The A.J. Fletcher Foundation supports nonprofits in North Carolina or serving North Carolina residents. We are proud to highlight some of the exciting work that is being done to improve the lives and wellbeing of all North Carolinians.
Creating a Thriving Ecosystem in Durham
The Durham Children’s Initiative (DCI) is one of the state’s most comprehensive cradle to college/career ecosystems. Their aim is to help create a pipeline of high-quality services from birth through high school graduation through community engagement and partnerships with government agencies, local educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations.
Through a variety of initiatives geared towards school readiness and health, community programs and teams to get the larger community involved, and a team of advocates walking alongside families and youth to access the resources they need to be successful, DCI has found that when families and youth are engaged in their programs, they have better academic and social outcomes and families and caregivers feel empowered to engage in their children’s academic journey.
Formerly known as EDCI (the East Durham Children’s Initiative), they merged with Partners for Youth Opportunity (PYO) during the summer of 2020 to reflect their county-wide work with families and youth and their support of the Durham County Early Childhood Action Plan (ECAP). DCI is leading the development of the Durham County ECAP. The plan will develop goals and strategies to ensure that all Durham’s children, birth through age 8, have their basic needs met and are healthy, safe and nurtured, and learning and ready to succeed.
DCI is bringing together families, community members, and family-/child-serving agencies to envision a future with a stronger, more aligned early childhood system. This new era of DCI will help them broaden their scope and make sure that all of Durham’s children have access to the resources and opportunities they need to thrive.
Transformative Change in Southeast Raleigh
Southeast Raleigh Promise (SERP) is a Community Quarterback Organization whose mission is to end the cycle of intergenerational poverty in and around the Rock Quarry Corridor. SERP manages collaboration and supports strategic investments in high-quality education from birth-to-career, safe and healthy housing, health and wellness, expanding economic opportunity, and leadership development. They work with community partners such as the YMCA of the Triangle, Wake County Public Schools, DHIC, and many others.
Southeast Raleigh has been, historically, a neglected community in the city of Raleigh. The unemployment rate is 50% higher than the rest of Wake County, 23% of households live below the poverty line, and the average lifespan of someone living in the heart of the community is 12 years less than that of someone living outside of it. However, demographics are not destiny and SERP is already having a positive impact on the community.
In the fall of 2019, Southeast Raleigh’s “Beacon Site” opened. The site includes the Southeast Raleigh YMCA and Southeast Raleigh Elementary School. Planned expansion includes affordable housing and commercial development to serve an often-underserved part of Raleigh’s community. Plans are underway to fill the Beacon Ridge Apartment complex, an affordable housing community on the site
Supporting North Carolina’s Central Park
Studies show that parks and green spaces provide huge benefits to our physical, mental, environmental, and economic health. We are proud to support, through the North Carolina Community Foundation, the Dorothea Dix Park Conservancy, the non-profit philanthropic partner of the City of Raleigh’s Dix Park. The Conservancy focuses on community engagement, advocacy, and fundraising to ensure there’s long-term, sustainable support to create a park for everyone.
Dix Park boasts 308 acres and aims to serve as a place for community gatherings, civic engagement, family fun, and space where people can relax and reflect. The park sits on the campus of the former Dorothea Dix Hospital, the first psychiatric hospital in North Carolina, opened in 1856. The park has a storied and complex history. With this legacy and a bold vision, we share in a beautiful task to share all parts of its history to create a place that is welcoming to all.
The park has played host to engaging and dynamic events like J Cole’s Dreamville Festival, Spring Fling, and SunFest, the annual sunflower festival. In the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the park has seen more visitors than ever and construction projects in Phase Now began in the Summer of 2020. We are thrilled to see where this park will take us as North Carolina’s premier destination park and are proud to support all its efforts.