The Winston-Salem Foundation (WSF) has made seven grants totaling $189,000 for creative solutions to transportation challenges in Forsyth County. This grant round was initiated to address transportation issues that exist in many of our neighborhoods, preventing individuals and families from receiving vital access to healthcare, education, jobs, and healthy and affordable food – and all contributing to systemic poverty.
While the Foundation’s board and staff historically have made most grantmaking decisions, this grant round used a participatory grantmaking model: decisions were made by a Community Committee, the majority of whom have recently experienced transportation challenges in Forsyth County. Other Committee members included those who work locally in the transportation field. The Committee created grant application guidelines, interviewed grant applicants, and selected grant recipients.
Committee member and Boston-Thurmond resident Renai Wisely says, “The Foundation recognized that shared leadership is the answer to solving that which concerns us all. By using a participatory grantmaking model, the Foundation lifted up members of the community to use our voices and have a seat at the table.”
WSF Program Officer Amanda Bennett adds, “This grantmaking process is an example of the Foundation’s evolution: we’re listening, learning, and engaging those with lived experience to help us address a variety of community issues. We are grateful to the Committee members for sharing their time and passion to improve Forsyth County.”
Committee member Latonya Wright, says, “I'm excited that this funding will allow Forsyth County residents from all walks of life more options for overcoming these transportation challenges locally, and I look forward to increased opportunities for connecting communities through the work these organizations are doing!”
In the fall of 2017, the Foundation announced two new broad focus areas for community investments - Building an Inclusive Economy and Advancing Equity in Education. After listening sessions in 2018, the Foundation identified six priority areas in which to begin programmatic work. The Spring 2019 grant round focused on access to efficient and affordable transportation, while the Fall 2019 grant round will address a reduction in the racial wealth gap. In all community investments, the Foundation is committed to an explicit focus on racial equity to create positive change in our community. Learn more about our focus areas at focus.wsfoundation.org.