Council to Guide Foundation on Serving the Economic Potential of North Carolina’s Black Community

DURHAM, NC – July 9, 2020 – NC IDEA, a private foundation committed to supporting entrepreneurial ambition and economic empowerment in North Carolina, announced today that the organization is seeking applications from individuals to serve on the Foundation’s North Carolina Black Entrepreneurship Council. Establishing this Council to serve the entrepreneurial aspirations and economic potential of the Black community, further supports the Foundation’s previous commitment that no less than 50% of programmatic and funding resources be in service to underserved, under-resourced and underrepresented communities, notably minorities, women and rural constituencies.

The Black Entrepreneurship Council will help guide the Foundation in its programmatic and grant making ambitions in furtherance of North Carolina’s Black community. Council members will work closely with the Foundation to identify, recommend and support partners and programs with the expressed purpose of elevating Black Entrepreneurship in North Carolina. Service on the Council will also include input on the Foundation’s funding decisions, specifically grants awarded to partner organizations through the NC IDEA ECOSYSTEM program.

“The well established inequalities and challenges faced by people of color has only strengthened our resolve to help the underserved,” said Thom Ruhe, CEO and President of NC IDEA. “With the Council, we look forward to listening and learning, then leading efforts to make North Carolina the best state in the nation for Black people to realize their entrepreneurial potential and the economic empowerment that comes from it,” Ruhe concluded.

The formation of the Council coincides with a recent commitment by the board of directors that the Foundation will manage operating budgets for the next two fiscal years of at least 10% of net assets; namely, twice the minimum amount required by law. The resulting increase in programmatic spend will provide a minimum of $500,000 in funding under the auspice of the newly forming council. It is the hope of NC IDEA that other organizations, companies and individuals may wish to likewise add funding to these activities.

NC IDEA is seeking to assemble a council of approximately 10-30 members, represented by a diversity of viewpoints and experiences from throughout North Carolina; specifically, a mix of leaders in the Black entrepreneurial ecosystem, as well as successful Black entrepreneurs. Applications will be evaluated based on: (1) connection to targeted populations, both personal and professional; (2) evidence of engagement in local community, civic leadership or volunteerism; (3) a personal commitment to equity and inclusion; and, (4) a demonstrated ability to engage the broader community of local networks, community members and stakeholders. Council members will serve on a volunteer basis and can expect to donate 10-20 hours per month toward these efforts.

Individuals interested in being considered to serve on the North Carolina Black Entrepreneurship Council may find more information on eligibility criteria and submit an application at Applications must be received no later than 5:00pm on Friday, July 31, 2020. NC IDEA expects to follow-up with applicants and finalize the formation of the Council by August 14, 2020.

NC IDEA is an independent private foundation committed to empowering North Carolinians to achieve their entrepreneurial potential. Through our powerful combination of competitive grants and programs, and a network of strategic partners, we help entrepreneurs when they need it most. NC IDEA’s resources are highly competitive, enabling the foundation to support North Carolina’s most ambitious entrepreneurs. We believe entrepreneurs transform communities and view our work as a catalyst for positive change. Learn more at