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VGCC's Second Annual Black Business & Non-Profit Organization Awards Luncheon Spotlights Granville Contributions

VGCC names 307 students to President's and Dean's Lists - Vance ...


HENDERSON, NC (February 28, 2024) — In recognition of Black History Month, Vance-Granville Community College in partnership with Gateway Community Development Corporation proudly presented its second annual Black Business & Non-Profit Organization Award Ceremony on Friday, February 23.


The goal was to recognize the rich contributions Black-owned businesses and non-profit organizations have made to local quality of life—not just for the area’s Black residents but for all who call the community home. Organized by the College’s Small Business Center, this year’s event specifically focused on organizations based in Granville County. The county’s Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Development Authority also served as planners and presenters for the ceremony.


“It was important to recognize these Black-owned businesses,” explained Heather Joi Kenney, president/CEO of Gateway CDC and co-moderator of the award ceremony. “Shining a light on them shows them that we support them and recognize how important they are to our community.”


The atmosphere was one of celebration and camaraderie as friends and neighbors gathered to reflect on the hard work behind each organization. The ceremony took place at The Orpheum at Oxford, a renovated event space occupying a century-old downtown theater. Attendees enjoyed a lunch catered by Family Diner, one of this year’s honorees.


Twelve award winners were recognized across three categories: Legacy organizations, which have been in operation at least 10 years but often much longer; Established organizations, in operation 5–10 years; and Start-Up organizations, which are less than 5 years old.


The day’s festivities concluded with an award celebrating one special guest’s achievements. Honoree Harry Mills retired last September after nearly a decade as the county’s Economic Development director; prior to that role, he served as a social worker for Granville County Senior Services. Under Mills’ leadership, Granville County experienced unprecedented growth in commercial and residential development, attracted new industries and employers, and improved workforce development programs with VGCC and Granville County Public Schools.


Mills’ acceptance address was a testament to the local friends, loved ones, and institutions that supported him throughout his years of dedicated services. He concluded with a challenge to his fellow winners to remain focused on helping their community: “Let’s leave no one behind.”


Since initiating the awards ceremony in 2023, Vance-Granville Community College has planned to incorporate it into its Black History Month festivities annually, rotating its focus each year to a different part of the College’s service area. The 2025 event will take place in either Franklin or Warren County.




Start-Up (less than 5 years)

· Drug-Free Coalition of Granville County

· Naturally Nourished Tutoring LLC

· Oxford’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor

· Tru Soul Food Kitchen


Established (5–10 years)

· Family Diner

· Plumpeez Deli

· The Help Center NC

· Uptown Bar & Restaurant


Legacy (more than 10 years)

· Baton Rouge Cuisine

· Essential Massage

· Faison Plumbing Plus

· McCoy’s Taxi


Special Recognition: Harry Mills




About Vance-Granville Community College: Established in 1969, VGCC is one of the 58 institutions of the North Carolina Community College System. With a service area the size of Rhode Island, VGCC is the local source for higher education and training in Vance, Granville, Franklin and Warren counties. VGCC offers more than 40 curriculum programs, as well as Continuing Education, High School Equivalency, and Adult High School Diploma programs.


Contact: Courtney Cissel, Public Information Officer | • 252-738-3484

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