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 of John Rex Endowment and that John Rex, for whom our organization is named, was a slave owner. We acknowledge that Rex likely accumulated his wealth from the free and low-waged labor of the men and women he legally owned. 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 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.