The Winston-Salem Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder primarily supports Forsyth County, North Carolina, in the areas of arts and culture, education, health, human services, community development, domestic animals, and building social capital. There are multiple application deadlines throughout the year.

FUNDING AREAS: Arts and culture, education, health, human services, community development, domestic animals, building social capital

IP TAKE: There are lots of community foundations in North Carolina, but this is the oldest one, with multiple funds open to grant seekers. For special interest groups, grant seekers can check out the funds besides the community grants that accept applications.

PROFILE: The Winston-Salem Foundation is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and was established in 1919. It seeks to “inspire giving and link resources to action, strengthening Forsyth County—now and forever.” It was the first foundation created in the state and has more than 1,300 funds. The foundation was originally founded by Col. Francis Fries with a grant of $1,000.

For community grants, the foundation supports arts and culture, education, health, human services, community development, domestic animals and building social capital. It funds capacity-building grants, programmatic grants, and capital campaign grants. However, the Winston-Salem Foundation does not fund general operating support, grants for individuals, or religious activities that benefit only a single faith or congregation. It funds equipment purchases and special events grants, but less frequently. 

Preliminary application deadlines for community grants typically fall on or around the first of November, January, March, May, July and September. Full grant application deadlines occur about a month later, and the grant decision comes about two months after that.

There is also a small grants program at the foundation for groups requesting $1,000 or less, available to groups with annual incomes of $150,000 or less. Athletic teams can receive up to $500 through this program. Small grant applications are due on the first business day of any month, and grant seekers will receive a decision within 30 days.

The Winston-Salem Foundation provides teacher grants in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, Mt. Airy City Schools, and Wilkes County Schools. The focus of these competitive grants is professional development for staff and improving the overall classroom experience. Other grants are provided through the Black Philanthropy Initiative, Elkin/Tri-County Program, Victim Assistance Program, Women's Fund, and Youth Grantmakers in Action Program.

At the end of a recent year, the funder had assets of $565 million and granted $58.6 million to charitable causes. Current financial data is here. Winston-Salem Foundation also awards scholarships. In a recent school year, its approximately 121 student aid funds provided 583 scholarship awards totaling $978,000.

There are nearly 30 professionals on the executive and support staff team at this foundation. Scott Wierman is the president, and staff phone numbers and email addresses are published on the funder’s website. General questions can be directed to 336-725-2382 or The foundation’s address is 751 West Fourth Street, Suite 200, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27101.


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