Phillips Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder supports efforts in Guilford County, North Carolina, in the areas of education, children, families, homelessness, and economic development. It does not accept unsolicited applications.

FUNDING AREAS: Education innovation, family empowerment, homelessness solutions, economic development, learning enrichment

IP TAKE: This is a funder that is interested in a lot more than just grantmaking. Phillips has been increasingly involved in impact investing and educating other local groups about ways to reshape philanthropy through it.

PROFILE: The Phillips Foundation is a private family foundation based in Greensboro, North Carolina. It seeks to “steward every dollar for good.” It was founded in 2002, fully endowed by 2014, and is the legacy of the real estate entrepreneur Kermit G. Phillips II, who supported several charities during his lifetime. The current trustees focus grantmaking on Guilford County, North Carolina.

Grants from Phillips prioritize education innovation, family empowerment, homelessness solutions, economic development, and learning enrichment. Education grants seek to bring national models to Guilford County and to support new magnet school models. Family empowerment grants support pilot programs like United Way’s Family Success Center.

Homelessness is a big cause for Phillips, which recently helped grant partners achieve a 98 percent reduction in local chronic homelessness. Partners Ending Homelessness and Youth Villages have received Phillips grants. Partners Ending Homelessness is a collaborative network of over 40 partners, and Phillips gave an initial $1 million one-year grant to launch its Housing First Initiative.

Economic development grants have supported the Downtown Greenway and the Tanger Center for the Performing Arts. Learning enrichment grants support children’s healthy development and have supported the Greensboro Children’s Museum and the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club. Unfortunately for grant seekers, this foundation does not accept unsolicited grant applications.

Phillips launched the Healthy Relationships Initiative in 2016 with Dr. Christine E. Murray of the UNC Greensboro Department of Counseling and Educational Development to prevent societal dysfunction and strengthen families in Guilford County. This initiative addresses everything from the local divorce rate to domestic violence and homicide incidences in the area.

The foundation uses program-related investments, mission-related investments, ESG greens, and other investment programs. It also hosts events to educate other funders and nonprofits about impact investing and to facilitate pay-for-success contracting. Phillips’ Impact Investing Think Tank is a series of events and collaborations that began with a national event in May 2016. Impact investing highlights include the Akola Project, Elsewhere: A Living Museum, and the Self-Help Credit Union.

There are three staff members at the Phillips Foundation. Elizabeth Phillips is the executive director, Catherine Burnett is the chief operating officer, and Pamela Bilodeau is the executive coordinator. There are four Phillips family members of the board of trustees, two in North Carolina, one in Miami, and one in Los Angeles.

Direct general questions to the foundation staff at or 336-458-0806. The mailing address is P.O. Box 4034, Greensboro, North Carolina 27404. Keep up with foundation happenings in the press section of the funder website.


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