Small Boost, Big Impact Nonprofits across NC are testing approaches to improve their communities

Grantee News, News

Photo caption: Communities in Schools of Robeson County holds a community-wide resiliency training for people affected by Hurricanes Matthew and Florence. Photo courtesy of Communities in Schools of Robeson County


Those most proximate to the needs of their communities often have the best ideas and solutions. And sometimes, a local organization needs an extra boost at just the right time to move an issue, idea or program forward.  

That’s the purpose of ZSR's Community Progress Fund, an annual grant program that awards $20,000-$30,000 per year for one or two years to local organizations across North Carolina. 

Check out this video to hear from grantee partners José Alvarez with Prospera NC, Tonya Jefferson-Lynch with Black Light Project, Danny Stedman with Communities in School of Robeson County and Patrick Graham with WeBuild Concord: 


Here's how these four organizations used their Community Progress Fund grants: 

  • Black Light Project, a nonprofit that uses video and photography to document and share narratives of the oppressed and disenfranchised, formally assessed the needs of their community so that businesses and nonprofits could help fill gaps in products and services. 

  • Communities in Schools of Robeson County, an organization that empowers students to stay in school, expanded ongoing efforts supported by the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust to help residents recover from recent hurricanes and build resilience for future ones.   

  • Prospera NC, an economic development organization that supports Hispanic-owned businesses, piloted clinics for entrepreneurs to learn the legal ins and outs of running a business.  

  • WeBuild Concord, a nonprofit and community land trust dedicated to equitable housing, formed a community advisory board to ensure its policies and projects reflect the needs of residents and partners. 

Learn more about the Community Progress Fund and how to apply for a grant. Applications for the Community Progress Fund are currently open. The deadline to apply is January 26, 2024.