Philanthropists helping make life better for all

Published 4:24 pm Wednesday, October 26, 2022

The Davie Community Foundation Board of Directors issued a challenge to the community in February 2013 at the foundation’s 25th anniversary celebration. The 5n5 Community Impact Challenge was launched to raise $5 million over five years in community funds.

“Such a challenge had never been considered before nor has it been since,” said Jane Simpson, foundation president and CEO.

Davie met that challenge at the end of 2018.

“It was an amazing accomplishment for a county our size and we think it speaks volumes about the generosity of our community,” Simpson said. “We should all be proud of the collective investment made for current and future generations.”

At the beginning of 2018, the 5n5 Community Impact Challenge was still $1 million away from meeting the challenge. “It was at that point two amazing Davie philanthropists came forward with a matching opportunity. Mr. Zach Wright and Dr. Joel Edwards committed $250,000 each to match the last $500,000. Meeting the match would put the challenge over the goal. Citizens from all areas of the county responded with donations to be sure we would meet the match and the challenge.”

Wright served as a board member of the foundation and was an advocate for issuing the $5 million challenge. He knew there were many needs in the community and wanted the foundation to have a role in meeting those needs. Co-owner of Surry Insurance and father of three, he is a longtime supporter of Davie County Schools, Davie County Arts Council, Davie High softball, Davie American Little League, Davie Family YMCA, and many other charities in and outside of Davie County.

Wright spent many years impacting the lives of young people through volunteer time as a baseball and softball coach. Although he traveled at a pace few could maintain, he always made sure he was back in time to meet his coaching and board duties.

Wright and wife Melody supported the 5n5 challenge through the Zach and Melody Wright Fund, an unrestricted community fund.

“Zach is a Davie County philanthropist, giving of his time, talent, and treasure to make our community better. Thank you, Zach,” Simpson said.

Many know Dr. Joel Edwards as a local physician. He practiced family medicine in Mocksville from 1979 to his retirement in June 2022. He has been dedicated to the health of Davie residents, but he has also served people around the world through Carolina-Honduras Health medical mission teams.

He is also a Davie County philanthropist. He has given of his time, talent, and funds to the Davie Community Foundation, Dragonfly House, National MS Society, Smart Start of Davie County, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Davie County YMCA, First United Methodist Church, Care Net Counseling, Hearts with Haiti, Forsyth Medical Center Foundation, and many more.

As part of the 5n5 challenge, Edwards opened the Joel Edwards Family Fund to provide support in the areas of health and education in Davie County.

“Both of these gentlemen put their care and concern for Davie County into action by creating community funds that will support Davie forever. By making their funds unrestricted and for use with education and health, the Davie Community Foundation Board will be able to direct grants where they are needed most in our community year after year.

“True philanthropists give up their control of the decisions, they simply give to make the community better trusting the leaders at the time to direct awards toward needs and opportunities.Thank you, gentlemen, for demonstrating your love for our community so generously,” Simpson said.

Contact Simpson at (336) 753-6903 or or visit