Core Values

The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation embraces a set of core values that emerge from the Foundation’s long history to further its mission of improving the quality of life for all North Carolinians. These include:

  • Stewardship – We honor our history of accountability, fiscal responsibility, and purpose- driven grantmaking by balancing the needs and opportunities of today with the challenges of tomorrow.
  • Integrity – We strive for honesty, humility, and openness in our work and seek to act in alignment with our values in all that we do.
  • Fairness and Justice – We believe that all people should be treated fairly and with respect. We support the dismantling of systems and structures that limit opportunities for individuals, groups, and communities to reach their full potential. 
  • Dignity and Equity – We value and respect the dignity of all and are committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion. We celebrate the unique attributes, characteristics, and perspectives of every individual.
  • Civic Participation – We believe that civic life and a healthy democracy depend on an informed and involved populace that is able to exercise its individual rights and come together for a common purpose.
  • Excellence – We strive for organizational excellence and continuous opportunities to learn. We seek out best practices and innovative, cutting-edge ideas for our institutions, grantees, partner organizations, and communities across North Carolina.
  • Sustainability – We encourage the cultivation of resilient, vibrant communities and a clean, healthy environment by empowering people and safeguarding our natural resources.
  • Collaboration – We strive to establish and support collaborative partnerships across the state, including with our grantees, to work toward solutions addressing challenges facing North Carolinians and their communities.

Diversity and Inclusiveness

The Foundation’s grantmaking policies reflect the belief that organizational performance is greatly enhanced when people with different backgrounds and perspectives are engaged in an organization’s activities and decision-making process. Thus, the Foundation actively seeks to promote access, equity and inclusiveness, and to discourage discrimination based on race, creed, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and other factors that deny the essential humanity of all people. This principle is a lens through which all of the work of the Foundation is viewed.

The Foundation reserves the right to decline proposals from organizations the board and staff of which do not reflect the diversity of the community in which they work. View the diversity policy adopted by the Foundation's Trustees in November 2005 (and subsequently amended in May 2009).