I hope each of you have had a wonderful start to your spring!
Since our last update, Foundation Trustees and staff have been hard at work as we continue to move toward the release of a new strategic direction in the coming months.
As you will recall, in May 2016, the Foundation embarked on a yearlong strategic assessment process to better understand the trends and changes happening across the state, as well as to reevaluate and reexamine our approach to our work in order to best serve North Carolina communities moving forward. As part of this assessment, the Foundation launched a statewide listening and learning tour called Mo Wants to Know, where Trustees, staff, Community Leadership Council members and I met with local leaders and members of the community to hear directly from them about these trends and changes, as well as successes and opportunities that lie ahead.
We intended to wrap up our statewide listening and learning tour at the end of February; however, as we looked back on all of the data that we had collected, from our online portal as well as our travels across the state, we recognized that there was one very important voice missing. Therefore, in early March, we set out on a two-day stop in Greensboro and then to Wilkes County, to talk with people roughly ages 15 to 30, to learn more about their perspectives and to make sure that we were hearing the voices of the next generation of North Carolina leaders.
We have included reflections from staff and one member of the Foundation’s Community Leadership Council on some of the big picture trends from Mo Wants to Know, including Greenville-Pitt County, Northeastern NC, Wake County, Charlotte-Mecklenburg County, Wilson and the Youth Learning Tour. In case you missed them in our last update, we have also included our first set of reflections from Rockingham County, Jackson County and the Qualla Boundary, Union County and Jacksonville and Onslow County.
In addition to the two-day meeting we had with our Trustees in March to continue discussions about our strategic assessment process, ZSR also announced the Darryl Hunt Memorial Scholarship – a scholarship fund we have set up at The Winston-Salem Foundation in the amount of $100,000, to honor the life and legacy of Darryl Eugene Hunt. These scholarships will be awarded 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. A conviction on a young adult’s record can often lead to the loss of eligibility for federal financial aid, creating barriers to attaining a higher degree.
Mr. Hunt, a Winston-Salem resident who passed away in 2016, was wrongfully convicted of rape and murder in 1984, at the age of 19. While he maintained his innocence, he spent nearly two decades of his life in prison before he was exonerated. After his exoneration, Mr. Hunt dedicated his life to speaking out against injustice and as a champion for criminal justice reform, the innocence movement, and wrongful conviction, and was instrumental in helping those re-entering society from incarceration to rebuild their lives. During his lifetime, Mr. Hunt made an indelible mark on many of the organizations that the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation has supported over the years.
Beginning January 1, 2018, applications for the scholarship will be available at www.wsfoundation.org/students. This scholarship is renewable for up to three additional consecutive years. Donations to the fund will be accepted through the Winston-Salem Foundation's website at https://www.wsfoundation.org/darrylhuntmemorialscholarship or checks can be made payable to the Winston-Salem Foundation with "Darryl Hunt Scholarship" on the memo line.
Trustees will be coming together again in May 2017 to make some key decisions about our strategic assessment process, which we plan to announce in June. We also plan to provide information regarding our grantmaking process for Fall 2017 around that time. So stay tuned!
We are so grateful to all of you for the work you are doing to make North Carolina a better place for all. Thank you for coming along with us on this journey. We look forward to our continued partnerships.
Maurice “Mo” Green
Update on ZSR's Strategic Assessment Mo Green provides an update on the Foundation's process and progress