ZSR Announces Community Progress Fund Grant Awards Trustees award grants totaling $1.3 million to 32 organizations across the state


The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation (ZSR) is pleased to announce that in May 2021, Trustees awarded Community Progress Fund grants totaling $1.3 million to 32 organizations across North Carolina.

ZSR’s Community Progress Fund, which is a part of ZSR’s Community-Based Strategy, is designed to provide an infusion of short-term funding at the right moment and is intended to build on existing momentum to help move an issue, an idea or an organization forward.

“ZSR’s Community Progress Fund is intended to support local projects by making time-limited investments in communities at key moments in time,” said Darryl Childers, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation Program Officer. “We are grateful to be in partnership with these 32 organizations that are employing various strategies to create meaningful change in their communities.”

Progress Fund grants awarded, with brief descriptions of these projects, are listed below.

African American Cultural Arts & History Center to support its Alamance Black Culture Preservation initiative. ZSR funding will support this initiative’s existing programming, community participatory workshops and tourism-based events related to local Black histories.

Bertie Early College High School to support the continued operation of a community garden to help address issues of food insecurity in Bertie County. ZSR funding will be used to purchase materials and plants needed to begin growing the greenhouse garden.

Black Light Project to support its Black Business Visibility Project, which is aimed at assisting Black entrepreneurs with developing greater visibility for local Black businesses by providing communications and marketing expertise to position businesses for sales growth and expansion.

Brunswick County NAACP to establish a 30-mile trail that will serve as a platform for all North Carolinians and visitors to learn about Gullah Geechee history, culture, heritage, and its connection to the Lower Cape Fear River, located within the congressionally designated African American Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. 

Camino Community Development Corporation to upfit a building in East Charlotte to expand their behavioral health program, called “Camino Contigo,” which includes the following services: one-on-one therapy, peer support and social navigation. Camino Contigo is one of Charlotte’s only low-cost and bilingual (Spanish and English) behavioral health programs.

Carteret County Partnership for Children to add a behavioral therapist to its “Better Beginnings Program” and provide services to the 114 families that are on the waitlist.

Communities in Schools of Robeson County to reinvigorate the Resilient Children/Resilient Communities Initiative and reconvene the Community Resilience Coalition to plan for county-wide disaster preparation, trauma response and resilience in the face of hurricanes and floods, COVID-19, poverty, domestic violence and other disruptions that significantly impact children.

Conetoe Family Life Center to improve the health of the youth and community by increasing access to healthy foods, physical activity, and providing access to health services. ZSR funding will support a pilot agriculture apprentice program for three young people and provide them with the skills leading to a pathway to success.

Dare Minority Coalition to continue investing in the community to improve the quality of life for low-income people, particularly those with criminal records. Strategies include projects to increase safe affordable housing, economic opportunities for minority businesses and instilling a sense of neighborhood pride.

DEP Ministries-Disciples Educating People to support Lou’s Garage addressing transportation inequities through providing affordable auto repair to minorities, low-income individuals, and the elderly. ZSR funds will go toward building a model garage and training center within an opportunity zone.

Families First in Cabarrus County to grow its ParentChild+ program, which addresses gaps in services for 2-3-year-olds by working with caregiver/child together. ZSR funding will support the program’s growth into several new communities in Cabarrus County, with an overall goal of reaching 50 families.

Fayetteville Urban Ministry to support its Adult Literacy & Education Center in purchasing updated evidence-based instructional materials, software that allows for increased access to remote learners, and additional assessment and evaluation tools.

Foothills Health District to support racial equity training in Rutherford and McDowell Counties. ZSR funding will support racial equity training that will be intentionally offered to agency workers, such as those who work at the health department, local hospitals, clinics or private practices, as well as county government, food pantries, churches and other nonprofit organizations, and both public and charter schools.

Guilford Green Foundation & LGBTQ Center to hire a program manager to address the increased demand for LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer) programming resulting from growth in 2020 and to do intentional outreach needed to elevate Queer BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) in Guilford and surrounding counties.

Hands of Hope Medical Clinic to hire a MedServe Fellow (e.g., medical scribe, medial assistant, health coach, pharmacy technician, interpreter or a community outreach person) and a bilingual nurse practitioner to help with the organization’s clinic in Yadkin County. The organization is currently a voluntary effort to provide quality healthcare to the uninsured and low-income persons in Yadkin County. 

