Cabarrus County Education Foundation


Students at Patriots STEM Elementary dove into the aviation industry by studying the Miracle on the Hudson. Kindergartners - 5th graders all participated by creating and testing floating seat cushions, conducting a paper airplane project, crafting airplane replicas, constructing airplane evacuation ramps and designing devices to keep birds out of airplane propellers. The project culminated in an amazing night at the Carolinas Aviation Museum where students and their families could see the various projects, talk with students about them, speak with a survivor from the Miracle on the Hudson and tour the museum. Supplies for all the design projects were funded through a CCEF Classroom Grant.



It was an incredible night recognizes the many talented artists we have in Cabarrus County Schools. As part of the Youth Art Month Celebration, Dr. Lowder selected three pieces of artwork to become part of the Superintendent's permanent art collection. CCEF awards these students with a $100 check for their artwork. Congratulations to:

Emily Lamattina, Bearden Guitar, Cox Mill Elementary School
Jerry Chen, Harmony, Harris Road Middle School
Melivia Esquivel Hernandez, Stumbling is Not Falling, Cox Mill High School

Check out their amazing artwork here...

DEADLINE EXTENDED for CCEF's 2017 First Generation Scholarship program to March 10th at 4pm. For more info, click here...

We are excited to publish our first ever annual report! The report provides an overview of our 2015-2016 school year highlights.

Click here to read ...










Impact Cabarrus County Students and Encourage a CCS Teacher by investing in an extraordinary learning opportunity that rewards creativity and innovation in the classroom. We want to surprise one CCS Teacher with a classroom grant of up to $500 to fund a creative and innovative hands-on learning experience that students would not be able to participate in without this funding. Your donation of $10, $25, or more will make this dream come true. This campaign kicks off on #GivingTuesday, Nov. 29th. All funds received through December 12th will go to fund this grant. Click to donate...

Future public education will required involvement and collaboration among various local, civic, private and nonprofit entities, a concept I like to refer to as 'community entrepreneurship.'        ~Donald Bren

Thank you to the 50 companies and individuals that have partnered with CCEF to invest in the students and staff of Cabarrus County Schools! We are excited to celebrate our partnership and the impact it has made at our Annual Luncheon on September 21st! Won't you join us? To be recognized at our Luncheon, please have your pledge made no later than September 12th. 

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Saturday, June 26th was a great night for baseball! The Intimidators hosted their first ever Star Wars Night benefitting the Cabarrus County Education Foundation (CCEF)!

The night was billed as an out of galaxy experience with character appearances, themed uniforms, Star Wars related giveaways including light sabers to the first 100 kids 12 and under through the gate. The night was capped with fireworks set to the music of Star Wars.

With a sellout crowd of over 4,900 people, the Intimidators did not disappoint coming away with a win!

$3,000 was raised from the player’s Star Wars jersey auction and ticket sales. Thank you to the Intimidators for an awesome night!

Amy Gough Photo ColorwebConcord, NC - The Cabarrus County Education Foundation is pleased to announce that we have hired our new executive director, Amy Gough.

Gough is an accomplished nonprofit and marketing professional with 15 years’ experience in program development, marketing and public relations, fundraising, and event planning. Most recently, she led Rebuilding Together of Greater Charlotte, a nonprofit dedicated to critical home repairs for low-income homeowners, quadrupling the capacity and revenue of the organization in three years.

She has also served as a consultant over the years, advising a variety of nonprofits to provide guidance on marketing, development, and governance issues.

Merl Hamilton, board chair said that the selection committee thought Gough’s experience would be a good fit for the growth that previous ED Rachel Wilkes started. “Sharing our mission and the success these teachers bring to the classroom with the funds from classroom mini-grants is vital to our success. Having a leader who understands how to market a nonprofit and has development experience as well will help us do that.”

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CCEF Receives Support From Local Foundation

Posted: January 12, 2016

The Cabarrus County Education Foundation is honored to receive support from the Cabarrus County Community Foundation! As a part of the CCCF's grant cycle, the Education Foundation will receive $2,000 in support of its Classroom Mini-Grant Program.

