Author: Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro


Why Donors Give to CFGG

2020 has not been the year we expected it to be and in the video below, we hear from donors who have found meaning in their giving and support of the Foundation. The Community Foundation has been a steady resource and can be counted on to make a difference in the community this year and every year after.

The Community Foundation is able to respond strategically and quickly to the planned and unplanned needs in our community. We are able to do this through donor support of the Community Leadership Fund which provides important discretionary resources while engaging all sectors and voices in Greensboro. If you would like to give now to the Community Leadership Fund, click here.

If you would like to learn more about how the Community Foundation can help you reach your philanthropic goals, contact Phelps Sprinkle or Emily Thompson.


CFGG and Phillips Foundation Announce New Revolving Loan Fund for COVID-19 Recovery

Greensboro, NC – The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro (CFGG) today announced that it is implementing a $250,000 grant from the Phillips Foundation to catalyze a new Revolving Loan Fund (RLF).  This grant capital will provide friendly loans to eligible nonprofit organizations and social enterprises recovering from the challenges of COVID-19.

The RLF enables CFGG to partner with Piedmont Business Capital (PBC), the first and only Greensboro-based Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). Assistance will be provided in the form of loans to eligible nonprofit organizations and social enterprises based in Guilford County.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors of Piedmont Business Capital and staff, we are ecstatic for this opportunity to partner,” said Wilson Lester, Executive Director of PBC.  “The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro helped us get underway as a CDFI back in 2011, and we look forward to stewarding these assets to impact our community in an era of tremendous need.”

“The capital that Philips Foundation has invested will close critical gaps for organizations that create vibrancy and equity in our community,” said Lester.

“Our goal will be to attract additional investors to this fund to create a new resource for nonprofits and other social enterprises,” said Walker Sanders, President of CFGG. “Ultimately our goal is to increase this Fund to over $1 million, and this gift from the Phillips Foundation allows us to get started on that effort”.

“The needs for many nonprofits and impact-oriented businesses will likely continue well into 2021, so we will need to continue to raise additional capital to be able to provide assistance to as many as possible,” said Sanders. “Piedmont Business Capital is the best resource and local expert regarding small business loans in Greensboro.”

This April, Phillips Foundation announced an out-of-cycle Generational Grant in the amount of $500,000 to United Way of Greater Greensboro (UWGG) and CFGG for COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts in Greensboro. UWGG deployed $250,000 of this grant for immediate relief and CFGG is implementing the other half of funds for investments in recovery through the new RLF.

“Phillips Foundation is pleased that the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro and Piedmont Business Capital will maximize the impact of this Recovery Loan Fund as creative capital during these unprecedented times,” said Elizabeth Carlock Phillips, executive director of Phillips Foundation. “All of us must step up to support our communities however we can, outside of ‘business as usual.’”

PBC will provide technical assistance to RLF applicants and loan recipients as needed. Loan amounts will range from $5,000 to $25,000. For more information, please contact Tara Sandercock, SVP, Foundation and Community Relations at CFGG at


Community Foundation LogoThe Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro is a charitable organization that inspires giving, maximizes opportunities and strengthens communities for present and future generations. With assets of approximately $215 million and 650 charitable funds under management, it promotes philanthropy by addressing emerging community issues, managing permanent endowments, and working with individuals, families, corporations, private foundations, and nonprofit organizations in achieving their charitable objectives. In 2019, it received $41.2 million in contributions and granted $44.0 million. For more information, please visit

Piedmont Business Capital (PBC) is a 501c3 non-profit committed to empowering small business development and sustainability through equitable lending practices in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. It works to create parity in access to capital for women and minority borrowers.  Their focus is on building public and private partnerships to demonstrate fiscal equity with local public dollars and corporate employers to impact the scalability of small businesses.  PBC is a certified as a Community Development Financial Institution and Community Development Entity designated by the Department of Treasury.  For more information, please visit

Phillips Foundation LogoPhillips Foundation is a private family foundation and catalytic capital platform that leverages its assets to maximize social, environmental and financial value. For more information visit


Foundation Board Supports Black Investments in Greensboro (BIG) Equity Fund

Greensboro, NC – At its fall meeting, the Board of Directors for the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro unanimously approved a $250,000 grant to the Black Investments in Greensboro (BIG) Equity Fund.

