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Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, Inc.


Last Updated: 2016-06-06

At A Glance

Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, Inc.

102 W. 3rd St., Ste. 1110

Winston-Salem, NC United States 27101-3962

Telephone: (336) 725-7541


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Additional Descriptor

  • Celebrity: Politics
  • Family foundation

Financial Data

(yr. ended 2014-12-31)

Assets: $18,877,409

Total giving: $16,343,048





Additional Contact Information

Additional tel.: (800) 443-8319


Incorporated in 1936 in NC - The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation was established in 1936 as a memorial to the youngest son of the founder of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. In that year the brother and two sisters of Z. Smith Reynolds - R.J. Reynolds, Jr., Mary Reynolds Babcock, and Nancy Susan Reynolds Bagley - provided that their inheritance from his estate would go to the establishment of a trust for "charitable works in the State of North Carolina." One of the initial trustees of the foundation was Z. Smith Reynolds' uncle, William Neal Reynolds, who at his death in 1951 created a trust that now provides a portion of the foundation's annual income The grantmaker is a signatory to Philanthropy’s Promise, an initiative of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP). By signing on, the grantmaker has committed to allocating the majority of its grantmaking dollars to marginalized communities and at least 25 percent to social justice strategies, such as advocacy, community organizing, and civic engagement

Purpose and Activities

The goals of the foundation are: 1) to promote social, economic and environmental justice; 2) to strengthen democracy, through an educated and informed populace; 3) to encourage innovation and excellence in a dynamic nonprofit sector; 4) to support progressive public policy and social change; 5) to foster cooperation and respect among all racial, ethnic, and socio-economic groups; and 6) to build strong, vibrant, economically sound, and peaceful communities. To accomplish its purpose, the foundation currently gives special attention to certain focus areas: community and economic development; environment; democracy and civic engagement; pre-collegiate education; and social justice and equity (with an emphasis on women and families).

Program Area(s)

The grantmaker has identified the following area(s) of interest:

Community Economic Development

The foundation feels that it can make the greatest overall impact by seeking to narrow racial and gender wealth gaps by supporting equitable, inclusive, and sustainable economic development efforts that create pathways to build, retain and transfer wealth to the next generation. While applications addressing the racial and gender wealth gap are given priority, projects that utilize existing community assets to strengthen local economies and foster the economic well-being of all disenfranchised and lower-resourced families and communities will also be considered.

Employee Matching Gifts

The foundation matches the monetary gifts of its employees to charitable organizations.


The foundation is committed to strong and sensible environmental protection. It has a particular interest in broadening the base of citizens acting on behalf of the environment and supporting organizations that empower people at the grassroots to effect state and regional policy decisions. It funds a wide variety of strategies to meet its environmental goals, including but not limited to: policy development, advocacy, civic engagement, communications, and litigation. Particular environmental areas of interest are: 1) clean energy and climate action; 2) environmental justice; 3) clean air and clean water; and 4) preserving the natural landscape.

Grants to Individuals Program

Awards by nomination only to NC individuals who demonstrate leadership in their communities. Sabbaticals to leaders of NC nonprofit organizations.

Non-Profit Internship Program

The program awards 20 college and university students, enrolled in four-year institutions across the state, with paid internships at Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation-grantee organizations that are working to advance the foundation’s values in the areas of Community Economic Development, Public Education, Social Justice & Equity, Environment, and/or Strengthening Democracy. Participating organizations receive student applications from the foundation and interview applicants directly. Organizations that match with an intern are confirmed through the foundation and interns begin work with the organization in June. Interns receive a taxable stipend of $2,400 of which the foundation provides two-thirds ($1,600) in a lump sum to organizations. Host organizations must provide the remaining one-third ($800), and are responsible for paying the stipend to the intern. The foundation funds only one intern per organization per summer.

Public Education

The foundation is committed to supporting, and building the public will to sustain North Carolina’s public systems of pre-collegiate education: early childhood and K-12, including high school based pathways to post-secondary education for students from low resource families. The foundation is also committed to investing in building the capacity of these systems for continuous improvement.

Sabbatical Program

The foundation offers up to five sabbaticals annually to individuals in paid, full-time leadership positions who have served a North Carolina nonprofit organization for at least three years, two of which were as leaders. The sabbaticals are for a three to six month period during which the individuals are not working for their organization, but instead are engaging in activities which offer personal renewal and professional growth. Each recipient receives up to $30,000. They can do something for themselves, such as travel, return to school, or read books they've never had time to read. Recipient organizations may decide whether or not to keep sabbatical recipients on their payroll during the sabbatical. Regardless of this decision, the entire award will be paid to the recipient.

Social Justice and Equity

The foundation is interested in supporting efforts to protect and expand civil and human rights and provide fair access to opportunities for all North Carolinians. It prioritizes investment in organizations that have impact in the following issues: 1) Increase the ability of organizations and communities to be more effective and impactful; 2) Involve a collaborative group of organizations attempting to address systemic issues in communities; 3) Promote and engage leadership, especially among people of color, immigrants, and women; or 4) Support coalitions of identity groups and allies engaged in broader movement building efforts. It is also interested in the following issues: Eliminating structural and cultural barriers; Reforming the criminal justice system; Supporting women’s rights; and Increasing opportunities for immigrants.

Strengthening Democracy

The foundation aims to strengthen democracy by ensuring that public institutions and processes are effective, transparent, accountable, accessible and inclusive. Funding in this area is limited to: 1) Good government reforms and 2) Increased participation in government.

Fields of Interest

  • Child educational development
  • Civic participation
  • Community and economic development
  • Crime prevention
  • Diversity and intergroup relations
  • Domestic violence
  • Early childhood education
  • Education
  • Elementary education
  • Environment
  • Human rights
  • Human services
  • Immigrant services
  • Immigration law
  • Leadership development
  • Minority rights
  • Natural resources
  • Public affairs
  • Public housing
  • Public policy
  • Reproductive rights
  • Rural development
  • Secondary education
  • Voluntarism
  • Women's rights
  • Women's services
Population Groups
  • Academics
  • American Indians
  • Children and youth
  • Economically disadvantaged people
  • Ethnic and racial groups
  • Females
  • Low-income and poor people
  • People of African descent
  • People of Latin American descent
  • Students

Financial Data

Year ended 2014-12-31

Assets: $18,877,409 (market value)

Gifts received: $19,824,638

Expenditures: $19,175,925

Total giving: $16,343,048

Qualifying distributions: $19,156,344

Giving activities include:

$16,324,860 for 292 grants (high: $1,240,000; low: $1,600)

$18,188 employee matching gifts

$389,046 for foundation-administered programs