Allen Smart, vice president of programs at the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, announced plans to leave the foundation at the end of February to pursue consulting opportunities in philanthropy. During his 10-year tenure, Allen has been instrumental in leading day-to-day work and special initiatives as the Trust has evolved into a high impact, strategic funder focused on supporting long-term transformation in rural communities.
Allen arrived at the Trust in 2006 as the Health Care Division’s senior program officer for the eastern region of North Carolina, became Health Care Division Director in 2012 and then Vice President of Programs in 2014. Under former President Karen McNeil-Miller’s leadership, Allen worked closely with the Trust team to develop and launch Healthy Places NC—a decade-long, $100 million initiative to improve the health of 10 to 12 rural communities. Allen served as interim president from September 2015 to June 2016. In July 2016, Dr. Laura Gerald became president of the Trust, and Allen resumed his role as vice president of programs.
“Allen’s contributions to the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and to achieving Mrs. Reynolds’ vision of improved health and quality of life for all residents have been invaluable,” said Dr. Laura Gerald, president of the Trust. “He leaves a lasting mark on the foundation—encouraging program officers to get out in the field and listen, recognizing the strengths of rural communities, and knowing there is no one size-fits-all approach—that will continue to help us improve outcomes for the communities we serve. We wish Allen well in all of his future endeavors.”
During Allen’s time overseeing programmatic work at the Trust, the foundation created the Innovations in Rural Health Award—a national competition to identify the most promising ideas to improve rural health and bring them back to North Carolina. The Trust also worked closely with nonprofits around the state to help more residents understand and access new health insurance options made available through the Affordable Care Act. Working closely with Trust leadership and staff, Allen helped to launch the $30 million initiative—Great Expectations—to invest in Forsyth County’s youngest children and their families. This work included helping to bring Forsyth Connects, a program that offers nearly every baby born in Forsyth County a home visit from a nurse.
“Over the past six months, I have had the privilege of working with Trust President Dr. Laura Gerald, and she is providing critical leadership to help sharpen the Trust’s focus and increase our impact on communities locally and around the state,” said Allen Smart. “I have thoroughly enjoyed leading the program team as vice president of programs. I am confident this important work will continue and thrive.”
Under Dr. Gerald’s leadership, the Trust will continue to build upon the groundwork laid in its special initiatives. In the coming months, Great Expectations will issue an updated funding framework—based on what the Trust has learned from local parents and providers—detailing how the Trust hopes to invest in early childhood in the coming years. The Trust will also expand its work in rural communities by inviting additional counties to participate in Healthy Places NC.
Later this week, the Trust will announce a director of special initiatives, a new position, to oversee the critical work of Healthy Places NC and Great Expectations. The foundation will also begin the process of identifying the best person to oversee the program team and manage the Trust’s overall grantmaking after Allen’s departure.
Allen currently serves as the chair of the Rankings and Roadmaps National Advisory Group. He is active with Grantmakers in Health, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, the Southeast Council of Foundations and North Carolina Network of Grantmakers.
After spending nearly 25 years in philanthropy and public health, Allen is looking forward to consulting with other foundations doing strategic, community-driven work, especially those focused on rural areas of the country. He is also looking forward to some free time to coach his son’s tennis team.