As we work together for systems change, we know how vital it is to replenish ourselves. So, we took a step back with our own community to reflect and reconnect with our “why.”
We asked Trust staff and grantees to share their inspiration, their vision for community success, and the experiences that have shaped their commitment to creating a more equitable future for every North Carolinian.
This first installment — to create a better place for future generations — is one of many story collections we plan to share with you in the months ahead.
Madison Allen, Senior Program Officer, Health Improvement in North Carolina
“I was raised in North Carolina by a single mother who was resourceful and determined to make sure that I had opportunities she did not. As a legal services attorney, I saw that same determination and resilience in my clients. It is clear to me that poverty is a result of policy choices, and that to change those policies, we need to change who is influencing and making decisions.
I work at the Trust because I believe that by listening to the needs of communities and investing in local leaders—especially immigrants and people of color—we can build power for a healthier, more equitable future for all North Carolinians.”
Alison Duncan, Program Coordinator
“I had the privilege of growing up in communities and schools that generally valued my passions and supported my well-being, and when those systems weren’t providing the right resources, I had the opportunity to seek help elsewhere. I’m doing this work to help promote health and well-being throughout North Carolina so that others can have similar opportunities.
I’m passionate about changing systems that were intentionally designed to create and perpetuate disparities, as well as supporting communities, especially communities of color and those that have been historically marginalized, to participate in these change-making efforts.
When we are successful, all people will be empowered to advocate for change in their communities and communities will have the opportunity and authority to design resources that fit their needs. We must trust people and give them the power to make change.”
Nora Ferrell, Director of Communications
“I grew up in a big Midwestern family that was not wealthy, but believed deeply in helping others, and I’m working to instill that value in my children. I am inspired by people—like my grandparents, parents, and early mentors—who are committed to fairness and giving back to their communities.
The Trust’s mission of improved quality of life and health for all North Carolinians aligns with my passion to elevate community voices and change the systems that have held groups of people back—especially people of color—for far too long. I do this work every day because I want to be a part of a movement that creates a more just, equitable world.”
Regina Hall, Executive Director, Boston-Thurmond Community Network
(Local Impact grantee)
“What motivates me is knowing that this is intergenerational work. The reality is the people who will benefit most from this work have not even been born yet. It makes me feel like I am literally contributing to the future.”
Chester Williams, Chief Empowerment Officer, A Better Chance A Better Community (Healthy Places NC grantee)
“Growing up on a farm, limited access wasn’t in my vocabulary. In middle school, I began to understand that not everyone had the same experience or access I had. This prompted me to envision ABC2 — to give a voice to young people to share their experiences and activate individual power!”
Erin Yates, Special Assistant to the Trust’s President
“Growing up in a rural area of New York, I saw some of the challenges my neighbors faced with jobs and services moving out of the region. I am passionate about helping communities gain power to organize for change and shift power within systems. As a parent, I want to help encourage movement-building to create a better world for my son.
Success will mean that we draw on the best of all sections of our society to build vibrant, thriving communities where our differences are sources of strength instead of division. In the short term, that requires strengthening networks, shifting mindsets, and empowering local people to drive the changes they want to see.”
Do you have a story you’d like to share? We’d love to hear it. Reach out to our Communications Director, Nora Ferrell, at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your “why.”
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