Robert Balentine, founder of the Southern Highlands Reserve in Lake Toxaway, NC, received Honorable Mention for philanthropic excellence in the eighth annual Invest in Others Community Leadership Awards. Robert Balentine is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Balentine, an independent, employee owned investment advisory firm.
The Invest in Others Charitable Foundation established the Community Leadership Awards to support the philanthropic and volunteer activities of financial advisors. Financial advisors from across the nation are nominated by their peers for exemplifying outstanding leadership qualities in the industry and actively volunteering to improve their communities and make a difference in the lives of others. Hundreds of nominations for the Community Leadership Awards are received each year and reviewed by a diverse panel of leaders in the financial services industry.
“I am honored to be recognized by the Invest in Others Community Service Awards,” said Robert Balentine of the award. “As a lifelong environmentalist, I am very proud of the work Southern Highlands Reserve is doing tosustain the natural ecosystemsofthe Blue Ridge Mountains and hope this award brings greater awareness to our conservation efforts.”
The Southern Highlands Reserve (SHR) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to sustaining the natural ecosystems of the Blue Ridge Mountains through the preservation, cultivation and display of plants native to the region and by advocating for their value through education, restoration, and research. SHR is located in Western North Carolina at an elevation of 4500 feet and compromises 120 acres of rare plant and animal communities known as islands in the sky. This land also plays hosts to the second most endangered ecosystem in the United States, the spruce-fir forests.
The Southern Highlands Reserve has been working closely with federal and state agencies, non-profits, and regional universities, local colleges, and the community to increase the conservation surrounding spruce-fir forests. There is no other facility in the southeastern US growing or able to grow red spruce, which makes the Reserve’s ability to continue these propagation efforts for this partnership very important. In September of 2013, The Southern Highlands Reserve and The Nature Conservancy committed to a partnership for five years to develop the Southern Appalachian Spruce Restoration Initiative (SASRI) with a focus on the restoration of the endangered high elevation spruce-fir forests through reintroducing red spruce to the mountain environments.
“The spruce-fir forests have been reduced to patches in the regional landscape of the Southern Blue Ridge mountains,” said Kelly Holdbrooks, Director of Programs for the Southern Highlands Reserve. “We are grateful to Invest in Others for recognizing the work of Robert Balentine and SHR and hope that this award promotes our conservation and preservation efforts of this endangered ecosystem.”
The annual Invest in Others Community Leadership Awards dinner is September 18, 2014 in New York City, where the following awards will be presented: Catalyst Award, Community Service Award, Global Community Impact Award, Volunteer of the Year Award, and Lifetime Achievement Award.