ECHO Network


In 2000, in response to the National Social Capital Benchmark Study, The Winston-Salem Foundation initiated the ECHO Fund, a grantmaking program to support local nonprofit organizations in building social capital. Social capital refers to the connections among people, based on trust, that enhances cooperation for mutual cooperation. Subsequently, the Foundation developed the annual ECHO Awards program to celebrate and publicize individuals and informal groups that have taken the initiative to build social capital.

In 2003 the most ambitious ECHO initiative was launched when The Winston-Salem Foundation served as an incubator for the ECHO Council. The ECHO Council, a diverse group of community leaders, came together to promote the building of social capital in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. Communities with higher levels of social capital have been found to enjoy better health, stronger economies, more widespread access to educational opportunities, and more responsive government institutions.


A diverse group of approximately 40 leaders from various segments of the community (e.g., neighborhood groups, businesses, nonprofits, clergy, government) were recruited in 2003 to serve as the first ECHO Council members.  The ECHO Council's mission is focused on providing opportunities to build enriching, trusting, and long-lasting relationships among diverse people in our community.

Although the ECHO Council was convened by The Winston-Salem Foundation, it now operates as an autonomous body, the ECHO Network, with its own purpose.  If you are interested in becoming involved with the ECHO Network, please contact them at (336) 499-4402 or


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