John Francis

Program Officer

John Francis grew up on a small farm in Westfield, NC, and attended Surry County Schools, where both his parents were teachers. After graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill, he spent three years in Boston working for City Year, an AmeriCorps organization dedicated to advancing educational equity through national service. 

John moved back to North Carolina for a two-year fellowship with the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation (ZSR) and, over the following decade, supported ZSR's work in various contract and consultant roles.  

John’s career has spanned nonprofits and philanthropy, and he brings vast experience in relationship building, nonprofit management and strategic analysis. His understanding of rural communities and commitment to racial equity have been cornerstones of his approach to his work. John served as the Northwest Regional Director at the North Carolina Community Foundation, where he supported grantmaking and fundraising efforts of local affiliates and fundholders across nine counties in Northwest NC. He also spent nearly seven years as the Executive Director of Helping Hands Clinic, a nonprofit medical clinic and pharmacy for uninsured adults in Lenoir, NC. Most recently, John served as the Vice President of Foundation Relations for City Year, where he worked with senior leadership to develop and manage national foundation partnerships in support of education equity. 

John lives in Winston-Salem with his wife, two kids and dog. He is an avid Tar Heel and NBA basketball fan, committed dog walker, decent house painter, and a mediocre (but enthusiastic) garage gym user.