Reynolds Trust to aid small Forsyth nonprofits

Lori Fuller
Lori Fuller

Ret Boney

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – In 2009, the Poor and Needy Division of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust suspended all new grantmaking.

Eighteen months later, it is resuming new grantmaking with a focus on small nonprofits in Forsyth County that are struggling under the weight of the economic downturn.

“We know that everybody has been hit and is struggling with lost revenue and lower fundraising,” says Lori Fuller, director of evaluation and research for the Trust’s Poor and Needy Division. “We wanted to target the funds where they would have the most impact.”

The new effort, dubbed the Second Wind Initiative, is open to Forsyth nonprofits with budgets under $750,000 or fewer than 20 full-time equivalent staffers, and whose focus is serving financially-needy populations.

The Trust will award one-year grants of up to $50,000 each to as many as 15 nonprofits to provide program support, fund capacity-building efforts, boost fundraising or tackle other critical needs.

“We want to give them a boost and help stabilize them because we know there’s still more time to ride out the downturn,” says Fuller.

The initiative also stretches the division in some new ways, she says, experimenting with a request-for-application process rather than an open grant cycle, and hopefully reaching a new set of nonprofits.

To help with that outreach, the trust is placing a newspaper ad designed to reach small nonprofits that may not know about the trust, or about foundation funding in general.

“It’s our hope there will be grantees in this cohort that we haven’t funded before and didn’t even know exist,” says Fuller.

Prior to the recession, the Poor and Needy Division ran two grant cycles each year, paying out a total of $6.2 million in the fiscal year ending in August of 2009, with grant amounts based of asset values over the previous three years.

But the trust’s assets took a hit during the downturn, falling to $465 million at the end of fiscal 2009 from a high of $632 million in fiscal 2007.

That decline caught up to the trust, and Fuller estimates 2010 grantmaking will drop to $4.4 million, covering primarily multi-year commitments previously pledged.

While the organization’s endowment has not rebounded to pre-recession levels, Fuller expects grantmaking for fiscal 2011 to top 2010, and says the time has come to resume new grantmaking in a focused and strategic way.

However, that overall grantmaking approach will be evaluated this summer and fall under the leadership of Joe Crocker, the new director of the division who previously served as program officer and director of operations for the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

The online funding application will be posted on the trust’s website on June 1, with a deadline of July 15.

Interested nonprofits are required to participate in an “advance consultation” with a trust staffer before submitting an application.

Awards will be paid out in late 2010.

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