For a man with a big heart, giving back in his community seems like a natural way to honor his daughter, Julia, who passed away suddenly in 2001. All of his families’ grantmaking is to be reminiscent of her, something she would have been proud of or something that would reflect her. So for Paul, when the theme of their fund needed adjusting following a federal healthcare change that began to cover preventative care and vaccines, a shift to funding education needs in the region seemed only natural.
When the Foundation organized a community taskforce several years ago, leading up to Our Focus program areas, as a board member and concerned citizen, Paul elected to join to learn more about the critical needs in the region. Rather than spending his time discussing healthcare, his career pathway, he chose to sit at the Our Focus: Education table, and says that it was then that he developed an interest in the needs of the children in our community. The capacity to read by grade level at the end of 3rd grade and the capacity to learn and stay on task with the current educational curriculum in the years ahead is of vital importance to everyone, he said. If children can’t keep up in fourth grade, they “don’t stand a chance” of graduating from high school, and succeeding in life, and Paul stressed the importance that we should all care about that.
Already a funder of local nonprofit, KidzNotes, this experience just continued the ball rolling for Paul, and he has since participated in many experiences where he can learn more about the implications of not being able to read by 3rd grade. It was at a series of Chapel Hill Chamber meetings attended by many local nonprofits, school leadership and community leaders where he realized that there is so much knowledge out there that has not yet been tapped – and that connecting school systems with nonprofits and funders is something necessary to garner a greater outcome – and in this instance, it will take a whole community to raise a child.
While Paul says that he hasn’t yet found the best way to make the greatest impact in educational needs in the Triangle, he is eager to learn more about the Campaign for Grade Level Learning, a new partner of the Triangle Community Foundation’s literacy efforts and a likely pathway and willing to continue learning and searching for the best way for all of us to work together to ensure all kids can reach their potential.
What We Do
We believe in the importance of funding education and youth literacy in our community. By investing in the capacity of early childhood programs that incorporate components of the NC Common Core curriculum and deliver high quality teaching, we are working to closing the opportunity gaps, and ensure that all children can succeed.