Building Meaningful Community Connections: 2023 Report to the Community

Page 1


Meaningful Community Connections


We are all connected.

What unites us is our common humanity....

We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas what you do, what I do, affects the whole world.


For more than a century, the Foundation has brought together people like you who care deeply about our community.

Our mission is to inspire giving and link resources to action, strengthening Forsyth County—now and forever.

We envision a generous and trusting community where everyone is thriving.

We value inclusion, accountability, and continuous learning.

We embed diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout our culture, systems, and practices.

Taking that a step further, when you do good, it spreads that goodness; it is for the whole of humanity.

Message to Our Community

We connect people who care to causes that matter.

As a community foundation, there’s truly nothing we value more than bringing people together to build a stronger Winston-Salem where everyone has the resources to support their families and pursue their dreams.

Over the past year we’ve been honored to work closely with donors to make the most of their giving, listening to all the ways they want to make a difference and then connecting them to our networks and knowledge of community issues.

We’re most grateful that this generosity has been steadfast despite an unpredictable economy. We received more than $44 million in gifts in 2022, and we were able to grant out more than $76 million in this community and beyond. We awarded 738 scholarships to 646 local students in the last school year, totaling $1.7 million.

We also deepened our investments in advancing equity in education and building an inclusive economy, not only to provide support to people in need, but to help transform the systems that are making that support necessary in the first place.

Our Black Philanthropy Initiative launched a $2 million fundraising campaign—its largest effort yet to increase investments in Black-led organizations, sponsor research on the challenges facing local families, and engage more people in philanthropy through their time, talent, and treasure.

Finally, a highlight of this year of reconnections was the return of our Community Meeting on May 8, featuring Heather McGhee, a noted economist and bestselling author. Sobering and yet very inspiring in her message, Heather challenged us to seize the dividends of working together across race to build a community that works for all of us. We’re excited to take on that challenge with you!

Thank you for your continued partnership and for your commitment to creating a Forsyth County where everyone can thrive.

In community,


Community Gatherings

Last year we experienced the joy of reconnecting with our donors, nonprofit partners, professional advisors, and volunteers after months of social distancing. We enjoyed catching up with so many of you with the return of our annual events!

Black Philanthropy Initiative Fundraiser | October 2022 Rooted in Race Pop-Up Exhibit | November 2022 The Women’s Fund Luncheon | November 2022 Legacy Society Gathering | November 2022 Youth Grantmakers in Action Celebration | April 2023
Community Meeting Featuring Heather McGhee | May 2023

2022 by the Numbers

$650,072,996 Total Assets*

1,659 Charitable Funds*

$44,208,653 Gifts

1,450 Donors

OTHER (2%)



Funds include: Unrestricted (7%), Field of Interest (5.6%), Scholarships (6%), and Strategic Initiatives (0.4%)




Funds include: Donor-Advised (50%), Designated (22%), Organizational Endowments (4%), and Charitable Trusts (3%)

(by fund type)


*as of 12/31/22

$76,697,940 Total Charitable Grants supporting:

1,715 Organizations

685 Students & Teachers

DONOR-DIRECTED (91.5%) Grants advised by donors to support local and non-local organizations

FOUNDATION-DIRECTED (8.5%) Grants the Foundation activates to strengthen Forsyth County


(by fund type)

We’re committed to growing Foundation-directed resources to be able to respond to WinstonSalem’s opportunities and challenges, both now and in the future. If you’d like to learn more about directing your giving locally, get in touch with our team.

For more detailed financial information, visit

$70.3M $6.4M

How We Partner to Strengthen Forsyth County

Most of us want similar things for our community—strong schools, access to good jobs and transportation, and a healthy Winston-Salem for all our children to grow up in. That’s why we’re partnering with generous donors and strategically directing our community investments where we can make the most impact together.


We support individuals, families, nonprofits, and companies as they establish their own charitable funds, create planned gifts, and invest in the causes that mean the most to them.

• Donor-Advised Funds to support annual giving to the causes they care about

• Designated and Organizational Endowment Funds to support long-term sustainability for nonprofits

• Scholarship Funds to help local students pursue their dreams of higher education

• Field of Interest Funds for Foundation grantmaking in broad areas of interest, including arts and culture, community and economic development, education, environment, health, and human services

• Unrestricted Funds to support the Foundation’s strategic grantmaking in response to Forsyth County’s ever-shifting challenges and opportunities—now and in the future


We make grants to charitable organizations serving greater Forsyth County in a wide variety of program areas, including community development, the arts, health, education, and human services.

