During our 2017-2018 statewide listening and learning tour, people told us that they wanted to cross lines of difference and geographic boundaries to make meaningful connections with one another and pursue positive change in their communities. Therefore, we have dedicated a funding strategy that explicitly focuses on change at the community level and being responsive to what communities say they need.
With this in mind, our Community-Based Strategy includes a Community Progress Fund and a Collaborative Problem-Solving approach, both of which are designed to apply a lens of racial equity, diversity and inclusion and will allow us to learn alongside communities. We announced the launch of our Community-Based Strategy in October 2018 and received a total of 485 applications for both Collaborative Problem-Solving and the Progress Fund, indicating just how engaged North Carolina communities are in developing their own futures. In 2019, Trustees awarded 39 Community-Based grants totaling $2.5 million. Of these, five Collaborative Problem-Solving grants were awarded (totaling $1.3 million) and 34 Community Progress Fund grants were awarded (totaling $1.2 million).
Funding at just the right time can make all the difference to community projects. Our Community Progress Fund supports local communities by making time-limited investments at key moments in order to build on existing momentum and help move a project, issue, idea, or organization forward. Through the Progress Fund, we also hope to learn alongside our grantees and better understand how different communities experience change, opportunity and challenges in unique ways. Progress Fund grantees are tackling various issues of importance in their communities. In keeping with our commitment to equity, a significant portion of grants are made to organizations that are run by and primarily serve people of color.