Foundation’s Emerging Direction Provides New Opportunities for Involvement in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County ZSR Trustees commit to augmenting Foundation’s relationship with its hometown

Announcements, News

The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation is looking to participate in its hometown of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County in new ways.

As the birthplace of the Foundation, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County has remained a special and important part of ZSR’s history. Because of its deep ties of more than eight decades, the Foundation has always recognized the importance of investing in initiatives and institutions that have made, and continue to make, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County a vibrant place to live and work.

Over the years, the Foundation has generously supported the efforts of many nonprofits and other organizations across Winston-Salem/Forsyth County. However, as part of its emerging direction, which was announced in June 2017, Foundation Trustees have committed to seeking additional ways to augment ZSR’s participation in the life of its hometown.

The Foundation’s investments across the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County community date back to its earliest years. During a time when there were fewer nonprofits across the area, the Foundation supported larger, longer-term projects, which have had lasting impact until today. For example, ZSR helped move Wake Forest University to Winston-Salem in 1956. In the years since, the University has become a nationally-renowned institution and serves as an important economic driver for Winston-Salem and the Piedmont Triad. ZSR was also a major contributor to the UNC School of the Arts, one of the country’s premier arts institutions, when the school first opened. In the 1940’s, the Foundation invested in updating and expanding the Smith Reynolds airport for additional commercial service. Later, the Foundation provided a gift to Tanglewood Park’s Festival of Lights, which remains “one of the largest and most spectacular light shows in the entire Southeast.” In more recent years, the Foundation has supported a variety of local organizations and projects, including but not limited to numerous community development corporations. In 2017, ZSR established the Darryl Hunt Memorial Scholarship – in the amount of $100,000 – to provide scholarships to individuals in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County who have been convicted of a criminal offense, have served a jail or prison sentence, and are seeking higher education. Darryl Hunt was a champion for criminal justice reform and the innocence movement and was instrumental in helping those re-entering society from incarceration to rebuild their lives.

ZSR continues to support nonprofit organizations, across the state and in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, whose missions align with the values of the Foundation and who are working to make their communities a better place. This includes organizations that are working to lift up marginalized groups.

While the Foundation will continue fleshing out a longer-term strategy for deepening its relationships and increasing its participation across Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, one of the ways in which it will continue to be involved is through grantmaking.

In 2017, ZSR is excited to work alongside two organizations who are already doing incredible work to strengthen and enhance the communities which they serve.

  • ZSR will partner with Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods to provide $15,000 to its Grassroots Grants Program – a program that seeks to strengthen neighborhoods in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County by supporting a wide range of community-based initiatives. NBN supports neighborhood groups and encourages resident-led problem solving by providing financial assistance for ideas that promote growth and development in communities.
  • ZSR will partner with The Winston-Salem Foundation to provide $5,000 to Youth Grantmakers in Action – a program that works to engage a diverse group of youth from across Forsyth County who are gaining leadership experience, representing youth in their communities, and making grants to youth-directed projects that address community issues and challenges in Forsyth County.

“The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation has been a community partner with NBN for many years, helping us to grow our capacity to serve residents in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County and more recently, Walnut Tree residents in Walnut Cove, Stokes County,” said Paula McCoy, executive director of Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods. “ZSR’s new investment in our grassroots grantmaking allows us to continue seeding resident-led efforts in Winston-Salem that develop leaders and improve neighborhoods. We are happy that ZSR sees the importance of advancing this work.”

“On behalf of all our Youth Grantmakers in Action, we are most grateful for the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation’s support of this impactful program, now entering its 12th year,” said Scott Wierman, president of The Winston-Salem Foundation. “We’ve learned how crucial it is to listen to the diverse voices of local youth, as they are certainly the greatest stakeholders in the future of our community.”

Because Winston-Salem/Forsyth County is also fortunate to have visionary leadership across a number of sectors, who are helping to shape the future of this community, the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation is also looking forward to identifying other ways in which it can partner with organizations, businesses, local government, and faith communities, to name a few, to join important conversations that are happening, or yet to happen, and contribute to forward-thinking change in this community. Therefore, as the Foundation further designs and develops its approach to augmenting its participation in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, it will strive to adhere to our core values as well as determine ways to become involved in the fabric of the community that go beyond grantmaking. The Foundation will also continue to use a racial equity lens across all of its work both in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County and across the state.