THE WINSTON–SALEM FOUNDATION

Evolving to Meet
Community Needs

THE WINSTON–SALEM FOUNDATION

Evolving to Meet
Community Needs

THE WINSTON–SALEM FOUNDATION

Evolving to Meet
Community Needs

THE WINSTON–SALEM FOUNDATION

Evolving to Meet
Community Needs

Advancing our Mission

Since our inception a century ago, The Winston-Salem Foundation has partnered with people and organizations to improve the quality of life in Forsyth County. We have established a long legacy of local impact, and we are proud of all the ways we have been able to contribute to our community through leadership, grants, philanthropic services, and student aid.

We cannot fully realize our vision of a community where everyone is thriving if we don’t understand and address the systems and policies preventing marginalized individuals and communities from doing so.

As we approach our centennial year, we recognize how much our community has changed. To keep pace with these changes and to meet the current and most pressing needs facing Forsyth County, we must adapt and grow as an organization. We cannot fully realize our vision of a community where everyone is thriving if we don’t understand and address the systems and policies preventing marginalized individuals and communities from doing so.
To advance our mission to inspire giving and link resources to action, we are evolving. A year ago, we announced our new broad focus areas – Building an Inclusive Economy and Advancing Equity in Education. We arrived at the decision to focus our programmatic work in these two areas after much discussion with our partners and reviewing data showing significant racial, economic, and residential disparities among communities of color.
We believe in the strength, power, and dignity of all people. We are committed to an explicit focus on racial equity because we know that when we improve conditions for communities of color, all of Forsyth County will benefit, too. The Foundation has an integral role to play in leveraging our county’s overall prosperity to address inequities and create positive change.
As we learn and evolve, and look to shape our emergent strategy, we are turning to you – local voices who know how to solve local problems together. Our work will be more effective when it’s continuously informed and influenced by those who are closest to the work rather than having a rigid, pre-determined plan in place. We look forward to sharing more about our journey, and we hope that you see a way to partner with us as we work to ensure that everyone thrives.

Listening.

Learning.

Since announcing our new focus areas last year, our staff has held 144 listening sessions with hundreds of people to identify the most pressing obstacles faced by our neighbors. Recognizing that we are not the experts, we sought out opportunities to build deeper relationships in the community to inform our grantmaking strategy.

We listened and learned from each conversation. We heard about both large-scale perceptions of culture and systems as well as stories and anecdotes from people with lived experience in our focus areas. We are immensely grateful to so many community members—including nonprofit leaders, directly-impacted people, teachers, business leaders, elected officials, education leaders, and students—for sharing stories of the challenges they face in their lives and work and sparking new ideas for how we can respond.

What's

changing.

The Winston-Salem Foundation is well positioned to address inequitable norms, places, and systems that shape people’s lives. We need to ensure that all Forsyth County residents have the opportunity to fulfill their highest potential and thrive in all the critical roles they play.  

We are steadfast in our commitment to partnering with donors and investing in local nonprofits, and our priorities will change to fit the community’s needs. Beginning in 2019, the Foundation will direct a portion of our resources to meet these challenges through both proactive and responsive grantmaking, and we will become more engaged with our community partners. In the next three years, we will increase grantmaking funds for these focus areas as our existing multi-year grant commitments wind down. We invite community members to join us as donors in supporting the Next Century Fund to help us succeed in our efforts.

With accountability to our donors and partners, we will show up in new ways and leverage our position, tools, and resources to inspire and cultivate community action.

Becoming a More Active, Collaborative Partner

Grantmaking remains an important tool for the Foundation’s community investments. But with limited resources and complex challenges, it is imperative that we look for additional ways to use our resources to make a difference and advance our mission.

Engaged partnerships are vital to propel our community forward toward positive change. As we broaden our relationships and continue to learn, we want to be more strategic and intentional partners. With accountability to our donors and partners, we will show up in new ways and leverage our position, tools, and resources to inspire and cultivate community action.

Our New Priorities

As a result of our listening and strategy sessions with our grantees, partners, and directly-impacted community members, the Foundation has identified six priorities within our two new focus areas. These priorities reflect areas where significant levels of inequity persist, where the community says our resources are most needed, and where we believe we can make the greatest impact now and for the foreseeable future. While our two broad focus areas will remain longstanding, we will remain responsive and nimble, re-evaluating and addressing priorities going forward.

Our initial responsive grant funding will work toward addressing:

  • Access to efficient and affordable transportation (Spring 2019)
  • Reduction in the racial wealth gap (Fall 2019)

We will release more information about our first grant deadline in January 2019 via our e-news, social media, and website. Sign up for our e-news here.

Recognizing all of the available tools and resources we have to support our new priorities, we will begin moving forward on these and four other priorities in 2019. We will continue to advance our learning as we work toward additional grantmaking rounds.

Building an Inclusive Economy

  • Access to efficient and affordable transportation
  • Reduction in the racial wealth gap
  • Inclusive pathways to family-sustaining careers

Advancing Equity in Education

  • Anti-bias culture and practices in educational settings (Pre-K to Post-secondary)
  • Positive/constructive behavior intervention strategies (Pre-K to 12)
  • Racially and economically diverse public schools (K to 12)

Other Community Investments

Within our Community Grants program, we will continue to support nonprofit organizations through capacity-building and capital campaign grants regardless of program area. We will also continue our longstanding student aid program to support the educational aspirations of local students.

Additionally, the Foundation will continue to support community development corporations (CDCs) with operating funds as they have an important role to play in building an inclusive economy. These nonprofit, community-based organizations bring about revitalization to underserved neighborhoods, attracting new investment and building community wealth.

Through a new Mission-Aligned Investments program beginning in late 2019, we will employ a new strategy to invest in for-profit and nonprofit entities working for social change. We will diligently study new sectors where we intend to make investments to identify entities that most closely align with our overall mission, seeking both financial and social returns.

going

forward.

Our priorities within the two focus areas will evolve over time as we continue to engage in learning with community members. Going forward, we know that transformational change is complex, takes time, and requires all of us to work together.

We honor the strengths and experiences of everyone in our community, and we welcome your input, expertise, and guidance as we evolve. Please sign up for our e-news here and follow us on social media to learn about our future events.

We are hopeful about Forsyth County’s future. We are listening, adapting, growing, and refocusing our organization and its resources to get us there.

Thank you, to all community partners, as we work together to strengthen our community – now and forever.

Tell us your thoughts. We want to listen.

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