RCCL 2024: Continuing Our Work on Key Community Issues

FFTC’s Senior Vice President of the Robinson Center for Civic Leadership, Federico Rios.

It’s been eight months since I joined Foundation For The Carolinas as senior vice president of the Robinson Center for Civic Leadership. In that short time, I’ve been astounded by the incredible work Foundation staff do to support the broader community and our donors and partners. Having served on FFTC advisory boards and worked with employees of the Foundation on various projects in the past, I had some insight into the work of FFTC, but leading the Robinson Center for Civic Leadership team has given me a whole new depth of understanding. I think of my work in three distinct and interrelated areas:

First, serving as staff support for various advisory boards. This role allows me the opportunity to better understand the unique challenges communities are facing and how local nonprofit organizations are addressing them. In this space, we’re working to ensure that principles of TrustBased Philanthropy (a movement that’s reimagining the role funders can have in building a more equitable society) are being applied, building the appropriate infrastructure to support organizations through application processes, and attempting to use best practices in grantmaking.

Second, working with the Foundation’s initiatives allows me to pull FFTC’s external-facing leaders together to collaborate and ensure their work is anchored alongside our core business. Our initiatives — such as Read Charlotte (literacy), Leading on Opportunity (upward mobility) and A Way Home (affordable housing), to name just three — are our greatest community assets.

The center is formally named for Sally and Russel Robinson, honoring two of our community’s most respected civic and philanthropic leaders.

Lastly, serving as a community strategist affords me the ability to rally resources for unique solutions, comprehensively. In this way, I continue the Foundation’s tradition of serving as a neutral convener for stakeholders. Whether its finding solutions to housing challenges for specific populations or commissioning research to better understand the opportunities available to us, my work in this space helps focus the community’s attention and resources towards the possible. I fully intend to center community in the work of the community foundation.

FFTC’s flagship program, the Robinson Center for Civic Leadership, convenes partners and funding to address our region’s greatest needs and opportunities. We work with committed partners to make a transformative impact on our community.

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