Generous gift from a simple woman helps families in Winston-Salem

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People were astounded when a cafeteria manager, who scrimped and saved all her life, died and left $2.85 million to the Winston-Salem Foundation. Her nephew, Charles Hemrick, spoke with FOX8 about how his Aunt's surprise gift is helping families at the Ronald McDonald House in Winston-Salem.

According to Hemrick, Carter was a simple woman with a seventh-grade education, who saved every penny she could.

“Over the years, it just kept on multiplying,” Hemrick said.

Carter worked as the cafeteria manager at RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company.  She accrued much of her wealth from preferred stock in the company.  A journal Carter left behind tells how she kept a close watch on all of her investments. “She didn't trust too many people,” said Hemrick.

“She had asked me well maybe a year before she passed away if I would be the adviser of the fund at the foundation,” Hemrick said.

He chose the Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem as one of the places to benefit from the Sam N. and Pauline H. Carter Fund his Aunt established at the Winston-Salem Foundation.

“Our mission is to provide a home away from home in our house and our family room for families with children receiving medical care in our community," said Chuck Kraft, Executive Director of Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem. "The biggest compliment the families can provide to us as they are leaving or checking out is saying it truly felt like a home away from home.”

Grant money from the fund has helped provide more food and shelter for families staying there.  A special room in the house that stores snacks families can eat on the run is called "Pauline’s Pantry."  There is also a special red welcome room courtesy of the Sam N. and Pauline H. Carter Fund.

Carter died in 2000 at the age of 89.  Wise investing of her gift ever since, by the Winston-Salem Foundation, made the improvements at the Ronald McDonald House a reality today.

“So what we do our responsibility in that respect is to create an endowment and to invest that endowment so that he then hasan  annual income to make recommendations for distribution,” said Annette Lynch of the Winston-Salem Foundation.

Today, the fund is worth $3.3 million and has also paid out $2 million  in grants along the way.

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