A Look Back.
As we close the book on another year, we wanted to take this opportunity - as we have previously - to briefly reflect.
With an increasing trend toward normalcy with regard to our in-person interactions, there was a lot about this year that seemed to distance it from the three prior - and that felt good. For us, this manifested in several ways, whether that was the novelty of an in-person board meeting or getting to spend time on the road as a team visiting with grantees.
This idea of togetherness is central to the commitment we share with our grantees and partners as we work in unison toward a North Carolina where everyone has the opportunity to be as healthy as possible. And while this is not yet the reality, we are buoyed by the steps – some big and some small – we took in support of this over the past year.
A few examples include:
- Reaching nearly $220 million in total grantmaking since our founding, including investing $18 million in 73 grant partnerships for our fiscal year that ended this past June.
- Initiating our first funding out of our newly established Access to Care program area, focused on helping ensure the state’s primary and behavioral health needs are served by a talented, diverse, and robust workforce.
- Wrapping up a multi-year tour of the state in which Foundation president, John Lumpkin joined leaders from Blue Cross NC in visiting all 100 counties on a journey to listen, to learn, and to respond.
- Bringing together dozens of grantees and partners at convenings across the state for shared learning and coalition building to advance work in the areas of early childhood, food security, community-focused health initiatives, food is medicine, and the health care workforce.
- Continuing to embrace what it means to be a learning organization, including sharing out lessons from a formal evaluation of a decade of grantmaking in oral health.
- Launching a range of funding opportunities made available to nonprofits across the state – bolstering approaches to strengthen the oral health safety net, support the well-being of grantee staff, address food insecurity, and identify emerging health priorities for growing populations.
- And welcoming Kiydra Harris, Casey Leiber, and Trey McKinney to our team, expanding our perspective, skill, expertise, and overall potential as an organization.
While we are proud of what we were able to advance as an organization, what is most rewarding about our work is witnessing the growth and achievements of those we partner with and support.
And so, as we look ahead to 2024, we do so with a level of optimism beyond what we have had in recent years. Yes, there are many challenges standing in the way of all people in North Carolina having the opportunity to reach their full potential for good health. However, what we have come to know is that there is an undeterred network of nonprofit organizations and other community champions working tirelessly in pursuit of overcoming each and every one of these. As a funder, we have the great fortune of being a small part of helping them do this.
For many, the end of the year marks a time to reflect on what is important and for what they are most grateful. For us this answer is simple. It is the work we have the privilege to do each day, and, above all, it is those – the individuals, organizations, coalitions, and partners – with whom we get to do it.
Best wishes to everyone for the coming year ahead.