The two men both serve on the board of Strowd Roses Inc., a nonprofit foundation dedicated to supporting the communities of Chapel Hill and Carrboro.
The foundation celebrated its 15th anniversary Sunday at the Gene Strowd Community Rose Garden, a public garden located in the Chapel Hill Community Center Park.
Foundation donors, community partners and charitable organizations gathered in the garden, which was dedicated in 1990 and contains more than 350 rose bushes.
Founded by Irene Strowd in 2001 to honor the memory of her husband, Gene Strowd, Strowd Roses has granted more than $5 million to 292 organizations.
Alexander said non-profit organizations in the Chapel Hill and Carrboro area can apply for a grant from Strowd Roses for up to $10,000.
Several grant recipients attended the celebration, including Nerys Levy, a Carrboro artist who represents the Carrboro Branch Library and the Community Dinner, which celebrates cultural diversity in Orange County by bringing people together through food and entertainment.
She said the organization is essential for maintaining non-profit efforts.
“Without Strowd Roses, our community would not be able to function as it does in the nonprofit sector,” Levy said. “We are really thankful to them for being there and being so open-minded in their ability to make really wise choices with their funding.”
On behalf of the board, Eileen Ferrell, executive director of Strowd Roses, thanked grant recipients like Levy for bettering the community.
“This foundation is only as great as you all, the organizations that apply for funding from us,” Ferrell said. “We could not do our work without the work you all do, every day, tirelessly in the community.”
Several community leaders made an appearance, including Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger and Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle.
Hemminger, a former Strowd Roses Inc. board member herself, proclaimed Oct. 16, 2016 Strowd Roses Day on behalf of the town of Chapel Hill.
“I just wanted to say again how important community foundations like this are to our sense of community,” Hemminger said. “They help give resources back to the community to help level the playing field to create a better place for all of us, not just some of us, but for everyone.”
Lavelle also issued a proclamation on behalf of Carrboro and encouraged citizens to stop and smell the roses.