Lake Rabun Foundation History


In 1986, the LRA became involved in a zoning controversy over possible development on the Lake.  Although we ultimately prevailed against the commercial re-zoning, we learned that the image of the “lake people” in the Rabun community was not stellar and that our political influence was weak at best.  In the aftermath, LRA President Pete Halter and the Trustees decided that we needed to be better Rabun citizens and look for ways to “give back” to the Rabun Community.  At Pete’s suggestion a charitable foundation was created as a 501-C-3 charitable endeavor.  The focus of the Lake Rabun Foundation was to provide scholarship assistance for college bound Rabun County High School students.  In 1987, Pete and Buz Stone interviewed and selected Melanie Dietz as the first scholarship recipient.  Melanie received $1,000 scholarships for 4 years.  Also in 1987, Buz Stone was elected Director of the Foundation.  For the next 25 years Buz provided leadership and inspiration to the Foundation.  In 2012, Steve Raeber was selected as the new Director of the Foundation and Buz moved to an advisory position – Director Emeritus. 

Thanks to the early efforts of Jack King, the hard work and dedication and the generosity of LRA members, the amount and number of scholarships has increased.  Over $1,000,000 in scholarship assistance has been provided to over 160 qualified Rabun County students.  In the Rabun School Community, the Lake Rabun Scholarships are recognized as the most meaningful and respected scholarships awarded each year. 

In 2006, the Foundation became a donor advised-field of interest- fund of the North Georgia Community Foundation (NGCF).  The funds are professionally managed along with other funds under the NGCF umbrella.  The Foundation is supported by a variety of fund raising activities such as the Lake Rabun Market, the Tour of Homes, and the Rabun Ramble.  An Annual Fund has been established to help provide a consistent level of funding for the Foundation. 

Over the years, the Trustees decided to expand the scope of the Foundation with grants to charitable, educational and community needs in Rabun County. In recent years the Foundation has provided more than $40,000 in grants to local charitable and educational organizations each year. The Foundation has helped provide food and basic services to many in need. The Lakemont Wiley Volunteer Fire Department has also been an important focus of the Foundation.  It is noteworthy that many LRA members have become active volunteers in a variety of Rabun charitable organizations such as Save Georgia’s Hemlocks, F.A.I.T.H., CASA, The Rabun Food Ministry, Rabun Habitat and many more.

 In 2012, Buz Stone was honored for his dedication and leadership to the Foundation for 25 years.  A plaque honoring Buz is on display at the Pavilion. An award is presented each year to an LRA member who reflects the spirit of Buz Stone in serving the needs of Rabun County. The recipient selects a Rabun Charity or Scholarship Assistance to receive a $2500 Grant.

In 2018, the Foundation passed the $1.5 Million mark in total contributions to scholarship assistance and outreach in Rabun County.  Going forward, the Foundation will fund over $85,000 each year in college scholarship assistance to 40+ students.  In addition, the Foundation is also providing scholarship assistance is to Rabun students pursuing technical/vocational training at North Georgia Technical College.

“Lake Rabun Gives Back” has become the theme of the Lake Rabun Foundation.  We have created goodwill in the community by being good neighbors.  Please continue your support of the Foundation through the Annual Fund and by considering the Foundation in your estate planning program.



For assistance, please contact Steve Raeber,, 404-252-6865 or 706-782-2584.

The Lake Rabun Fund is a Fund of the North Georgia Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.