GLADYS KNIGHT AND CANTON-NATIVE HUSBAND WILLIAM MCDOWELL CREATE RHS COMMUNITY FOUNDATION TO RESTORE HISTORIC SCHOOL AND BUILD REYNOLDS COMMUNITY CENTER
ASHEVILLE, NC – February 8, 2017 – Family is family and that is really all we need to know in life. When Gladys Knight and Canton-native William McDowell joined together in marriage, his home became hers. William and Gladys own a ranch/farm? in Canton. It’s where their family members gather for special reunions and events and where the couple feel most at home in their lives these days, even amidst Gladys’ constant touring schedule. As a first and second grader, William attended Reynolds High School in Gibsontown and in recent years purchased the school to preserve the spirit and history of the area and to give it back to the community.
The Reynolds Community Center will embody the sense of family William felt growing up there and still today as he drives the winding little roads around the school, stopping his car to honk the horn and say “hello” and share conversation with family members still living right next to the school, many generations deep, and longtime friends in the area. He knows them all and they, too, love catching up with him. This amazing Center, which is expected to cost approximately $5 million when fully complete, will encompass a Music Center, where Gladys will share her passion for music, a Welcome Table to provide a place to share meals and be a community, a Child Care area, which will also serve as a counseling center for substance abuse classes, a Kitchen, Dining Room and Food Pantry, a Computer Center and Library, a Gymnasium, a Performing Arts Room, an Exercise Room and in the beautiful trees and wooded land of the Blue Ridge Mountains, an Athletic Field, Walking Track and Nature Path, complete with camping shelters for children’s camp outs and sleep overs.
Numerous fundraising efforts will allow all in the community and Gladys and William’s entertainment family to take part in the development of this longtime dream for Gladys, William and the Canton community. From volunteer efforts assisting with clearing and outdoor renovation to a paver program encouraging anyone to remember a loved one or even a Canton or Reynolds High School memory; naming and gifting opportunities will abound.
Much needs to be done to bring this worthwhile and historic effort to reality. In order to offer the community an affordable place to gather, share a meal, exercise, enjoy nature, feed their soul and spirit, learn new skills, meet new people, treasure history and create an even stronger sense of community, Gladys and William need your love and heart. Whether it is resealing the roof, paving the parking lot or a number of other community driven projects, everyone can be a part of this amazing story creating memories and opportunities for generations to come as they dream of a better tomorrow.
As the couple announce this dream of theirs to make their hometown and community stronger, we ask our neighbors and friends to lend a hand and their hearts and make it a true community vision and experience, touched by all.
About the Reynolds Community Center
Founded by legendary entertainer Gladys Knight and Canton-native William McDowell in 2017, the Reynolds Community Center is located on the former site of the historic Reynolds High School. This amazing center, which is expected to cost approximately $5 million when fully complete, will embody the sense of family William felt growing up in the historic area, with nine newly-renovated, state-of-the-art spaces designed to preserve the spirit and history of the area, including a Music Center, Welcome Table, Child Care center, Kitchen, Dining Room and Food Pantry, Computer Center and Library, a Gymnasium, Performing Arts Room, Exercise Room and an Athletic Field, Walking Track and Nature Path. For more information, please visit www.rhscf.com or www.Rhs-foundation.com.
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