Cheryl Petty Garnette has served as the Executive Director of The Ivy Community Charities of Prince George’s County, Inc. (Charities) since January 2008. Charities was established as the non-profit, 501(c)(3) arm of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Iota Gamma Omega Chapter in 1986. The organization provides tutoring, mentoring and leadership development from elementary through high school, training for parents, scholarships for high school seniors, social activities for the elderly, and a host of workshops on financial literacy, health and wellness, the arts, civic engagement and social justice. Through her efforts, Charities earned the Maryland Nonprofits Standards for Excellence Accreditation in 2022. The Standards for Excellence is a national initiative established to promote the highest standards of ethics, effectiveness, and accountability in nonprofit governance, management, and operations. In addition, Charities was recognized in 2015, 2016 and 2022 by the United Way for its successful fundraising efforts under Do More 24; and selected as the 2017 BB&T Bank Lighthouse Project for Prince George’s County. Under her leadership, Charities received more than $2.5 million in grants from State and local sources over the past five years. In 2012 Charities acquired the 5200 square foot facility known as the Ivy Youth and Family Center in Suitland and in 2018 purchased the property next door to expand its services.
Cheryl’s vision to create the Ivy Village Incubator for Nonprofit Excellence (Ivy VINE) is Charities’ initiative to pay it forward by developing a two-year capacity building program for small emerging nonprofits that includes training, coaching, networking and the tools to earn Maryland Nonprofits Standards for Excellence recognition. The initiative also involves the construction of two facilities to support nonprofits in the County which is currently underway. The first cohort of Ivy VINE nonprofit partners was selected in 2023 and are expected to graduate in 2024. In her duplicate role as a Maryland Nonprofits Licensed Consultant and CEO of Garnette Consulting, Cheryl provides technical assistance to nonprofits across the country including strategic planning, grants management, Executive leadership, Board development, and program evaluation.
Cheryl earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and a Master of Arts degree in Measurement and Statistics, both from the University of Maryland, College Park. She retired from the U.S. Department of Education in January 2011 after 31 years where she served as the Director of the Office of Technology in Education Programs. The office administered discretionary grant programs that promoted the use of technology to support teaching and learning. Over the years, she managed more than $500 million in grants.
Cheryl was recently elected to serve on the Board of Directors of two Prince George’s County nonprofits. She serves as the Vice President of the Board of Directors of Nonprofit Prince George’s County which is an umbrella arm for nonprofits throughout the County and she serves as the Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee of the Prince George’s Community College Foundation, which was established to support scholarships and services of the College to advance the academic and career aspirations of its students.
She serves as the Director of Christian Education at Seaton Memorial AME Church in Lanham, MD, was honored as the First Trailblazing Woman of the Year in 2008 and served as the Chair of the church’s 100th Anniversary in 2011. She founded the Women’s Investment Network of Seaton, an investment club to help women understand the scriptural basis for acquiring wealth. In 2018 she received the Community Service Award from the Kappa Epsilon Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.; and in 2016 she received two community service awards: Women Always Giving to Others (WAGO) Award by the Partners Achieving Success, Inc. that was featured in the Afro Newspaper; and Prince George’s County’s Office of the County Executive and Commission for Women WE3 (Women Educated, Engaged and Empowered) Community Servant Leader Award. She was appointed to serve for four years on Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.’s International Foundations Committee which advised the organization’s chapters that established nonprofit arms (2018-2022) and was named the Silver Star of the Year for the North Atlantic Region in 2019, an honor bestowed upon members with 25 -49 years who exemplify excellence in their service to the organization.
Her favorite pastimes include scrapbooking; collecting Black dolls, Black art and Black memorabilia; traveling; shopping; and entertaining family and friends at her home.