by Jennifer Tolle Whiteside
North Carolina is a big state. We are now the ninth most populous state in the nation, in only the 28th largest geographic area. More than 30% of our citizens live in rural communities and we have more of those rural counties than any state but Texas.
Serving this big, diverse and beautiful state is truly an honor for everyone on our team. However, we know that our work to inspire philanthropy across the state is a mission that cannot be accomplished without our affiliate foundations and the community leaders who serve them. From Cherokee County to Dare County, we are deeply committed to our statewide network of affiliates and we could not be more grateful and inspired by just how much our local board members give to their communities.
We recognize that the work of our affiliate foundations is the backbone of our entire institution.
We continue working to develop ways to strengthen our partnership, most recently through establishing the Affiliate Impact Committee as a standing committee of our statewide board and engaging Steve Alley of Ekstrom Alley Clontz & Associates to gather important information about our statewide network.
Like many of our statewide board members, our new board chair, Rod Martin, got his start with NCCF through his local affiliate, serving as a founding leader of the Onslow Caring Communities Foundation. Previously, Rod served as board vice chair and grants committee chair, working diligently to ensure effective grantmaking across the state.
We also recently promoted Leslie Ann Jackson, to a new position for the foundation: vice president of community investment & engagement. Leslie Ann’s elevated role further speaks to how we’ve doubled down on our commitment to our affiliates by unifying our internal processes to bring together community leadership and affiliate management, grants and scholarships administration and donor services and engagement in one streamlined department.
We know how critical our affiliates are to our collective success. We’re grateful every day for the leaders who give of their time, talent and treasure to make our communities stronger. We hope every affiliate board member across our statewide network knows: Your work is the heart of our work and we’re incredibly grateful for you.