The BIG Equity Fund was established December 2019 with initial funding from Black donors with a vision to be a philanthropic powerhouse that transforms the educational, health and social well-being of the Black community.  In 2015, W.K. Kellogg Foundation awarded a grant to CFGG to expand its relationships with donors of color. Over the past five years, through the Expanding Community Giving initiative, CFGG has made significant strides engaging more ethnically and racially diverse donors. This activity highlighted the lack of a permanent endowment focused on funding critical issues in the black community, resulting in the establishment of the Black Investments in Greensboro (BIG) Equity Fund.

According to Athan Lindsay, Director of Community Philanthropy, “Black Investments in Greensboro (BIG) Equity Fund represents the future of black leadership. BIG Equity Fund will be the leading funder on the cutting edge of redefining how funding decisions are made in addressing social justice and racial equity issues.”

“We are thrilled with the unanimous support from our board,” said Walker Sanders, Foundation President. “The unprecedented times we are living in required an unprecedented response. This moment in time presents a unique opportunity for our community to demonstrate its long-term commitment to combating racism and racial inequity.”

The Community Foundation’s Board of Directors has adopted the BIG Equity Fund as its core strategic objective in its anti-racism work along with its continued support of the Expanding Community Giving initiative.

The BIG Equity Fund has secured over $600,000 in commitments. During Black Philanthropy Month in August, the fund launched a community-wide campaign to raise $3 million for the endowment.  Grants from the fund will initially support small business development with a focus on wealth building support, addressing the digital divide, especially when it limits educational growth, and addressing health care disparities in the Black community.

News and Record: An investment fund for the Black community

The fund has been featured in the News and Record and Tracy Clemmons’s Fox8 Series “In Black and White.”

For more information about the BIG Equity Fund, please select the BIG Equity Fund in the Initiatives section of this website.


Ignite the Comfortable

I have really struggled to put into writing the emotions I have felt over the last three months. From the anticipation of opening a new performing arts center to helping address locally how we responded to a world-wide pandemic, to, now, another act of racism.

When the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro was founded 37 years ago, the founders’ vision was to create an organization for the community to rely on in times of need. An organization for individuals to be able to give back to their community, and an organization for leaders to be collaborative around critical community issues. Never has that vision been more relevant than in today’s times.

I have learned in my 26 years of working professionally in philanthropy, that the hardest thing to do in a community is to “ignite the comfortable.” Let me explain.

In 2001, after 9/11, everyone said we are living in “unprecedented times.” We had just been attacked by terrorists, and it made us all uncomfortable. It was easy to ignite a response because it was about someone else. It was not about “us”, and we were going to go after “them” to hold “them” accountable for their actions. Now, almost 20 years later, we are once again saying, we are living in “unprecedented times”. But this time it is not about “them”. Sadly, it is about “us”.

Never has it been more important for “us” to work together, to combine our resources for others, establish partnerships to effectively help our neighbors, and leverage those connections such that we can navigate this storm in our own personal and unique ways. And communities across the country and in Greensboro have been doing this. Locally, we have raised millions of dollars for nonprofits providing direct services to those in need. Companies have shifted their manufacturing capabilities to provide critically needed PPE, and countless small business owners have found assistance with loans and grants.

It is quite inspiring.

Personally, I have been optimistic and hopeful that this new sense of togetherness, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit would help forge a new path for us as individuals and as a community. It would ignite a path to re-design outdated systems and old institutions in a way that was inclusive and equitable. These 20th century systems and institutions suddenly had the opportunity to adapt, evolve, and transform into new digital systems and modern institutions for a 21st century world. And, along with it, new attitudes and perspectives on each other and our world.

