Kellan Moore "Pushes for New Era of Equality in Wake County"

By   –  Associate Editor, Triangle Business Journal

Armed with more than three decades of nonprofit and philanthropic experience, including five years in her current post as head of the John Rex Endowment, Kellan Moore says she’s poised to carry out what she calls “a period of transition for the endowment.”

In December, the endowment’s board refreshed its mission and is making changes to its grantmaking and operations based on its current understanding of racial equity and justice in philanthropy.

The John Rex Endowment is a private grantmaking and advocacy foundation serving Wake County. The Endowment currently employs a staff of six and annually invests $3.7 million in charitable activities, with $86 million in total assets as of February 2022.

The endowment’s new mission focus is to strengthen organizations that center racial equity and justice to improve the social emotional health of children living in Wake County.

Tell us a little bit more about the history of the John Rex Endowment. In April 2000, the UNC Health Care System acquired Rex Healthcare, the system in Wake County that included Rex Hospital. Funds from that transaction were designated to establish the John Rex Endowment to advance the health and well-being of residents.

What experiences best prepared you for this role? I have spent 33 years working in North Carolina in a variety of leadership and community focused positions in the nonprofit, corporate and philanthropic sectors. Each position provided the opportunity to see the needs, strengths, opportunities and inequities impacting our children and families most marginalized.

What’s your overall opinion of the grant making and funding environment in the Triangle? I believe we have a thriving and generous philanthropic community in the Triangle, compared to the resources available in more rural areas. With this prosperity comes responsibility to continually listen to the people most proximate to the issues.

What’s working?

  • More intentional efforts to collaborate and pool resources amongst foundations and organizations where there are common goals.
  • Leveraging resources – it is good stewardship, and it minimizes the administrative burden on nonprofits, which can be a barrier to applying for funds.
  • Increased focus on grantmaking strategies and processes are being redesigned to center a lens of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.