How and Where We Work

Meeting today’s challenges calls for thoughtful planning and a systems-focused approach that acknowledges inequities and prioritizes the needs of local communities.

Our work starts from the premise that dramatic changes to the structural, social, and economic conditions that produce inequities is essential – a belief that is truer today than ever.

For us this requires several things, key among them:

  • Focusing upstream to address the root causes of poor health and inequities
  • Engaging with community members to develop, advocate for, and implement strategies to identify and address those root causes
  • Investing in policy and systems-level changes
  • Maintaining a commitment to addressing structural racism and increasing equitable opportunities for good health

Focus Areas

While there are a number of avenues to becoming a state where everyone has an opportunity to be healthy, our focus in this pursuit is centered on the following:

  • Early ChildhoodEvery young child (ages 0-5) in North Carolina has the opportunity and resources to be healthy and well-prepared for success in school, work, and life.
  • Healthy CommunitiesEvery community in North Carolina has the conditions for good health.
  • Healthy FoodEveryone in North Carolina has access to healthy food.
  • Oral HealthEveryone in North Carolina has access to quality, affordable oral health services.


Look beyond grantmaking

While as a foundation, grantmaking is at the heart of what we do, the fact remains that grants alone cannot realize the hopes we have for the people and places of North Carolina. To that end, our approach also integrates investments and initiatives to shape narratives, influence policy, connect stakeholders, and foster relationships.

Evaluate what is working, what is not, and why

How do we know progress is being made if we don’t measure it? Through a combination of long-term, short-term, and environmental markers, we are better understanding the impact of our investments and identifying modifications that will lead to greater bearing on health.

Evolve and adapt

Things change. The challenges faced by communities across the state are complex and dynamic. So too are the effects of our work within communities. This reality has led us to embrace what is known as an emergent approach to strategy, understanding that as conditions evolve over time, so too will our work.