Trust Announces Director of Special Initiatives to Oversee Healthy Places NC and Great Expectations

The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust is pleased to announce Tracey Greene-Washington, currently the program officer for community economic development at Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, will join the Trust in March as the director of special initiatives.

In this newly created Trust position, Tracey will lead the strategic implementation of the foundation’s two major long-term efforts—Healthy Places NC, focused on improving the health of 10 to 12 rural counties, and Great Expectations, an early childhood initiative working to help Forsyth County’s youngest children be prepared for success in school and life by the time they finish kindergarten. She will work closely with the Trust team, including the vice president of programs and the program officers, to coordinate the work and move the strategic vision for the initiatives forward.

Both Healthy Places NC and Great Expectations are 10-year, place-based initiatives that aim to make long-term changes in the communities the Trust serves. Driven by community concerns, the special initiatives are designed to respond to specific community needs, engage unlikely partners in the work, and focus on changes in the systems that impact people’s day-to-day lives. Through Great Expectations and Healthy Places NC, the Trust team is working to carry out Mrs. Reynolds’ vision of improved health and quality of life for all residents, especially those who have been marginalized.

“At the Trust we know that poverty and poor health outcomes are intertwined issues that impact a community’s ability to be healthy and thrive. Tracey’s deep experience in community economic development paired with her work in rural communities is an ideal fit for the Trust’s special initiatives,” said Dr. Laura Gerald, president of the Trust. “Tracey understands that health is more than health care; that listening to community is critical to success; and that we must try innovative approaches if we want to make sustainable, long-term change in the communities we serve. We are very excited for Tracey to oversee this critical place-based work.”

Since joining the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation (ZSR) nearly six years ago, Tracey has led and redefined the focus of the Foundation’s Community Economic Development portfolio. She was instrumental in creating a strategy to address the statewide racial and gender wealth gap in North Carolina. She also spearheaded significant projects and conversations to develop strategies to address asset poverty and shape ZSR’s investments in community development finance institutions and the evolving manufacturing sector.

When the community economic development sector experienced significant cuts in state appropriations, Tracey played an important brokering role to help the sector adopt a strategic focus that meets the changing needs of communities. She has been a tireless advocate for communities, and her efforts have helped community leaders reposition themselves and fulfill the missions of their organizations.

Before joining Z. Smith Reynolds in 2011, she served as the program officer and director of learning & evaluation for the National Rural Funders Collaborative (NFRC) for 10 years, focusing on systemic change initiatives in rural communities of color.  In her role, she oversaw the evaluation, research, grantmaking, policy and capacity building activities of the organization, while also supporting the implementation of philanthropic initiatives in the South, West, and Northern Plains. Prior to her tenure at NRFC, she served as the director of technical assistance & training with the South Carolina Association of Community Development Corporations where she provided support to over 45 community development corporations across the state.

A native of Asheville, Tracey serves as the board chair for the Center for Leadership Innovation and is the former vice chair for the Southern Rural Development Initiative. She is also the founder of CoThinkk, a giving circle comprised of African-American and Latinx members who are committed to improving the economic mobility, leadership development, and education narrative of communities of color in Western North Carolina. She holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a master’s degree in social work from the University of South Carolina. She currently resides in Concord with her husband and son.