Pictured above is Charlotte Berry with mother Elizabeth Marshall Jackson. Charlotte Berry was introduced to the world of philanthropy by her mother and father James & Elizabeth at a very early age. Always sensitive to the needs of their community James & Elizabeth inspired their 10 year old daughter to raise money for the “Milk Fund” by performing the play “Cinderella” with her elementary school friends in their family’s backyard. Charlotte charged .15 cents a ticket and was overjoyed when the local paper declared their performance a “Triumph!” She raised $13 dollars and bought 92 quarts of milk for impoverished African-American. That was only the beginning. At age 12, Charlotte organized her fellow middle-schoolers to collect dimes for the Memphis Chapter of the American Red Cross. Charlotte led the charge and inspired her friends to join her “fundraising campaign” propelling her into a life-time of national and international work that continues to this day.
Charlotte Berry is first and foremost a pioneer. Her early career began at Mary Baldwin College where she achieved her psychology degree performing social work throughout the United States before. In the sixties and seventies Charlotte served as the first female board member of Wachovia Bank, the first female chairman of the Asheville Chapter of the American Red Cross, and the first female Chairman of the United Way of Asheville. Charlotte was a founding member of the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, Vanderbilt Hospital Woman’s Auxiliary and the Pack Place Development Project at Pack Square.
In 1980, Charlotte was named National Chairman of Volunteers of the American Red Cross for whom she traveled throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Her responsibility to promote various Red Cross services inspired over 1 million volunteers to contribute their time and finances to the Red Cross. Her success was followed by a national appointment to the United of America’s Board of Directors.
In 1990, Charlotte moved from Asheville to Columbia, SC. Her historic service to the citizens of Columbia remains unparalleled serving as board member, chairperson and philanthropist for hundreds of higher education, human welfare, health, environmental and arts causes across South Carolina.
Charlotte will be the first to share that one of her most rewarding experiences is inspiring other people to get involved in philanthropy for the first time. She finds joy in helping others find the right fit for what they have to offer, from volunteer work, to a new job with a nonprofit organization or a board position they hadn’t previously considered. She strongly believes that everyone should experience what it feels like to give back.
Now in her 87th year of Charlotte has been a first person witness to modern philanthropy and is known around the world as “America’s Volunteer” having raised and given millions of philanthropic dollars. She’s received countless awards for her service including the American Red Cross’ Harriman Award, United Way’s Humanitarian of the Year, a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Mary Baldwin College and the prestigious Order of the Palmetto from the State of South Carolina to name only a few.
Simply put, Charlotte has lived generously. She finds a need and meets it. She makes a promise and keeps it. She’s spent her life in service to others ensuring that they, like her, experience a life worth living.
Charlotte Berry, with her co-chair Dr. Kathleen Robinson, is overseeing National Association of Nonprofit Organizations & Executives 2018 Board of Governors Nominations. Charlotte will also be hosting NANOE’s 2019 Convention & Expo in Charleston, SC in March of next year. This article was written by NANOE Co-Founder Jimmy LaRose.