Culpepper Garden thanks those who support its mission | news/arlington

Culpepper Garden’s inaugural “BBQ & Blooms” event was an opportunity to honor the Fenwick Foundation and longtime supporter Elizabeth Harter with the inaugural Legacy of Grace Award in recognition of their contributions to the non-profit housing provider’s mission to serve low-income older adults in Arlington.

“We’re incredibly grateful to Tom Fonseca and Alex Gorny of the Fenwick Foundation and Elizabeth Harter for their continued support and generosity for our residents year after year, and presenting them with the Legacy of Grace Award as an acknowledgment of their dedication,” said Culpepper Garden executive director Marta Hill Gray, speaking at the June 4 event.

“We are encouraged by the turnout today and how the Arlington community has rallied behind our residents with their generous contributions. We are fortunate to be part of this community and look forward to hosting this event annually to thank our community for sustaining our mission,” Gray said.

Culpepper Garden established the Legacy of Grace Fund this year to address demographic, economic and health-care disparities faced by older adults in Arlington and to offer a stable future for them as they age. Facilitated by the Arlington Community Foundation, the fund aims to help older adults, regardless of their financial means, live their final years with dignity in a vibrant, caring and compassionate community.

“What a great opportunity to recognize these three individuals and an organization that have made such a tremendous mark in the Culpepper Garden community during the roughest phases of the pandemic,” said Del. Patrick Hope before presenting the awards to this year’s recipients, “I’m proud to help honor these devoted Virginians who have demonstrated that, before all else, we are a community that cares for one another.”

Hope was joined by state Sen. Barbara Favola, who has served on the Culpepper Garden board, at the ceremony.

Terri Lynch accepted the award on behalf of the Fenwick Foundation, a public charity focused on improving quality of life and well-being of low-resource and vulnerable older adults in Arlington.

Tom Fonseca and Alex Gorny, through the foundation, provided free on-site dental care to Culpepper Garden residents at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. They made dentists and mobile dental services available for both independent and assisted-living residents over the last two years, offering cleanings, X-rays and fillings. Their generosity made dental care available to low-income older adults, for whom it otherwise had been out of reach.

They are now also extending vision-care services to Culpepper residents.

Elizabeth “Liz” Harter is one of Culpepper Garden’s most generous volunteers, as well as a constant fixture at the Arlington Food Assistance Center’s Friday distributions.

“Her positive attitude and gentle manner have been a constant inspiration to Culpepper residents, especially during the roughest days of the pandemic,” officials said in bestowing the award. “Her strength, kindness and grace during these challenging times have served as a reminder of compassionate stewardship and purposeful giving.”

The event was held at the property’s gardens, where guests enjoyed a barbecue lunch and a performance by local quartet Just Four Grins, and participated in a community auction that included several pottery pieces by local ceramic artist Fred Paul.

The event was jointly-sponsored by Strategic Analysis, Amazon and community members Jean Broyhill and Joe Ventrone.

Culpepper Garden is named after Dr. Charles Culpepper, a horticulturist and civil servant who owned the Ballston-area property and tended meticulously to his garden before selling the property in 1971. The garden also is home to a white oak that recently was inducted as a “Notable Tree” by the Arlington government.

Culpepper Garden has evolved over time to be an award-winning retirement community that provides 346 affordable units. For more information, see the Website at www.culpeppergarden.org.

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