Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Stepping up to the Plate


By W. Hodding Carter III

Private foundations are among the greatest of American innovations.

They funnel private wealth into tax sheltered institutions that in turn support public institutions and purposes. At their best, they have been catalysts for civic and cultural development, economic revitalization and educational innovation.

North Carolina in particular is singularly fortunate to have a strong philanthropic tradition represented by a number of vibrant foundations with a well-developed sense of mission and focus. While the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation comes immediately to mind, it is hardly alone. Mention community and economic development, educational innovation, environmental protection and racial justice, and you immediately think of the central role played by North Carolina foundations.