The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation was established in 1936 as a memorial to the youngest son of the founder of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. In that year the brother and two sisters of Z. Smith Reynolds - R.J. Reynolds, Jr., Mary Reynolds Babcock, and Nancy Susan Reynolds Bagley - provided that their inheritance from his estate would go to the establishment of a trust for "charitable works in the State of North Carolina." One of the initial trustees of the Foundation was Z. Smith Reynolds' uncle, William Neal Reynolds, who at his death in 1951 created a trust that now provides a portion of the Foundation's annual income.
In its history, the Foundation, as the beneficiary of the income from the Zachary Smith Reynolds Trust and the W. N. Reynolds Trust, has made grants to organizations in all of North Carolina's 100 counties.
In 1946 the Foundation entered into a contract with Wake Forest University to move the college from the town of Wake Forest in Wake County to Winston-Salem. The Foundation has continued to have a special relationship with Wake Forest University over the years and provides annual support to it.
The Trustees of the Foundation established focus areas for the first time in the early 1980’s, recognizing the need to target the Foundation’s dollars in order to achieve a greater impact. The focus areas have changed through the years and, thus, what may have been a priority in the past may no longer be an emphasis of the Foundation’s funding. We recommend that all applicants review the focus area information listed on this web site in order to determine whether or not their work meets the Foundation’s desired results within the current focus areas, Community Economic Development, Strengthening Democracy, the Environment, Public Education, and Social Justice and Equity.
The Foundation makes grants only to nonprofit, tax-exempt, charitable organizations and institutions that are exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or to governmental units. No grants are made to individuals for any purpose. Organizations that operate both within and outside of the State of North Carolina may be eligible for consideration for programs operating in North Carolina. However, this Foundation is restricted to making grants supporting projects in North Carolina with the purpose of benefiting residents of North Carolina.
Zachary Smith Reynolds