The Cabarrus County Community Foundation was established in 1989 by local leaders to encourage philanthropy and secure resources to address local issues.The competitive grant program, funded by a permanent endowment advised by the board, addresses local issues and is directed by funding priorities established by the board.

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CCEF Receives Facebook Marketing SupportActionSprout web

Posted: December 2, 2015

The Cabarrus County Education Foundation is 1 of 2,000 nonprofits in the United States to be selected for the ActionSprout Facebook ad credits test project.

ActionSprout is the leading Facebook tool for causes. It encourages people to moved beyond like, share and comment and engages them around the activities that matter most to any organization - volunteering, fundraising, advocacy events, etc.

In an initiative to help nonprofits increase their awareness and increase engagement on social media, nonprofits were asked to submit their request for free ad campaigns to the ActionSprout team November 1 thru 15. As a result, the CCEF will be receiving three months of paid credits as part of this project.

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CCEF Awards 21K in Mini-Grants to Cabarrus County TeachersDonia web

Posted: November 20, 2015

Last night, the Cabarrus County Education Foundation funded 56 classroom grant projects submitted by Cabarrus County School teachers for the 2015-16 school year! Over 100 people attended the event held at the Cabarrus County School Education Center.

"It was a fun evening full of food, fellowship and a chance to celebrate and support directly the individuals who are the reason why we do what we do...the educators. Our mission statement specifically challenges us to provide the resources that our teachers need in order to foster student excellence. This program directly supports teachers in the classroom working to challenge, inspire and inform the children who are the future of our community,” said Rachel Wilkes, CCEF Executive Director.

Projects are cross-curricular and include everything from robots, coding and student broadcast software to drop-out prevention programs, art therapy units and butterfly gardens. As a result, this year’s projects will impact 18,000 students in Cabarrus County Schools! (Complete listing of 2015-16 classroom grants). Grants range in value from $250-$500 each.

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Cabarrus County Education Foundation Luncheon Set for September 16W CCEF 0253 web

Posted: September 11, 2015
Article by Michael Knox This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CONCORD, N.C. — Rachel Wilkes has seen the impact of the Cabarrus County Education Foundation and the mini-grants that are offered to classrooms through the organization.
Wilkes, the first full-time executive director of Cabarrus County Education Foundation, came on board in January 2014 and has just gone through her first fiscal year with the organization. During that time, she has seen the launch of the foundation’s scholarship program, as well the support provided to area classrooms with 43 mini-grants totaling more than $18,000.
The mini-grants range from $250 to $500. Here’s some of what the funding provided:

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The Cabarrus County Education Foundation is officially at capacity for its second Corporate Luncheon on Wednesday, September 16!luncheon web

“We are so very excited to be preparing for our second luncheon at Charlotte Motor Speedway", said Rachel Wilkes, CCEF Executive Director. "Our organization can only be as strong as those who choose to take the time to support it…and we are so very grateful for the continued support that we have received both at our inaugural fundraiser last year and at our Luncheon in a couple of weeks.”

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7 Students to Win First Generation Scholarships

Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Article by Linda Doherty | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Being the first person in your family to go to college is an impressive accomplishment, but paying for higher education can sometimes be more difficult than the academics.

That is where the Cabarrus County Education Foundation can help.

“The Cabarrus County Education Foundation is the nonprofit resource for Cabarrus County Schools,” said Executive Director Rachel Wilkes. “We are a separate, 501(c)(3) organization, but we exist to serve the students and teachers of Cabarrus County.”

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Posted: May 18, 2015lighthouseproject web

Under the leadership of BB&T Market President, Rob Betler, Wolf Meadow Elementary School is one step closer to an outdoor science classroom.

With a mission to serve ‘as a beacon for neighbors in need’, BB&T’s Lighthouse grants provide service and corporate financial support to nonprofits during the months of May and June. This year, Wolf Meadow was on the receiving end of this philanthropic program.

