Making Vision a Reality

A Conversation with Vickye Bone and Holly Schwartz

Vickye Bone and Holly Schwartz became friends through their involvement in the WE Project, the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga’s special leadership training program for local women looking to deepen their philanthropic impact. Despite their different backgrounds, they share a common interest in Chattanooga’s future, as well as a shared conviction that the connections provided by the Foundation are key to making that vision a reality. 

Tell us who you are and how you came into contact with the Community Foundation.

Vickye: I am a native daughter of Chattanooga, born and raised in Lincoln Park. I’m a UTC [University of Tennessee at Chattanooga] alum—both undergrad and grad—and I have always been on this quest to make a difference. That passion was planted by my family, particularly my grandmother, who was a community activist. She instilled within us the need to help—to reach out to others and make sure that they’re ok. I don’t want to make money so I can be rich; I want to make money so I can help others become financially secure. That’s a project that I’m working on, and when I found out this WE Project would help us hone in on being that instrument, I jumped in on it.

Holly: I am not a native of Chattanooga; however, I married a native. [laughs] I consider myself an empathetic person, and engaging with people, hearing their stories, and being curious about what makes them tick [is interesting to me]. I’ve taken on roles that work with people who are mostly in transition in some way — whether it’s working on a project to better an organization, or working with individuals and families settling into a new country. 

When my father unfortunately lost his job, my parents had to rely on the good fortune of others to get us through life - but I never felt like we didn’t have enough. My upbringing was one of abundance. I share Vickye’s point that it’s important to know where you come from and have an ample skill set, ability, and desire to bring people along with you.

What does philanthropy mean to you?

Holly: I think philanthropy is kind of like phonics: 95% of people have to be taught it, but some people just acquire it. It’s a skill I’m still learning, and one of the great parts of the WE Project for me was understanding what the Community Foundation does, who they serve, and its importance for everyone. They encourage you to find something you’re passionate about – something you’re good at and enjoy – and take passion and invest it in the community. 

Vickye: My overwhelming passion is to help others get financial security. And that’s what I put on my form that we filled out when we first started [the WE Project]. They say “a rising tide floats all boats.” I want to create that rising tide. 

This conversation is one in a series produced in partnership with the Community Foundation. For more information, visit CFGC.org.

Despite their different backgrounds, Vickye and Holly share a common interest in Chattanooga’s future, as well as a shared conviction that the connections provided by the Foundation are key to making that vision a reality. 

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