LSC announces the 2023 Philanthropist of the Year Award for North Carolina

You are likely familiar with LSC’s mission statement, “Empowered by Christ, we walk together with all we serve.” What you may not realize is how many generous supporters walk alongside us in fulfilling that mission: over 2,400 individual contributors in 2023 alone! Every gift helps LSC ensure abundant living for the communities we serve.

Each year, LSC recognizes an individual, family, or organization in both North Carolina and South Carolina that has demonstrated extraordinary financial commitment and whole-hearted support for our work. These are our Philanthropists of the Year.

North Carolina: Larry and Tammi Gates

Larry and Tammi Gates of Wilmington received the 2023 Philanthropist of the Year Award for North Carolina at the Wilmington Area Shepherd Society Dinner last autumn. They have been LSC supporters for over 15 years.

“We first got involved with LSC through our friend Frances Lamb [a member of the LSC Board of Trustees],” said Larry. “We know Frances from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Wilmington. Her passion and positive energy really inspired us. We all need mentors, and Frances has been a mentor to us.”

A spark to “Be the Light”

 Tammi and Larry Gates have been active leaders in LSC’s Be the Light campaign and made a very generous lead gift toward the campaign, which has raised over $2.9 million to date.

“Coming out of the pandemic, we were looking for something to do that would have a bigger impact,” said Tammi about joining the campaign. “We feel God really spoke to us.”

The Gateses each find personal inspiration in LSC’s mission. “I’m especially moved by LSC’s work with foster care,” said Larry. “These kids are such an underserved population – and when they turn 18, they often have no other family to turn to for support. When I learned about the pent-up demand for foster care that COVID created, it really touched my heart,” he added.

“For me, it’s LSC’s care for the elderly,” added Tammi. “For many years I was on the Caregivers Team at our church, and we visited a lot of nursing homes. I noticed a distinct difference in the level of care – and caring – at Trinity Grove, and now at Trinity Landing.”

“We also like the fact that LSC puts our contributions directly to work providing services,” Larry noted.

Paying it forward

The Gateses view philanthropy as a natural evolution of their faith journey. “For many people, the Christian journey starts out as a personal relationship to God,” said Tammi. “As you mature in faith, it becomes more about sharing your blessings with others.”

They credit the Lutheran Via de Cristo Ministry with sparking their passion for giving in all its forms. “Via de Cristo is a three-day weekend designed to renew Christian faith,” explained Larry. “The ‘fourth day’ of the weekend happens later, when we reunite with other participants to share God’s grace through acts of service.”

As parents of two grown daughters, Samantha and Kathleen, the Gateses have advice to share for younger generations: “It’s not the amount of the gift that matters – it’s the giving,” said Tammi. “Don’t sit on the sidelines. Just do it.”