With the help of Ponders – Water Feature Construction company, local BB&T employees installed a large, custom pond with an ecosystem so that students can study indigenous plants and animals to the North Carolina region. Funds were also used to connect the already existing edible gardening area to the newly constructed water site. BB&T will also be providing books to the 2015-16 rising kindergarten class as well as setting up an employee reading program for the kindergarten classrooms.

We are so very grateful for the investment and dedication to enriching this community and the lives of our Cabarrus County School students.

Posted: March 29, 2015600x400 SunTrust Check 2015 web

We are excited to announce that SunTrust continues to be our leading Teacher of the Year sponsor through their SunTrust Foundation grant program.

SunTrust has long been a supporter of Cabarrus County Schools and has partnered with the Cabarrus County Education Foundation in giving annual teacher recognition dinners, luncheons and monetary sponsorships. This has made a huge difference in retention and morale for all of our teachers who are recognized for their achievements in shaping Cabarrus County Schools as the Clear Choice.

Thank you for supporting education and for choosing to invest back into your community and it’s future!

CCEF mini-grant at Hickory Ridge serves 50 to 80 students

Posted: Tuesday, April 14, 2015 STARS web
Article by Linda Doherty | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For some students, making the transition from middle to high school is no problem while others struggle just to keep up.

Because of the pressures teenagers face during the transition, the Cabarrus County Education Foundation has awarded a mini-grant to Hickory Ridge Middle School to help at-risk students. The STARS (Successful Transition For At-Risk Students) program serves 50 to 80 middle school students.

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Posted: Thursday, March 12, 20152015 CCEF Postcard 650x421 WEB 2

The Cabarrus County Education Foundation is happy to announce that the organization will hold it's second Corporate Luncheon at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday, September 16, 2015.

"We are so excited to return to the Charlotte Motor Speedway and build off of what became the premiere event for our organization last year. I am so happy to be a part of the development of this Foundation, and we've experienced a great deal of growth and momentum since January of last year. Our first Corporate Luncheon was definitely our way of announcing, in a very public way, our dedication to Cabarrus County Schools and we look forward to building off of that momentum."

"Once again, I would like to say a big THANK YOU as Ben Mynatt Family of Dealerships and S&D Coffee and Tea continue as our Summa Cum Laude sponsors for this year's luncheon as well! We are ecstatic to have our founding family businesses back and look forward to working with other business sponsors as we plan for this event. Thank you to all who have believed in us and our mission and continue to support the programs that we dedicate our time and efforts towards!"

Interested in partnering with the CCEF for this Luncheon?

Please contact Rachel Wilkes at 704.262.6246 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Strong support from Ben Mynatt Children's Foundation continues

Posted: Thursday, December 4, 2014bmcf web

On Wednesday, December 3, 2014 at the Ben Mynatt Buick GMC showroom $88,000 in project support was distributed to 15 nonprofit organizations in Cabarrus County. These organizations specialize in fulfilling the needs and providing necessary services to the children and youth in Cabarrus County.

The Ben Mynatt Children's Foundation Children's Classic just finished its 13th year. To date, the proceeds from this annual golf tournament total to over $545,000 and have, in turn, been distributed to children's groups in the region. The Ben Mynatt Children's Foundation allocates these funds through a grant application process that takes place during the Fall/Winter of each year.

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Cabarrus mini grant program increases number of projects funded

Posted: Sunday, November 16, 2014
Article by Lukas Johnson | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.gardening web

More than $18,000 in grants will fund dozens of projects to engage 13,000-plus students throughout Cabarrus County Schools.

The Cabarrus County Education Foundation will host the annual grant ceremony for its classroom mini-grant program Nov. 19 at the county’s Education Center.

Forty-three applicants will get amounts from $170 to $500 to help support innovative educational efforts.

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Education Foundation uses $35K on teacher mini grants

Posted: Sunday, September 21, 2014
Article by Michael Knox | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.CCEF 0101 2 web

CONCORD, N.C. — Michelle Hagle teaches at Concord Middle School and sees how budget constraints have impacted her and other teachers in the classroom.

