrick ’19 and it lit a spark that stayed with them. The Learning and Writing Center provides personalized coaching and resources to help students find success both in and out of the classroom. Programs include writing and academic coaching, peer tutoring, study groups, test prep, online resources, English language support and more. Their gift established the Learning and Writing Center Relocation Fund. The fund jump-starts a partnership between the LWC and University Libraries to strengthen the center’s offerings and improve accessibility for students. The LWC’s message of inclusivity, collaboration and assistance aligns with the couple’s core values and was a message instilled in Laura at an early age from her father, who was grateful for the opportunity to go to college. “I feel fortunate that I grew up in a family that was very open-minded and truly believed that we are all created equal and all have a variety of gifts to share,” she said. Additionally, Laura and Mike along with Laura's brother, Jim endowed a Blue Sky Scholarship in honor of their father, Jim Babb ’57.

Louise Brady ’86

A three time Carolina parent, Louise chairs the Shuford Program Advisory Board and is an excellent example of women's leadership at the University. She and her husband Jim made a $1 million planned gift to the Campaign for Carolina.

W. Clay Grubb – Grubb Properties

Clay Grubb, CEO of Grubb Properties, gave $100,000 to establish the Gwendolyn Harris Smith Diversity Graduate Student Excellence Fund in the College of Arts & Sciences. In addition, Grubb chose to dedicate the first new office building in the Glen Lennox redevelopment to Gwendolyn Harris Smith, the first Black woman to attend UNC. Grubb said his company purposefully chose to honor somebody who does not get talked about often, but who had tremendous impact on the community. Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said the University and Grubb Properties are encouraging intersectional conversations through the announcement of the scholarship, which will be used to help recruit diverse graduate students.

Kristy Woodson Harvey ’07

Best-selling author and Carolina alumna Kristy Woodson Harvey ’07 reflects on her journey as a writer, highlighting her love for Beaufort, North Carolina, the place she calls home. With 10 novels published since 2015 and an 11th on the way, Kristy's Southern-inspired Peachtree Bluff series is being adapted for NBCUniversal. Carolina's influence on her writing style and the sense of family and connection continue to play a central role in her successful career. Her membership of the Carolina Women’s Leadership Council and support of the University Libraries solidify her strong connection to Carolina.

The Curtis Foundation

Thanks to the generosity of Barbara and Don Curtis ’63 and their daughter, Donna Curtis McClatchey ’93, the Curtis Foundation gave a generous donation of $21.275 million, which included a $10 million gift to the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media. This gift also supports the UNC School of Medicine, UNC Hospitals and UNC Athletics. Donna has been a member of the Carolina Women’s Leadership Council for more than 10 years and is a member of the executive committee.

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The Monk Family

Aurelia ’85 and William Monk ’86 and Molly ’84 and John Mears, on behalf of the Bill & Agnes Monk Family Foundation, gave $1 million to the Campaign for Carolina. Most of this gift will support students in the Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship — both those participating in internships in eastern North Carolina and for students from eastern North Carolina embarking on internships. American Studies, Kenan-Flagler Business School, and UNC Athletics will also be greatly supported by this generous gift.

Chase Wood ’89, ’95 (M.P.H.)

Chase Wood, in partnership with The Dickson Foundation, pledged $100,000 to support the Nutrition Online Degree Program at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. This program prepares public health professionals to assess scientific evidence for dietary guidelines and effectively communicate nutritional information to the public.

Leigh ’90 and Rob ’89 Edwards

Leigh and Rob Edwards pledged $1 million to support the University, most significantly to the Institute for Convergent Science, a campaign signature initiative. Their gift also supports the Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship, Global Studies and the Rams Club. Leigh and Rob are active volunteers and Carolina parents to Robert and Jake.

Carol Robinson ’82, Laura Grace (parent) and Francie Mangan ’83

Good friends Carol, Laura and Francie serve on the Learning Center Advisory Board and made leadership gifts to the center. The Learning Center helps students by providing resources, including one-on-one academic coaching, peer tutoring, study workshops and online tools to achieve their goals and succeed in the classroom and beyond.

Priscilla Taylor ’66, ’68, ’81 (M.S., Ph.D.)

Priscilla Taylor made a planned gift of $224,000 to support UNC-Chapel Hill scholarship programs, including Blue Sky Scholars and the Carolina Covenant. Her gift will also support University Libraries, Honors Carolina and the Graduate School. In addition to serving on countless boards at Carolina, Priscilla served on the UNC Board of Governors for 17 years.