Officials with the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation spent two years listening to North Carolinians to determine how to best improve socioeconomic conditions, both statewide and locally.
The Winston-Salem foundation said Monday it plans to focus on four areas for its “All for NC” grant-making initiative: advancing public education; fostering a healthy and sustainable environment; promoting social and economic justice; and strengthening democracy.
In addition to those focus areas, the foundation expressed a commitment “to use a racial equity lens to underpin” all of its Winston-Salem and Forsyth County efforts, as well as continue to commit to being a learning organization.
“This is a defining moment in the foundation’s (80-year) history,” said Dr. Lloyd “Jock” Tate, the foundation’s president.
“We have done our best to listen to what we have heard from individuals, groups and organizations over the course of our assessment process, and used that to help inform the design and development of each of the strategies of our new framework.
“We look forward to continuing to work with new and existing partners, as well as learn alongside of them, as we begin rolling out each of these strategies over the course of the next year,” Tate said.
Soon after Maurice “Mo” Green took over as the foundation’s executive director, he began what became a 14-month “Mo wants to know journey” across the state.
The goal is helping the foundation and its board of trustees understand how its grant funding can better serve as “connective tissue” in pulling together a state struggling with multiple divisive socioeconomic issues and political agendas.
Green and other foundation officials met with community, business, nonprofit, government, faith and educational leaders, entrepreneurs, members of the military and young people. (tncms-asset)beadbffc-7888-11e8-9fbe-00163ec2aa770 —(/tncms-asset)
“While our priorities and strategy for how we plan to be involved in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, both civically and in terms of grantmaking, is still developing, we look forward to engaging with the community in new ways,” Green said.
Green cited two examples of the foundation’s future grant-making direction.
In 2017, the foundation provided $15,000 to Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods for its mini-grants program, and $5,000 to The Winston-Salem Foundation for its Youth Grantmakers in Action leadership initiative.
The foundation said it plans to ramp up collaborative efforts with Wake Forest University for the local community.
“The foundation desires to engage with various aspects of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County community, including business, religious, philanthropic, educational, civic, neighborhood, governmental, media, arts and culture, health care and other sectors,” the foundation said.
Mayor Allen Joines said he believes the local community has “a number of excellent candidate projects and programs that I hope will benefit from the foundation’s local commitment.”(tncms-asset)c47aed8e-7887-11e8-bb00-00163ec2aa771 —(/tncms-asset)
The foundation also set three specific statewide goals:
- Support a network of organizations that are working to affect change “through a systemic change strategy;”
- Create more connections between people, places, organizations and sectors who are working to impact the communities in which they live through a community-based strategy;
- Remain open to bold, unconventional or higher-risk ideas that have transformative potential through an exploratory, visionary ideas strategy.
Green said the framework “reflects the foundation’s longstanding commitment to improving the quality of life for all North Carolinians and infuses what it heard during its yearlong statewide listening and learning tour about what is critical, and visionary, at this moment in time.”
“It also reflects the foundation’s spirit of on-going learning. We are excited about the future, the opportunities, and the possibilities as we move forward.”