John Rex Endowment’s 2022 End-of-Year Reflections

As our team reflects on this past year, we first and foremost want to say THANK YOU! 

THANK YOU – grant-funded partners, community leaders, racial equity and justice collaborators, peer funders, system-level change agents, and ALL child advocates – for joining us on this journey! There is no blueprint for creating an equitable world, but the Endowment is committed to making a difference by working alongside leaders and organizations like you. We’re all in this together. 

We began this year with a refreshed mission statement: to strengthen organizations that center racial equity and justice to improve the social emotional health of children living in Wake County

We have made great progress, but not without some challenges. However, we are trying to apply what we are learning in real-time (“when you know better, do better”). Because of this intentionality, we are not only helping strengthen partner organizations, but our own organization as well.  

Grantmaking and Advocacy 

With our mission as a guide, our grantmaking and advocacy supports organizations that center racial equity and justice to improve the social emotional health of children. 

 In 2022, we:

  • Awarded $1.8 million in Racial Equity Capacity Building Grants to eight nonprofits. 
  • Focused on organizational capacity building. We invested about $600,000 in eight small grassroots organizations led by Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other People of Color (BILPOC).
  • Funded and supported 35 active, multi-year, grant-funded partners in Wake County.

We invested a total of $3.7 million in charitable contributions! 

We also closely listened to our partners and how we could best serve you. Based on our conversations, expert recommendations and research, we:

  • Revised our grantmaking applications, reports, and processes, making them more equitable and accessible.
  • Named how we want to make change happen, helping us develop our grantmaking and advocacy strategies.
  • Advocated with partners, using our social capital and relationships to solve problems.

We look forward to sharing news about our work as we continue updating our grantmaking and advocacy strategies. 

Centering Racial Equity

Our commitment to centering racial equity in all we do guides our decisions in how we lead, in addition to our grantmaking and advocacy. 

“Our goal is to transform philanthropy,” best said by Kellan Moore, our CEO and President. 

To do this, our board and staff are exploring innovative ways to center racial equity in philanthropy – using our voice and resources. 

One way we center racial equity is by offering non-traditional capacity building grant opportunities to BILPOC-led nonprofit and small grassroots organizations. We are also looking forward to leading conversations with other funders interested in similar initiatives. 

To center racial equity, we have:

  • Developed funding opportunities and workshops for BILPOC-led organizations – acknowledging the deep historical inequities and lack of resources these populations have experienced through structural racism, cultural erasure, and discrimination.
  • Transformed our operations, governance, grantmaking, advocacy, and finances to center racial equity.
  • Recruited four new Board of Directors who will help diversify and strengthen our work through their voices and experiences.
  • Welcomed new team members, Irecka Smith, Krystin Jorgenson, and Linh Pham, over the last year. We currently employ six women – four leaders of color, and two white women.

Racial equity work does not have an expiration date. 

Working steadily on our goals helps us pace ourselves for the long haul. We remain committed to learning, growing, and evolving as an organization. 

Rest is Capacity Building 

At John Rex Endowment, we are capacity builders who believe rest is a way to build an individual’s and organizations capacity. 

Caring for an individual’s health and well-being is non-negotiable. We believe that it is impossible to bring your whole selves to work if you, yourself, are not whole. 

We are exploring ways to support the mental, physical and social wellbeing of our staff and grant-funded partners. 

In that light, John Rex Endowment will be closed from Thursday, December 22, to Monday, January 2, 2023, to give our staff time to rest, relax, and refresh. 

Celebrating and Looking Ahead…

We’re celebrating how far we’ve come this year, while looking forward to continuing the journey in 2023! 

Our work would be impossible without you and the partnership of those committed to advancing positive change for children in Wake County. 

With Gratitude, 

John Rex Endowment 

Kellan Moore, Gladys Hairston, Krystin Jorgenson, Linh Pham, Sabrina Slade, and Irecka Smith