Palestine community leader Ahnise Summers was the recipient of one of three awards given to East Texans recognized for their philanthropic contributions to the region during a National Philanthropy Day® celebration luncheon in Tyler Tuesday.
Summers was presented with the Spark Award during the event, sponsored for the fifth year by the East Texas Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).
Summers was named “a stalwart supporter of community service and philanthropy” for her participation and leadership in three major initiatives — The University of Texas at Tyler Palestine Campus Expansion, the Harvey Women’s Club capital campaign and the recent formation of The Action Fund in Palestine.
The Anderson County philanthropist was applauded as being, “the spark of enthusiasm and support behind the formation of The Action Fund, and a living example of its purpose to teach and encourage philanthropy.”
Also during the event, Peaches and Louis Owen of Tyler received the Outstanding Philanthropist Award and a Special Award was presented posthumously in memory of James H. Reynolds of Tyler.
The Owens, well known for their involvement in Tyler area charitable causes, celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary in October 2010 with a record-breaking gift of $18 million to establish the Louis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital at Tyler’s Trinity Mother Frances Hospital. It now serves Northeast Texas as the only hospital in the region dedicated to heart care.
Reynolds, a partner in Reynolds and Kay Contractors, received recognition for his charitable gifts.
Reynolds was inspired by another donor to “leave a legacy” through his estate. His planned gifts will now continue to support four charitable organizations that were important in his life: East Texas Medical Center Foundation, First Baptist Church of Tyler, The University of Texas at Tyler and The University of Texas at Austin.
The luncheon was attended by a capacity crowd of area residents, donors, civic and business leaders, previous volunteer and charitable award recipients and fundraising professionals. AFP East Texas Chapter President Rita Fryer, who called charitable giving a way to “keep our hearts strong and our souls connected,” thanked the many sponsors of the event, including the presenting sponsor, The University of Texas at Tyler.