Oh, I can’t pick just one,” she says when asked about her favorite non-profit. “But it is hard to put into words what the Palace Theatre does for children in this community.”
Carolyn has been a member and supporter of the theatre since she moved to Georgetown in 2001. She helped create and has nurtured the children’s education programs, which are growing in number, quality, and reputation every year. “I’ve been involved in theater since the 1960s and I saw the benefit of giving children self-confidence through this outlet for creativity. The Palace is very inclusive and they work so well as a team.”
Prior to moving to Sun City, she was involved in the Dallas Children’s Theater, founded by her long-time friend, Robyn Flatt. “When I moved here and saw that we had a repertoire theatre, I just knew I had to introduce the Palace folks to friends in Dallas and we started the children’s program here. The Dallas theatre has a national reputation, and I wanted to see Georgetown enjoying that same kind of opportunity. Seeing the transformation of children, typical and challenged, on a stage makes my heart full.” She has worked tirelessly to support, fund, and market the Palace Children Education Center, which she hopes will be ready to open its doors by Summer 2020.
Carolyn also co-founded and manages the Graham Holloway Family Foundation, named for her late husband, in the late 90s. The foundation vets and supports non-profits that are small and sometimes overlooked. “We focus on issues for health and children; little specific requests that no one else may be able to take care of. The foundation donates annually to AIDS research, autism, cancer care, Alzheimer’s, community ministries, and, of course, junior players.”
Outside of her own foundation she is a member of Georgetown’s Seeds of Strength giving circle, which provides funding to small non-profits based on need. “I love it because the money stays right here in Georgetown and our memberships are exponentially spread around to so many people and really make a difference.”
She is also a tenacious supporter and member of Rotary of Sun City. Named “Rotarian of the Year” in 2014, she continues to work for Rotary concerns; polio, homelessness, and hunger. “One of my favorites is our breakfast with Santa. Each year the firemen fix more than 1,000 meals; that’s not just hungry people but also gifts and sundries for needy families in Georgetown. This year we were fortunate to work with Kohl’s and we got to see the faces of the parents who were able to give their children a real Christmas. That’s what it is all about.”
She is also a major player in the Rotary Early Act First Knight program in Jarrell and Georgetown ISDs. “I love being a part of enabling young people to gain the feeling of self-worth for having moral character and positive attributes over grades and academic accomplishment. It is critical that we reward children who not only get good grades, but show compassion and empathy.”
Carolyn is also active in the Field of Honor program, another Rotary effort. “Having recently restored my father-in-law’s photo album, which included unique memories from World War I, I was reminded of that magnificent generation. Those men never talked about their experiences in war; it was just something you got up and did. They didn’t feel like heroes; it was just the right thing to do.”
She is also on the Board of Visitors for Southwestern University. She promotes the university within and outside of Georgetown because, she says, “Connecting businesses helps involve the students in the community and vice versa.” University President Dr. Edward Burger eloquently reflected on her service; “Carolyn is a very special, beloved, valued, and inspiring leader in our community. Thus, I am delighted she is being recognized in such a fitting manner. Congratulations, Carolyn, from Southwestern University.”
There’s never enough room to talk about a philanthropist’s work, but she is also a supporter of The Georgetown Project, A Gift of Time, the Georgetown Library, Georgetown Arts Center, Central Texas Philharmonic, Williamson Museum, and a few more.
“It’s easy to get involved in this city,” she says. “There are a lot of people with generous hearts who are looking for outlets and they can find it easily in Georgetown.”
Carolyn was also named Citizen of the Year by the Georgetown Advocate in 2016. She said it was a surprise to her and was characteristically humble. “Me? Everyone [in Georgetown] is like me; giving back in different ways. I feel privileged to live here; a secure place to live, friends and opportunities like these. I can sit on my porch and watch the deer run across my backyard. I love living this close to nature and still have all the things I need. Especially the people here who make Georgetown a city of compassion. Whenever someone sees a need, they just do something to fix it.” Still, Carolyn is not taking a break any time soon. “I’m going to continue being a part of all my groups. I just want to keep up and keep doing the good work.”