Back in 2001 a group of philanthropists believed that North Carolina desperately needed a brand new charitable foundation to focus exclusively on the needs of children.  They realized the importance of historic preservation, cultural enrichment, and scientific research. But these philanthropic leaders envisioned a foundation what would direct its resources toward one clear-cut mission:  challenging and encouraging girls and boys throughout the state.


These civic-minded visionaries held their very first organizational meeting in Blowing Rock, and subsequently filed articles of incorporation and officially launched the Rye Foundation on March 2, 2001.  When it came to naming the new charity these same leaders decided against placing their own names in the corporate logo.  Instead, they made a profound decision to let the faith-based programming take center stage and adopted a name which is derived from the first letter of three focus areas – Religion, Youth, and Education.

Since that first year, every charitable investment made by the Rye Foundation has been required to meet three criteria:

  • Every project must help children and youthMIS_0002a
  • Every project must be in North Carolina
  • Every project must have a definite spiritual component

In the intervening years, the foundation has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in the fulfillment of its mission.  And today, the foundation directs its charitable dollars to four priority areas:

  1. Christian camps
  2. Sports and character development
  3. Children with parents in prison
  4. Music enrichment

Pat Martin, a Board member at the Wings of Eagles Ranch in Concord summarized the Rye Foundation’s unique position in North Carolina’s philanthropic circles. “Many funders are turning away from any group that even talks about religion,” he said.  “It is refreshing to work with the Rye Foundation because they actually seek out organizations which believe in helping children in a spiritual setting.”