Sam Barone

Executive Director, Community Foundation of Mount Vernon & Knox County


“Organizations seeking to enhance their community profile will find no better mentor than Dr. E. LeBron Fairbanks. Over nearly two decades as president of Mount Vernon Nazarene University, LeBron led his faculty, staff and student body by example, in forging durable relationships throughout the rural Ohio county of 60,000 residents, which is home to MVNU. The fact Dr. Fairbanks was elected to serve 10 years on the board of the Community Foundation of Mount Vernon & Knox County – many of those years as chair of its distribution committee – is a testament to his success building bridges between town and gown. During those years of volunteer service on the Foundation board, LeBron was known for conducting lively discussions within his distribution committee, leading inevitably to the most prudent utilization of the Community Foundation’s discretionary grant dollars. As a novice executive director of the Foundation my understanding of, and appreciation for, the funder/grantee dynamic grew immensely thanks to my years of collaboration with LeBron Fairbanks, and I am blessed that our friendship has sustained years after his retirement from the Community Foundation board and his departure from the community itself. His imprint on Mount Vernon is indelible.”


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