• Capacity-Building Grants for internal operations

• Capital Improvement Grants for capital investments

• Small Grants for smaller groups and organizations

1 2



Together with our community partners, we strive to eliminate inequities and solve complicated community problems by addressing root causes.

• Focus Area Grants to support nonprofits and community groups in efforts to ensure that in our community, race no longer predicts life outcomes

• Mission-Aligned Investments in businesses and organizations for projects that align with our focus areas, resulting in both financial and social returns

• Black Philanthropy Initiative Grants to build economic security and address educational inequities in Black communities

• The Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem Grants to provide economic opportunities for local women and girls 4


We strengthen education locally by providing funding for educators and youth-led service projects, and by giving scholarships to students.

• Scholarships for post-secondary education

• Teacher Grants for professional development

• Youth Grantmakers in Action Grants to youth-led groups


Stories of Impact

As a community foundation, we’re powered by partnerships. Whether partnering with donors, nonprofit staff, or dedicated volunteers, they’re all vital to helping us make positive change in this community.

On the following pages you’ll read about just a few of the hundreds of people and organizations we collaborated with to strengthen Forsyth County in 2022.


When you talk to staff and volunteers at Delta Arts Center, it’s clear that the 51-year-old organization is a special place that offers much more than just wall space upon which to display art.

Nestled in the heart of East Winston, Delta Arts Center provides unique cultural and educational programming, with topics ranging from visual and folk art to music and literature, with an emphasis on the contributions of African Americans.

“It's a place where people come together, and it's a safe place where artists can blossom,” said board president Charmon Baker. “It's indescribable—the feeling you get when you see artists activate the space with their gifts or hear a performer who has a talent for singing as their voice reverberates off the walls. It just makes your heart fill up with joy.”

A Capital Improvement Grant from the Foundation helped Delta make improvements to their building, such as overhauling the HVAC system, investing in laptops for staff, and updating their kitchen. An Impact Grant from the Black Philanthropy Initiative helped fund a free week-long program called Blues Kids Camp, where professional musicians from Chicago taught music to local children and performed for their families.

“I try to let everyone know that our doors are open to the community,” said executive director Whitney Harness. “Sometimes people think they need a special invite, but we want people to know that Delta is a place where you can come to feel connected and united.”

By the time someone steps through the doors at Mi Casa, they’ve already accomplished one of the hardest things they’ll ever do: learning to navigate a new country with a different language and unfamiliar rules. Luckily, the staff at Mi Casa are accustomed to building trusting relationships with their clients as they offer little-to-no-cost legal services. On any given day, their clients could be seeking assistance in applying for citizenship, filing a tax return, or finding a job.

“Many of our staff are children of first-generation immigrants, and it really makes a difference,” said executive director Nilda Cardenas de Lara. “It’s like we were raised to do this job because a lot of what we do at Mi Casa is what we grew up doing for our parents, our grandparents, our aunts and uncles. We don’t do it just because it’s a job. We do it because it’s our passion.”

Each year, Mi Casa serves more than 4,000 families with their dedicated and caring team. The organization prides itself on never turning anyone away and will often cover the filing fees required to submit legal documentation for those who cannot afford to pay. A grant from The Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem helped Mi Casa extend their hours and serve more clients.

“Our goal is to help people transition from being new to this country to being part of the community, and not just part of the immigrant community, but the broader Winston-Salem community,” said office manager Frida Ayala. “We want to ensure that people are not just surviving but thriving— knowing their rights and feeling empowered to advocate for themselves and their families.”

Mi Casa


Suzie Ross and her husband Dennis think about giving in an interconnected and broad-reaching way, with charitable interests ranging from the visual and performing arts, to nature and conservation, to tackling systemic injustices.

“Several years ago, I read a book called The Color of Law, which explores the history of systemic segregation in our country. As a former lawyer, it was really interesting to me, and it opened my eyes,” said Suzie. “Now I feel like I know more about what I can do to help make things better. I hope that our contributions play a part in improving the lives of others, giving people an opportunity to realize their potential.”

After retiring from careers in law and medicine and giving their children a foundation for their own successful lives, Suzie and Dennis have deepened their charitable giving with the goal of making a difference during their lifetimes and beyond.

