Recently, Golden LEAF President, Chief Executive Officer Scott T. Hamilton sat down with the President of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, Dr. Laura Gerald, via Zoom and filmed an episode of Critical Conversations. In this series, Scott talks with professionals about economic development issues affecting the state.
Dr. Gerald has served as the President of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust (the Trust) since 2016.
The Trust was created in 1947 to improve the quality of life of people with low incomes in Forsyth County and to improve health care around the state.
Dr. Gerald is a board-certified pediatrician who was born and raised in rural North Carolina. She brings decades of leadership experience in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors to the Trust.
Dr. Gerald explained that the Trust supports thriving North Carolina communities by working for equitable health care, education, and economic opportunity. She added that the Trust employs an outcomes-focused strategy and invests in promising programs, efforts that foster systems change, and innovative ideas to help residents and communities achieve long-term success. While the Trust is located in Forsyth County, they focus 75 percent of their assets statewide on health improvement and 25 percent locally on quality of life issues in Forsyth County.
The Trust just celebrated its 75th anniversary. While the Trust has done great work over the years, Dr. Gerald said they are looking forward to making even greater systems change.
In Forsyth County, Dr. Gerald said they have a special initiative that focuses on ensuring the children in Forsyth County enter kindergarten ready to learn and leave set for success called Great Expectations. The Trust is also working on making the economy of Forsyth County more inclusive, particularly for those left behind for generations.
In statewide health improvement work, the Trust has been working on health insurance for everyone. In the area of improved health systems, they are working with community-based organizations to improve health for all. In rural areas, Healthy Places NC works to improve the health of residents in some of our state’s most rural and vibrant yet under-resourced counties. She reported that they have finished the first round of Healthy Places NC work but will be announcing an extension of that work in other rural areas.
The Trust has four grant cycles each year, but Dr. Gerald said she encourages potential applicants to reach out to get to know the Trust and its funding priorities before considering submitting an application. Organizations looking to find out more about the Trust or wanting to connect with program staff can visit their website at kbr.org.
The values of the Trust are to first and foremost center the impacted people they serve. Dr. Gerald said they listen to people living in the community impacted by health, economics, and other disparities. She also stated they want to make sure that everyone has a seat at the table, especially in race and ethnic areas. Dr. Gerald said they are working on the data in these communities so they can measure the success of the programs. She also said they are working on the systems and policies that are holding back the health and vitality of the populations they serve. Dr. Gerald said the Trust wants to work with the organizations throughout the state that are partnering for systems change.
Critical Conversations is a feature in the Golden LEAF newsletter every month. The next edition will be in our June 8th edition of LEAF Lines.