North Carolina Fund records, 1962-1971.

Creator: North Carolina Fund records, 1962-1971.
Collection number: 4710
View finding aid.

Abstract: The North Carolina Fund, an independent, non-profit, charitable corporation, sought and dispensed funds to fight poverty in North Carolina, 1963-1968. Gov. Terry Sanford and other North Carolinians convinced the Ford Foundation to grant $7 million initial funding for a statewide anti- poverty effort aimed at rural and urban communities. This money–plus additional funding from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation; the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation; the U.S. Dept. of Labor; U.S. Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare; U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development; and the Office of Economic Opportunity–enabled the Fund to support a broad program of education, community action, manpower development, research and planning, and other efforts to fight poverty. Records of the North Carolina Fund, primarily the files of the central office staff, especially Executive Director George Hyndman Esser (1921- ), and records of the Manpower Improvement Through Community Effort (MITCE) program. Among the programs documented are the North Carolina Volunteers; training of community action technicians to work in North Carolina and Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA); a summer internship and curriculum development program; and research on poverty in North Carolina, community problems in areas served by community action programs, the community action process, and manpower and economic development. Also documented are programs funded by the North Carolina Fund, chief among them the 11 community action agencies and the projects they operated. Two grassroots organizations of poor people also received financial support from the North Carolina Fund, as did programs to improve education in North Carolina, manpower programs, and low-income housing programs. Records related to attacks on the North Carolina Fund’s programs shed light on politics and race relations, as well as on economic and social conditions in North Carolina in the 1960s. Note that there are separate catalog records for the Administrative Series; the Volunteer Programs Series; the Training Programs Series; the 11 Community Action Programs; the Manpower Programs Series; the Research Department Series; the Study Committee Series; and the Public Information Department Series.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: Official records of a five-year experimental antipoverty agency that conducted studies and surveys of low-income housing, food, community organization, and other aspects of poverty. Many records in this voluminous collection document the experiences of African American and the intersections of poverty, race, and class.

Some materials from this collection have been digitized and are available online. Click here to link to the finding aid for this collection and to access the digitized content.

For an in depth analysis of the North Carolina Fund, politics, and race, see the book To Right These Wrongs: he North Carolina Fund and the Battle to End Poverty and Inequality in 1960s America by Robert R. Korstad and James L. Leloudis. Click here for more information about this publication