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The role of government and philanthropy in education

On April 28-30, 2019, philanthropists, policymakers, educators, and community leaders joined together in Greensboro at the Proximity Hotel to learn about and discuss the work being done and the work to be done to orient North Carolina’s students, educators, and leaders towards readiness and attainment. For the next two weeks, EducationNC will be sharing content from Bridge.

For many in the education space, Joel Fleishman and Tom Lambeth need no introduction.

Lambeth is the director emeritus of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. Fleishman is a professor of Law and Public Policy at Duke University. Both are known for their extensive work in government and philanthropy, and they spoke about their experiences at Bridge.

“I had a choice here. I could read their bios, or, we could have a panel discussion,” Gerry Hancock said in his introduction.

The panel was moderated by Ferrel Guillory, executive director of the Program in Public Life and professor of the practice of journalism at the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Guillory is also a co-founder of EducationNC.

Lambeth said North Carolina can be both a paradise and a paradox. He said Winston Salem, where he currently lives, houses the beautiful School of the Arts but also has a high child hunger rate. Later, he highlighted the importance of allowing the recipients of grants and other types of philanthropy to make some of their own discoveries and decisions in the process of using the funds.

Fleishman reminisced on times with Terry Sanford, a late governor of North Carolina and former president of Duke University. He talked about Sanford’s willingness to solve problems, and said with the right leadership, the state could follow that philosophy in the modern day. He also noted that many problems facing North Carolina are not unique in the sense that nobody in the country has solved them.

Both discussed the importance of finding the right people and right organizations to enact meaningful change.

Robert Kinlaw

Robert was director of multimedia for EducationNC. He is a journalist and award-winning documentary filmmaker in the Triangle. Robert attended both public and private grade schools in North Carolina and graduated from the Media and Journalism school at UNC-Chapel Hill. He has produced video content for The News & Observer, ABC11-WTVD, UNC-Chapel Hill, The News Reporter and more. His short documentary Princess Warrior received an Excellence in Filmmaking award at the 2017 Carrboro Film Festival. Visit his website at