Mountain Youth Charities is a local nonprofit in Cashiers N.C., whose mission is to enrich the lives of children in our community. Unfortunately, the children of Western North Carolina often live in difficult circumstances, including significant poverty. Mountain Youth Charities meets these challenges one grant at a time, providing funding for projects and programs designed to ensure that those children have the opportunity for cultural enrichment and educational success.
Mountain Youth Charities is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2013 by Marcia Shawler and the late William McKee. The inaugural fundraising event for Mountain Youth Charities was held in July 2013 when The United Community Bank sponsored “Mountain Challenge: Roddick vs. Courier” at Cedar Creek Racquet Club. That successful event was repeated in July 2014. Thanks to the tremendous support from the community, our sponsors, and tennis stars Andy Roddick and Jim Courier, we raised enough money to launch the Boys & Girls Club of the Plateau.
Starting in 2017 Mountain Youth Charities was chosen to be the Fiscal Agent of Blue Ridge Junior Appalachian Musicians (“JAM”), which means they operate under our 501(c)(3) designation. We oversee their operations and finances, and help with fundraising. JAM is a program at Blue Ridge School which enriches students’ education by teaching the old-time bluegrass music and dance traditions of the Southern Appalachian Mountains.
Please visit our Grants page to learn more about the organizations supported by Mountain Youth Charities or to obtain a grant application.
Board of Directors
Marcia Shawler, Co-Founder and President
Marcia is a North Carolina native who graduated from Jacksonville University with a BA in Sociology. She spent many years working in College Admissions in Florida and later for several college textbook publishing companies in sales. Marcia spent eighteen years as an ex-pat living in Europe and Asia and has been coming to Cashiers since 2000 as a summer resident, finally settling down as a full-time resident in 2013. Her children attended Summit Charter School for one year. She loves this community and the mix between local residents and second homeowners. Her passion is providing children on the plateau with as many opportunities as possible.
Marcia helped organize The Mountain Challenge and co-founded Mountain Youth Charities as a 501(c)(3). She assisted in raising funds to start the Boys and Girls Club of the Plateau and was the founding Board President. She has also tutored and mentored at Blue Ridge School. Marcia loves to spend time enjoying the beautiful sports available in Cashiers and hiking the Appalachian Trail.
Danie Beck, Board Member, Secretary
In 2011 Danie Beck proudly celebrated her 40th year as a Dance Studio Owner and Teacher. At that time, she had been teaching dance for 54 years and been active in the field of dance and dance education around the country for many years. In addition to operating Dance Unlimited, she traveled about the country serving on Faculty for several dance organizations and numerous judging panels for Regional and National Dance Competitions; was the 1st Commissioner for the FDC – Federation of Dance Competitions; Past President of Florida Dance Masters; Past Co-Chair of UNITY, a coalition of National Dance Organizations; served on the Joint Management Committee for National Dance Week; Regional Director for Dance Educators of America; and member of State Dance Association of Florida, among many other accomplishments. She is now offering Ballroom dancing lessons in Cashiers.
Danie’s volunteer activities are equally extensive and valuable in the Cashiers community, where she serves on the Board of the Fishes and Loaves Food Pantry and Mountain Youth Charities. She also volunteers as a dance instructor at The Boys and Girls Club and volunteers many hours to the Cashiers Chamber of Commerce. She had a fantastic 40-year marriage to her wonderful and supporting husband Irv, who passed away in 2007. Together they raised 2 children and treasure their 5 grandchildren.
Dave Simon, Board Member, Treasurer
Dave grew up outside Philadelphia, attended the William Penn Charter School, a private school for boys, and later moved to Detroit (Grosse Pointe) and attended Northern Michigan University, where he graduated with a BS degree. Soon thereafter, he joined the US Marine Corps and flew a variety of aircraft for 28 years before retiring as a Colonel.
Dave married Allison Adair Bryant, daughter of Governor (Florida) Farris Bryant and Julia Bryant in 1976. Dave then pursued a career in business which included a tenure with Bellsouth from which he retired. He also worked for Anderson Consulting and later started a consulting company of his own and began consulting in the IT industry. His consulting business extended throughout the United States and world. Dave later accepted a position in senior management with SunTrust Bank. After retirement from SunTrust, he and his wife Adair and three dogs became full-time residents of Cashiers NC.
During these many careers, Dave also found time to complete a second BS degree from San Diego State University in Computer Science and a master’s degree from the University of Southern California. Later he received two additional master’s degrees from The George Washington University.
Dave served on the Cedar Creek Racquet Club Board in various positions including President for two years. He also kept busy in Cashiers serving on several non-profits and the Cedar Ridge Estates HOA Board. Dave helped start the Boys and Girls Club of the Plateau and volunteered to help in the set up of the Blue Ridge Free Dental Clinic.
He also found time to stay active in sports. He was an active hunter and fly fisherman which took him to exotic places all over the world. He continues to pursue his passion for the outdoors and especially enjoys hunting dangerous game in Africa.