The Winston-Salem Foundation has made six grants totaling $169,600 to support creative solutions to local transportation challenges. These grants were made using a participatory grantmaking approach in which the majority of the decision-making committee was comprised by two audiences: residents with lived experience and those with expertise in local transportation issues. The Foundation initially made grants to address transportation challenges in 2019, and after extensive community engagement, saw the need to invest more resources in this area.
Foundation Program Officer Charlie Gardner says, “We know that inadequate transportation is a barrier to accessing healthy and affordable food, receiving healthcare, and maintaining employment. Many of these challenges have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is why additional grant funding was so vital for these organizations to continue their work.”
The Foundation recognizes that solving complex public problems involving infrastructure and systems requires broad community engagement and also must involve those who are directly impacted. As the organization advances programmatic work for its focus areas for community investment —Building an Inclusive Economy and Advancing Equity in Education—it does so with recognition of significant educational, economic, and residential disparities among communities of color. By listening, learning, and leading alongside those who are most knowledgeable on community issues, the Foundation aims to disrupt inequities, reduce barriers, and strengthen our community.
Committee member Diane Fitzhugh says, "I was honored to serve on the Foundation’s Transportation Grant Committee because each of the agencies awarded grants are providing direct services to our neighbors. It’s an opportunity to enhance the lives of individuals and families in our community."
These 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/transportation.