Our 2021 Citation Award Honorees

Our 2021 Citation Award Honorees

August 9, 2021
Category: Event
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We’re thrilled to announce that NCCJ will honor community leaders Betty Cone of Greensboro and Kitty & Earl Congdon of High Point with the Brotherhood/Sisterhood Citation Award at our 55th annual Citation Award Dinner, which is happening in-person and virtually on Wednesday, November 10, 2021.


“Since the 1960s, Betty, Kitty and Earl have invested a truly remarkable amount of time and treasure to strengthen and uplift Greensboro and High Point,” says Ivan Canada, our executive director. “From education to economic development, from arts to healthcare, their extraordinary efforts have made our Triad community more inclusive, vibrant and resilient for all people. NCCJ is thrilled to have this opportunity to spotlight and celebrate their work through this well-deserved honor.”



Betty Cone is a community-building powerhouse.

Since the late 1960s, Betty has devoted herself to revitalizing Greensboro’s once-empty downtown and reshaping it into a more accessible and inclusive city center. Through her vision, diplomacy, and talent for inspiring others and building consensus, she has created hundreds of ways to bring people of all identities together to enjoy the arts and celebrate the city’s rich cultural diversity.


Over the years, Betty’s quiet and consistent efforts have transformed nearly all aspects of downtown Greensboro’s civic life and economic development. As the executive director of Grassroots Productions Limited, she was the driving force behind annual events like Fun Fourth and the Festival of Lights. She also managed Accounting for 21 City Stage events. Betty played key roles in founding the Greensboro Cultural Center; saving and restoring the Carolina Theatre; re-establishing the J. Douglas Galyon Depot as a vibrant transportation hub; and establishing the Old Greensborough Gateway Center as the city’s first incubator for startups and small businesses.


Inclusion is deeply entwined in all her ventures; Betty has spent decades bridging racial divides and breaking down barriers between people. In the 70s and 80s, she led the way in inviting people of color to get involved with organizations such as the Junior League of Greensboro and United Way of Greensboro. She has worked closely with organizations including Old Greensborough Preservation Society, the Greensboro Merchants Association, ArtsGreensboro, and many more. Betty has also served as a trustee for universities including North Carolina A&T University and the North Carolina School of the Arts and served on the Board of Visitors for Wake Forest and UNC-Chapel Hill. She has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce and ArtsGreensboro’s O. Henry Lifetime Award (1975 and 2016) and the North Carolina Order of the Long Leaf Pine (1983.)


Kitty & Earl Congdon are High Point’s guardian angels.

Inspired by their strong faith and sense of moral obligation to use their good fortune for the benefit of others, they have been reshaping the community since the 1960s (when their family moved to High Point from Virginia) by making strategic investments in education, healthcare, economic development, and other critical community needs.


For the Congdons, family is everything. Kitty and Earl instilled a strong habit of giving in their children and grandchildren, who are carrying this philanthropic legacy forward through personal gifts, family business Old Dominion Freight Line, and the Earl and Kathryn Congdon Family Foundation. The Foundation invests in organizations that promote improved quality of life by reducing barriers to opportunity. Education is a key focus area, including significant gifts to High Point University and organizations like Say Yes, the Guilford Education Alliance, and Communities in Schools. Another focus area is economic development, including a partnership with Business High Point to create Congdon Yards, a community-focused entrepreneurial endeavor to attract youth professionals and promote job development, small business, and equity-focused growth.


In 2018, the Congdon Foundation helped fund Community Builders, a grassroots initiative spearheaded by YWCA High Point to help residents and leaders in High Point understand systemic racism and create strategies for achieving racial equity. Other organizations the Congdons have supported include United Way of Greater High Point, Family Services of Greater High Point, Greater High Point Food Alliance, Guilford Education Alliance, and the Community Clinic of High Point. Kitty and Earl have been recognized with awards including the High Point Enterprise Citizen of the Year (2015) and Salvation Army’s Darrell and Stella Harris Champion of Hope Award (2020.)




The Citation Award Dinner is NCCJ’s biggest community program and fundraiser, and the Triads largest annual event dedicated to diversity and inclusion. The 2021 Citation Award Dinner will be held both virtually and in-person on Wednesday, November 10. The event will be chaired by Derek Ellington, formerly Bank of America’s President of the Triad and Business Banking, Atlantic South Region Executive and soon to be the head of Small Business Banking at Wells Fargo.


In-person attendance at the Koury Convention Center is capped at 500 people this year. We encourage those interested in attending or sponsoring the event to reserve their spots or tables now. All revenue from the dinner provides essential funding for NCCJ’s work throughout the year.