Angela Caraway’s faith has led her many places, some of which have made a lasting impact on her career. But it’s in her hometown of Ansonville, N.C. – a small, rural town between Southern Pines and Charlotte – where she’s making her own lasting impact.
In 2007, she started The Caraway Foundation, a nonprofit organization designed to promote and support higher education for underprivileged people of all ages. For her work with the foundation, she was one of two women to receive Spectacular Magazine’s 2014 Woman of the Year award in the category of community service.
The idea for the foundation started in, of all places, a Kroger grocery store. Caraway had groceries in her cart ready to check out when she noticed that prices for school supplies had been marked down. She walked over, and, staring at a rack of school supplies and accessories, felt a call to action.
“I went down that aisle, and something told me to buy the backpacks and other supplies,” she says. “I didn’t really know what it meant, but I knew I needed to do it.” $164.83 later, Caraway walked out with a cart full of lunchboxes, backpacks, pens and pencils, all of which she gave to underprivileged children in her community.
From that point, she formed The Caraway Foundation, and held seminars in which she discussed the importance of education and how to prepare for college. Attendance for the seminars was low early on, but eventually, they had a noticeable impact.
“Sometimes I wondered if what I was doing was really having an impact,” says Caraway, who founded an event planning company, The Caraway Management Group, Inc., in 2004.
“And then I’d get a call or email from somebody that would remind me why I’m doing what I’m doing. I know I can’t quit.”
— Will Watkins