By Todd Cohen
North Carolina is the focus of an initiative to move beyond traditional charitable funders and find new philanthropic sources of money, volunteerism and expertise.
Funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Mich., and headed by consultant Stephanie Walker, former executive director of the Mental Health Association in Greensboro, the new North Carolina Discovery Alliance will spend 18 months talking to North Carolinians and mapping new and promising philanthropic ideas.
“We’re talking about broadening the scope of philanthropy and the definition of philanthropy, specifically in North Carolina, and also increasing its effectiveness,” says Dan Moore, a Kellogg program director.
As part of its overall support for the philanthropic sector, Kellogg has funded efforts to develop philanthropy among young people, women and people of color.
Kellogg, currently with 22 grants totaling $12 million in North Carolina, has created a $500,000 fund at the Triangle Community Foundation in Research Triangle Park to fund the new initiative.
The initiative, guided by a 25-member steering committee representing a broad cross-section of North Carolinians, will hold regional “discovery circles” – each with 20 to 30 participants – to identify new and effective ways of contributing to the community.
Starting this spring, five sessions will be held in northeast and southeast North Carolina, the northern and southern Piedmont and western North Carolina.
Emerging from those sessions will be additional meetings focusing on particular issues, demographic groups or geographic areas.
The initiative is not intended to create an organization that would compete for funds with existing groups, Walker says.
And Kellogg, which sees the North Carolina initiative as a pilot for other regions, could fund some ideas it generates.
“We hope this uncovers so many good ideas that we would be compelled to support them,” Moore says.
For information, contact Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336-286-9642.