Joy W. Pope Memorial Grants in the Arts and Human Services

The Joy W. Pope Memorial Grant in the Arts and the Joy W. Pope Memorial Grant in Human Services seek to foster innovation and model solutions in North Carolina communities. Each program offers a $100,000 project-specific grant. To date, eight organizations from across the state have received the grant. You can read their stories below.

For this grant, an innovative project does not necessarily mean a new creation, though it may. An innovative project might also address how things could be done better (improving processes, procedures, equipment, facilities, etc.) or differently (expanding what is done to reach new populations). Regardless of the shape an innovative project takes, the end result is a quantifiable gain for the nonprofit and the people it serves.

The Joy W. Pope Memorial Grants are open to any North Carolina nonprofit. Applications for the 2020 grants will be accepted between June 15 – September 15, 2019. Read more below for information about the 2020 application process, past recipients, and the grant program’s history.

Applications for the 2021 grants will be accepted between June 15 – September 15, 2020. Read more below for information about the 2021 application process, past recipients, and the grant program’s history. This website will be updated with 2021 information when it becomes available.

2020 Joy W. Pope Grant Application Information

Past Recipients

Program History

2020 Joy W. Pope Grant Application Information

Application Period: June 15 – September 15, 2019 | Award Date: January 2020

Link to Apply Online

Link to Download Application Information (word doc)

Focus & Eligibility

  • The arts grant is designed for projects in visual arts, performing arts, and literary arts that serve the greater community.
  • The human services grant is designed for projects in employment/occupation preparation, skills training, youth development (including childhood literacy/wellness intervention), and crisis services (including abuse, hunger relief, housing, mental health, and addiction among others). This list is not exhaustive, however the human services grant is not intended for medical research.
  • Any 501(c) 3 charitable organization in good standing with the IRS, based in North Carolina, and serving North Carolinians is eligible to apply (no letter of inquiry or preapproval needed).
  • Previous applicants, current grant partners, and former grant partners are all welcome to apply.


  • Organizations are limited to one project-specific proposal (not general support).
  • Eligible projects include capital improvements (new or existing), program development and execution, equipment, and technology. This list is not exhaustive and other grant purposes will be considered.
  • The grant is intended to either fully fund a project OR partially fund a project that will be finished or nearing immediate completion by December 31, 2020.
  • The Joy W. Pope Memorial Grants are $100,000 awards, issued in full.   No partial request will be considered or fulfilled.
  • The winning organization will be required to sign a grant agreement and will be asked to submit a final report on the project.


  • Applications accepted: June 15 – September 15, 2019
  • Committee review and board decisions: September 15 – December 1, 2019
  • Selected organization notified/funds available: January 2020
  • Public announcement: January/February 2020
  • Final report from selected organization due: January 2021


Pope Foundation staff reviews grant proposals. Recommendations for funding are presented to the board of directors. The board makes the final decision. High priority criteria considered include:

  • Whether the project is consistent with the mission and values of the Pope Foundation.
  • Whether the project meets a need or solves a problem better than before.
  • Whether the project offers a creative solution that leads to a quantifiable gain for the organization and its clients (i.e. does it innovate?).
  • Whether the project is a good use of one-time funds.
  • The likelihood that others will fund the project if costs continue past the first year (i.e. is there a funding plan?).
  • Whether the budget is practical and necessary.
  • Whether the organization executing the project has the necessary qualifications to do the work.

Application Process

  • Applications can be submitted online or by mail (please choose one method only). The same information is requested in both online and paper applications.
  • If you’d like to apply online use this link. The link will remain active from June 15, 2019 at 12:01 am until September 15, 2019 at 11:59 pm.
  • If you’d like to submit a paper application, use this guide. Mail all proposals to: Pope Foundation, Attn: Joy W. Pope Memorial Grant Program, 4601 Six Forks Road, Suite 300, Raleigh, NC 27609. Mailed applications must be postmarked by September 15, 2019.

Past Recipients

2016 Recipients: Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra (Fayetteville, N.C.) & Dandelion (Hendersonville, N.C.)

The Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, based in Fayetteville, N.C., will use their $100,000 grant to create an instrument lending library for members of their youth orchestra program.  The symphony will lend instruments to families that cannot afford rental fees and will lend instruments that are not readily available in the area, such as the ‘A clarinet.” In return, students will commit to participation in the youth orchestra, which will offer performance opportunities and coaching by the symphony’s professional musicians. Currently 50 students participate in the youth orchestra, representing Robeson, Hoke, Moore, and Lee Counties in addition to Cumberland County. Read more.

The Dandelion Eatery, a project of Safelight Family Services (formerly Mainstay Women’s Shelter) received a one-time gift of $100,000 to expand its commercial teaching kitchen.  Opened in 2013, Dandelion Eatery provides jobs training for domestic violence victims while operating as a restaurant open to the public.  Dandelion is located in Hendersonville, N.C. and is open M-F, 10 am – 3 pm.  Tanya Blackford, Director of Safelight, thanked the Pope Foundation for this gift. “We are grateful to have the Pope Foundation partner with us to expand the Dandelion program. This generous investment will allow us to offer job training internships to even more clients. Completing this program is essential to a victim’s long-term success in re-entering the workforce and being able to provide for her family.” Read more.

