Our First 20 Years

Learn about the past, present, and future of the John Rex Endowment.

In April 2000, the University of North Carolina Health Care System acquired Rex Healthcare, the system in Wake County that included Rex Hospital. Funds from that transaction were designated to advance the health and well-being of the residents of the area to establish the John Rex Endowment. The roots of this action stemmed from the original vision of John Rex, a wealthy businessman who set aside money in his will in 1838 to establish a hospital to "care for the sick and afflicted poor" of Raleigh.

We acknowledge the history that John Rex, for whom our organization is named, accumulated his wealth from the free and low-waged labor of the men and women he enslaved. Confronting this history, it’s our commitment to advance equity for those who have been left out and in many ways continue to be as we work together to ensure all children and their families are safe, healthy, and living to their potential. 

20th Commemoration Logo

The John Rex Endowment logo has evolved over the years to the newest one commemorating our 20 years of advancing positive change for children in Wake County. It was important to us to include that phrase to help us focus on what the Endowment is all about. The message, plus the logo's healthy, sprouting sapling, symbolizes that the Endowment's purpose is growing, changing and bearing fruit.

The statement "advancing positive change for children" has taken on even more urgency and resonance as our community faces the current challenges of COVID-19 and racial inequities. We are sensitive to circumstances surrounding us and therefore postponed public 20th commemoration activities, while still acknowledging this important milestone and inviting you to share it with us.

Continuing Our Focus

For 20 years, the John Rex Endowment has focused upon thoughtful and strategic grantmaking and advocacy in Wake County for children and families. While our grantmaking has evolved over the years with the community’s changing needs, our commitment to supporting children and families in greater Wake County to live healthy lives has never wavered.

We are engaged in thoughtful planning with our board and community as we plan for the next 20 years, particularly given the recent challenges that COVID-19, systemic racism and other adverse situations have had upon the social and emotional well-being of children and families. We recognize our impact will not be accomplished through grantmaking alone. The only way to create an environment where all children and families thrive is to change policies so that all people are valued and systemic racism becomes a problem of the past.

It’s our pledge to:

  • Continue to listen and learn;
  • Embrace our racial equity journey as both individuals and an organization; and
  • Work with nonprofit organizations, advocates, government agencies and other foundations who are providing leadership during this pandemic and time of civil unrest to advocate for policies that will advance positive change for all children, especially Black and Brown children and families.

We are in this for the duration as together we rebuild more equitable systems for our children.

Thank You To Our Partners

We are pleased to have awarded 264 grants to 96 unique organizations over our history, resulting in more than $51 million in funding for projects impacting children and their families. We thank each and every team member for working with us to effect change, and for the impact that their grant-supported projects have had upon children and families in the greater Wake County area. We are proud to stand with these organizations to commemorate 20 years of advancing positive change for children.

Funded Organizations as of April 2020

  • Advance Community Health (formerly Wake Health Services)
  • Advocates for Health in Action
  • Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education
  • Alliance Medical Ministry
  • Alliance of Disability Advocates Center
  • Arc of Wake County
  • Arts Access
  • Auditory Learning Center
  • Autism Society of NC
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of Wake County
  • Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Raleigh
  • Center for Acquisition of Spoken Language Through Listening Enrichment (CASTLE)
  • Children’s Home Society of NC
  • City of Raleigh, Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Dept.
  • Communities In Schools of Wake County
  • Community Learning Partners of Wake County
  • Community Music School
  • Community Partnership Inc. (CPI)
  • Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy
  • East Wake Education Foundation
  • El Pueblo
  • EVOLVE Mentoring
  • Families Together (formerly PLM Families Together)
  • Family Promise of Wake County (formerly Wake Interfaith Hospitality Network)
  • GiftedArts
  • Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines
  • Girls on the Run of the Triangle
  • Governor’s Institute on Alcohol and Substance Abuse
  • Haven House Services
  • Healing Place of Wake County
  • Hope Center at Pullen
  • InterAct
  • Inter-Faith Food Shuttle
  • Kidznotes
  • Learning Together
  • Loaves and Fishes Ministry
  • Lucy Daniels Center
  • Marbles Kids Museum
  • Methodist Home for Children
  • NC Child (formerly Action for Children NC)
  • NC Counts Coalition/El Pueblo
  • NC DPH PAN Branch
  • NC Justice Center
  • NCDHHS, Division of Public Health, Injury and Violence Prevention Branch in partnership with the NC Public Health Foundation
  • NCSU College of Design Natural Learning Initiative
  • North Carolina Congress of Parents and Teachers
  • North Carolina Council of Churches
  • North Carolina Healthy Start Foundation
  • North Carolina Pediatric Society Foundation
  • Passage Home
  • Planned Parenthood Health Systems
  • Prevent Blindness North Carolina
  • Prevent Child Abuse NC
  • Raleigh Rescue Mission
  • ReEntry
  • Rex Healthcare
  • Riley Hill Family Life Center
  • SAFEchild
  • Salvation Army of Wake County
  • SE Raleigh Promise
  • SouthLight
  • Special Olympics NC
  • StepUp Ministry
  • Strengthening the Black Family
  • Town of Fuquay-Varina
  • Town of Garner
  • Town of Knightdale
  • Town of Morrisville
  • Town of Zebulon
  • Triangle Family Services
  • Triangle New School Foundation
  • UNC Department of Pediatrics
  • UNC Dept. of Maternal and Child Health
  • UNC Dept. of MCH Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute
  • UNC Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
  • UNC Healthy Solutions
  • UNC Highway Safety Research Center
  • UNC Injury Prevention Research Center
  • UNC Program on Integrative Medicine
  • Wade Edwards Foundation/WELL
  • Wake County Human Services
  • Wake County Medical Society
  • Wake County Public School System
  • Wake County SmartStart
  • Wake Technical Assistance Coalition
  • Wake Teen Medical Services
  • WAKE Up and Read
  • WakeEd Partnership
  • WakeMed Health and Hospitals
  • WakeUP Wake County
  • YMCA of the Triangle
  • York Elementary School PTA
  • Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!)
  • Youth Thrive
  • YWCA of the Greater Triangle