“I have to beg, borrow or steal if I want a box of Kleenex in my room,” Hagle joked. “I don’t think people really realize what you have to pull out of your own pocket for the students that you love.”

Hagle made the comment during the inaugural Cabarrus County Education Foundation’s luncheon fundraiser Wednesday at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The event raised more than $35,000. Funds are used to give classroom mini grants in Cabarrus County Schools. During the 2013-2014 fiscal year, the Cabarrus County Education Foundation gave out $14,000 in grants to 31 applicants, impacting more than 9,000 students.

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Summit starts move to bring fight against hunger into Cabarrus, Kannapolis schools

Posted: Sunday, September 7, 2014 image-8 resize
Article by Lukas Johnson | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A thriving teaching garden at a Concord elementary school has helped spawn an effort to integrate a horticulture curriculum into the Cabarrus County and Kannapolis City public school systems.

As part of that effort, the newly renamed Cabarrus Farm and Food Council will convene a Hunger Education Summit Sept. 11 to connect people and pool community resources that help fight hunger countywide.

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Cabarrus Education Foundation Director: $35,000 Fundraiser 'Amazing'

Posted: Monday, September 1, 2014 1:30 pm
Article and Photo by Michael Knox | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.2013-2014 Grant Recipients teachers web

CONCORD, N.C. — Cabarrus Education Foundation’s first major fundraiser has raised more than $35,000 to help students in Cabarrus County schools, according to executive director Rachel Wilkes.

Over the years, the organization has had several small fundraisers, but this is the first major fundraiser the Cabarrus Education Foundation has organized, with 33 sponsors stepping forward to buy tables for a Sept. 17 luncheon at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Tables ranged from $250 to $10,000, Wilkes said.

“I didn’t think, to be quite honest with you, that we would have the support that we’ve had so far,” Wilkes said. “It’s been amazing.”

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The Cabarrus County Education Foundation is officially at capacity for the Inaugural Corporate Luncheon on Wednesday, September 17!Speedway Club2

"When you're first starting out with a project, particularly one that has never been done before and that's on a relatively large scale, it's easy to become overwhelmed by varying pressures, both internal and external", said Rachel Wilkes, Executive Director of the CCEF. "And although undeniably challenging at times, I can say without a doubt that the level of support we have received so far for this event and for our overall organization has completely taken me aback. What a special community we live in that not only assists its nonprofits, but actively reaches out to help."

"Because of this, myself and the board members of the Cabarrus County Education Foundation, look to our Corporate Luncheon as a way to share our story, celebrate what we have achieved so far and publically re-dedicate ourselves to our mission and the teachers and students in Cabarrus County Schools!"

I would like to go ahead and thank the following businesses for attending and making this event THE place to be in September!. . .

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Winecoff students’ mural celebrates North Carolina

Posted: Friday, June 13, 2014 8:46 am
Article and Photo by Michael Knox | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.mural web

CONCORD, N.C. — A hallway of Winecoff Elementary School is gleaming with North Carolina pride thanks to a new mural created by fourth-grade art students.

About 120 students created individual clay tiles that celebrate North Carolina imagery, such a lighthouse, Richard Petty’s #43 race car and logos for N.C. State and Duke University. Those tiles were then pieced together into a mural that dominates one of the hallway walls at Winecoff.

Aimee Mills, an art teacher at Winecoff Elementary, unveiled the mural to students this week.

“I think they are going to be thrilled,” Mills said. “Already they are pointing and saying, ‘That’s mine, I created that one.’ And they are so proud. Even before it was installed, just seeing their own individual tile not even put together with all the whole collaboration of tiles, they were so excited.”

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Once again, SunTrust Bank invests back into our community and schools by being our top sponsor for the 2014-2015 Teacher of the Year recognitions!TOYL9899 2 web

For several decades, SunTrust Bank has stood by Cabarrus County Schools, supporting education through annual teacher recognition dinners, luncheons and monetary sponsorships. This has made a huge difference in retention and morale for all of our teachers who are recognized for their achievements in shaping Cabarrus County Schools to be the Clear Choice.

