What we heard from so many North Carolinians over the past year has informed, and will continue to shape, our path forward.
We’ve also realized that a traditional “strategic plan” is too static to keep pace with our need for adaptability, flexibility, and fluid investment in order to provide the most value for North Carolinians.
Thus, we have developed an “emerging direction” that will continue to evolve over the next 12–18 months.
The Foundation’s emerging direction is to improve the quality of life for all North Carolinians, now and for generations to come, through three strategies:
A state-level strategy to support structural and systemic changes at the state level.
A community-based strategy that will primarily support collaborative problem-solving efforts in local communities.
An exploratory, visionary ideas strategy that will allow us to invest in unconventional, singular, or higher-risk ideas that have transformative potential, but may require different or more flexible philanthropic approaches.
Across these strategies, we seek to:
Our trustees also have committed to augmenting our relationship with our hometown of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County.
Our emerging direction moves us away from having all of our work guided by our current five focus areas. As the new strategies are further developed, there may be areas of emphasis that guide part of our work. In particular, our community-based funding will not be driven by a set of focus areas, but rather by local voices seeking to find collaborative solutions to local problems. Our exploratory, visionary ideas strategy will provide an intentional avenue for experimentation and flexibility, which is fundamental to being adaptive.
We will further develop these three strategies over the next 12 to 18 months. We anticipate that each of the three strategies will be implemented on individual timelines. We will keep you informed as we develop more details.
Above all else, we will maintain our steadfast commitment to our mission, to improve the quality of life for all North Carolinians, and to our core values, which include:
We honor our history of accountability, fiscal responsibility, and purpose-driven grantmaking by balancing the needs and opportunities of today with the challenges of tomorrow.
We strive for honesty, humility, and openness in our work and seek to act in alignment with our values in all that we do.
We believe that all people should be treated fairly and with respect. We support the dismantling of systems and structures that limit opportunities for individuals, groups, and communities to reach their full potential.
We value and respect the dignity of all and are committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion. We celebrate the unique attributes, characteristics, and perspectives of every individual.
We believe that civic life and a healthy democracy depend on an informed and involved populace that is able to exercise its individual rights and come together for a common purpose.
We strive for organizational excellence and continuous opportunities to learn. We seek out best practices and innovative, cutting-edge ideas for our institutions, grantees, partner organizations, and communities across North Carolina.
We encourage the cultivation of resilient, vibrant communities and a clean, healthy environment by empowering people and safeguarding our natural resources.
We strive to establish and support collaborative partnerships across the state, including with our grantees, to work toward solutions addressing the challenges facing North Carolinians and their communities.
In addition we will continue to employ a mix of proactive and responsive grantmaking, focus on systemic change, serve as a convener and connector, and listen and learn from individuals, groups, and communities to co-create positive change.
Our upcoming fall 2017 grant cycle will mark the beginning of the Foundation’s transition and will be the last grant cycle based on our current focus area descriptions. Therefore, ZSR Trustees have made the decision that ZSR’s fall 2017 grant cycle will be closed and by invitation-only. We will not have a traditional spring 2018 grant cycle so that we can focus on the development and implementation of ZSR’s new emerging direction.
North Carolina is a state of tremendous promise. ZSR has a long tradition of partnering with residents from across all parts of the state who share our commitment to making this a thriving place to live and work, and we will continue to rely on the ingenuity of North Carolinians to develop ideas and solutions that can lead the state forward.
We will do it together—for ourselves, our families, our communities—and all for NC.