A small abandoned building with signage for the "Jumas Peoples Trading Company" stands in the foreground of a cityscape of Winston-Salem at dusk

Why inclusive economy?

More opportunities for more people.

Research and community input tell us that Forsyth County, North Carolina, has been plagued by barriers to living-wage employment, pockets of concentrated poverty, lack of investment in effective public transportation, and poor coordination of community resources. That’s why we’ve decided to focus our Local Impact in Forsyth County efforts on addressing these root-cause, systemic issues. We’re partnering with community to build capacity, so members raise their voices to share challenges and ideas, and play a fundamental role in developing solutions.

Our Goals

A white man wearing a striped shirt gives a slide presentation in front of a focus group

Build will for economic mobility through systems change.

What we know: Economic mobility is a central part of what is known as the “American Dream.” Still, children who grow up in families with low incomes in Forsyth County have less upward economic mobility than virtually any other county in the country.

What we do: We’re working with the community to identify and support high-impact policies and programs that connect excluded groups to greater economic opportunities. We’re focusing on residents who are working, but still having difficulty earning enough to support themselves and their families.

A group of high school-age students of different racial backgrounds participate in an activity around a table in a gymnasium.

Reconnect youth to living-wage jobs and educational opportunities.

What we know: Forsyth County’s disconnected youth—young people ages 16 to 24 who are not in school and not working—totals approximately 14 percent of the county’s population. We know that these youth—particularly youth of color—are impacted by systemic barriers and institutional racism—and need support to secure living-wage jobs and find the path to economic and educational success.

What we do: We’re developing ways to launch the next generation through systemic, multisectoral opportunities. It will take organizations, adults, and youth in our community to listen, learn, and develop inclusive solutions together, putting ideas into action for a more equitable future. We are investing in community-based research and mapping, education and advocacy, and community engagement to foster better outcomes for youth and young adults who are not connected to school or work.

A row of men with different ages and racial backgrounds watch a presentation and take notes during a focus group session

Maintain the safety net.

What we know: Many resources exist in Forsyth County to help those who are struggling to make ends meet. However, these services are often under-publicized and underutilized. Better coordination of safety net resources could increase the future economic stability of those needing crisis support. It would mitigate disruptions that have a disproportionate impact on the working poor, parents of young children, and youth disconnected from school or work.

What we do: We’re working to create resilience to shocks and stresses experienced by people with low incomes. We’ve developed a funding strategy to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the local safety net system via coordination and alignment.

A mother with two small braids holds an infant, both who are people of color, while they play with a yellow plush toy

Increase education and economic advancement of parents of young children.

What we know: Children cannot thrive in homes where their parents struggle to make ends meet. Conversely, parents with low incomes cannot succeed without meaningful support for their children.

What we do: Using a two-generation approach, we are exploring investments that will improve the probability for economic mobility of children by supporting the educational attainment and career advancement of parents. Working with our Great Expectations early childhood initiative, we are aligning efforts to advance outcomes and opportunities for families with low incomes in Forsyth County.

Updates and Reports


The Trust engaged ncIMPACT to give advice on developing an overall strategy for our Local Impact Funding. The ncIMPACT team analyzed demographic data, the results of an electronic survey of Forsyth residents and workers, and comments recorded during interviews and focus groups to distill the county’s present challenges.

Our Grantmaking Strategies

We leverage a variety of strategies to advance our goals, across all programs, initiatives, and bodies of work.

Activating Change With Our Values

We start by listening. Believe in communities. Engage unlikely partners. Employ a place-based approach. Believe equity is essential to everything we do. Focus on outcomes. Support scale and sustainability.

Funding Opportunities

Find out what we’re funding now.

Our Team

Senior Program Officer

Grants Assistant