Then, a black man – yes, another black man, George Floyd – is senselessly murdered by a police officer, and we are thrust back into, once again, conversations about the huge injustices present in our outdated systems and old institutions. Many of us (mostly white people) have the privilege of not having to live with these injustices every day. As upset as we are about this incident, and as unfair and wrong as we know it is, many of us will have the privilege of going back to our comfortable and safe lives after all the noise quiets down.

Philanthropy has been at the heart of major advancements in society for generations and will continue to play an important role long into the future, but only if we can ignite the comfortable to use the power, privilege and resources we are afforded to create meaningful, deep and transformative change that combats racism as its own deadly disease.

Sometimes a system must come to a breaking point to be ready for change. In that moment, something tips. There is a broader understanding that the pain of maintaining the status quo exceeds the pain of change. I am hopeful that moment is now.

What can your Community Foundation do? We will continue to use a racial equity lens in all our work. We will continue to expand our Expanding Community Giving Initiative. We will continue our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work with an even greater commitment. We know the issues, but we have not solved them. We do not know the answers, but, with humility, courage, and commitment, we can cultivate and grow the relationships that will. Join with us in this work so the conversation doesn’t simply quiet down. We know it is not going away.

Walker Sanders
President, Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro
June 2, 2020

Case Stories

Young and Dangerous

As Pastor Joseph Frierson, Jr., head of the young adult ministry at Mount Zion Baptist Church, says, “The story of the Young and Dangerous Giving Circle is filled with so much inspiration.”

First, there was the inspiration to start the giving circle, which came from discussions around philanthropy that the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro’s Expanding Community Giving initiative hosted at the church. Expanding Community Giving encourages and supports philanthropy in communities of color through training, collaboration, and matching donations.

Frierson says he wanted young adults to be engaged in the process of researching and creating this giving circle. By putting his young adult and young professional parishioners in the middle of conversations about money and investing, investing locally, and the history and impact of community giving, it turned young professionals into young philanthropists.

Then came another stroke of inspiration. Once the Young and Dangerous (YAD) Giving Circle raised the $5,000 required to create the fund, another entirely separate organization felt called to come alongside them and match their $5,000, setting them up for even greater success.

Two years on, the YAD Giving Circle remains true to its mission of providing grants to African American youth or young professionals, with emphases on social justice and entrepreneurship. Grants have gone to support scholarships, to provide after-school STEM programming in East Greensboro, and, most recently, to send two young professionals from Greensboro on a guided civil rights journey through the Deep South with stops in Atlanta, Montgomery, and Selma.

“This grantmaking ability enables us to put young people in situations where they are face-to-face with civic leaders and mayors of major cities,” Frierson says, adding, “These young people realize they have a seat at the table now.”

The giving circle is structured in a way that allows it to remain nimble, awarding grants quickly as needs or opportunities arise. The civil rights journey was one such instance, but there are countless others. Such as the time a youth event was scheduled, but a large donor—the one responsible for providing sneakers for all the kids—pulled out at the last minute. The organizing body approached the YAD Giving Circle requesting funds for shoes, and they were able to deliver immediately.

Frierson is quick to point out that it’s not just about the money, though. Whether it’s sending two members on a civil rights journey or sitting united—a dozen or more strong—at a pivotal school board meeting, it’s also about putting young people and young professionals in situations where they are present and involved in the conversations that affect them.

When asked if the giving circle has helped young people become more civically engaged,

Marcus Thomas, YAD Giving Circle Councilmember and Dream Team Director at Mount Zion Baptist Church, says, “Absolutely!”

“Giving circle members are able to see the big picture, to see how grantmaking affects their community, and to see how successful this has been even in such a short time,” he says.

Thomas adds, “Another important point is that we’re creating a legacy for young adults. This giving circle, this ability and the opportunities it provides, it’s going to outlive all of us. It’s going to be here for future generations to come, even as I and as Pastor Joe move on to do different things, it will always be a part of our church and will continue to inspire and impact our community in positive ways.”

To learn how you can make a lasting difference in the community by creating or donating to a giving circle, contact us today.

