Meet Michelle Prater! Michelle is the president and CEO of the North Georgia Community Foundation, which is a community foundation that supports nonprofit organizations in Northeast Georgia.
Michelle is originally from Ohio, (and a huge Ohio State Buckeyes fan) and moved to Georgia in 1990. She attended University of North Georgia where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in both marketing and management. She then received her MBA in Leadership Development from Brenau University.
“I was in banking for 10 or so years and went to a medical mission trip to Uganda with my church (Riverbend) and after that trip I realized I needed to be doing something different,” she said. “…it stuck with me and that is why I decided to leave banking and go into the nonprofit world.”
She is passionate about giving back to the community and thinks everyone should invest in their community by volunteering and getting involved. This passion to give back lead her to become a mentor years ago.
“I mentored a boy, his name was Jay from first grade all the way through graduation, so he was always close to my family,” Michelle said. “At the age of 21, Jay was killed in a drive by shooting outside of his mom’s house. (across from Free Chapel) he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, innocent bystander. He left a girlfriend and an eight month old, as I got to know them more and closer to them I knew their home life was bad. So, they live with me now…I’m divorced and I don’t have kids, but I felt like I was real fortunate to have an amazing family, the encouragement, the things that a healthy family brings and to me I felt like that was something they deserved, and I felt like I owed it to Jay. They are doing really well.”
In her spare time, Michelle is an avid traveler and plans to go to Germany, Austria and Switzerland this summer.
“Traveling is my passion, every year I do a really big trip. I’ll take two weeks and go somewhere, last year I did two weeks in Greece and the year before that we did two weeks in different parts of Italy,” she said. “This year we are starting in Germany for a couple of days and then going to Austria to this amazing spa in the Alps and then going into Lichtenstein, then to Switzerland and Lake Lucerne.”
We want to thank Michelle for recently sitting down with the Abernathy Cochran Group and telling us more about her life and love of Hall County.
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Hall County?
A: “I have a couple. Fish Tales is one of my favorites this time of year, that is one of my favorites. I was just introduced to the new Greek restaurant (Alpha Grill), it is to die for…the people who own it are so friendly and gracious.”
Q: If you could travel anywhere right now, where would you go and why?
A: “Traveling is my passion, every year I do a really big trip. I’ll take two weeks and go somewhere, last year I did two weeks in Greece and the year before that we did two weeks in different parts of Italy. This year we are starting in Germany for a couple of days and then going to Austria to this amazing spa in the Alps and then going into Lichtenstein, then to Switzerland and Lake Lucerne. I belong to a travel club and they do 20 trips a year and you can pick what you want to do. I have these great travel friends and we all get together and decide where we want to go.”
Q: What is the first movie that you saw in the theater?
A: “‘Jaws’ and I was terrified. After that I was pretty sure that Jaws lived under my bed.”
Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A: “I’m very passionate about that everyone should own the responsibility of giving back to the community to make a difference. So, if I were to give advice I would say to get involved. I would show a crowd Jay’s picture and tell them if they don’t think they can have an impact because you are one person, you can.”
Q: What is your favorite thing about Hall County?
A: “Honestly, the generous spirit. My parents live in Clermont and one of the things that I’ve noticed, even before I got into nonprofits…when I started my first job I recognized how generous this community is. It’s not the norm. This community comes around things and really wants to help people and it makes me really proud to live here.”
Q: Where do you see yourself in five or 10 years?
A: “I hope to be right where I am. We are growing tremendously here, there’s a lot of exciting things coming from the North Georgia Community Foundation, we help nonprofit partners, we are developing educational programs to really benefit those nonprofits. I hope to be still be the president and CEO here and I hope that we’ve positioned ourselves to continue growing and making more of a difference in the community.”
Q: What three words mean HOME to you?
A: “Family, Love, Peace.”
The Faces of Hall County is a project to showcase the amazing people that live or work in our community. If you would like to nominate an interesting person to be featured please email email@example.com.