“An extraordinary partnership.”
“Game-changers in our community.”
Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. used the terms “dreamers” and “visionaries.”
Those were apt descriptions, as Dabney and Walker Sanders received the 2023 Adelaide F. Holderness/H. Michael Weaver Award. The couple were honored for their exemplary public service to Greensboro and the greater community at the Distinguished Service Awards ceremony held at UNC Greensboro’s Tew Recital Hall on March 21.
“Dabney and Walker Sanders are a remarkable duo who have made an indelible mark on this city they love,” said Mae Douglas, vice-chair of the UNCG Board of Trustees. “Congratulations to our outstanding award recipients. We are grateful for all they have done for our community.”
The UNCG Board of Trustees confers Distinguished Service Awards upon deserving North Carolinians in recognition of meritorious public service and civic engagement. The Holderness/Weaver Award is named for Adelaide Holderness ’34, the first woman to serve on UNCG’s Board of Trustees, and H. Michael Weaver, a long-time UNCG supporter who has served the University in many capacities. The award recognizes exceptional service at the state and local level.
Dabney Sanders is the Downtown Greenway Project Manager for Action Greensboro. She chairs the board of the Greensboro Literary Organization, which produces the annual festival Greensboro Bound and brings authors and books into Guilford County schools. She also serves on the board of the Eastern Music Festival, the Public Art Advisory Committee for the Piedmont Triad International Airport, and the Light the Way campaign committee for UNCG’s College of Visual and Performing Arts.
Walker Sanders has served as President of the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro since 1999. Under his leadership, the Community Foundation has grown to manage more than 700 charitable funds and nearly $300 million in assets. He developed numerous large community endowments, including the Future Fund, Women to Women, Public Art Endowment, and BIG Equity Fund. Walker has helped spearhead several community initiatives, such as Carolyn and Maurice LeBauer Park and Tanger Center for the Performing Arts.
Trustee Margaret Benjamin said, “These ‘dynamic do-ers,’ as they have been called, have the capacity to recognize needs and opportunities, gather people together to do good, and then persevere to accomplish their goals.” She added, “What you’ve heard so far is just the tip of the iceberg for this couple’s many, many contributions toward making our community the best it can be. Side by side, they’ve worked in the trenches, put their shoulders to the wheel, and done the heavy lifting to get their good work done.”
Chancellor Gilliam concluded the award event by praising their leadership, perseverance, and passion. “As colleagues, friends, and neighbors, we applaud Dabney’s and Walker’s exemplary public service to – and civic engagement with – the City of Greensboro and surrounding community. … Your legacy will be forever synonymous with helping Greensboro turn a corner and forge a path toward being the best place it can be.”
By Chris Garton.
Photograph, l-r, Chancellor Gilliam, Dabney Sanders, Walker Sanders, Margaret Benjamin, and Mae Douglas. Photo by Mike Micciche.