Public Education

The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation believes that equitable, universal access to high quality public education is a foundation block of democracy and is essential for the future economic sustainability, prosperity and ongoing vitality of our state and its communities. The Foundation is committed to supporting, and building the public will to sustain, North Carolina’s public systems of pre-collegiate education (early childhood and K-12, including high school based pathways to post-secondary education for students from low resource families.) The Foundation is also committed to investing in building the capacity of these systems for continuous improvement. The Foundation further believes that children are best prepared to live, work and lead in our increasingly diverse state if schools are racially, ethnically and economically diverse.

The Foundation cannot effectively impact all of the ways to support and strengthen NC’s education systems. Rather, it must target its funding on a few goals in order to have impact. For this reason, funding in this focus area is limited to:

  • Building the public will to invest in supporting and improving North Carolina’s systems of public education.
  • Developing the leadership capacity of current or future school administrators, including superintendents and principals, and instructional leaders, including teacher leaders. As North Carolina implements the Common Core State Standards starting in 2013, the Foundation will consider funding pilot programs that develop the instructional capacity of teachers or school building administrators to lead the development of teaching practices that effectively implement the Common Core in their schools.
  • Recruiting and retaining qualified teachers, promoting diversity within the teaching profession, and improving the effectiveness of teachers new to the profession, especially in low wealth schools or school systems.
  • Improving and retaining racial, ethnic, and economic diversity of and within schools.

Teacher and leader grants under paragraphs 2 and 3 above are made on a pilot basis and will normally not be sustained for longer than 2-4 years. Teacher and leader grants will be made only for projects that (a) include multiple schools or school systems; (b) are research-based or are innovative, (c) will be evaluated and (d) are replicable. 

With rare exceptions, the Foundation does not fund the following:

  • Scholarships
  • Summer camps
  • After-school or out-of-school time programs
  • Boys and Girls Clubs or similar local organizations
  • Individual chapters of Communities in Schools
  • Drop-out prevention programs
  • Curriculum development
  • Charter or private schools
  • Athletic Teams
  • Local parent-teacher organizations
  • Ongoing operating expenses of public schools

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