30 Days: Funding Partners

Robb Webb of Duke Endowment Foundation at a recent Rural Life Committee meeting hosted at RAFI. Photo by Daryn Lane.

Today is National Philanthropy Day, an appropriate celebration to fall right in the middle of our 30 Days of Thanks!

Without the incredible support we receive from generous donations and philanthropic organizations, our work cannot be accomplished. We want to thank our 2013 funding partners who have truly made success possible for rural communities and for farm families. Read about four charitable foundations that have helped us realize our goals. We want to thank them and all of our 2013 funding partners, listed below.

The Duke Endowment

The Duke Endowment has supported RAFI since the 1990s when we began organizing with rural churches and helping them put Seeds of Hope farmers markets in their church parking lots. When hurricane Floyd hit in 1999, Duke Endowment supported RAFI to conduct crucial and timely mental health outreach to rural North Carolinians who were struggling with traumatic loss of home, farm and, in some cases, family members.

Since 2006, the Duke Endowment has supported the Come to the Table project. Duke Endowment’s Robb Webb and Kristen Richardson Frick are incredibly engaged members of the Rural Life Committee and continue to offer support, flexibility and guidance.

“It’s really powerful to experience a relationship with funders that not only support the work financially, but participate in the work and provide meaningful contribution,” says Come to the Table Director Francesca Hyatt.

“It’s evident that the staff at Duke Endowment care deeply about the mission of RAFI and Come to the Table, and more importantly, the health of rural communities. I couldn’t ask for a better funder for this work.”

Organic Valley

What we appreciate most about Organic Valley is its mission to not only preserve the basic principles of organic, but to sustain the health and welfare of people, animals and the Earth. The farmer-owned cooperative began as a handful of farmers in 1988 and has become a trusted household name today.

Several farmers we collaborate with around the country are part of the Organic Valley cooperative. Organic Valley remains driven by its mission to promote regional farm diversity and economic stability by the means of organic agricultural methods and the sale of certified organic products. And they do this all while maintaining a strong integrity and commitment to consumer education.

Organic Valley is an ongoing supporter of RAFI’s Just Foods program, promoting a systems-based approach to a more sustainable food and fiber system. In 2011 its team convened with us and with organic farmers in Boulder, Colorado, to support an effort to protect public crop varieties, prevent contamination from GMO crops, and ensure fair choices for farmers and consumers. And we can’t forget our most fun connection to Organic Valley as the official sponsors of RAFI’s first annual Crop Hop in 2013!

Clif Bar Family Foundation

Clif Bar is much more than just a natural snack. Clif Bar Family Foundation began in 2006 to support grassroots groups with inspiring ideas and limited funds. They believe in the wisdom of starting small, seeing what works, and growing it genuinely. In this mission, the foundation has supported innovative small and mid-sized groups working to strengthen our food system and our communities, enhance public health, and safeguard our environment and natural resources.

The Clif Bar Family Foundation currently supports our Just Foods program, including the support of a research collaboration with N.C. State. The foundation also partners with us in ways beyond monetary support. In 2013, both RAFI and the Clif Bar Family Foundation signed a letter urging Congress to support Tester Amendment in 2013 Farm Bill, providing a much-appreciated momentum in seed policy efforts.

Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation

The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation invests in nonprofit organizations that are dedicated to building equitable, sustainable, vibrant communities in North Carolina. The foundation’s grantmaking policies reflect the belief that organizational performance is greatly enhanced when people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives are engaged in an organization’s activities and decision-making process. To do this, it actively seeks to promote access, equity and inclusiveness, and to discourage discrimination based on race, creed, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and other factors that deny the essential humanity of all people.

Leslie Winner, executive director, spearheads the Foundation’s grantmaking efforts and its work with leaders in the private and public sectors to develop best practices, respond to challenges and opportunities and to generate strategies that will advance the future of North Carolina. Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation currently funds RAFI’s Resource Development & Communications Summer Internship.

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