Help Inc. Center Against Violence to help with the development and implementation of a family justice center (FJC) in Rockingham County. An FJC is the co-location of a multi-disciplinary team of professionals who work together, under one roof, to provide coordinated services to victims of family violence.

Jones County Community Hope to finalize a building that will be used for healthy eating classes, education on topics such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and parenting, and as a Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster shelter. ZSR funds will help complete the inside of the building and help develop programming for the community.

Jonesboro United Methodist Church to support El Refugio in collaborating with regional legal agencies to provide low-cost legal immigration services, Deferred Action for Children Arrivals (DACA) and Know Your Rights Workshops, and other community education services in Sanford, North Carolina. With ZSR funding, El Refugio will hire a program administrator to assist in implementing these programs.

La Familia Community Health to provide healthcare education and access to farmworkers and undocumented populations in rural Union, Gaston, and Cabarrus Counties through monthly mobile health visits to farmworker communities throughout the harvest seasons and off season. ZSR funding will provide startup funding for this program.

Livingstone College to implement its urban garden program in the West End community in Salisbury/Rowan County to address food insecurity and health challenges in that community. ZSR funds will be used in a myriad of ways, including hiring a part-time project director and consultants/contractors as needed; cultivating land for planting; developing partnerships; creating community interest; installing fencing around the garden; purchasing small farm equipment and planting supplies; installing storage sheds; and publishing a food and nutrition community newsletter.

Memorial Industrial Community Development Corporation to develop an incubator farm to provide agricultural and business training to prospective farmers while contributing produce to the local food system in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.

NC Association of Community Development Corporations (NCACDC) to foster collaboration between low-income neighborhood residents and City officials through its Transforming Rocky Mount Project. NCACDC’s project goals are to create and implement a corridor study plan of action that results in approval of one to three priority study recommendations each year of the two-year grant period beginning Summer 2021. ZSR funding will be used to support staff costs and program activities.

NC FIELD for its Sembrando Salud project, which directly assists the farmworker community with access to COVID-19 resources, including testing, vaccines, and the social determinants barriers such as transportation, food access during exposure and illness; and widespread, culturally, linguistically relevant education delivered door-to-door within vulnerable communities. Sembrando will utilize ZSR support to transition services to community health case management for chronic disease as the pandemic subsides.

Nikwasi Initiative to support hiring a planning team to develop designs and renderings for a Heritage and Learning Center at an historic Cherokee mound site in the Town of Franklin.

Partners In Ministry to support the expansion and redesign of the facilities, programs and services at its Resource & Referral Center, which provides a one-stop center for a variety of coordinated services to individuals in Scotland, Richmond and Robeson Counties.

Pea Island Preservation Society, Inc. for “A Checkered Past: The Story of Richard Etheridge and the Pea Island Life-Saving Station” project. ZSR funding will be used to help fund the filming of a new documentary that will showcase the inspiring and unique history of African Americans on the Outer Banks.

Prospera North Carolina LLC to provide in-language and in-culture pro-bono legal clinics with individual entrepreneurial consulting support to primarily low-income Hispanic immigrant entrepreneurs in Mecklenburg and Wake Counties.

SEARCH to solidify the structure of this four-year-old grassroots organization and to expand a community engagement project with the goal of developing a model of rural healthcare that serves the citizens of Mitchell and Yancey Counties. ZSR funds will provide tangible support to enable diverse voices to be heard and to pay for personnel to perform administrative functions currently handled by volunteers.

Soaring As Eagles Outreach Ministry to provide math and reading classes (virtual and in person) to prepare students for the End of Grade (EOG) testing. ZSR funding will allow the organization to hire a full-time program manager to oversee the program.

Southeastern Halifax Coalition to support moving forward with implementation of activities and services associated with acquiring Dawson Elementary School as a Regional recreation site for under resourced and underserved communities of Southeastern Halifax County.

Transplanting Traditions Community Farm to fully transfer organizational leadership to refugee participants, support their development of a strategic path that is defined by the current needs and vision of the local refugee community, deepen and expand impact and is rooted in the organization’s social justice values.

Wounded Healers of North Carolina, in partnership with the North Carolina Justice Center, to support individuals released from incarceration in Durham and Orange Counties. The organization is led by formerly incarcerated people who have successfully made the transition back to community and who have obtained certifications as peer support specialists. The organization seeks to engage more trained mentors, help individuals reenter the community, and also work to build on existing mentoring standards and programs to establish reentry-specific mentoring protocols and best practices.

For more information about the Foundation’s Community Progress Fund, please visit: https://www.zsr.org/community-progress.