As Ron’s retirement approached, they turned to the faith that had brought them together and prayed for a sign to guide them to the right tract of land. They found it along the banks of the Pee Dee River in Stanly County, as the flight of an eagle formed the shape of a cross.
Now called 3 Eagles Sanctuary, this 170-acre tract of forest and farmland is being managed for wildlife habitat and sustainable agriculture. Ron and Nancy have gone from being activists to stewards.
Natural aesthetic appeal, increased economic vitality, a reason to leave your car behind, a walking and biking connection between communities in two states: Organizers hope to deliver all of that, and more, through the growing Carolina Thread Trail network of greenways, waterways and trails.
Can philanthropy foster greater regional connection? Yes, according to our research for the Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection project. But it’s not just the movement of money that matters, say local leaders: it’s the regional exchange of ideas about how to put that money to work that seems to make a difference.
Charitable giving is an invisible thread binding people and communities together across the 32-county Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection study region — but how much people give, and what resources are available, varies from place to place.