Matt Leatherman, who ran for the 2020 post of State Treasurer, is currently a director of FCLT Global after serving as policy director for the North Carolina Department of State Treasurer’s office. He believes he was recruited to the join the John Rex Endowment Board not only because he had solid financial expertise, but also because he had the energy to get things done within a board setting.

“I knew I wanted my first board experience to be with a strong board, and that is what we have,” Leatherman says. “We take our responsibilities seriously, we’re all aligned on the basis of values, and my role as Treasurer for the board is to be sure we can also financially back up what we want to do.”

He commends the board’s “active succession planning” to ensure the board will always be made up of members with key skills. Another board emphasis he appreciates is learning to view funding decisions not only abstractly, but also through the lens of the Endowment’s commitment to improving social and physical environments for children.

Leatherman often speaks about his own family’s experiences with vulnerable children’s health and wellbeing. One of his two daughters is currently receiving specialized services at the Jordan Child & Family Enrichment Center in Raleigh, so he has witnessed how broad definitions of health care for children take on a different dimension when applied to close-to-home situations. Still, he tries to maintain an outlook that sees the larger picture of children’s healthcare in Wake County – a task that is not always easy.

“There are so many organizations doing wonderful work, but I believe it’s important to maintain equity between the needs of today’s kids, and the needs to come of tomorrow’s kids,” Leatherman says. “We have finite dollars, and we want to ensure that we’re making the best investment possible to make sustainable change for children and their families. “

He concludes, “To me, courageous champions for children are the people who embrace the challenges of making tough choices and are still able to come up with practical, world-changing policies.”  [05/2021]