AJ Fletcher Foundation

2013 Annual Report

committed to doing our part

AJ Fletcher Foundation supports organizations that are working to improve the lives and well-being of North Carolinians. Tackling big issues in our state requires the concerted effort of our entire community.

2013 wasn't easy for a lot of North Carolinians. The economic recovery slowly gained steam, but still, many of our neighbors are struggling. We have some serious, large-scale problems facing our state. But the good news is, we have many earnest, hard-working people and organizations stepping up to make a difference.

It is only through engaging everyone that
we can truly make it a better place for all.


Fletcher Foundation is privileged to support organizations that are willing to innovate and test bold solutions. In 2013, we empowered roughly 50 nonprofit organizations working to improve the lives and well-being of people in North Carolina across our six funding areas - Education | Elderly, Infirm, & Indigent | Media & Communication | Artistic Endeavors | Public Recreation | Religious Faith.

We seek to provide citizens the resources, knowledge, and services they need to progress and thrive. Committed to doing our part, we are investing in organizations that are contributing to a brighter future for our state.

In this annual report, we'll share just a snapshot of the work we focused on in 2013. But we hope this is just a starting point, as there is a lot more to learn from one another. As you read, please join the conversation on social media and share how you're contributing to make this state stronger.

Share your thoughts to #Committed2NC.

investing in our children.
investing in the future.

edu infographic

Education is the root of prosperity,

and in our state we have a long history of prioritizing and valuing learning. From our world-class universities to one of the strongest Smart Start programs in the country, North Carolina is education.

In order to remain a leader, we must make deeper investments and initiate broad-based support from business and nonprofit communities and state leadership.


We know that by investing in young children, we invest in the future of this state. In supporting early education and public schools, we work to ensure every child has an equal opportunity to learn and grow. Here are a few of our grantees we invested in during 2013:


Early education should be a no-brainer. We know that high-quality early education yields higher graduation rates, reduced crime, higher earnings and better jobs. The NC Early Childhood Foundation was created to keep an eye on North Carolina's early childhood education support, and we proudly gave seed funding to help get this organization up and running in 2013.


We recognize the growing trend of school choice, but strongly believe North Carolina should provide equal and universal access to high-quality public education for all students. One grant we made in 2013 was to Self-Help Credit Union as they analyze and report on the effect of charter schools and vouchers on the public school system. By supporting and investing in quality public education, we ensure greater economic prosperity for our state and enrich our students' learning experience with racially, ethnically and economically diverse environments.

Another top concern for Fletcher Foundation is ensuring students get the support they need in middle and high school to set them up for graduation and opportunities beyond. We support Student U, located in Durham, as they create and sustain a pipeline of services to support students during out-of-school time in the summer and after-school. All students can succeed in college, and we want to see every student in NC have ample access to resources and opportunities that get them there.

Studend U


What do you think are the most pressing education issues to be tackled in 2014? Join the conversation - share with hashtag #NCED.

Advancing New Journalism
Models In the Digital Age

North Carolinians deserve high-quality news coverage.

To keep citizens informed, nonprofit news organizations are using fresh, creative ways to convey news, train reporters and fill the information gaps left by declining traditional media.


Fletcher Foundation works to create and sustain innovative models of delivering news and information, fostering engaged communities across the state.

WUNC - UNC School of Journalism

In a unique partnership with the UNC School of Journalism and WUNC, Fletcher Foundation created a fellowship position to cover state education policy and trends. This beat is often overlooked and uncovered because of the shrinking size of newsrooms. The first Fletcher Fellow is Reema Kharis, and you can follow her excellent reporting here.


NC Policy Watch

It was a banner year for grantee NC Policy Watch, a project of the NC Justice Center. Their investigative team uncovered some of the state's major stories, grew their readership and they are a strong voice for change in North Carolina.


Do you have innovative ideas for how we can improve or build on nonprofit journalism in the state? Share them with us using #NCnpnews.


caring for those in need

We must care for those in need now.

Poverty in the U.S. is marked by unstable conditions, lack of capital (both social and economical), and restriction of opportunity. This leads to a great amount of vulnerability, especially for children, as poverty has been proven to impede the ability to learn and contributes to larger social, emotional, health, and behavioral problems.

Poverty Infographic

Fletcher Foundation supports a broad spectrum of approaches to care for elderly, infirm, and indigent people. In order to help our most vulnerable community members, we must address basic human needs such as shelter, food, medical care, and human rights. We also know that big complex problems like poverty require organizations working together towards collective impact -- identifying the problem, analyzing alternatives to the status quo, and working towards solutions that address the root causes of poverty and instability.

Salvation Army of Wake County


Providing a safe haven for women and children, The Salvation Army of Wake County cut the ribbon on a brand new facility -The Barbara L. Goodmon Shelter for Women and Children. This shelter was named in honor of Fletcher President Barbara Goodmon for her long-term support and commitment to the organization.




Proving innocence once a conviction is rendered takes a special level of dedication and passion. Because of our grantee's tireless work, Larry Lamb is now free after spending 20 years behind bars for a homicide he didn't commit. The NC Center on Actual Innocence is doing the hard work of exonerating the wrongly convicted, giving Lamb and many others a chance at a new life.



