2015 James Welch AwardFund for the Arts and Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC (SKO) presented Carl M. Thomas with the James Welch Sr. Arts Leadership Award at a reception prior to the premiere of StageOne Family Theatre’s And in this corner….Cassius Clay! Presented annually, the award recognizes an individual who has made substantial impact to Louisville and regional arts through volunteer commitment and leadership.

Fund for the Arts and SKO fashioned this award in honor of James Welch Sr., a founding member of SKO’s legacy law firm, who quietly provided strong guidance and support to the Louisville arts for decades.

“Stoll Keenon Ogden is proud to honor another servant leader in our community,” said Kendrick Riggs, SKO vice chairman. “Jim Welch Sr. was a leader whose many substantial efforts left a lasting mark on this community. We have found another such leader in Carl M. Thomas.”

Since graduating from Waggener High School, Thomas has dedicated his life to serving this community. With a particular passion for helping our youngest citizens, Thomas’s extensive community efforts have included work with organizations such as Home of the Innocents, Spalding University, Boy Scouts of America, The Housing Partnership, Inc., Norton Hospital Foundation, Wednesday’s Child, Visually Impaired Preschool Services, and the Fund for the Arts to name a few. In his spare time, he even tutored children at Engelhard Elementary School in the Every 1 Reads program.

Carl M. Thomas is a retired CEO of Commonwealth Bank & Trust and currently serves as the president and treasurer of the Gheens Foundation, Inc.

Christen Boone, president & CEO of the Fund for the Arts, said “It is clear we have found a champion of education, the arts and civic responsibility in Carl M. Thomas. He is well deserving of such an honor and we are proud to add his name to the list of distinguished award recipients.”

Previous recipients are Nana Lampton of Hardscuffle, Inc.; Todd Lowe, president and founder of Parthenon LLC; Morton Boyd, chairman emeritus of The Gheens Foundation, Inc.; and Tom Noland, senior vice president of Corporate Communications at Humana Inc.

Stoll Keenon Ogden

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