how local community leaders tap into resources to fuel their work :: WRAL.com

This article was written for our sponsor, Centraide du Grand Triangle.

When it comes to implementing changes in a community, who better to take charge than the leader who lives in that same community?

At Centraide du Grand Triangle, the non-profit organization funds local leadership and community solutions to address issues that affect residents of the Triangle region. One of the planned areas of investment for the United Way’s Community Anti-Racism Fund is in local leaders of color and organizations that do anti-racism work, helping them build their resource capacity. and to create environments where residents have the power to create change at the community level.

To date, the Anti-Racism Community Fund has raised over $ 583,000 through individual donations and grants from corporate sponsors including John Rex Endowment, Pinnacle Financial Partners, Google Fiber, AJ Fletcher Foundation, Triangle Community Foundation, The Duke Endowment, Corning Life Science, The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, and the Pacific Western Bank.

Additionally, United Way, with key support from Raleigh mayoral candidate Terrance Ruth, is organizing a campaign to design community leaders from local community leaders to address and reduce systemic injustices by devising new solutions.

“You will see traditional philanthropy follow the leadership of community leaders at all levels. So there is an advisory group made up of experienced community leaders from across the Triangle. This same advisory group selects 10 community members to join the systemic change process design committees, which is guided by the stories, experience and advocacy of people who are rooted in the community, ”said Ruth. “For those community members who have traditionally sat outside mainstream philanthropy, we now provide the safeguards by which solutions are born and funded. “

Through the advice of the Advisory Board, they identify people for the community leader design campaign with the potential to have the greatest justice-focused impact on communities in need. According to Ruth, the main goal is to make the voice of individual leaders heard who are members of a collective movement to fight any systemic injustice in their communities. As these communities have historically been exploited and suffered from divestment, these leaders are not only experts on the problem, but also on the solutions.

Advisory Board member Reverend Jemonde Taylor has already started to sow these seeds of solutions in his own community.

“Often times, philanthropic organizations are great service providers, and I would put churches in that category. But there are very few philanthropic organizations that really deal with the larger system. It’s not necessarily about providing a service, like feeding the homeless, but actually working to create a system where homelessness and food insecurity don’t exist, ”Taylor said. “I always remind my parishioners that there are thousands of hungry children in Wake County every year. We can still distribute meals, but we cannot distribute hundreds of thousands of meals. What we can do is work to change the system, so that food insecurity does not exist.

In his role at Saint Ambrose Episcopal Church, Taylor has several areas of interest regarding community change. One of his passions is environmental racism, or the intersection of environmental injustice and racism.

“Saint Ambrose is in the Walnut Creek wetland and historically inundated area. It is one of the first black neighborhoods sown by the city of Raleigh during black segregation, and Saint Ambrose built a church. in this community, “Taylor said.” When it comes to fixing a problem, who knows more about flooding than the people whose basements have been flooded? Those conversations on the ground are extremely important. That is. certainly one of the tenets of the popular organization to ask people in the community what the problems are, and often the best solutions come from the people. ”

Through work with the United Way and the Community Anti-Racism Fund, community leaders like Taylor can help identify these issues at the community level and give a voice to those affected.

For Taylor, a short-term service like the provision of meals is important, but it is also crucial not to lose sight of solving the system problems that create this food insecurity.

“We need more organizing service providers, because it is through the organization that we change the system that makes the service necessary. millions of pounds of food – the appeal of the organization, at least from a welfare standpoint, isn’t always as appealing as providing a service, ”Taylor said. “Sure, delivering a million pounds of food is fantastic, but what about dreaming of a world where you don’t have to deliver food? “

Taylor is excited about the work United Way is doing to empower local leaders to define what is right and wrong in their communities, design solutions and make the final decisions. Going forward, he hopes to continue to tackle systemic issues affecting communities and encourage funding to achieve these community goals.

Already efforts are multiplying and impacts are being felt, but additional funding can help increase the reach of the community leaders’ design campaign.

“What we found is that this need is great. Community leaders crave a flow of funding that would support them as human beings and invest social capital in their communities. , what we need is a collaboration around these community leaders and the individuals who are willing to walk with them for the long haul, “said Ruth.” We are delighted to see the Triangle begin to evolve. in that sense. It creates a different funding relationship and allows community leaders to move from advocacy to solutions. “

“We’re seeing some really big tech companies – your Red Hats, your IBMs – that rely on communities have historically been more exploited than they ever were before,” he concluded. “We don’t know what the future will look like with this fund, but what we do know is that the future is looking at this fundraising strategy to promote these results.”

This article was written for our sponsor, Centraide du Grand Triangle.