ZSR Trustees Announce New Executive Director Joy Vermillion Heinsohn will return to ZSR as Executive Director


Winston-Salem, NC (Feb. 20, 2023) – The Board of Trustees of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation (ZSR) is pleased to announce that Joy Vermillion Heinsohn will serve as ZSR’s next Executive Director. Vermillion Heinsohn succeeds Maurice (Mo) Green who is retiring after serving seven years with distinction. 

A native North Carolinian and long-time resident of Winston-Salem, Vermillion Heinsohn currently serves as the Philanthropy Liaison for the NC Office of Strategic Partnerships (OSP) and is a former Assistant Director at ZSR. She will join the Foundation on March 20, 2023. As North Carolina’s first Philanthropy Liaison, a position co-created and co-funded by state government and philanthropy, Vermillion Heinsohn has built and strengthened relationships between the two sectors. She brokered cross-sector partnerships on critical matters facing North Carolinians, including digital inclusion and equity; childcare and workforce development; and deployment of American Rescue Plan Act funds, among other activities. She also co-created and facilitated a team across state agencies dedicated to improving and enhancing state government grantmaking.

Prior to her work in state government, Vermillion Heinsohn spent 22 years in various roles at ZSR, successfully launching numerous programs and initiatives. As Assistant Director, she led ZSR through its most recent strategic assessment and planning process that culminated in the Foundation’s current All for NC Framework for Grantmaking and Learning. As a Program Officer, she oversaw the Foundation’s Environment portfolio and developed and led its Democracy portfolio. She twice served as interim Executive Director and also managed the Foundation’s Inclusive Public Art and All for NC Fellowship initiatives. During her tenure at ZSR, she helped review nearly 10,000 grant applications that culminated in over $350 million in grants.

“We are elated that Joy is returning to the Foundation to help lead it into the future,” said Virgil Smith, Foundation President and Chair of the search committee. “Her commitment to ZSR’s Core Values, her intellectual curiosity and knowledge of pressing issues facing North Carolina, her passion for people, and her extensive networks across the state make her the right person to lead the Foundation during this period of opportunity.”

“The people of North Carolina are full of brilliant ideas for how to make their communities and our state thrive,” said Vermillion Heinsohn. “Part of philanthropy’s job is to thoughtfully and respectfully find ways to support those ideas. We have a responsibility to listen deeply, to bear witness to the stories of those we serve, to reflect on how we can be a better partner, and to use our human and financial resources in courageous ways that are aligned with the wisdom of North Carolina’s people. My career at ZSR and OSP has focused heavily on building partnerships, recognizing that the challenges our state faces require multiple stakeholders to work together. I am delighted to return to ZSR to build partnerships that help meet the Foundation’s mission of improving the quality of life for all North Carolinians.”

Vermillion Heinsohn was selected by the Foundation’s Trustees after an extensive national search conducted by Isaacson Miller. In selecting Vermillion Heinsohn, the ZSR Search Committee emphasized her public service experience in both philanthropy and government, her alignment with the Foundation’s values, and her deep understanding of the issues facing North Carolina and the Foundation’s hometown of Winston-Salem.  

“Joy will be instrumental in helping ZSR write its next chapter, with her experience in both philanthropy and government; her demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion; and her approach to building partnerships,” said Anna Warburton Munroe, Vice President of the Foundation and a member of the search committee.

Vermillion Heinsohn has a bachelor's degree in politics from Wake Forest University and a master’s degree in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She has long been active in nonprofit and philanthropic circles, serving on numerous national, state, and local boards. She and her husband have two children and reside in Winston-Salem.