2021 Grantmaking – Our Collective Reach

As NCCF’s grants program manager, it is always exciting to tally up the amount of grants we hand out each year. Although I review all grants that are made, seeing the aggregate number – a reflection of your generosity – always leaves me awestruck.


In 2021, together with our fundholders, NCCF distributed 2,500 grants totaling $24.8 million to a wide variety of programs, organizations and initiatives. This reflects a generally upward trend in grantmaking by NCCF. 

Year Amount
2021 $24.8 million
2020* $31.8 million
2019 $20.5 million
2018 $14.9 million



*2020 was an outlier year due to welcoming several new funds that boosted our grantmaking


A large swath of our grantmaking (45%) is directed by our donors through our donor advised funds. It is customary for donor advised funds to represent the largest percentage of our charitable dollars each year.


Many grants from our donor advised funds contributed to the general operating support of organizations. However, they also provided direct support to big and small initiatives alike, such as:



In 2021, the percentage of grants to the health and human services sector combined increased to 43%, up from 36%. This comes as no surprise, given the continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic during 2021 and the generosity of our fundholders during a time of great need.


About a quarter (23%) of our grantmaking was directed to programs that have a public and societal benefit, which are grants that benefit community improvement and development. Education remains a top priority, with 16% of grants going to that sector. The program area of 2021 grants is displayed in this pie chart below.



The increase in the health and human services area and to programs that have a public and societal benefit is also due to grantmaking made from the North Carolina Healing Communities Fund in 2021. This discretionary fund allowed NCCF to provide critical resources for nonprofit organizations that experienced revenue loss and increased demand for services due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on organizations serving marginalized communities who have been disproportionately affected.


Three-quarters of the $4.25 million in NC Healing Communities Fund grants distributed in 2021 went to health and human services program areas. Some nonprofits who received grants reported that it kept them from shutting down or taking a personal loan to continue providing services to their communities. Some examples:



These stories show the true impact of grantmaking in our communities, not just the dollar amount. I can’t wait to see how our donors put their charitable dollars to work in 2022!