ZSR Embarks on a Strategic Assessment To better understand and address the changing needs of North Carolina

The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation has officially announced its plan to embark on a year-long strategic assessment to examine and evaluate its current approach to grantmaking and broader work. At the end of this process, by May 2017, the Foundation plans to produce a strategic plan that will guide its work moving forward.

For nearly 80 years, the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation has been a catalyst for positive change, working to improve the quality of life for all North Carolinians. Today, with ZSR’s new executive director, Maurice “Mo” Green at the helm, the Foundation’s Board of Trustees and staff are dedicated to continuing a tradition of bold, forward-thinking vision and action that will make our state an even better place to live and work.

ZSR has a deep and rich history of investing in nonprofit organizations across North Carolina. It currently focuses on supporting organizations that are working to improve public education, preserve and protect the environment, promote economic opportunity for people of diverse backgrounds, engage more individuals in the democratic process, and elevate the dignity of all.

At the same time, the Foundation recognizes that the context in which it currently operates is changing rapidly and in fundamental ways. For example, technology is transforming our personal and professional lives, the demographic makeup of our communities is shifting, and our cities are expanding quickly, while many small towns and rural areas are often left behind.

“The Foundation is committed to continuing to improve the quality of life for all North Carolinians,” said ZSR Executive Director Mo Green. “However, given the state’s changing landscape, ZSR sees this as an opportune time to take a step back, understand those changes, and then work to develop sound strategies for best serving the future needs of North Carolina communities.”

As part of this assessment, the Foundation has launched Mo Wants to Know – a listening and learning tour during which ZSR’s new executive director, Trustees and staff will make their way across the state, for several months. The Foundation wants to hear directly from state leaders, local leaders and community members about trends and challenges, as well as opportunities, successes and ideas for making North Carolina a better place.

As part of Mo Wants to Know, ZSR Trustees and staff will spend time meeting with smaller, more targeted groups and working alongside experts to understand trends, research best practices and review ways in which the Foundation can make the most impact with the assets it has available.

All North Carolinians can submit ideas and share thoughts, suggestions, and recommendations with the Foundation through the website homepage; by going directly to www.zsr.org/MoWantsToKnow; or visiting the Foundation’s Facebook and Twitter page, and using the hashtags #MoWantsToKnow and #EnvisionNC.

Because of the time-intensive nature of this strategic assessment process, ZSR’s Trustees have made a decision to suspend grantmaking for the Foundation’s Spring 2017 grant cycle. This means that the Foundation will not accept grant proposals with a deadline of February 1, 2017, as it typically would do.

ZSR recognizes that its grantees are doing urgent and important work all across the state. Staff is designing a process that will allow the Foundation to consider, and if appropriate, renew support for vital, ongoing work so that it can continue without significant disruption. The Foundation plans to stay closely connected to its grantees throughout this process. ZSR also recognizes that there are new projects and/or unforeseen, unique and timely projects that deserve consideration for funding, even while ZSR is undergoing its strategic assessment and planning.

Therefore, the Foundation will still have a Fall 2016 grant cycle. The deadline for applications is 12:00 p.m. (noon) on August 1, 2016.

For more information about the strategic assessment, visit http://www.zsr.org/articles/strategic-assessment-overview.

To review a list of Frequently Asked Questions as it relates to the strategic assessment and the Foundation’s upcoming grant cycles, visit http://www.zsr.org/articles/strategic-assessment-faqs.