If you know Rutina “Tina” Bailey, you know she is a fierce advocate for nonprofits and is passionate about finding ways to help them thrive. If you had asked Tina at the beginning of her career what she expected in her career path, it would not have been spending three decades in the nonprofit sector, and yet today she can’t imagine it any other way.

Growing up in Holly Springs, Tina describes it as a community where “anyone and everyone raised you.” With a population of less than 1,000 people while growing up, she learned early on about collaboration and working together. Reflecting on her childhood, Tina describes her mother’s community involvement as pivotal. Her mother was a member of the Town of Holly Springs Board of Adjustments and Planning and championed the first town parade. Tina remembers fondly the experience of setting up the parade – from attending the team planning meetings with her mother to watching the parade lights being strung up in the streets. She was inspired by her mother’s involvement and dedication to being part of something greater than herself.

Passionate about helping people, Tina was initially attracted to the medical field, but after fainting while drawing blood from a patient for the first time, she realized this may not be her calling after all. She then gave the legal field a try and began working as a paralegal. After being dealt a heart-wrenching case as her first assignment, Tina could no longer envision a long-term career working in the law. Considering what her next career step might be, she reflected on her passions and core values, which then led her to the nonprofit sector through her church.

Tina began working with her church as grant writer and she facilitated community outreach, which introduced her to Triangle Community Foundation. “One of the most amazing things is that I used to write grants to the Foundation, and now here I am managing the grants for them,” Tina says, reflecting on the full circle moment. She found her true passion within the nonprofit space working with youth tutoring and mentoring services. Diving deeper into the need, she realized certain systems were necessary to sustain resources for these types of programs at the church. After Tina led the charge of obtaining their 501(c)3 status, she began to apply for grants. In addition to this experience, she worked with the town of Holly Springs where she experienced their massive growth firsthand, writing grants and collaborating with all levels of government. Her drive for collaboration continued and ultimately led her to a role at the Foundation.

Currently, Tina serves the Foundation as Grants Manager and Fund Liaison. She manages grants administration and is the fund liaison for agency and designated funds. To demonstrate the impact the Foundation can have, Tina shares an example that resonates with her. A few years ago, a grant application was received from an organization doing phenomenal work in the community. However, the Foundation couldn’t award the grant because certain systems weren’t in place within the organization to meet the due diligence policies. She wanted this nonprofit to thrive and be awarded this funding. Tina knew the founder of the organization personally; she connected with them and offered her guidance on how to correct their systems to set them up for future success. Today the Foundation is one of their partners, and this organization is a grant recipient of several programs. This has become a pattern with Tina. “That’s what the Foundation is all about,” she says. “Taking grassroots organizations and standing beside them. Opening the door and letting them come in. When we talk about legacy, it’s not just what you leave for others, but it’s also who you bring with you.” She stresses the importance of the Foundation and other funders in the community to help unlock the potential of smaller organizations so their impact will amplify beyond the region.

In terms of Tina’s personal legacy, she wants her family, in particular her children, to define their own way of being philanthropists. Alongside her nonprofit experience, she has her own consultancy, coaching, and nonprofit organization that she is strategically building in her spare time, which was sparked from a period of her life when she had no one to turn to. “I’ve always been taught that if you’re not invited to the table, build one.” Tina, also known as the “woman for women” did just that – she built a community with a multifaceted approach to providing services to empower women. From hosting the “Boss Up Podcast” to her consulting work helping nonprofit leaders build the systems they need for success; it is clear Tina’s legacy lies not only in what she leaves behind but in who she uplifts alongside her. “My legacy may not involve money, but I’m helping organizations build their strategies and their procedures, connections, and knowledge – that's philanthropy to me.”