Grandfather Mountain welcomes new development director

Last Updated on March 26, 2022 2:35 pm

LINVILLE, N.C.—The Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation has named Courtney Lane its new director of development.

Lane, whose duties include managing the engagement of donors and supporters of Grandfather Mountain, comes from the Crossnore School & Children’s Home in nearby Crossnore, where she served in advancement for nearly four years.

The Crossnore School is a nonprofit residential foster care home for North Carolina children in crisis, and Lane was able to assist in fundraising efforts to help improve the lives of its residents.

“I loved working with the kids, and the school’s mission is amazing,” Lane said. “It was also amazing to see how generous and kind people can be in their support and giving.”

In joining Grandfather Mountain, Lane is taking her career in philanthropy to new heights — literally.

“We are very excited to welcome Courtney to the Grandfather Mountain family,” said Jesse Pope, president and executive director of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, the nonprofit organization that owns and operates the Linville, N.C., nature park.

Pope noted that Lane’s skillset and background will be “an incredible enhancement” for the park’s development staff.

“Our fundraising strategy is focused on making deeper relationships with the people who have a passion for Grandfather Mountain,” Pope said. “Courtney’s amiable personality is the perfect fit for our team.”

Lane, herself, has a passion for Grandfather Mountain. Born and raised in Hickory, she’s been visiting the mountain and hiking its trails since childhood. When her mother began managing a nearby camp, her trips to the High Country became all the more frequent.

She would even visit while attending college at Lenoir-Rhyne, when she began to take more notice of Grandfather Mountain’s educational components.

“I grew up coming to Grandfather Mountain — walking, hiking, going across the Mile High Swinging Bridge and taking photos — but I didn’t really know about the conservation aspect,” Lane said. “When I began to learn about the educational component, it was really exciting to me. I also think it’s inspiring for folks who haven’t been to this area before.”

“Education is a major part of our mission,” said Frank Ruggiero, the foundation’s director of marketing and communication. “At Grandfather, we like to bridge education with outdoor fun. In fact, our mission statement is to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain.”

Lane hopes to inspire the foundation’s many supporters to invest in this mission.

“While Grandfather Mountain generates revenue to cover operating expenses, we rely on grants and private donations to enhance our educational opportunities and capital needs,” Pope said. “Courtney will help us work toward finding the resources to advance our mission and make a greater impact on our conservation efforts.”

According to Pope, Lane’s arrival comes at a crucial time. With Grandfather Mountain embarking on its Fulfilling Promises capital campaign to fund the creation of a new “Conservation Campus,” Pope feels the foundation’s new development director will play a vital role.

“Courtney’s accomplished background at Crossnore School & Children’s Home will bring fresh ideas and perspectives to Grandfather Mountain,” he said. “We’re very excited to see what she’ll do in her new role. She is a unique candidate for this job, and we believe she’ll be able to hit the ground running to make an immediate impact on our fundraising program.”

Lane, herself, is excited about the new challenge. For her, however, it all comes back to people and relationships.

“I’m looking forward to working with our donors,” she said, “to preserve Grandfather Mountain for generations to come.”

To contact Lane, email, or call 828-733-2013. To learn more about the Fulfilling Promises campaign, visit

The not-for-profit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation strives to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. For more information, call 800-468-7325, or visit to plan a trip.


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