Our Story

celebrating a centennial

The Winston-Salem Foundation was established on October 14, 1919 with a gift of $1,000 from Colonel Francis H. Fries, president of Wachovia Bank, following a model developed in Cleveland, Ohio five years earlier. We were the first foundation of any type to be established in North Carolina, and we’re the 16th oldest community foundation in the United States. Today, the Foundation manages $606.5 million in assets and has over 1,550 charitable funds that positively impact communities in Winston-Salem, Forsyth County, and beyond.

Visit our Historical Timeline

What We Do

  • Community Leadership: We collaborate with nonprofits, funders, and community leaders to build a more equitable community for all.
  • Community Grants: We support charitable organizations and programs that benefit Forsyth County in many program areas.
  • Philanthropic Services: We educate and assist individuals and organizations in their charitable giving.
  • Student Aid: We provide scholarships to local students in their quest for higher education.

Focus Areas

The Foundation is devoting significant resources toward investments in two critical focus areas for our work in Forsyth County:

  • Building an Inclusive Economy
  • Advancing Equity in Education

Learn more about our focus areas

our vision

A generous and trusting community where everyone is thriving.

our mission

We inspire giving and link resources to action, strengthening Forsyth County—now and forever.

our values
  • Inclusion: we practice and champion inclusion, honoring the strengths and experiences of all in our community.
  • Accountability: we honor the intentions of our donors and partners and hold ourselves to the highest standards of ethics, service, and stewardship.
  • Continuous Learning: we are committed to learning and evolving with our community and our partners.

Our commitment to racial equity

Learn more about how and why the Foundation is applying a racial equity lens to its work in the community—as well as inside its own walls.

Read about our Commitment to Racial Equity

Financial impact

National rankings

Based on 2019 Columbus Survey of 238 U.S. community foundations

stories of impact

Giving from the Heart

Few people knew the philanthropic side of Gordon Pfefferkorn. A simple man, he eschewed spending money on material things and instead gave his resources to empower countless young people in Forsyth County to further their education with scholarships through The Winston-Salem Foundation.

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stories of impact

A Safe Haven of Support

Nestled among 53 acres in Tobaccoville is a place where people of all ages and abilities can achieve wholeness and acceptance. For Laura Pallavicini, it is a magical place. She discovered Riverwood Therapeutic Riding Center in 1999 when, fresh out of UNC-Chapel Hill, she moved to Winston-Salem for work.

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stories of impact

Focusing on Education

Richard and Becky Davis believe in education. “To me education is the key to our success,” says Richard, who believes it generates more opportunities for individuals, not only with work, but also with housing, health, longevity and overall quality of life."

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