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Activate Selma to be honored as Nonprofit of the Year

Activate Selma announced today that Johnston Now Magazine has selected our organization as 2024 Nonprofit of the Year. The Johnston Now Honors event will be held July 25 at The Barn at Broadslab in Benson, with a VIP reception one week before the awards ceremony.


“You were nominated and chosen because of your merits and the work you’ve done for our great community,” said JNOW’s Terri Atkinson. “As an honoree, you will be presented an award on stage … and have a story written about you in the July edition of Johnston Now Magazine.”


Activate Selma Inc. is a nonprofit group of residents, volunteers, and business owners in Selma, North Carolina, who are revitalizing and uplifting our beloved rail community and all it has to offer. Our vision statement is “We don’t complain; we take action!” Our mission statement is: “By changing ourselves, we change our community, and create a new record of success for Selma. Our creative focus is the ‘living room’ of downtown Selma. That’s where we connect, communicate, and cross-promote. We encourage entrepreneurs. Group projects are small steps that spark big change.”

Our leadership team includes Kim Wooten (Selma Jewelry), Ron Hester (Barbetta LLC), Mike Jentes (, Heidi Hester (Heidi Moore CPA), Chandler Pernell (Call Pernell Inc), and co-founders Jeffery Hamilton (Live @ The Rudy, Coffee on Raiford), Melissa Dooley (The Dupree House), and Cindy Brookshire (Triangle East Writers).

Our group projects engage local residents and spark community improvements. Projects include the Rockin’ on Raiford concert series, renovation and free activities at Art Out Loud Park and Activate Alley, seasonal greenery and decorations downtown, and support of the launch of Johnston County Arts Council’s book, Johnston County Creates: 50 Years of Creativity, at the Selma Civic Center in 2023.

Activate Selma works closely with the Town of Selma to help the community grow and prosper. Both partnered to compete twice in’s Strongest Town competition, earning semifinalist positions in 2024 (Final Four), and 2023 (Elite 8). Lowe’s Home Improvement selected Activate Selma and Town of Selma as one of Lowe’s #100Hometowns in 2021.

Activate Selma meets every Wednesday at 9 am for face-to-face conversation that helps build community. All are welcome! June meetings are at the Harrison Center for Active Aging (June 5), HTR Southern Properties (June 12), Old North State Food Hall (June 19), and Coffee on Raiford (June 26, followed by Coffee with A Cop at 10 am). We keep the conversation going with Activate Selma After Hours every Wednesday at 5 pm at The Vault by Hatchet Brewing. 

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Photo by Jamie Strickland, Johnston Now Magazine: While an ever-changing group joins us each Wednesday at 9 am, these are the folks who met as Activate Selma on May 29 at R Ranch, a rustic farm event and day-retreat venue on Garner Road in Selma. From left: 

Michael Sneed (Old Fashioned Ice Cream, Appliance Boot Camp)

Blaize Woolsey (Kingdom Appliance Repair)

Kim Wooten (Selma Jewelry)

Ann Rizzardi (Rizzardi Real Estate)

Kimberly Mattox (Ronald McDonald House Charities, Eastern NC)

Michelle Adams (First Citizens Bank)

Ron Hester (Barbetta LLC)

Lynn Stanley (My Kid’s Club)

Andy Thompson (Triangle East Chamber of Commerce)

Chelsea Griffin (The Vault by Hatchet Brewing)

Cindy Brookshire (Triangle East Writers)

Wendy Ella May (Safety Color Codes)

A.J. Foote (Selma resident and volunteer)

Chandler Pernell (Call Pernell Inc)

Jeffery Hamilton (Live @ The Rudy, Coffee on Raiford)

Jean Kelly (Selma resident and volunteer)

Christina Pernell (Call Pernell Inc)

Awana Payne (Vibe Central)

Kim Fry (R Ranch)

Jason Bullock (Jason Bullock Films)

Tammy Braglin (The Story Keeper BookStore)