In his presentation to the Cabarrus County School Board of Education on Monday, May 12, Chris Adams, Senior Vice President & Area Manager at SunTrust, reiterated the importance of teachers and their esteemed position and contributions to our society. In return, SunTrust awarded each of Cabarrus County School’s five finalists with $250 and the official 2014-2015 CCS Teacher of the Year with a $1,000 check.

Thank you, Chris and SunTrust Bank for your continued support of public education and our Cabarrus County School teachers! It makes a BIG DIFFERENCE!!

Middle-school Musicians Get Tips from a Pro

Posted: Monday, March 3, 2014 10:00 am
Article and Photo by Jessica Groover Pacek | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view

Charlotte Symphony horn player Andrew Fierova coaches eighth-graders at Harris Road Middle School on Thursday. Fierova has had five coaching sessions with the students and has a couple more left, thanks to a grant band teacher Laura Shepherd received through the Cabarrus County Education Foundation.

CONCORD, N.C. – It might have otherwise been a normal day for six eighth-graders at Harris Road Middle School, but on Thursday, they walked into a classroom and played their horns with a Charlotte Symphony player. It was not the first time this has happened, though.

Horn player Andrew Fierova and the students had their fifth coaching session on Thursday, thanks to a grant band teacher Laura Shepherd received from Cabarrus County Education Foundation.

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New Education Foundation director aims to help teachers

Posted: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 8:09 am
By Michael Knox | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CONCORD, N.C. — With budgets tight, teachers need all the help they can get. One resource is the Cabarrus County Education Foundation, which just hired its first full-time employee, new executive director Rachel Wilkes.

Wilkes is in charge of helping raise money to give grants to teachers, to help them in classrooms. Last year, Cabarrus County Education Foundation gave $14,000 in “mini-grants” to 31 teachers, Wilkes said.

“I want to grow this to a point where the school system can know they can come to us and propose that they need some help, whether it be manpower, or finances, because it’s something they can’t take on themselves,” Wilkes said.

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rachel podiumIn an address to the Cabarrus County School Board of Education on Monday, March 10, Dr. Katherine Propst, Assistant Superintendent, officially introduced Rachel Wilkes to the school board and presented the Foundation with a $1,884.98 check from their Administrator’s Golf Tournament. This past summer, Dr. Propst decided to turn the CCS school administrator’s annual summer golf outing into a fundraising tournament for the Foundation. We are so very grateful for this generous contribution and look forward to partnering with CCS to make this an annual fundraiser each summer.

Over the past several years, the Cabarrus County Education Foundation has also been supported by the Ben Mynatt Children Foundation’s annual golf tournament. The Ben Mynatt Children's Foundation Children's Classic is now in its 13th year. To date, they have distributed over $545,000 in cumulative giving to children's groups in our region. CCEF was awarded a check to the amount of $5,000.00 in December of 2013.

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2013-2014 Grant Recipients teachers 500At a reception held Wednesday, December 11, 2013, the Cabarrus County Education Foundation presented $14,000 in teacher grants.

Santa was on hand to present the award checks to the teachers and their principals. Grants were awarded to elementary, middle and high schools and special programs.  The grants cover a broad range of subject areas and activities.

Grants were awarded based on innovation, originality, potential for expansion, efficient use of funds, among others.  The funds supplement and expand the opportunities in the classroom in ways that the school budgets are unable to provide. 

You can see pictures from the reception and examples of last year’s winners can be seen on the Cabarrus County Education Foundation website as well as the CCEF Facebook page.

Additional information about individual grant activities can be obtained by contacting the principal of each school listed in the accompanying grant recipient list attached.


Ben Mynatt Family of DealershipsPerry ProductionsS&D Coffee and TeaVulcan MaterialsBen Mynatt Children's FoundationPiedmont TrustWomble CarlyleThe Speedway ClubSyscoptr duke energyptr wells fargoptr ACNepri websuntrustlogo webdougdonia logo web

Please support the Cabarrus County Education Foundation. To donate, contact Amy Gough at