Fostering a Healthy and Sustainable Environment

Consistent with the Foundation’s mission and core values, the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation seeks to improve the lives of all North Carolinians by preventing harm to, ensuring access to, and enhancing the resilience of the natural systems that sustain life. The Foundation believes healthy natural systems are deeply connected to human health, economic security and community resilience.

To promote an environment that is safe, clean, accessible and healthy for all North Carolinians, the Foundation supports local, regional and/or statewide efforts that: prevent and mitigate the impacts of climate change; ensure healthy air and water quality and water quantity; promote access to the green economy; address the impact of environmental hazards on human health; and protect significant ecosystems while meeting the growth demands of the state in environmentally sound ways.

We also recognize that communities of color and low-income communities across North Carolina are significantly impacted by the layered effects of climate change, polluting industries, disenfranchisement and, often, systemic racism. We seek to remedy this ongoing injustice by supporting organizations that center the communities most affected. 

In this portfolio of grants, we are especially interested in:

  • Organizations and networks strengthening the ability of directly impacted communities to shape the decisions and systems that affect their lives.
  • Funding organizations already working at the intersection of climate, environmental and energy justice, and democracy issues.
  • Supporting ground-up, decentralized and interconnected networks.
  • Strengthening the capacity of organizations and networks.
  • Supporting work that promotes shifting control of energy, land and labor to communities, such as increasing community-owned energy and green economic development, and community control, ownership and stewardship of land. 

Please email with questions about our environmental grantmaking.