EveryAge Foundation Honors Late Elderhaus Founder Linda Pearce with Named Fund

The late Linda Pearce standing by the entrance to the hall at Elderhaus named in her honor.

The EveryAge Foundation, based in Newton, N.C., has honored longstanding Wilmington community advocate Linda Pearce with a named fund to recognize her 32 years of service as founder and executive director of Elderhaus in Wilmington, N.C. Going forward, the Elderhaus Campus Enrichment Fund will be known as the Linda Pearce Campus Enrichment Fund for Elderhaus.

Pearce, who died Sept. 24, 2023, at the age of 77, was a prominent figure in a wide array of regional causes and organizations. Notably, she was the first African-American woman to serve as chair of the University of North Carolina Wilmington Board of Trustees. She also was heavily involved in many of Wilmington’s healthcare, faith-based, and community organizations, both as a leader and an advocate. In 2016, the City of Wilmington’s Commission on African-American History recognized Pearce as a “Living Legend” for her leadership, contributions, and accomplishments in improving the community.

Elderhaus’s Campus Enrichment Fund is designed to enhance life for everyone on campus through the sponsorship of programs, activities, and special projects. It is one of many funds managed by the EveryAge Foundation to support quality of life in EveryAge communities throughout North Carolina and in southeastern Virginia. This year, monies from the fund — in combination with a grant from the New Hanover Community Endowment — were used to purchase a van to transport Elderhaus participants from their homes to medical appointments and to the PACE Center.

Following the decision to rename the fund, the Rev. Larry Bolick, chair of the EveryAge Foundation Board of Trustees, noted, “Linda Pearce endorsed Elderhaus’s partnership with the North Carolina PACE Association, and she supported a partnership with EveryAge as the organization grew to care for more and more seniors in the Wilmington area. Her heart was dedicated to service, and we’re proud to honor her and her legacy by memorializing her through this fund that benefits the participants and staff of her beloved Elderhaus.”

The Rev. Dr. Thad Austin, vice-president of the EveryAge Foundation, concurred. “The greater Wilmington community owes a great debt to Linda Pearce and her tireless advocacy for vulnerable seniors,” he said. “She believed so thoroughly in the work of Elderhaus that she chose to leave a portion of her estate to support its mission. Linda’s gift is the single largest contribution to the Campus Enrichment Fund that Elderhaus has received to date, and it will make a transformative difference, not only in meeting the immediate needs of our day-to-day operations, but in creating a perpetual endowment for years to come.”

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