Funders team up

North Carolina grantmakers take on race, poverty.

Finding ways to better understand and address issues involving race and poverty will be the focus of a new initiative being launched by the North Carolina Network of Grantmakers.

The group will invite individual donors and representatives of foundations and corporate giving programs from throughout the state to attend three to four day-long sessions next year to talk about the issue.

The network’s new working group on race and poverty will hold its first meeting in Greensboro during the Feb. 19 meeting of the grantmakers network.

The meeting, to be held at the Jefferson Pilot Financial Corporate  Training Center at 100 North Greene St., will include a talk by Ran Coble, executive director of the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research, on a forthcoming study of health, education, economic and other challenges facing the state.

Frank Phoenix, a member of the new working group and president and director of the $4 million-asset Fenwick Foundation in Chapel Hill, says the group’s goal is to promote discussion and raise awareness of those issues within the philanthropic community.

Those discussions, he says, might result in a group of donors or funders pooling funds over a number of years to address race and poverty.

The effort is being funded with a $25,000 grant from the Ford Foundation as part of its “Race and Equity in the American South” initiative.

MDC Inc., a Chapel Hill think-tank that focuses on economic and workforce issues, will help manage the statewide effort.

For information about the meeting, contact Phoenix at or Heidi Gilmore at

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