What Matters is an annual community luncheon that inspires people from all sectors in our Triangle region to learn about and address key community issues together.  The event begins with dynamic morning workshops and culminates in a lunch program featuring a keynote speaker and awards presentation.  What Matters typically attracts more than 500 corporate, civic, philanthropic, academic, healthcare, religious and nonprofit leaders who are dedicated to making our community great for everyone.  At the event, the Foundation presents two awards focused on the game-changing work of philanthropic community members – the Catalyst Award and the Legacy Award . Event proceeds support the Fund for the Triangle, which provides funding for Our Focus in the arts, community development, environmental conservation and youth literacy.

What Matters 2019: A Thriving Community

We gathered with over 500 passionate and inspirational individuals on May 1 for What Matters: A Thriving Community to learn more about what it will take for everyone to thrive, and how we can build the roadmap to get there, together. We honored Jim Stewart and Carol Robbins with philanthropic awards, and heard about how community-based change can make a difference from a panel of guests from Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative in Boston. We dug deep and learned more from local leaders about inclusive arts, green gentrification, community-based solutions, and equity in education. Click here to read more.

What Matters 2018: Women

Nearly 800 (our largest crowd ever!) community leaders joined us for What Matters: Women on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 at the Raleigh Convention Center to learn more about how women continue to be disproportionately affected as it relates to health, housing, employment, and education. We honored Perry Colwell and Chuck ReCorr with two philanthropic awards, watched a powerful video highlighting voices of women in our community, and heard from Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole about how we can work together to ensure all women thrive. You can view a complete list of resources from the day here.

What Matters 2017: Our Kids

Nearly 600 dedicated people joined us for the 2017 What Matters Community Luncheon: Our Kids on April 26. We began the day with four sold-out opening sessions led by issue area experts focused on literacy, advocacy, and learning about who the children in our region are and what they need to succeed. We honored Dr. Phail Wynn, Jr. and Easter Maynard with two philanthropic awards, and presented Bridge Builders with the annual nonprofit Innovation Award at lunch. The event culminated with the keynote speech by Sonia Manzano, of Sesame Street fame, as she talked about her own struggles as a child, how poverty relates to literacy, and what she thinks we can do in our community to help jump this hurdle together. You can view a complete list of resources from the day here.

What Matters 2016: A Region of Opportunity

Over 500 passionate leaders joined us at the sold out 2016 What Matters Community Luncheon: A Region of Opportunity on April 27 at the Raleigh Convention Center. The conversations on equity, diversity, structures, policy change, changing the narrative, widening gaps, healthy communities, and celebrating our differences left us so inspired! We feel confident that there will be many meaningful conversations to come, and that we can and will work together to build a thriving community for everyone. View a complete list of resources from the day here.

What Matters 2015: Adapting to Change

In 2015, the What Matters Community Luncheon focused on Adapting to Change, and heard from Dan Heath, author of NY Times Bestseller, Switch. We spent the day looking at the implications of growth and change in the Triangle region, and Dan talked with us about “how to change things when change is hard” and the importance of celebrating bright spots amidst complex social issues.


Jessica Aylor

Vice President of Community Engagement
Phone 919.474.8370 ext:4022
Email [email protected]