Building Hope Announces Three Winners For 2023 Shellie-Ann Braswell ‘Shine Brighter’ Impact Award

Building Hope Announces Three Winners For 2023 Shellie-Ann Braswell ‘Shine Brighter’ Impact Award

Charter School Volunteers Honored for Their Dedication And Leadership

WASHINGTON, D.C. (MARCH 24, 2023) – Building Hope, a non-profit foundation dedicated to creating high-quality K-12 charter school opportunities for students through its expertise in real estate, finance and operational services, today announced three winners for its second annual Shellie-Ann Braswell Shine Brighter Award. The award – created and named in honor of dedicated volunteer leader Shellie-Ann Braswell who led with love and made everything around her shine brighter – recognizes charter school volunteers who give from the heart and demonstrate tireless dedication to creating positive outcomes for students and communities.

“I want to share my heartfelt congratulations with the three inspiring winners of the Shellie-Ann Braswell Shine Brighter Award,” said Allie L. Braswell, Jr., the Senior Vice President of Culture and Belonging for VyStar Credit Union and husband of Shellie-Ann Braswell, for whom the special award is named. “In the second year of the award program, our winners continue to be passionate individuals with big hearts who go the extra mile each day. They remind me of the type of person Shellie-Ann was and her gift for leading with love to make a difference in the lives of students.”

Each of the three winners were nominated by the public charter schools they support. At Building Hope’s 2023 IMPACT Summit and Awards they will each receive a $5,000 grant designed to advance the volunteers’ efforts to create sustainable change and bright futures.

The 2023 Shellie-Ann Braswell Shine Brighter Award winners are:

Megan Hunt, volunteer at Carolina Charter School in Angier, NC

For Megan, volunteering is about being open to learning to adapt, listening to learn, and fostering change – all in a fun way for students and staff. Megan led a team that organized a school-wide fall festival that attracted 450+ families of CCA students. She started the PTO Hospitality Committee to help teachers feel loved and supported. She initiated a “Coffee with Mills” to foster open dialogue between school administrators and parents.

Hunt said, “I have no words and that is not normal for me. We can do so much with the grant to help the CCA community continue to grow. Thank you.”

Mark Horst, volunteer at Yoder Charter School in Yoder, KS

For Mark, volunteering is sharing his leadership gifts and learn-by-doing mindset to ensure that all students and families in the Yoder community thrive. As a volunteer, he has been a steadfast advocate for getting outside and using real-world projects that resonate with the community to make the content tangible for students. He helped finance a new agricultural learning project that resulted in a chicken coop construction project, which includes a solar-powered automatic chicken coop door.

Horst said, “Receiving this grant is a blessing that we will cherish and make great use of in our school and community.”

Cara Nowak, volunteer at Desert Sky Montessori in Bend, OR

For Cara, volunteering is jumping in as the school’s “first responder” to make sure teachers, staff, and students all feel supported. Even if she does not have the skill needed for a project, she is determined to learn and do. She has volunteered at Desert Sky since the school opened five years ago. When the school couldn’t afford janitorial services its first year, she cleaned bathrooms. In 2021, she got a store to donate wood, then sanded, glued, and assembled 90 wooden desks during the pandemic.  

Upon receiving the award, Nowak said, “I am so honored. There is so much good we can do at Desert Sky Montessori with $5,000. Thank you, Building Hope.”

“Volunteers are an important part of creating strong charter school communities,” said Building Hope’s Chief IMPACT Officer and Chair of the IMPACT Selection Committee Sherilyn Moore. “Each of our winners embodies the loving spirit of our colleague and friend Shellie-Ann Braswell who made her charter school community shine brighter.”

The second annual IMPACT Summit takes place May 3 and May 4, 2023, at Miami Dade College in Miami and is open to charter school leaders across the U.S. To buy tickets or for additional information about the IMPACT Summit and Awards  visit

Building hope is grateful for the sponsors of the 2023 IMPACT Summit:

Platinum Sponsors

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

Supporting Sponsors


About Building Hope

Building Hope is a national non-profit that empowers advancements in education through our work with charter schools providing unparalleled facility financing, real estate development, and operational services. We believe a facility should never be the barrier preventing a child from attending a great school. During our 20-year history, Building Hope has invested more than $482 million in high-impact charter schools serving nearly 200,000 children.
For more information, visit


Martha Holler

ShinePR for Building Hope |