Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation launches new grantmaking strategies

Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation launches new grantmaking strategies
June 28
04:00 2018

Earlier this week the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation announced the launch of the new framework for grantmaking and learning across the state and in Winston-Salem.

For more than 80 years, the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation (ZSR) has strived to respond to the changing needs of the state by providing funding for organizations and programs that make the state a better place for everyone. The new framework for grantmaking will build on the “emerging direction” that the foundation provided an update on last summer.

According to the executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, Maurice “Mo” Green, the new framework called All for NC is designed to meet people and communities where they are, as well as break down the “silos” of the Foundation’s traditional focus areas.

The All for NC grantmaking framework will be separated into three grant strategies with different priority areas for each. The three strategies are: State-Level Systemic Change, Community-Based, and Exploratory, Visionary Ideas.

The state-level strategy will be focused on four priority areas: advancing public education, fostering a healthy and sustainable environment, promoting social and economic justice and strengthening democracy. In addition ZSR will focus on supporting grantee efforts to collaborate and align their efforts across issues and populations.

“We said we wanted to work with grantees to really develop their racial equity lens and work and also their capacity to work together on particular issues as well,” Green said.

The Community-Based Strategy has been subdivided into two approaches but it is not bound by any focus areas such as the state-level strategy. The collaborative problem-solving approach is intended to bring people together to define a path for creating positive change.

Green said after listening to people in the community, one of the things they heard was that people want to work together on issues. He said, “We want to support communities coming together and working on an issue and we want to provide resources to help them do that.”

The second subdivision of the community strategy is a community progress fund that is intended to support local projects by making time-limited investments in communities at key moments in time.

The third strategy of All for NC will be focused on being more flexible and taking more risk. The Exploratory, Visionary Ideas Strategy was developed around two initiatives: the All for NC Fellowship and the Inclusive Public Art Initiative.

The All for NC Fellowship is intended to invest in the next generation of up and coming leaders who have innovative ideas. The Inclusive Public Art initiative will be aimed at inclusive community processes that result in public art that recognizes and acknowledges North Carolinians.

The Foundation will also be working with the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), to ensure cities across the state are applying a racial equity lens to their work. The Foundation has set aside funds to support communities who have programs or initiatives that may not be funded by the government.

“We want to see if this might make a difference for a particular community really using that racial equity analysis and say here’re some dollars to maybe try that with,” Green said.

When asked how the new grantmaking framework aligns with ZSR’s mission to change with the changing needs of North Carolinians, Green said the structure allows ZSR to make changes when needed. 

“There are many things like technology and social media that’re changing the way we are in relation with each other and changing the way we gather and dissect information,” said Green. “So we wanted to set up a structure basically that morphs and changes with North Carolina.”

Green noted ZSR use to have only fund programs and organizations that supported the five focus areas. Today the Foundation supports a variety of programs with varying focus areas.

“Now we have three major focus areas with multiple entry points and multiple grant cycles. We’re really trying to say that we’re responding to this change in North Carolina in a way that makes sense to us and we hope to a broader North Carolina.”

For more information on All for NC: ZSR’s Framework for Grantmaking and Learning, visit

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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