March 13, 2020

An Important Update: Our Response to COVID-19

Dear Friends,

The Winston-Salem Foundation is fortunate to be part of this caring, generous, and resilient community. Please know that the health and safety of our partners, staff, and neighbors is always our top priority.  

Below we’ve outlined the steps we are taking to address the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on upcoming Foundation events, activities, and operations. I want to assure you that the Foundation is prepared and ready to ensure that charitable giving in our community continues stronger than ever during this time of need.

We will provide additional updates and recommendations in the coming days and weeks via e-mail, our website, and social media (Facebook and Twitter).

We know there will be health and economic implications due to COVID-19, and in our effort to build an inclusive economy, the Foundation will be working with other community funders and organizations to identify ways to best support our community in the coming weeks.  

How can you help? We encourage you to support local nonprofit organizations that work with the people and families who are most vulnerable in our community, and we plan to have more specific guidance for you soon. We also ask you to continue to support the local economy wherever possible, especially those small businesses and individuals whose income is dependent on direct services.  

We also encourage you to closely monitor updates and review valuable health and safety resources from the State of North Carolina, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Forsyth County Health Department.  

Please know that we will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available. We are thankful for the strength and generosity of this community, and we appreciate your support as we work together through this difficult time.

Scott Wierman


March 18: we announced the COVID-19 Response Fund for Forsyth County to support local nonprofits assisting the people most affected by the coronavirus pandemic. We also announced Adaptation Grants to help nonprofits adapt their business models to mitigate the impacts of the outbreak. Read the e-news >


Our staff and board made the difficult decision this week to cancel the 2020 Community Luncheon, scheduled for Wednesday, May 6 at the Benton Convention Center. While we are disappointed not to be able to host this important community meeting, we will not put the health and safety of our community at risk by hosting such a large gathering at this time. All registered luncheon sponsors will be notified next week about redirecting their sponsorship funds or receiving a refund, and we look forward to reconvening at the 2021 Community Luncheon next May.  


Based on recommendations from public health officials related to social distancing, all Foundation staff will begin a hybrid work-remote plan beginning Monday, March 16. Note that staff will continue to be accessible by e-mail and telephone during business hours (8:30AM–5PM, M-F).

We are significantly restricting visits to our office from all outside guests effective immediately. Please reach out to the appropriate staff member by telephone or e-mail prior to attempting to visit our offices. Additionally, both on-site and off-site meetings that include our staff will be converted to phone or video meetings. Note that previously scheduled meeting attendees will be contacted by our staff promptly to restructure the meeting format.  

We will review the above policy on a regular basis, following guidelines from the State, the CDC and the Forsyth County Health Department.  


In conjunction with our plans to restrict outside guests in our offices, we are canceling all scheduled meetings in the Burress Family Center for Philanthropy, and no meetings will be scheduled until further notice. Organizations that have scheduled use of our meeting spaces through the end of April will be notified directly by phone and e-mail. We appreciate your understanding as we aim to prevent further spread in our community.  


Please be assured that there will be no interruptions in processing grants submitted by fundholders. You may continue to submit your grant recommendations via our donor portal myWSF, and we remain available to assist you with questions about your funds, statements, and grants.  


We understand that this pandemic will have significant impact on nonprofit organizations, from operational and fundraising challenges to increased demand for support services from impacted individuals. Please know that we are strategizing with community leaders and other funders on a response to support community nonprofits, and we will be back in contact as soon as those plans emerge.

For grantees, be assured that grant payments will be made as scheduled, and our current grant application schedules will continue as planned.

A helpful resource we would like to share with nonprofits at this time is Nonprofit Pandemic Resources from the NC Center for Nonprofits.  


We want to assure local students and their families that our scholarship application program is proceeding on its planned schedule as found here.