The couple uses their Donor-Advised Fund to support the work of many nonprofits they’ve developed strong relationships with, such as Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County and the Blue Ridge Discovery Center, as well as the Foundation’s Black Philanthropy Initiative and The Women’s Fund.

“Everyone has something to offer and should have an opportunity to live a full life, and I believe if everyone in our community were given the opportunity to contribute, we’d be much stronger,” said Suzie. “Most of all, I want to give in a way that has the potential to change people’s lives—that’s where my heart is.”

Suzie and Dennis Ross
“We want to ensure that people are not just surviving but thriving–knowing their rights and feeling empowered to advocate for themselves and their families.”
– Frida Ayala


With a family lineage that goes back more than 200 years in Winston-Salem, Ray Robinson is about as homegrown as it gets. Pushing his family’s legacy forward is always at the forefront of his mind, especially in terms of building a better future for his wife, Glasher, and his two daughters, Lauren and Logan.

“It’s incredible to walk in the footsteps and be in the places where your ancestors have lived. There’s a rich camaraderie among Winston-Salem’s African American community that’s like no other place. It’s a living history that we create each day,” said Ray.

“I’ve been blessed enough to be a part of that heritage through my great-grandfather, who owned a grocery store in East Winston, and my grandmother, who was a registered nurse for 50 years at Baptist Hospital— they each helped care for an entire generation of African Americans.”

Continuing his family’s legacy, Ray has provided care for his community throughout his career in the nonprofit sector and healthcare administration. And as an advisory board member and Bass Society donor to the Black Philanthropy Initiative (BPI), he embraces the power of collective giving and community-led change.

“Being able to help support what BPI does and being connected to the who, what, and when of Black philanthropy in Winston-Salem is indispensable. I hope that 200 years from now, somebody looks back and says that Winston-Salem is a better place to live because of the contributions we’re making today through BPI.”

“We’re transforming lives, properties, and communities—and when I say that, I truly feel it.”
– Willette Mosby-Reynolds


If you drive to the top of Underwood Avenue in the Boston-Thurmond neighborhood, you’ll find renovated homes that demonstrate what’s possible when dedicated community members come together to make a difference.

Founded in 2020 and known for its dynamic construction training program, The Do School is working to build economic mobility in more ways than one.

“We bring together men and women from underserved communities into a live learning environment with training in the construction trades,” said founder and executive director Jerry Anderson.

“The process begins with the purchase of a house that needs repair and has depressed property values. The house becomes a platform for training our cohorts about all the aspects of the home renovation process. Once complete, we make that property available to purchase, and proceeds from the sale fund future renovations.”

A Mission-Aligned Investment from the Foundation helped The Do School secure a loan from Piedmont Federal Savings Bank to purchase its first property in 2021.

An Inclusive Economy Grant from the Black Philanthropy Initiative helped the organization pay sustainable wages to its first cohort of apprentices, and an Inclusive Economy Grant from the Foundation made it possible for them to hire a site supervisor to manage what can often be a complicated jobsite with many moving parts.

“We’re transforming lives, properties, and communities—and when I say that, I truly feel it,” said operations manager Willette MosbyReynolds. “This program is helping individuals who are looking for ways to improve their lives, and it’s transforming a distressed property from what was an eyesore into a beautiful new home.”



Vicki and Ed Robins have dedicated their lives to giving back. Their philanthropy shows up in ways both big and small, whether it be through their volunteer work, charitable contributions, or unwavering dedication to church and community.

“I certainly learned about the importance of giving back from my family, particularly my mother. She taught me to give both monetarily as well as with my time, and she instilled in her children how important community was,” said Vicki. “In the 38 years that Ed and I have been married, we’ve always had conversations about doing more and doing better. And I hope we’ve instilled that in our children, to continue that in their own communities.”

When it comes to their current charitable giving, the Robins draw a lot of inspiration from the paths that their two daughters took—both graduating from Mount Tabor High School and pursuing journalism degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill.

The couple uses their Donor-Advised Fund to contribute to programs for school-aged children and special initiatives at UNC, as well as to support their church, St. Paul’s Episcopal.

In 2021, they also established the Robins Family Scholarship to help graduates from Mount Tabor pursue a college education.

“We each have our own voices and our own approaches to help the community—partnering with the Foundation is a way to amplify that, to combine our efforts with that of others to be more impactful,” said Ed. “If you’re members of a community, everybody has to pitch in and ensure people have the resources they need. So that’s the big motivator for us.”