2017 Recipients: Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center (Robbinsville, N.C.) & Wesley Shelter (Wilson, N.C.)

Nestled in the far Western North Carolina Mountains, well past Cherokee, the Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center is providing arts and cultural experiences for Graham County residents and children.  The facility is a nearly 100-yard old schoolhouse, turned into classroom space, a community kitchen, a theater, and outdoor areas with the sweat equity of residents who wanted to see the building returned to it’s former glory.  With their 2017 Joy W. Pope Memorial Grant, Executive Director Beth Fields will bring “Courtyard of the Cherokee” space to life.  Recognizing the seven clans of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the outdoor space will feature original artwork by local artisans, native plantings and seating.  Read more.

Where do women and their families in domestic violence crisis go in Wilson County, North Carolina?  The Wesley Shelter works daily to make sure women in crisis know they have a safe place and resources at their organization.   Founded in 1983, the Shelter offers comprehensive services for domestic and sexual violence victims, homeless women and children, and human trafficking survivors.  The Shelter serves over 1,500 people each year and relies on over 100 volunteers and 19 professional staff members to help serve their clients. Led by Executive Director Lynne White, the Shelter has also grown their Spanish Outreach Mission, targeting an often underserved community with bilingual services and more.  With their 2017 Joy W. Pope Memorial Grant, the Shelter will improve their emergency housing shelter by making it handicap accessible and increasing the number of beds they are able to offer. Read more.

2018 Recipients: Stokes County Arts Council (Danbury, N.C.) & Haywood Pathways Center (Waynesville, N.C.)

Stokes County Arts Council used the 2018 Joy W. Pope Memorial Grant in Arts to complete phase two construction of The Arts Place of Stokes. Opened in 2017, The Arts Place is a multi-purpose community arts facility. Along with additional funding already received, Stokes Arts used their grant to construct a classroom/meeting space, pottery studio, prep kitchen, reception area, artist’s studios and a rooftop patio. Stokes Arts also installed an ADA-compliant wheelchair lift, adding accessibility to the space. Stokes Arts was founded in 1975 and has grown to offer arts education programming in all 19 county schools, gallery exhibits, arts classes and special programs.

Haywood Pathways Center used the 2018 Joy W. Pope Memorial Grant in Human Services to help fund the construction of an emergency/short-term shelter for homeless families. Increased need and a local motel’s closing expedited the project. At inception, it was the only emergency housing in Haywood County for homeless women with children. Haywood Pathways formed in 2014 when multiple organizations merged, and a defunct jail was repurposed with special assistance from TV star Ty Pennington. Haywood Pathways supports men, women and children during periods of crisis with services that include emergency housing, a soup kitchen and employment training.

2019 Recipients: Mount Olive University (Mount Olive, N.C.) & ABC of NC (Winston-Salem, N.C.)

The University of Mount Olive will use the Joy W. Pope Memorial Grant in Arts for a black box theatre project in downtown Mount Olive.  In June 2018, the University acquired the former Glenn-Martin Drug Store, which closed in 2009 after 70 years of business, and is planning a full renovation of the space. The 6,785 square-foot building will house classrooms, performance space, offices, set and prop storage, dressing rooms and meeting areas. Proposed uses include space for theatrical, dance, and musical classes and performances, social gatherings, summer camps, movie showings and more. The theatre will be the only performance space in the town and will be used by both students and residents.  The University expects the theatre to open its doors this year.

ABC of NC will use the Joy W. Pope Memorial Grant in Human Services to support a groundbreaking life skills center in their new SECU Autism Clinic.  The Joy W. Pope Life Skills Center will feature job skill training labs; a coffee café; and a mock grocery store, doctor’s office, dentist’s office, hair salon and apartment/hotel room. The Center will be available to ASD clients ages 16 months to 21 years for realistic skill building, opening windows of opportunity for both children and families. Other corporate support for the Joy W. Pope Life Skills Center includes Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Great Clips, Daly Hotel Management, Dewey’s Bakery, Food Lion and Spangler, Rohlfing & Lambert Pediatric Dentistry. ABC of NC expects the Center to be fully operational this year.

Program History

The late John William Pope, Sr. was a WWII veteran, a retailer, and entrepreneur.  He took a small holding of five-and-dime stores and built Variety Wholesalers, Inc., the parent company of stores like Roses and Maxway. At John’s side through business and philanthropic ventures alike washis wife, the late Joy W. Pope. The John William Pope Foundation was established by the Pope family in 1986 with the mission to ensure future generations of North Carolinians have the opportunity to prosper. To accomplish this, the Pope Foundation makes grants to support public policy research, arts, human services, and education. The Joy W. Pope Memorial Grant program honors Joy’s lifelong commitment to philanthropic service, both within her state and her family foundation.