Trustees of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation have awarded a grant to Old Salem to support its capital campaign to restore the 1794 Boys’ School. The planned renovations are designed to create a more engaging experience for visitors and enhance one of Winston-Salem’s state and national treasures. The foundation has also to Financial Pathways of the Piedmont to further the work of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Asset Building Coalition. The grant will support ABC to pilot a new approach for enhancing the financial security and stability of local residents.
Old Salem’s 1794 Boys’ School is one of the oldest school buildings still standing in the United States. The Foundation’s contribution will assist Old Salem in its efforts to open the building as a new educational interpretive site. Once restored, the Boys School will enable Old Salem to accommodate more school groups and provide hands-on activities and interactive lessons for teachers.
“The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation is delighted to support this historic, cultural gem in Winston-Salem,” said Leslie Winner, Executive Director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. “We are proud to partner with Old Salem to continue to promote one of the State’s oldest and most beloved assets right here in our own community.”
The 1794 Boys’ School, a flagship project within Old Salem’s current capital campaign, will feature an early 1800s classroom with period reproduction furniture, a “cabinet of curiosities,” a piazza for outdoor activities, and lessons that offer insights into the early education of Moravian boys and girls. “For the first time in its history, the Boys’ School will be operated as an exhibition building to tell the fascinating story of education in early Salem,” said Old Salem President and CEO, Ragan Folan. “The Boys’ School transformation is just one example of Old Salem’s continuing efforts to provide engaging experiences for our community and for 21st century visitors.”
In 2012, Financial Pathways of the Piedmont helped bring together 25 groups to form the Asset Building Coalition as a means to raise awareness about asset poverty and possible solutions in the Piedmont. The grant will support the implementation of a two-year pilot project in an affordable housing community in Winston-Salem. ABC will work with local institutions to create a financial capability program closely aligned to meet the specific needs of community residents. It will include a savings match program, personalized credit and debt counseling, and financial education. Throughout the process, the program team will track a variety of indicators on financial well-being and service access, as well as recommend best practices to local policymakers. ABC plans to work with this community for two years.
“The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation believes in the importance of creating financial pathways for communities that enable savings, income generation, and wealth-building opportunities,” said Leslie Winner. “Through a series of partnerships, ABC will assist Winston-Salem and Forsyth County communities in achieving greater financial stability and success. We are proud to partner together to achieve this shared vision.”
This grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation is the first grant to the Coalition and will be managed by Financial Pathways and implemented by the ABC partners. According to Financial Pathways’ CEO Peter Laroche, “This support will solidify the Coalition and raise attention to the problem of asset poverty in our area.” Laroche said that the rate of savings and the accumulation of assets such as home equity is much lower in the Piedmont than the average in the state and the nation.
On November 21, 2014 Trustees voted to approve 103 grants totaling $6.6 million to organizations across North Carolina.