Vicki and
“Literacy doesn’t just make people better readers—it empowers them. And learning to read has the power to improve a person’s overall quality of life.”
– Shatoria Whiteside


If you care deeply about children or have kids of your own, you likely understand how reading fosters a love for learning, stimulates imagination, and expands one’s understanding of the world. And data shows that benefits go well beyond the classroom— learners who are proficient in reading by 3rd grade are less likely to experience poverty as adults.

Literacy-based nonprofit R.E.A.D. understands what’s at stake, which is why they work to support learners across their lifespans through culturally competent, evidence-based literacy instruction.

“Our youngest learner is 4 years old, and our oldest is 84 years old,” said founder and executive director Shatoria Whiteside. “We believe that everyone has the capability and capacity to be a great reader. As educators, it’s our job to empower them and to get them to believe in themselves just as much as we do.”

An Impact Grant from the Black Philanthropy Initiative (BPI) helped R.E.A.D train families to support their children at home, particularly over the summer when reading retention tends to slide.

BPI’s Equity in Education Grant helped the organization develop Reading Routes, an at-home caretakers guide to successful literacy instruction. And a BPI Inclusive Economy Grant helped kickstart Trade Off, a program to support families seeking additional resources to gain access to tailored job training, ESL instruction, and financial literacy services.

Shatoria emphasized, “Literacy doesn’t just make people better readers—it empowers them. And learning to read has the power to improve a person’s overall quality of life.”


Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools


No matter a child’s background, economic status, race, or gender—all children should have access to quality education with educators who are invested in their current and future success.

As the fourth-largest school system in North Carolina, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools plays a major role in the success of our local students, and they’re committed to raising student achievement by eliminating barriers to learning.

“We have a beautifully diverse school district with more than 53,000 students and an employee workforce of about 7,000 people,” said superintendent Tricia McManus. “What we’re trying to become is a culture that’s less focused on compliance and more focused on creating connection and true meaning for our students. Ultimately, we want to close our student achievement gaps, and to get there, data tells us that we must confront the racial disparities our students experience.”

Equity in Education Grants from the Foundation have helped the district with numerous projects since 2020, such as providing anti-bias training for teachers and principals, reimagining in-school suspension classrooms, and investing in collaborative programs to create a pipeline of diverse and high-quality teachers. This work aligns with the Foundation’s priorities to help create culturally affirming school environments, embrace positive behavior intervention strategies, and ensure all students have access to opportunities and resources.

“Our vision is to become the best place to learn and work through excellence, collaboration, and inclusiveness,” noted McManus. “We’re aiming to get to the point where all our students are achieving excellence and feel capable, connected, and cared for within our school district.”

Photos courtesy of WS/FCS


Many of us are lucky enough to have companion animals in our homes, often considering them the heart of the family. The staff and volunteers at AARF feel similarly—unlike most animal rescue facilities, most of their cats and dogs live in loving foster homes while they await adoption. Because of that extra level of care, AARF is also well known for its willingness to take in animals with difficult medical cases and special needs.

“This is a group of people who are dedicated to the notion that all animals deserve to be treated respectfully and with dignity—and by helping animals, we help people quite a bit, too,” said board chair Jeff McFadden. “It’s really rewarding to see the joy that these animals bring to the people who adopt them.”

In the summer of 2022, AARF moved into a newly-built 6,000-square-foot facility in the Hanestown neighborhood with the goal of helping even more animals. A Capacity-Building Grant from the Foundation helped AARF hire its first executive director to provide leadership for the organization’s growth, and a Capital Improvement Grant supported their purchase of spay and neuter equipment for the new facility.

“Community volunteers are a significant and critical partner for us because we work together to find loving homes for both dogs and cats,” said executive director Tracy Turner. “Our ultimate goal is to improve the lives of companion animals and the people who love and care for them.”

Animal Adoption Rescue Foundation (AARF)

Lydia Jordan


For Lydia Jordan, nothing is more important than faith, family, and community. In fact, it was a conversation at her family reunion that sparked the memory of her late Uncle Carlyle and his dedication to building a better future for others.

“My Uncle Carlyle was brilliant, and he was concerned about everybody getting a good education,” said Lydia. “He came from a family of 13, and although they were poor, 12 of the children received college degrees. That’s because my grandma and grandpa instilled those values into all of us to do better and to get a higher education.”

