The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation seeks to improve the quality of life for all North Carolinians by preventing harm to, ensuring access to and enhancing the resilience of the natural systems that sustain life. The Foundation is committed to strong and sensible environmental protection. ZSR has a particular interest in broadening the base of citizens acting on behalf of the environment and supporting organizations that empower people at the grassroots to effect state and regional policy decisions. ZSR funds a wide variety of strategies to meet its environmental goals, including but not limited to: policy development, advocacy, civic engagement, communications, and litigation.

Clean Energy and Climate Action

ZSR seeks to prevent human-caused climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. ZSR supports the widespread adoption of energy conservation and efficiency, as well as less carbon-intensive, renewable energy resources. The Foundation also supports initiatives to help human and natural communities prepare for and adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.

Environmental Justice

Since low income communities and communities of color shoulder a disproportionate share of environmental hazards, ZSR places a special focus on helping disenfranchised populations to fight environmental threats and to chart a more sustainable course for their communities. This work includes ensuring that these communities have access to the advantages offered by the emerging green economy.

Clean Air and Clean Water

ZSR seeks to prevent practices that damage air quality and water quality and supports efforts to improve and/or restore the air we breathe as well as our rivers, wetlands, lakes and coastal waters. The Foundation also seeks to raise awareness of emerging water scarcity in North Carolina and to promote policies and practices that address the water needs of communities and businesses while ensuring the long-term ecological health of our state’s water resources.

Preserving our Natural Landscape

ZSR seeks to protect and restore strategically significant ecosystems, especially in the state’s mountain and coastal areas. The Foundation is also committed to meeting the growth demands of the state in environmentally sound ways through enhanced transportation options, inclusive community planning, and encouragement of sustainable development patterns.

With rare exceptions, the Foundation does not make grants in the following areas:

  • Land purchases
  • Environmental education centers or programs for children
  • Greenways
  • Academic research
  • Conferences, seminars, or symposiums
  • Documentaries and films
  • Capital campaigns
  • Fundraising events
  • Building projects or renovations
  • Equipment, furniture or computer purchases
  • Animal species preservation or rehabilitation
  • Plant species preservation
  • Preservation of historic properties

Review the complete list of uses, programs and activities to which the Foundation (with rare exception) does not make grants.