Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation retools grants process

By Todd Cohen

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — To better explain its goals and ensure more productive results, the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation in Winston-Salem has revamped the form and process that nonprofits use to submit grant requests.

Effective immediately, all nonprofits must submit requests online using a form at zsr.org that has been revised to help nonprofits better explain their work and the outcomes they aim to produce with the funds they are seeking.

The Reynolds board “is increasingly seeing itself as making investments in organizations, both local and statewide, with the idea of obtaining results that are consistent with our mission,” says Tom Ross, executive director.

The revised form is designed “to better communicate what we’re trying to accomplish, and better partner with and work with organizations to ensure that our funds are producing the kinds of outcomes and results that we would like to see,” he says.

The foundation also has changed the name of one of the board areas in which it makes grants to “Democracy and Civic Engagement” from “Governance, Public Policy and Civic Engagement.”

Nearly half the grant applications to the foundation, which retooled its grants process in 2002, already are submitted online, says Tom Ross, executive director.

Nonprofits that already have begun to process applications due August 1 using the previous online form will be permitted to complete their requests using that form.

“We are certainly willing to work with organizations that may not have the technology to do this, but we think most organizations do,” he says.

Other areas on which the foundation focuses its grants include community economic development; environment; pre-collegiate education; and social justice and equity.

The foundation says on its website that it also says aims “to serve as a catalyst for new practices and ideas and to respond to challenges or opportunities that are unique to North Carolina,” and wants to help build the “capacity” of nonprofits, support organizational development, and “remain flexible in its grantmaking policies.”

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