Determined to continue her uncle’s legacy, Lydia set out to create a scholarship in his honor. She reached out to the Foundation, where two of her own sons had received scholarships in the early 2000s. Lydia then turned to her community, raising $10,000 in one year from friends and family, fellow members of United Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church, her Delta Sigma Theta sorority sisters, and members of her uncle’s hometown church, Springfield Memorial Baptist.

Many of the contributions came in small amounts—$50 here, $175 there—but a $1,300 donation from a former Foundation scholarship recipient who was visiting her uncle’s church sealed the deal. Now, thanks to Lydia and countless others, the Air Force Major Earl Carlyle Brown Memorial Scholarship Fund provides support each year to a local student who needs additional resources to attend college and pursue their dreams.

“The scripture says that God has not given us the spirit of fear, but he’s given us power, love, and a sound mind. He’s given us the power to be courageous and to make a positive difference with our gifts and talents. He’s given us love, like the love that my uncle had to help people and encourage others to go further. And he’s given us a sound mind to reason, to think, to imagine. But we also need a chance to succeed, and that’s what my uncle’s scholarship is all about.”

“I’m very excited to get back out in the community and use my degree. I know I can’t make a big change on my own, but I can be the start of a change.”
– Maria Paola Vazquez


Growing up in Kernersville and graduating from Atkins High School, Maria Paola Vazquez was no stranger to a busy schedule, which served her well throughout her college career at UNC-Greensboro.

Knowing she was capable of just about anything with the right support, Maria pursued a major in social work and a minor in American Sign Language— all while juggling a part-time job, navigating a global pandemic, and planning for a baby on the way.

“I faced a lot of obstacles throughout college, but I always kept my goals in the forefront, and I never gave up,” said Maria. “I’ve met a lot of people who didn’t have the support that I had. I’m very fortunate to have my mom, my stepdad, and my husband. They’re always supporting me and telling me that I can do anything that I put my mind to.”

As a first-generation college student and a child of parents who immigrated from Mexico, Maria knew early on that she would have to find additional funding to help pay for college. A four-year renewing scholarship from the Carl Robert Sapp, Mary Grubbs Sapp, and Mary Carol Sapp Memorial Scholarship Fund helped to significantly lessen Maria’s financial burden.

As she looks to the future, Maria plans to obtain her master’s degree and work as a clinical social worker in a hospital setting, helping low-income families find resources for their health-related needs.

“I’m very excited to get back out in the community and use my degree. I know I can’t make a big change on my own, but I can be the start of a change.”

Maria Paola Vazquez

Ways to Partner

We’re committed to making Winston-Salem the best place for all to live, work, and learn. If you’re interested in supporting long-lasting community change, we would welcome the opportunity to partner with you.

1 2 3 4

Support our Community Investments

• Make a donation of any size to support The Next Century Fund, Scholarships, the Black Philanthropy Initiative, The Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem, or Youth Grantmakers in Action.

» Visit

Become a Fundholder

• Set up a Donor-Advised Fund or Designated Fund to support nonprofits that align with your philanthropic goals.

• Establish an Unrestricted Fund, Field of Interest Fund, or Scholarship Fund to invest directly in local nonprofits and students.

• Include the Foundation in your will or charitable gift plans.

» Contact us at or call (336) 725-2382.

Apply for Funding

• Whether you’re a nonprofit, a local educator, or a student seeking higher education, we have grant and scholarship opportunities to help support your goals.

» Visit to learn more.

Share your Time, Talent, and Treasure

• Volunteer with the Black Philanthropy Initiative, The Women’s Fund, or as a Foundation Scholarship Reviewer.

• Support our nonprofit partners with time, expertise, or donations.

» Call us at (336) 725-2382 to get connected or visit

Learn more: Reach out:
Foundation Staff » Foundation Board Members »

cover art: New York Beauty is a quilt by artist Cynthia Kelley, named after a historic quilt pattern first introduced in the late 1800s that takes design inspiration from the Statue of Liberty’s crown. The piece was part of a 2023 show at WinstonSalem’s Delta Arts Center entitled Tapestries of a Legacy, featuring works by the African American Quilt Circle of Durham, NC.

report photography: Gwen Fletcher, Kiara Harris, C. Stephen Hurst, Lauren Olinger, Christine Rucker

751 West Fourth St, Suite 200 | Winston-Salem, NC 27101 (336) 725-2382 | | winstonsalemfoundation wsfoundation
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.