The Winston-Salem Foundation (WSF) made eight grants totaling $404,820 in the first half of 2021 in support of its two Focus Areas for community investment—Building an Inclusive Economy and Advancing Equity in Education.
These Focus Areas were selected in 2018 after conducting community listening sessions and reviewing data that revealed significant educational, economic, and residential disparities locally among communities of color. The Foundation believes these two priorities are crucial to ensuring Winston-Salem becomes a place where race no longer predicts life outcomes.
Focus Area grants are made possible by donations to the Foundation’s flexible grantmaking funds that enable the Foundation to adapt to changing community opportunities and challenges. To learn more, visit wsfoundation.org/focus-areas.
ADVANCING EQUITY IN EDUCATION GRANTS
- Piedmont Freedom Schools – $10,000 to support the 2021 summer school program, birthed out of the 1964 Freedom Summer. With a strong social justice emphasis, Piedmont Freedom Schools engages students in an intentional and culturally relevant curriculum to reduce the summer learning slide and empower youth to make a difference in their community, nation, and world.
- Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools – $149,400 for a comprehensive racial equity and anti-racism learning program to establish a broad-based racial equity competency and implement racial equity plans across the school system. This project engages top level district leadership and school principals in comprehensive anti-racism and anti-bias training. Each cohort participant is responsible for creating and implementing a racial equity plan for their work and will receive targeted professional development in subsequent years.
- Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools – $45,420 to support the AVID program (Advancement Via Individual Determination) at six elementary schools in the Inspire 340 network, which is made up of schools that have been identified by WS/FCS as priorities for wraparound services. AVID is a nonprofit with the goal of helping schools shift to a more equitable, student-centered approach. The organization trains educators on how to close the opportunity gap, increase access to accelerated opportunities, and create a college preparatory culture within schools.
BUILDING AN INCLUSIVE ECONOMY GRANTS
- Greater Winston-Salem, Inc. – $20,000 to support the Minority Business Enterprise Grant Program and the Entrepreneurial Advisory Board. This grant program focuses on improving business success, job retention, and job creation for minority-owned businesses in Forsyth County. Greater Winston-Salem houses the Minority Business Enterprise Grant Program, which is managed by an advisory board of Black and Latinx community volunteers.
- NC Employee Ownership Center (NCEOC) – $10,000 to identify employee ownership opportunities in Forsyth County. NCEOC serves as the central hub for information and resources around employee ownership in North Carolina. Employee ownership is a business model in which employees collectively own a percentage of the business for which they work. As many owners retire and either dissolve their businesses or sell them outside of their communities, the employee ownership model is a successful alternative that preserves local job opportunities and allows employees to have a stake in the company’s success.
- Novant Health Foundation – $110,000 for the Upward Mobility Program to support Forsyth County team members who aspire to be registered nurses but are experiencing financial hardship. Novant staff who go through the accredited nursing program receive up to two years of up-front coverage for tuition and fees, flexibility in working a reduced schedule (without a reduction in compensation and benefits) to increase available time to meet academic requirements, and access to mentorship and career coaching. Not only does this program help Novant’s staff overcome traditional barriers and support their professional growth, but it also creates a pipeline of qualified nurses for the local healthcare system.
- Piedmont Business Capital (PBC) – $25,000 to expand lending services and technical assistance to small businesses in Forsyth County. As a community development financial institution (CDFI), PBC creates shared economic prosperity by providing flexible loans, workshops, and coaching to community-minded entrepreneurs. PBC has many lending programs including the Black and Brown Ownership Loan Program, which is a resource for minority business owners that often lack access to conventional financial services from mainstream institutions.
- Ujima Community Development Corporation – $35,000 to support economic development activities in the City View neighborhood. Ujima focuses on developing quality affordable housing for senior residents. In recent years, the organization completed the Emmanuel Retirement Village in Northeast Winston-Salem, which now has a 93% occupancy rate. Ujima also focuses on neighborhood revitalization, programming for youth, and promotes employment opportunities for its neighbors.