What if everyone in North Carolina had all they needed to be healthy? What if every child in Forsyth County had the opportunity to achieve their hopes and dreams?
We sat down with Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust president Dr. Laura Gerald for a conversation about how the Trust is using the tools of philanthropy to drive toward systems change, and why now is the time for action.
How are you working toward a vision of success?
“At the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, we envision a North Carolina where all residents and communities are thriving, and there’s equitable access to care and health outcomes. Because of the systemic and persistent connection between race, place, poor health outcomes, and quality of life, there is no credible route to health improvement that does not go through equity, particularly racial equity.”
What are you doing to achieve systems change?
“What we’re doing today at the Trust is using all of the tools of philanthropy that we have available to us—from grantmaking to communications, to convening, to providing capacity building and technical assistance—to drive toward systems change. Because we know, if we look historically, if we look currently at today’s context, people are disenfranchised at the population level.”
What do we need to do now to work for racial equity?
“This is the time to seize upon collective awareness and will to make changes to policies and systems that are needed to right the wrongs of racism. Now is the time for North Carolina to expand Medicaid for those who need it. Now is the time for us to consider what our youngest residents need to succeed in school. Now is the time for Forsyth County to expand options for pre-K, and now is the time for North Carolina to offer universal pre-K. If we can’t do more to improve quality of life and health for our residents in a time of a global pandemic, here in the time of societal and racial unrest, when will we?”