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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
We will release more information about our grant deadlines 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 move forward on these and four other priorities, and we will continue to advance our learning as we work toward additional grantmaking rounds.
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.
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.