Last year, as we celebrated our 70th anniversary, the Trust released an updated Strategic Vision to underscore why we do this work and the change we support. With that Vision grounding us, we have continued to evolve our work and grantmaking to help the communities we support thrive.
In this funding announcement, you will see that we are making grants around specific bodies of work. This represents our shift toward concentrating on the outcomes we want to see at the individual, city, or county level. We will continue to deepen our focus on outcomes, rather than focus on issues, because we believe that this is the most effective way to achieve long-term, sustainable change.
Listening to community, applying an equity lens, and emphasizing systems change will be integral to all we do to fulfill the vision of Kate B. Reynolds to improve the quality of life and health for financially disadvantaged residents of Forsyth County.
Local Impact in Forsyth County
Increase effectiveness of and coordination between Forsyth County’s safety net providers.
The Trust has long supported safety net organizations in Forsyth County to ensure people have access to basic needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter. At a time when local funding is decreasing for safety net services and nearly 14 percent of residents live in concentrated poverty, helping safety net organizations meet immediate local needs and connect with one another to address poverty long-term is critical to a thriving community.
Earlier this year, the Trust conducted a survey and held local focus groups to learn about the most pressing issues facing our community. This shaped our thinking about how our investments can better support programs and ideas that help residents and communities thrive, increase equitable access to health care, and focus on equitable health outcomes.
From that research, we learned the local safety net resources that currently exist to support residents with low incomes are not well coordinated. The Trust is interested in proposals that support overall alignment and collaboration among safety net providers in Forsyth County to provide more effective, efficient services to these residents. This work might include coordinated strategic planning, internal strategic reviews of processes and protocols, data sharing, or technical assistance to improve the overall effectiveness of the field.
We also heard that residents want additional knowledge about available safety net resources. The Trust is interested in proposals that support outreach efforts to reach residents in need of services. This work might include coordinated marketing among safety net providers, strategic communications planning and implementation, or community outreach campaigns.
Increase access to oral health services for low-income residents.
Access to affordable dental services is a long-standing need in Forsyth County and around the state. According to the North Carolina Oral Health Collaborative, more than 20 percent of North Carolinians over the age of 65 have lost all their natural teeth, and 13 percent of kindergartners in the state have untreated decay. North Carolina has made progress around oral health, but dental disease continues to be concentrated in lower-income populations.
Locally, the Forsyth County Health Department runs the Cleveland Avenue Dental Clinic to provide access to low-income residents, but there are still many adults and children who are unable to receive regular dental care. In May, Downtown Health Plaza and local nonprofits held a community convening to discuss the dental needs in Forsyth County and begin identifying solutions.
The Trust is interested in increasing access to oral health services for Forsyth County’s low-income residents. The Trust is willing to invest in increasing the capacity of existing providers or providing start-up funding for new providers. However, a plan for sustainability should be included in the application. Priority will also be given to applications that engage community members in conversations and show alignment and collaboration among local organizations.
Great Expectations works to ensure all children living in Forsyth County enter kindergarten ready to learn and leave set for success in school and life. It is the leading edge of our Local Impact in Forsyth County program area work, representing a belief in community and a commitment to collaborating with local organizations and residents to develop solutions.
We have spent the past two years investing in local organizations focused on improving early education and maternal-child health outcomes, surveying the landscape of services in our community for effectiveness and potential alignment, gathering input about the issues our young children and families face, and listening to parents and caregivers about what they need to be successful. Based on what we’ve learned, we have begun to prioritize key areas of work within Great Expectations, and we’re excited to open funding opportunities around some of these priorities in this grant cycle.
Early Intervention and Health – Home Visiting
Improve maternal and child health.
Research shows that high-quality home visiting programs for parents and young children offer returns on investment ranging from $1.75 to $5.70 for every dollar spent due to reduced costs of child protection, K-12 special education and grade retention, and criminal justice expenses. As a result, the Trust has invested heavily in Nurse-Family Partnership and worked with local leaders to attract strong, sustainable funding for the program. In partnership with Novant Health, the Trust and The Duke Endowment also launched Forsyth Connects to ensure every mother who gives birth in Forsyth County can receive a home visit from a nurse after the baby is born.
Unfortunately, postpartum local home visiting services, which provide critical parent education and connections to needed resources, still do not meet the needs. According to Nurse-Family Partnership, the total capacity within home visiting programs in Forsyth County is 500, but the number of families who could benefit from a home visiting program is much greater.
The goal of this funding opportunity is to increase the capacity of home visiting programs to improve maternal-child health outcomes in Forsyth County. The Trust is interested in applications that increase the capacity of existing Forsyth County programs, such as Welcome Baby, Healthy Beginnings, Baby Love Plus, or Parents as Teachers, in order to provide wrap around services to more parents and young children who could benefit from regular home visits. Priority will be given to proposals that support coordination and collaboration among existing services. This work might include data sharing and collaborative planning for long-term sustainability. Proposals must include a plan to understand and address unmet needs, as well as a plan for scale and long-term sustainability.
Early Intervention and Health – Behavioral Health Supports
Ensure children enter school healthy and have the behavioral health supports to learn and thrive.
