More than a year after the first North Carolina Healing Communities Fund grants were issued by the North Carolina Community Foundation, the fund has distributed $4.25 million to help provide critical resources for nonprofit organizations impacted by revenue loss and increased demand for services due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Launched by NCCF in July 2020, the fund supports long-term, unmet needs for organizations embedded in and serving marginalized communities that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. This includes communities of color, communities of lower wealth, communities in mostly rural areas, and communities where English may not be the primary language.
A total of 115 grants, ranging from $25,000 to $55,000, have been made across the state by an advisory committee comprised of representatives from the nonprofit, health, and human services sectors, rural and faith communities, and other partners. In addition, the committee referred some grantees to receive capacity building services from Rural Forward NC, a program of MDC, to further support the long-term sustainability of these organizations that stand as pillars in their communities.
Of the organizations receiving grants from the fund, all reported COVID-19 impacts of revenue loss and/or increased demand for services, and all primarily serve marginalized communities. In addition, 88% have annual operating budgets below $1 million.
“Many of the COVID-related grants were not practical and didn't address the real needs of the agency,” said Emily Lemus, the executive director of My Sister’s House in Nash County, which received a $40,000 grant. “This grant addressed the increase of need, the decrease of income through fundraisers, and reduction of individual and business donation.”
“NCCF had the foresight to understand the importance of infrastructure and capacity building to ensure longevity and system change,” said J Hackett, executive director of Jordan Peer Recovery in Buncombe County, which received a grant of nearly $34,000. “It is typical for those with privilege to share resources with marginalized communities to do good work. It is impressive when those resources are shared in a way that closes a gap to help them sustain their own work.”
The fund has also helped more evenly distribute COVID-19 relief philanthropic funding in North Carolina. A map developed by NCCF in conjunction with the Gillings School of Public Health at UNC-Chapel Hill showed an increase in philanthropic dollars in unserved or underserved areas of the state after grants from the NC Healing Communities Fund were made.
"Nonprofit organizations are where people turn in times of need,” said Leslie Ann Jackson, NCCF vice president of community investment and engagement. “With the financial impacts of the pandemic, nonprofits were the ones in need this time, particularly in our most vulnerable communities and the NC Healing Communities Fund was there for them."
Approximately $1 million remains in the fund to distribute. NCCF plans to use that funding to fill in remaining geographic gaps and expand capacity-building services.
The NC Healing Communities Fund represents the collective contributions of corporations and foundations, including the State Employees' Credit Union Foundation, Duke Endowment, Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, First Citizens Bank, Anonymous Trust, Jonas Foundation, Barnhill Family Foundation, Novartis Foundation, Fidelity Bank and the North Carolina Community Foundation.
“The NC Healing Communities Fund is doing exactly what NCCF was established to do – leverage our partnerships throughout the state to support community needs,” said Jennifer Tolle Whiteside, NCCF CEO and president. “We are grateful to the organizations who funded this effort and to the nonprofits who support our communities in the face of tough challenges.”
Learn more about NC Healing Communities Fund grant recipients across the state:
The North Carolina Community Foundation (NCCF) is the single statewide community foundation serving North Carolina and has administered more than $217 million in grants since its inception in 1988. With more than $400 million in assets, NCCF sustains more than 1,200 endowments established to provide long-term support of a broad range of community needs, nonprofit organizations, institutions and scholarships.
NCCF partners with a network of affiliate foundations to provide local resource allocation and community assistance across the state. An important component of NCCF’s mission is to ensure that rural philanthropy has a voice at the local, regional and national levels.
Amy Dominello Braun, Senior Communications & Marketing Officer