The Winston-Salem Foundation (WSF) made six grants totaling $246,420 from September 2020 through January 2021 in support of its two Focus Areas for community investment—Building an Inclusive Economy and Advancing Equity in Education.
These Focus Areas were developed in 2018 after conducting community listening sessions and reviewing data that revealed significant educational, economic, and residential disparities among communities of color, and the Foundation believes these priorities are crucial to ensuring Winston-Salem becomes a place where race no longer predicts life outcomes.
Brittney Gaspari, the Foundation’s Vice President, Community Investment, notes, “We've been adapting how we invest in the community over the past two years, beyond grantmaking. We’re developing additional partnerships with organizations and individuals with lived experience to inform our work and identify new opportunities. We’ll continue to broaden and strengthen these relationships to become a more strategic partner in our focus areas.”
Sandra Fishel-Booth, one of the Foundation’s Program Officers in the area of Inclusive Economy, adds, “We can make a bigger impact when we work in partnership with those who are closest to the work rather than having a rigid, predetermined plan in place. One example is helping workplaces adopt a Trauma-Informed Culture, such as in the TCK Providence grant (listed below). This work has become even more critical given the negative impact of COVID-19. We’re turning to our community to understand how we can link resources to action and work together to solve local challenges.”
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:
- The Forsyth County School Justice Partnership is a collaborative of stakeholders from local courts, law enforcement, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, and community agencies to find alternatives to referring youth to juvenile court for nonviolent offenses. This grant will help the collective uncover new solutions and establish a clear path forward.
Grant: $10,000 to contract with a consultant for strategic planning and visioning
- Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools is working with Triad Restorative Justice to initiate the Lead Together project to improve relationships between students, administrators, and school resource officers. WS/FCS leadership is hopeful that this project will lead to a reduction in school-based referrals to the justice system over time and strengthen relationships with students.
Grant: $50,000 to support the Lead Together project
- The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education will receive training and technical assistance to enable board members to gain a deeper understanding of their governance roles and to become more cohesive and effective as a governing body. The Board of Education serves as the governing body for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, which is home to more than 52,000 students and is among the county's largest employers.
Grant: $20,000 for board governance training
BUILDING AN INCLUSIVE ECONOMY GRANTS:
- Asset Building Coalition (ABC) is working to unite Forsyth County to raise awareness about asset poverty and its effects on individuals and families. In 2019-2020, ABC was a key partner with the Foundation in work examining the racial wealth gap and the impact of the benefits cliff, and in convening work groups to look at possible solutions. Recently, the Coalition hired its first executive director and is excited for the anticipated growth from its many initiatives to help people increase financial stability.
Grant: $45,000 for operational support
- Simon Green Atkins Community Development Corporation (SGA) is a nonprofit organization that strives to foster community-based leadership and focuses on revitalizing the neighborhoods surrounding Winston-Salem State University. In the coming year, SGA will continue to build and sell homes and will launch a virtual business pitch competition with Winston-Salem State University.
Grant: $65,000 for operational support
- TCK Providence is a culinary training program that primarily serves people who are developing careers in the hospitality industry after life challenges such as job loss, homelessness, and incarceration. TCK has been incorporating trauma-resilient practices into their training program and in their work with employment partners. Trauma-resilient culture adopts methods of communication, decision-making, and relationship building to enhance a person’s resilience to stress – making it easier for them to obtain and retain employment. TCK will hire an employment client coordinator to oversee the integration of trauma-informed practices into their training program.
Grant: $56,420 for an employment client coordinator