North Carolina state government’s first philanthropy liaison will join Governor Roy Cooper’s administration on March 1. The grant-funded role will focus on improving interaction between state government and the philanthropic sector, educating philanthropy and government about each other, and encouraging collaboration on projects across the state.
Joy Vermillion-Heinsohn will serve as Philanthropy Liaison, bringing more than 20 years of experience in the North Carolina philanthropic sector as well as a strong state and national network gained during her career with the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.
The Philanthropy Liaison is believed to be the first state government position of its kind in the nation and it joins state government at a critical time. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for robust information sharing and collaboration to address shared priority issues.
“Government and philanthropy share a common mission to improve the well-being of North Carolinians, and it makes sense for us to work together to have a lasting, positive impact on our state,” said Charlie Perusse, Director of the Office of State Budget and Management. “This new role will help us combine our efforts to be more effective on multiple issues and in diverse communities across North Carolina.”
The new Philanthropy Liaison will:
- identify state agency and philanthropy partners for mutual learning opportunities and facilitate those opportunities;
- host educational workshops for state agencies on best practices for engaging with philanthropy;
- make recommendations for how to continuously develop government-philanthropy engagement; and
- regularly update key stakeholders about activities and partnerships.
The Liaison will be situated in the Office of Strategic Partnerships (OSP), housed in the Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM). The role fits with OSP’s ongoing work to increase and enhance partnerships between state government and North Carolina’s renowned research institutions and philanthropic sector to improve quality of life for all North Carolinians.
The Office of Strategic Partnerships worked closely with representatives from North Carolina’s philanthropic sector to conceptualize and establish this position. Grant funding for the two-year position is provided by ChildTrust Foundation, The Duke Endowment, and the Winer Family Foundation.
“We are pleased to be a part of this collaborative to improve interactions between philanthropy and state government. Coordinating our resources and sharing our knowledge and expertise should lead to greater opportunities to change lives across our state,” said Rhett Mabry, The Duke Endowment President.
North Carolina is home to a diverse and engaged philanthropic sector, comprised of community foundations, corporate foundations and giving programs, private foundations, and public grantmaking charities. In addition to being thoughtful funders, philanthropies have broad and deep topical expertise, are strong conveners, engaged in education and advocacy, and help build capacity for nonprofits and other organizations.