Over a year ago, I walked into the Foundation for my first day on the job.

Over-dressed and unsure of what to expect, the next few months were a crash course in philanthropy, community impact, rural empowerment and all the other things that make this organization such a stand out institution.

As my blank slate began to fill with a wealth of knowledge from the Foundation and our many community partners, I was struck by the sheer exceptional nature of the people behind the nonprofit industry.

Every person I’ve come into contact with in philanthropy and the greater nonprofit community has exemplified the very best of North Carolina and America: a fundamental commitment to community, a passion for social good and a drive to build a better world for the next generation.

This came to life for me the first time I stepped foot in Conetoe, North Carolina.

Armed with my camera and reporter’s notebook, I was on a mission to tell the story of the Conetoe Family Life Center. As I snapped photos, scribbled quotes and feasted my eyes on the huge impact being made in the tiny town, I was surrounded by an amazing array of people.

Under the loving watch of North Carolina’s own hometown hero, Rev. Richard Joyner, stood an exceptional team and a beautiful community of leaders working day and night to build a better community.

The honest humility of everyone I came into contact with was inspiring. As I worked to capture the moment, not a single person sought out my camera lens. Every member of the team knew what I needed to capture: the children, the progress, the community and the story.

In a time where we’re often asked to stop and question, and sometimes even scrutinize, the world of nonprofits and foundations, I believe I’ve found an answer.

This foundation and the nonprofits we partner with are a relentless source of hope and inspiration. I believe this work is making North Carolina a better place. And I know this is all made possible by the incredible people behind the scenes working tirelessly to make it all happen.

Take a look for yourself. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

You can read my story from that day in Conetoe here.

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