The People We Impact, and the Impact They Have Made on Me

From the President’s Desk

Lorraine Gordon is the next door neighbor we all want. She knows everyone’s name, she sits on her porch and keeps an eye on the children as they play, and she wants to make her community a better place. When Lorraine saw an empty field in her Oakcrest Community in Beaufort County, she didn’t see weeds, she saw a playground.

And with the help of her neighbors, the nonprofit KaBOOM!, and the Trust’s Healthy Places NC initiative, Lorraine brought that playground to life.

In this issue of Catalyst you will read about Lorraine and others who are the reason we do the work we do at the Trust. Lorraine, Dr. Helmick, Susan, Larry—these are the faces of impact, these are the people championing lasting changes for their communities.

We talk a lot about “impact” at the Trust, but what is impact, really?

Impact begins with viewing all people – all families – as assets and not liabilities.

Impact is substantially improving someone’s life in a way that is meaningful to them.

Impact is going beyond the writing of a check and helping residents realize they already possess much, if not all, that they need to be a healthier community.

Impact is helping a generation of young moms go back to school and find a job.

Impact is helping people of limited financial means attain and maintain the same level of health, health access, health care, and health insurance as their more financially able community neighbors.

Impact is changing policies in a community so kids have safe places to play, and healthy food is easy to find and afford.

Impact is working with leaders to make community institutions part of the solution, rather than potentially being a barrier.

Impact is giving every young child the tools and resources she needs to be successful in school and life.

Impact is about people.

Mrs. Reynolds knew change-making work was about people, and so do we. In this issue of Catalyst, read about the Trust’s work to improve the quality of life and health of North Carolina residents through the stories of people living and breathing the work every day. The Trust has the resources to help communities achieve great things, but the community has the people and the assets who can bring our vision to life.

As I prepare to leave the Trust at the end of the summer for my new position in Colorado, I am reminded that it is the people like Lorraine who I will carry with me.  While there are far too many to name, I am eternally indebted and grateful to all the people with whom I’ve worked closely over the years:  staff; Trust Advisory Council members; my colleagues across the philanthropic landscape; the hundreds of dedicated health and human service professionals; and all the fine folks at Wells Fargo, our Trustee. 

During my 11-year tenure at the foundation, I have had the great privilege of meeting so many strong, smart North Carolinians committed to making their communities and this state a better place to live. If the Trust has played some small part in helping Lorraine and others like her make lasting changes, we’re on the right path, and I am humbled to have been a part of it. Thank you to everyone who has been part of my and the Trust’s journey to make a positive impact in North Carolina. I am fortunate that you have passed through my life.  You have all left your mark on me.  I will take all that I have learned from you with me.

Above: Lorraine Gordon and Marc Recko in front of the KaBoom! playground in Beaufort County