Blog Case Stories

A Legacy of Exceptional Educators

When John R. Kernodle, Jr., died suddenly in 1995, at the age of 50, the News & Record announced his passing, saying, “Greensboro lost part of its conscience and its soul.”

John was beloved and admired for the many ways he served this community, the most notable of which was his role as chairman of the Guilford County Board of Education. His commitment to developing an outstanding school system for the children of Guilford County is surely one of his most enduring legacies.

A year after John’s death, a group of Guilford County citizens, working through the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, established the John R. Kernodle, Jr. Memorial Scholarship to honor the memory and life’s work of this incredible man.

Each year, one exceptional graduate of Guilford County Schools is the lucky recipient of this scholarship, which provides up to $10,000 each year for four years to cover tuition and fees, on-campus room and meals, and books and supplies as he or she pursues a degree in education.

In return, upon graduation, Kernodle Scholars are required to serve at least three years as a full-time teacher in grades K-12 in North Carolina public schools, preferably in Guilford County.

Every recipient of the John R. Kernodle Memorial Scholarship is special, but they are especially so to Lynn Wright Kernodle, John’s widow. She keeps a small photo album containing each Scholar’s graduation picture, along with their name, high school, graduation year, and where they attended college.

She knows each of their stories and delights in the fact that Kernodle Scholars get together, year after year, welcoming the new Scholars and creating a living legacy of educators.

To learn how you can honor a loved one while also making an impact in our community for years to come, contact us today.

Blog Case Stories

Reading, Writing, and the Royal Game

Tom Sloan is no stranger to philanthropy. He and his wife Linda have generously supported many local causes, including private education, theater, and the arts, with their time, talent, and resources. However, Tom felt his philanthropic interests shift toward wanting to help underprivileged children. After some thought, he realized he could help nurture young minds through one the oldest games around: chess.

A lifelong tournament chess player, Tom reached out to the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro for guidance on how to combine his love of the game with his desire to support education. CFGG connected Tom with our partners at Guilford County Schools to create Chess in the Schools, a program that teaches chess to second graders in five schools across eastern Guilford County.

“Learning chess seems to be easier when you’re young, maybe a little bit like learning a foreign language,” Tom says, adding, “Our goal is not to create tournament chess players, but rather to help kids learn how to think strategically.”

In addition to learning how to think strategically, chess also places an emphasis on human interaction and thought process. It’s not merely an elective, either. Through the connections Tom made at Guilford County Schools, he was able to make chess an official part of the second-grade curriculum in these five schools.

The program has been so successful in its first year that plans are underway to expand Chess in the Schools to at least 20 elementary schools across Guilford County.

To learn how you can turn a lifelong passion or interest into a means of helping people in our community, contact us today.

Blog Case Stories

Ending the Cycle of Poverty Through Micro-Enterprise

In 2015, the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro’s Women to Women endowment fund awarded its first ever, multi-year grant to Passion to Purse. This program, offered through YWCA Greensboro, is aimed at ending the cycle of poverty and homelessness by helping low income and minority women start micro-enterprises.

While the core of the program remains an eight-week course covering business development, market research, pricing, and financial projections, it also offers a safe space for these women.

“It was a like a support group for them,” said Rosalyn Womack, founding director of Passion to Purse. As the women worked on their individual businesses, they were also helping each other through the adversities they faced in their own personal lives.

Now in its fifth year, Passion to Purse has countless success stories of helping women create jobs for themselves. From selling hair products and hand-made soaps to opening bakeries and online consignment stores for designer children’s clothing, the “graduates” of Passion to Purse can be found living and thriving across our community.

The program is also thriving. Since receiving its first grant from Women to Women, Passion to Purse has been able to secure additional funding due in part to the prestige of that first grant.

“It makes other funders very comfortable [to know that] Women to Women found it fundable,” said Lindy Garnette, Chief Executive Officer of YWCA Greensboro.

To learn how you can donate to causes like this and others that are empowering people to create better lives for themselves, contact us today.