2019 Annual Report

Dear donors, partners and friends,

For more than 30 years, the North Carolina Community Foundation has worked to inspire lasting and meaningful philanthropy in communities across our great state.

Fundholders, donors, board members, nonprofit partners, affiliate foundations, professional advisors, grants and scholarship recipients, community leaders, partner organizations and staff members have worked together to improve communities, change lives and address issues vital to all of us.

The more than 1,300 funds that make up the NCCF showcase the very best North Carolina has to offer, weaving a rich tapestry of the beautiful diversity of our state through endowments in every shape and size, across every region and community and for a variety of causes and missions.

New funds

In the past year alone, more than 40 philanthropic funds were started by people like you with a generous spirit, love for their community and an understanding of philanthropy’s important role in creating change. These new funds established this year support education, art, environmental conservation and veterans’ affiars, sustain nonprofit organizations on the frontlines of social progress and build legacies of philanthropy across family generations.

This past year, 13 nonprofit organizations took an important step toward financial sustainability by starting their own endowments. Nonprofits like the North Carolina AIDS Action Network, Harnett County Arts Council and Avery County Mountain Alliance saw the importance of working with a community foundation to establish a permanent fund, joining more than 300 North Carolina nonprofits that have endowments with NCCF.

Pictured is Lee Storrow, executive director of the NC AIDS Action Network, meeting with community leaders and advocates. His organization created their first endowment with NCCF in 2019 and has already successfully grown the fund to support their work for years to come.

We’re proud to steward all our funds and are grateful to those who joined our family this year.

A list of all new funds is available here.

Impactful philanthropy

Permanent philanthropic funds new and old alike are making a tremendous difference in the lives of North Carolinians and the health of our communities. Our shared stories of giving continue to inspire us.

Dean PainterDean Painter continued his family’s legacy of philanthropy by creating a charitable fund at NCCF. Remembering an uncle who once said “for every dollar he gave, he would get back two in good feelings,” Painter and his late wife, Wendy, knew a family fund would be a powerful way to instill giving back in his children and future generations. His hope was to involve and inspire his children and grandchildren in philanthropy.

In the western part of the state, the late Irene and David Smathers established the Cruso Endowment to benefit their beloved Haywood County. During their life together, the couple supported numerous causes that benefitted children, the environment and their local community. They often contributed to building funds and land upkeep for local churches and children’s homes, gardening and tree adoption programs. Their legacy will continue through this endowment in perpetuity. Read more of their story here.

In Wilmington, the community will benefit for years to come from the generosity of the late Joseph and Elsa Davies. Through their estate, the Davies’ funded the creation of multiple funds to support healthcare and education in the New Hanover County area. Thanks to their generosity and the work of their professional advisor, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been awarded to local nonprofits and numerous students have received financial assistance to pursue higher education and training nursing or teaching.

In the Hickory community, Kenneth and Suzanne Millholland left a philanthropic legacy that’s being carried on by the next generation. Grants from the Millholland Endowment support a variety of local organizations in the area, providing sizeable gifts that honor the legacy of a family of givers.

In Elizabeth City, the HCWGMW Fund has encouraged collaborative nonprofit relationships and programming in the Northern Albemarle area through annual competitive grantmaking. The Fund showcases the anonymous donor’s deep commitment to supporting organizations that make the North Albemarle area strong by promoting and encouraging healthy eating and actively lifestyle’s in youth. Read more about a grant funded by the HCWGMW Fund here.

Loomis and Rose PeeblesIn the Triangle, Ruth Peebles founded a scholarship fund to honor the legacy of her parents Loomis and Rose Peebles. The daughter of educators who deeply valued the importance of post-secondary education and philanthropy, Peebles is ensuring that her family’s legacy lives on for generations to come by supporting scholarships for local African American students pursuing higher education.

Stories like these inspire us every day. Philanthropic giving of every size and in every community has an impact for good. We’re honored to be the charitable home for these philanthropists and many more.

Many more stories of generosity, charity and philanthropy are available here.

Community philanthropy

NCCF founder Lewis R. HoldingChange may be a constant in our lives, but the NCCF has deep relationships in the communities we serve and stands proud of our long-term approach, thanks to the vision of our founder, Lewis R. Holding, that still guides us today.

Our local affiliate foundations and giving circles bring together hundreds of community leaders across the state to steward unrestricted grantmaking funds, award impactful grants locally and serve as leaders connecting, convening and catalyzing the community.

Pictured is the NCCF Affiliate Impact Committee. The Committee, made up of representatives of the statewide board of directors and local affiliate foundations in each of NCCF’s regions, is a standing committee of the statewide board that ensures open engagement between the Foundation and local communities as well as represents the perspectives of affiliate board members to the state board.

We certainly can’t report on our year without reviewing the impact hurricanes had on our state.

As numerous communities across eastern North Carolina rebuilt and recovered from the devastation caused by hurricanes Florence and Matthew, generous donors from around the world trusted the expertise of our board, affiliates and statewide network to steward more than $3 million in gifts made to support recovery and resilience in response to Hurricane Florence.

Our affiliate boards brought together community leaders with local expertise to ensure that every dollar raised went directly to the nonprofit organizations on the frontlines of community recovery. Every dollar you gave to support our state in the aftermath of the storm is making a difference in the lives of our neighbors who were impacted.

Through stewarding our Disaster Relief Fund, we’ve learned a great deal about long-term community recovery and building resiliency. We’ve become even more committed to meeting long-term unmet needs and rebuilding communities even stronger for future disasters.

Growing together

While many will remember the past year for the impact the storms had, we also remember the selfless generosity of time, talent and treasure that we were proud to bear witness to as the charitable partner of many North Carolinians.

The substantial growth we saw across gifts, grants and scholarships has resulted in new landmarks in our asset size and grantmaking total, thanks to your generosity. The cumulative total of $161 million in grants invested in our communities has supported nonprofits across the state where thousands of people work to make our state better every day.

We’re incredibly proud to report that we have been entrusted with more than $284 million in charitable assets. Our growth enables us to deliver even more investments in communities across the state while we stay true to our promise to honor the charitable intent of every donations and fund entrusted to us.



Thank you to everyone who contributed to our and work and cares so deeply about North Carolina.

We hope the good work happening in communities around our state inspires you, and we thank you for your continued support and trust.

Impactful leadership

We are especially grateful to the hard working, distinguished leaders of our statewide board of directors. Several long-time leaders are concluding their terms of service this year, and we honor their significant contributions. James Black, Stuart Dorsett, James W. Narron and Linda Staunch, we thank you for the countless years of service you’ve devoted to the NCCF. All of these remarkable leaders have served as chairs of our board.

Dorsett, Narron and Staunch also served NCCF through leadership of their local affiliate foundations in Craven, Wake and Johnston counties.

They are joined in departing the board this year by Frank Gibson and Karen Stiwinter, two other board leaders with years of service and deep commitments to their communities in New Hanover and Macon counties.

Service like theirs is our foundation. The North Carolina Community Foundation is strong because our people are strong.

NCCF CEO Jennifer Tolle Whiteside (center) is pictured with Board Chair Rodney Earl Martin (left) and Jim Black, former chair and outgoing board member.

As we head into our next decade, we’re staying focused on what matters most: the values for which this foundation was founded, the importance of deep relationships with our fundholders, the generosity we see daily and the impact our affiliate network is leading in communities across the state to ensure all North Carolinians thrive.

With our deepest gratitude,

Jennifer Tolle Whiteside, NCCF CEO and President
Rodney Earl Martin, NCCF Board Chair