I am proud to call North Carolina my home.
I was not born here, nor did I grow up here. But North Carolina is where I hang my hat and is clearly, undeniably my home.
Like many people we know, I am a Tar Heel by choice and for many reasons – and none of them have anything to do with collegiate sports!
My daughter was born here. My life’s vocation is here. Our state and my work with the North Carolina Community Foundation feed my soul.
I am lucky to travel this great state from mountains to coast, meeting with generous and giving spirits, learning from the philanthropic-minded among us and talking with folks about their visions for the future in their communities or for furthering a myriad of causes that fuel their interests and passions. These conversations are contagious and always inspire me to do more.
The NCCF’s positioning statement is an apt reflection of North Carolina – I am here to tell you that we are, indeed, living in “The State of Generosity.”
The North Carolina Community Foundation works through endowments, and our donors often view endowment giving as a way to make things better for the next generation – and beyond. The Foundation holds many types of endowments, and some of the most effective are the ones established to ensure education for future generations.
We are proud at the North Carolina Community Foundation to administer close to 200 scholarships. Last year alone we helped our donors award more than $1 million to further the education of hundreds of students – either through direct scholarship awards or through gifts to institutions of higher learning.
The stories we hear from scholarship recipients throughout the state are always heart-warming and sometimes even heart-wrenching. Many are the first generation in their families to attend community college, technical school, or university. They write of life-changing opportunities in their thank-you notes to the Foundation and donors. Their pursuit of a college education is frequently a sacrifice for their families. One student’s note explained his college selection: “it was close to home, and I could still keep my job and help with bills at my mother’s house.”
The first generations to go beyond high school with scholarship assistance are usually young — yet wisely realize that their pursuit of education will likely alter their own families’ futures forever.
We are fortunate to live in a state where these opportunities abound. Forever is a long time.
Jennifer Tolle Whiteside
Jennifer Tolle Whiteside is President and CEO of the North Carolina Community Foundation, a non-profit supporting philanthropy that makes lasting and meaningful contributions to communities across our state. Jennifer lives in Raleigh with her husband and daughter.