What is the Foundation for the Carolinas?

What is the Foundation for the Carolinas?
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The Foundation for the Carolinas is one of the most powerful and connected institutions in Charlotte. If there’s a major civic project in our city, the Foundation for the Carolinas is a part of it (think Read Charlotte and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Opportunity Task Force).

At its simplest, the Foundation for the Carolinas collects money from a lot of people and then divvies it out to important causes through individual funds or large grants. If you have a lot of money you want to donate, this is the place to go. When Howard Levine wanted to donate $45 million worth of Family Dollar stock, he did it through Foundation for the Carolinas.

Foundation staff work with wealthy donors on how they want to maximize their charitable impact, whether it be through setting up a scholarship fund or an endowment that will give money to favored causes over many years.

They also can set up corporate philanthropy programs and help nonprofits with their business operations and endowments. They handle gifts of cash, real estate, and business stakes.


Foundation facts

  • Total assets: $1.64 billion
  • Issued $316 million through 11,200 different grants last year
  • Brought in $627 million in contributions in 2014, double the previous year.
  • Manages more than 1,700 different funds and opened 400 last year.
  • Ninth largest out of 800 community funds in the U.S.
  • Created in 1958 by 24 civic leaders to create a “nest egg” for important causes. The first gift was $3,000 from the United Way.
  • CEO Michael Marsicano has been there since 1999.
  • More than 1,500 attended their annual meeting in April.

Take a look at their building

This place is legitimately a civic treasure. It’s at 220 North Tryon Street, between 5th and 6th streets. People hold their weddings there. Here’s how you can rent space.

There’s an art gallery on the ground floor.


I attended a JPMorgan Chase event here.


This vertical garden patio is special.


Sweet conference room space, too.



You don’t have to be rich to be a part. You can donate online to any of the Foundation for the Carolinas funds, like the Carolina Panthers Charities Fund or Carolina Thread Trail Fund (minimum $10 gift).

Connect with the Foundation for the Carolinas


(Photo credits: 220 North Tryon at Foundation For The Carolinas Facebook page)

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