ZSR Celebrates Life Trustee Jane Smith Patterson with $250,000 Honorarium Honored for her legacy of service as foundation trustee


Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation celebrates trustee Jane Smith Patterson with $250K honorarium

Winston-Salem, NC, March 17, 2021 – In honor of former and now Life Trustee Jane Smith Patterson’s years of dedicated service to the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, Trustees have awarded $250,000 to three North Carolina organizations. Patterson has served the foundation for more than 37 years, lending significant support to public policy, environmental, and educational platforms.

Patterson has designated three recipients for her honorarium. The Institute for Emerging Issues for the Policy Innovation Leaders of Tomorrow (PILOT 21) will receive $125,000, the North Carolina Aquarium Society will receive $100,000, and North Carolina State University Libraries will receive $25,000.

The Institute for Emerging Issues PILOT 21 project will increase the pipeline of young leaders into public policy and advocacy. The multi-campus initiative is designed to provide undergraduate students at nine North Carolina Universities (Duke University, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina Central University, North Carolina State University, Shaw University, University of North Carolina at Asheville, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and Wake Forest University) a chance to identify policy issues facing the state and orchestrate a plan for change. This project would give students impactful and hands-on experience with state and local policymakers.

The North Carolina Aquarium Society will use its funds to establish the Patterson-Williams Legacy Fund to support the Aquarium Scholars (AS) Program.  This fund will honor Patterson and Dr. A. Hope Williams, President of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities.  Both Patterson and Williams are members of the Aquarium Society Board of Directors.  The AS program is a partnership with the three North Carolina aquariums, Jennette’s Pier, and N.C. Title I public schools. Funding will support STEM-based (science, technology, engineering, and math) education programs in the following areas:

  • Aquarium visits for students
  • Educational programs during class visits
  • Outreach program at local schools
  • Virtual outreach programming

Teachers from Title I schools can visit ncaquariums.com for more information, deadlines, and an online application. They should start by selecting the closest or preferred location to find out more.

“Jane’s leadership was critically important to the very origins of the North Carolina Aquariums more than forty years ago,” said Jay Barnes, President and CEO of the Aquarium Society.  “As Secretary of the Department of Administration, she made sure they received critical funding to operate. Then, knowing they would need more than state resources to flourish, she helped establish the nonprofit Aquarium Society and became our founding chair. Jane’s vision has helped our Aquariums become the world-class institutions they are today.”

The third recipient, The North Carolina State University Libraries, will use its funds for the James Baxter Hunt Papers Project, which involves a digitization of the former North Carolina governor’s records to memorialize his leadership. At the completion of this project, the papers will be available to students at all academic levels domestically and abroad.

Patterson emphasized that she wants to enable new government management students to learn from the digitization of the Hunt government records that he, and the employees like herself that served with him, were committed to and strongly supported innovation in government management, racial and gender equity, statewide technology-based economic development of funding for education and libraries, the protection of the beautiful environment of North Carolina land and marine waters, and, above all, leading the introduction of the Internet (1980s & 1990s) to the people, businesses, and local and state government entities within North Carolina. 

“I am truly humbled by this honor. Service has always been part of my fabric. It’s been such a pleasure to support the foundation and work alongside these remarkable organizations. Each one holds a special place with me, and so, it was an absolute joy to support them with this gift. If I can impact one student to enter or support public service, whether in government, nonprofit organizations or become a member or an employee of a foundation that supports nonprofits focused on advancing racial and gender equity in our communities, my service will all be worthwhile,” said Jane Smith Patterson, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation former and now Life Trustee and honoree.

Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation Executive Director Maurice “Mo” Green acclaims Patterson as an influential “changemaker” for public policy and advocacy. “Jane has been a pillar here at the foundation. Her fire for equity and innovation fuels us all to continue the necessary work to make our communities better. This honorarium is only a small token of the foundation’s appreciation of Jane’s dedication and service.”



Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation (ZSR) is committed to improving the quality of life for all North Carolinians. ZSR is a statewide, private, family foundation that has been a catalyst for positive change in North Carolina for more than 80 years. In June 2018, the Foundation announced All For NC: Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation’s Framework for Grantmaking and Learning. Headquartered in Winston-Salem, NC, the Foundation has invested $608 million into North Carolina. To learn more about ZSR and its All For NC Framework, visit www.zsr.org.

PILOT21 (Policy Innovation Leaders for Tomorrow 2021), sponsored by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, will identify students at Duke, NC A&T State, NC Central, NC State, Shaw, UNC Asheville, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC Wilmington and Wake Forest with a passion for public policy. In March 2021, the students will come together virtually to identify a big area of public policy they would like to work on. Using data from the Carolina Demography Center, and with support from faculty mentors, small student teams from each campus will work with students on other campuses during the fall of 2021 to develop specific policy ideas, culminating with a student summit at NC State. They’ll get advice from current policymakers. Then they’ll look for opportunities to share their ideas on a local and state level. Visit the website for PILOT21 to learn more. 

In 1986, the North Carolina Aquarium Society was formed as a nonprofit (501c3) support organization to assist the Aquariums in the fulfillment of their mission. Through a Memorandum of Agreement with NCDNCR, the Society partners with the Aquariums to raise private funds to make them better—by supporting their priorities of new exhibits, animals, education programs and conservation initiatives. The Society is led by a 45-member, statewide Board of Directors. An updated Board roster is posted on this website.The Society generates revenue from gift shops, membership, and concessions, and also focuses on grant acquisition and private fundraising. These efforts enable the Society to work closely with Aquarium leaders to plan new projects, exhibits and programs that otherwise might not be possible with limited state funds. To learn more about The NC Aquarium Society, visit www.ncaquariums.com.

The NC State University Libraries strives to be an equitable, diverse, and inclusive organization. Academic libraries aspire to an ideal of democratic access. We believe it is imperative that library work includes a sustained commitment to creating an inclusive atmosphere for diverse patron populations and an increasingly diverse profession. We acknowledge that our collections and spaces have reflected a broader system of inequality, and we commit ourselves to continued learning and improvement, recognizing that the work needed to become more accessible, equitable, diverse, and inclusive must be ongoing. Visit the website for North Carolina State University Libraries to learn more.