Lorry and Sherrie Schrage were honored Thursday as philanthropists of the year at a luncheon hosted by the North Georgia Community Foundation.
More than 100 people attended to salute the good works of the Schrages, who have contributed money, worked on boards and volunteered time to help social welfare agencies provide services to those in need.
Kevin Price was presented the 2013 Woodrow Stewart leadership in Philanthropy Award during the annual luncheon at the First Baptist Church in Gainesville.
The foundation is dedicated to encouraging and facilitating giving through grants. It also offers training and development to nonprofit organizations by building, managing and awarding money from a pool of community funds. To date, more than $40 million in grants have been awarded, according to a news release. The foundation serves 15 counties.
The Schrages, who own Saul’s, a family retail clothing store in downtown Gainesville, have supported many organizations over the years, including the Northeast Georgia Health System, the Medical Center Foundation, Brenau University, Boy Scouts, Northeast Georgia History Center, Quinlan Visual Arts Center, United Way of Hall County, North Georgia Community Foundation, Challenged Child and Friends and Kiwanis.
The couple have helped raise more than $40 million in funds since 1999 for the Medical Center Foundation, which encourages community support of the Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville.
Sherrie Schrage said she and Lorry were raised by their parents to understand how important it is to share with people less fortunate.
“I’m overwhelmed by the people who turned out. We appreciate you coming, and it is very heartwarming to see the support we’ve had,” Lorry Schrage said. “It’s been a great life.”
The philanthropist of the year is a recognition given to those known for their humanitarianism and good will. A committee of former recipients selects the winner each year from nominations submitted from the Northeast Georgia region.
Past award recipients include Richard and Phyllis Leet, Walter and Winkie Boomershine, Martha and John Jacobs and Anne and George Thomas.
In 2012, the foundation created the leadership in philanthropy award to honor the legacy of Woodrow Stewart. He was known for his support of the Northeast Georgia Medical Center and was vital in the building of the Ronnie Green Heart Center.
Price, who earned the award this year, is a Gainesville native “instrumental” in opening the Good News Clinics in 1993. Price also helped the community medical center establish a dental clinic, eye clinic and pharmacy. The clinics have served more than 16,000 low-income patients since opening. Price is also on the board for the Georgia Mountain Food Bank, among other organizations.
Price said some people don’t understand the strong civic culture of Gainesville. Helping other people is a learned behavior, he said.
“Those of us who have lived most of our lives in Gainesville and Hall County often do not understand how special this place really is,” Price said. “We take things that we have here for granted.”