Children in our state, especially at this time, need a strong, powerful voice speaking on their behalf. Fletcher Foundation provided a grant to facilitate a merger of Covenant with NC Children and Action for Children to create NC Child: The Voice for North Carolina's Children. These two organizations, both leaders in the state on issues of child policy, took this bold step after careful consideration. The merger combines the best of both organizations to more powerfully and effectively support the needs of children across the state through its advocacy and research work.



Sure, our economy is slowly rebounding, but our communities still need help. Where can North Carolina's citizens step up and make a difference? Join the conversation - #CaringforNC


supporting a pipeline
of services in east durham

East Durham is a neighborhood rich in history, diversity, and culture.

In light of challenges the neighborhood faces, residents and community leaders are coming together to work on a brighter future for this dynamic neighborhood.

Almost half of all residents and two-thirds of kids in East Durham live in poverty. This area confronts high crime, low graduation rates, unsafe housing, and food insecurity, among a host of other issues.



Fletcher Foundation works with the local community to preserve and cherish all of the wonderful qualities that make East Durham unique while striving for a stronger, safer, healthier community for all. By concentrating funding to one geographic area, we are able to identify and work with organizations that are committed to revitalizing and developing East Durham into a neighborhood that better supports its families. Furthermore, we are able to facilitate partnerships that allow for intensive focus on the needs of individual children and adults, ensuring better progress and prosperity in the future.

Working collaboratively, our grantees are providing excellent support for this initiative:

East Durham Children's Initiative

East Durham Children's Initiative is the backbone of this community effort, creating a pipeline of services from cradle to college or career for the children in the area. They work to connect children and families to the services they need, working alongside partners that share a common commitment in doing what's best for kids in East Durham.


Durham Partnership for Children

Healthy Families Durham , a program of the Center for Child and Family Health, is supporting families from the very beginning. This program sends staff into the home with an intensive family support program working to prevent child abuse, promote child health and identify special needs.

Maureen Joy

Thanks to real estate and financing support from many partners including Fletcher Foundation, the scholars at Maureen Joy Charter School now have a building worthy of their success. Maureen Joy opened its doors in the Historic East Durham School in August 2013.


Book Harvest

Children who have developed basic literacy skills when they enter school are 3-4 times less likely to drop out in later years. Book Harvest plants the seed of learning in East Durham homes by collecting and distributing new and gently used children's books: more than 170,000 in 2013. Having a book-rich home environment helps children start kindergarten ready to learn, combat summer learning loss once they are in school, and self-identify as readers.



Do you have a story to share about the revitalization happening in East Durham? Let's start a conversation at #EastDurhamNC.


going digital in the social sector

Almost 75% of online adults use social media

and there’s no question digital communication tools are ubiquitous. However, the social sector in NC is lagging behind in embracing technology and online tools and often falling short of advancing their mission.


Fletcher Foundation is one of the first funders in the country to offer in-house digital expertise and guidance to all grantees. For decades, we have provided grants, support, and connections to further growth and capacity building for nonprofit groups and now include skill-based expertise with the addition of Shannon Ritchie who joined our staff in 2013. Over the course of a year, she has worked alongside many of our grantees as they

advance digital projects. These include a social media strategy and start-up process with the Healing Place of Wake County, website redesign strategy with Student U, and digital communications plan with Book Harvest. These projects have helped grantees tell their stories to resonate with online audiences, reach new donors and supporters, and deepen their connection with existing ones.

We also laid the groundwork for SpeakUp NC, an online tool that sends nonprofit leaders the most talked about news stories, so they can quickly and easily post comments to articles that matter most to their mission. Let's face it; we've let trolls take over comment sections and have impeded our ability to discuss complex issues facing our communities. We've developed SpeakUp NC in an effort to elevate public discourse, and bring intelligent and respected comments and discussion back to news sites.



What is your nonprofit digital communications success story?
Share it on #NCnptech.

Fletcher Foundation

Through our nonprofit meeting space, social events and participating in activities across the Triangle, Fletcher Foundation aims to be a source of nonprofit innovation and connection.

Staff Photo

We have a long and proud history of being a force for good in North Carolina. The past couple of years, we've learned a lot about the challenges our local and statewide communities face and are constantly looking for ways to do more, to do better and to do good to meet their needs. DAMON CIRCOSTA, FLETCHER FOUNDATION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR



909 Glenwood Avenue
Raleigh, NC 27605
[email protected]



About AJF

The mission of Fletcher Foundation is to support nonprofit organizations in their endeavors to enrich the lives and well-being of people in North Carolina. To achieve this, AJF partners with nonprofit organizations that recognize and solve social and civic problems, and provides resources to advance big, bold ideas. In addition to supporting The Fletcher Academy, we support public charities located in North Carolina that work in one of our six funding areas.

Promoting education or the advancement or preservation of knowledge including, without limitation, the operation of a school, college, university, library, or museum.

Caring and supporting the elderly, infirm, or indigent.

Promoting, encouraging, or supporting mass media or other communication arts.

Promoting, encouraging or supporting musical, theatrical, visual or other artistic endeavors.

Promoting, encouraging, or supporting public recreation, including without limitation, the support of public parks or playgrounds.

Fostering religious faith.

Infographic Sources

Atlantic, "Americans Are Losing Confidence in the Nation, but Still Belive in Themselves.

Rauch Foundation, "Starting Smart"

National Education Association, "Rankings & Estimates."

Pew Research Center Project for Excellence in Journalism, "The State of the News Media 2013."

U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Kids Count Data Center

Grantee self-reporting