Mission and History

The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust was established in 1947. The mission of the Trust is to improve the quality of life and quality of health for the financially needy of North Carolina.

The Trust was established by the will of Kate Gertrude Bitting Reynolds, a woman of great vision and compassion, whose generosity in life was surpassed only by her philanthropy toward future generations. She grew up on a farm near the Yadkin River until the family moved to the town of Winston in the late 1870s. She graduated from Salem College in 1885 and married William Neal Reynolds, chairman of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, four years later. They lived on the Tanglewood estate until their deaths.

As a young woman, Mrs. Reynolds was interested in the community and played an active role in addressing issues that affect quality of life for all—especially for those whose financial resources are not adequate for their needs. She was a leader in establishing and maintaining community hospitals to serve all residents of Forsyth County. She pushed for better wages and working conditions for factory workers. She worked to secure safe and affordable housing for young women who worked in the city and to create day care centers for the children of working mothers.

Through the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, she continues to support needy North Carolinians.

The Trust is made up of two divisions, which today are known as:

The Health Care Division, which receives three-fourths of the funds distributed, and responds to health and wellness needs and invests in solutions that improve the quality of health for financially needy residents of North Carolina.

The Poor and Needy Division, which receives one-fourth of the funds distributed, and responds to basic life needs and invests in solutions that improve the quality of life for financially needy residents of Forsyth County.

Since the Trust began in 1947, its assets have grown from $4 million to over $550 million, placing it among the largest in the state. Since it began, the Trust has invested more than $500 million dollars toward improving life and health for needy residents of our state.

The goals for the Trust’s work will never change. Our mandate is to fulfill Mrs. Reynolds' vision of improving quality of life and quality of health for future generations of North Carolinians. In pursuit of that goal, we are proactively seeking solutions to the root causes of poverty and disease in our state. We aim to support and advance positive movement on critical community issues and to effect enduring, systemic change.

In positioning the Trust for carrying its work into the future, the Trustee’s advisory councils, staff and trustee Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. acknowledged three key commitments:

  • To have impact—to make a difference is our most critical commitment.
  • To successfully implement innovative ideas that are creative, relevant and useful in tackling today's challenges and preventing tomorrow's problems.
  • To use our influence and leverage to support the organizations and agencies whose work we sponsor and to be the voice of the vulnerable, the underserved and the economically disadvantaged.