Research shows that the more Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)—traumatic or stressful events in a child’s early years—the higher chance the child will experience physical, social, and behavioral health problems throughout her life. ACEs impact brain development. Children living in poverty are more likely to be exposed to ACEs and are more likely to have parents and caregivers who were also exposed to ACEs when they were young. Community-level knowledge about how to best serve children and families impacted by ACEs is limited, and the early childhood mental health services to support young children and their families do not currently meet the need.
The Trust is interested in a two-pronged approach to help children enter school healthy and have the behavioral health supports they need to learn and thrive. First, the Trust is interested in proposals focused on preventing ACEs. The Center for Disease Control reports that key ways to prevent ACEs include social support for parents, home visitation and parenting programs, behavioral health services for parents, income supports for low-income families, and high-quality childcare. The Trust is interested in proposals focused on evidence-based parenting programs, such as Triple P, Child First, Incredible Years, or Healthy Families that build parents’ skills and provide tools to help them support their children. Proposals must address scale and sustainability.
Second, when a child has experienced trauma, the Trust is interested in proposals that support caregivers, teachers and pediatricians in identifying children’s behavioral health needs and using a trauma-informed and resiliency-based approach to address those needs. This work might include increasing the capacity of systems—such as social service, child care, health care, or education systems—to identify behavioral health concerns and provide effective evidence-based approaches to address those needs. Proposals must address scale and sustainability.
Access to Quality Childcare – Family, Friends, and Neighbor Care
Support high-quality early learning in the informal childcare system.
Research shows that in the 2013-14 school year, more than half of children entering kindergarten in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools were at risk of falling behind. We know that effective early childhood education from birth reduces the need for remedial education and the expense associated with it, and this is where government and philanthropic investments have focused to date. To address quality early learning needs and prepare children for school, the state of North Carolina, a leader in licensed child care quality, has invested in programs like Smart Start and NC Pre-K, as well as child care subsidies. As good as these programs are, there is a higher need. Although North Carolina has increased investments in licensed childcare, the Early Childhood Service System Analysis report also shows that at least 3,000 Forsyth County children are on the waitlist for childcare subsidies.
We also know that solely focusing on licensed child care experiences will not prepare all children for success in school and life. Approximately 70 percent of children age six and under in Forsyth County are not in licensed childcare. To learn more about Family, Friend and Neighbor Care—an area where there is little existing research locally—the Trust partnered with Compass Evaluation and Research to conduct a study on informal childcare in Forsyth County. We surveyed more than 1,200 parents and 300 caregivers locally. When parents were surveyed, nearly 75 percent reported they were happy with their childcare arrangements. For those who were unhappy with their current arrangements, affordability and scheduling were identified as barriers to changing childcare arrangements, especially for low-income parents. When informal child care providers were surveyed, 45 percent reported wanting or needing additional resources around activities, learning materials, or other child development information.
In the coming months, the Trust will continue to analyze this research and conduct additional listening sessions with parents and caregivers to fully understand how best to support the informal childcare system. We are working closely with local nonprofit organizations to design a pilot program to support high quality early learning in the informal care system.
As we continue this important community-based listening and planning, we are interested in your ideas around Family, Friends, and Neighbor care. Although we are not providing grant support at this time, please contact the Trust with any innovative ideas or thoughts to best support parents, caregivers, and children in the informal child care system. We look forward to partnering with organizations—based locally or outside of Forsyth County—and residents to test new ideas and strategies moving forward.
Access to Quality Childcare – Universal Pre-Kindergarten
Support universal pre-K in Forsyth County.
Research shows that high-quality pre-kindergarten has many benefits: children who attend strong programs are less likely to be held back, more likely to graduate from high school, and have higher earnings as an adult. However, NC Pre-K, North Carolina’s affordable, quality program for four-year olds, does not meet enough of the need. Locally, less than 25 percent of four-year-olds are enrolled in quality pre-K programs, and in 2017, there was a waitlist of 267 for the NC Pre-K program. We also know more than half of the children arriving at kindergarten in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County public schools are already at risk of falling behind.
The state legislature demonstrated its commitment to increasing access to NC Pre-K last year when it funded additional slots across the state. However, federal and state funds continue to shift priorities.
Locally, organizations have come together to explore opportunities for providing pre-K access to all Forsyth County four-year-olds, which aligns with Great Expectations’ goal of ensuring all children enter kindergarten prepared for success. This is an issue we will continue to follow, and we will entertain grant proposals that support public education or policy analysis around universal pre-K opportunities in Forsyth County. This work might include communications and marketing campaigns or a strategic analysis of pre-K services, gaps, and funding needs in Forsyth County.
Contact the Trust to Assess Eligibility
To engage in an initial conversation about proposal ideas for the August cycle, we request all interested parties contact Program Coordinator Alison Duncan at email@example.com or 336-397-5521. Depending on alignment with issues, interests, and strategies, we may then schedule an appointment with you and your regional program officer.
Please call as early as possible in the cycle to discuss if your project is a fit. We request that you schedule an initial call before August 1, 2018.
The grant application deadline is August 14, 2018, at 5:00 pm.