The John Rex Endowment holds to a philosophy of achieving impact through change, and a commitment to making change happen for the betterment of children in our community. Within our Strategic Roadmap, this commitment is represented by impacting opportunities for change at three levels: by building organizational capacity; shaping community policies and environments; and supporting system-level improvements.
Building Organizational Capacity
We view capacity building as a process to maximize the existing strengths and assets of an organization through improvements to such foundational elements as program and evaluation infrastructure, staff development, and organizational decision-making. Helping to build the capacity of nonprofit organizations and government agencies produces a two-pronged benefit: it increases the effectiveness of programs and services focused on the health and well-being of Wake County children and families; and it improves the ability of organizations that provide these programs and services to address community or systems-level issues that enable Wake County children to live healthy lives.
Shaping Community Policies & Environments
With a focus on shaping community policies and environments, we expand the emphasis from bringing about change within nonprofit organizations and government agencies, to a focus on change across a broader range of community settings, such as child care centers, neighborhoods, places of worship, and schools. Our work related to this strategy involves supporting change in two ways. First, we look at how community settings operate. For example, we may work with afterschool program administrators to establish policies on required training for adult volunteers. Second, we consider the conditions in community settings. For example, we may focus on children’s independent play and learning through physical changes to a community center.
Supporting System-Level Improvements
A system is comprised of individuals, organizations, policies, relationships, institutional cultures, resources and other components connected by a common purpose, in our case, the health and well-being of children in Wake County. Ideally, each single component of a system operates in concert with the others as an integrated and high-functioning whole. In reality, however, that is not always the case due to the complexity of systems. We support improvements in areas such as policy, regulation, linkages or resource allocation to increase the system’s overall effectiveness in ensuring Wake County children live healthy lives. An example of such a system-level improvement is addressing and improving licensing regulations for child care centers.