Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce Foundation is LKNConnect’s Outstanding Non-Profit for the month of July. This article is the last in a series of five articles describing their mission, how the foundation supports diversity, education, North Meck CTE, and other scholarship programs in the Lake Norman region. — EH Stafford, Managing Editor


Focused on Scholarship

Since its formation in 2009, the Lake Norman Chamber Foundation has served three main initiatives: a focus on Education and Scholarship, Leadership Development, and Diversity and Inclusion.  In 2008, the Chamber, launched the Lake Norman Diversity Council whose primary mission is to aid small, minority, and women business-owners — to address any unique needs or issues.

The Foundation allows organizers to solicit grants and receive funds which could be contributed to the charitable arm of the chamber, to help fund programs and events which could promote diversity and inclusion in our growing Lake Norman region.


Ted H. Ousley scholarship

The Lake Norman Chamber Foundation plays a role in providing scholarships for deserving students.  Annually, we present up to two $1,000 Scholarships in honor of the late Ted Ousley.  The Ted H. Ousley Scholarship is presented to a student attending one of the three Charlotte Mecklenburg High Schools supporting the North Mecklenburg community.

The student must have a GPA of 2.5 and plan on attending a college or university. Mr. Ousley, an executive with the Allstate Insurance Company, believed our greatest resource is young people. He started a scholarship, coordinated by the Chamber Foundation, to recognize the next generation of leaders.


2019 Hopewell High School students receiving scholarships from LKNSBN’s Skilled Trades Education fund. The students will be participating in the Carolinas Electrical Training Institute. Photo courtesy of Ocaid Photography.


The Lake Norman Small Business Network (LKNSBN)


In addition to the Ousley Scholarships, The Lake Norman Small Business Network annually presents scholarships that are dedicated to the Skilled Trades Education Fund. The organization gave $1500 in 2018 and $3000 in 2019 for a total of $4500 to 15 kids in the past two years.



“In a world of uncertainty, challenges, and pandemic, it brings us great joy to help young adults in our community become more successful.”  — Jim Vogel, President – LKNSBN


The organization has raised over $7,000 to date. Those funds have been directed to local high school students going directly into skilled trade apprenticeships.  The Foundation hosts those funds until the check is provided to the school.


Financial Literacy program postponed

Richard Pappas

The Chamber Foundation Board met earlier this year to develop a “Financial Literacy” program which could be introduced through our public and private schools utilizing some of the outstanding financial institutions in the region.

Slated to take place as a summer camp, the program was a casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are hopes to present the program in 2021.  Richard Pappas, who not only serves as the 2020 Board Chair of the Lake Norman Chamber, is a member of the Foundation Board and is spearheading efforts to coordinate the Financial Literacy Program.  Richard is a Business Baker with First National Bank.



For more information or to make a donation

The Foundation is pleased to play a part in the presentation of local scholarships and promoting the Skilled Trade Education Program. Contributions to the Foundation can be made by contacting Bill Russell, President & CEO of the Lake Norman Chamber at 704-892-1922 or by email at




William E. “Bill” Russell, Jr., CCE, IOM

Bill Russell is the President and CEO of the Lake Norman Chamber. He serves on the Boards of Visit Lake Norman, Lake Norman Economic Development., Ada Jenkins Center, and Hugh Torance House & Store. The Chamber has approximately 900 members in the Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, and greater Lake Norman region

In 1996, he was recognized with the Order of the Palmetto, the highest honor bestowed upon a citizen in the State of South Carolina for his civic involvement. In 1992, Bill was president of the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees), the largest young people’s leadership training organizations in the country.

In 2008, Bill received his Certified Chamber Executive designation by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives.




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