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Jay Robinson Education Leadership Award & Gala

May 4 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm

The Public School Forum of North Carolina is proud to announce that we will be honoring the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation at our annual Jay Robinson Education Leadership Award Gala on Thursday, May 4th at the Angus Barn Pavilion in Raleigh.  This is always such a special event to both celebrate public education in our state and recognize leaders/organizations who have made outstanding contributions to public education.

The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation (ZSR) is a statewide, private, family foundation that has been a catalyst for positive change in North Carolina for more than 85 years. Since its inception, ZSR has invested more than $667 million to support the efforts of North Carolinians working to make our state a better place, including in the area of education. 

ZSR believes that all children in North Carolina should have equitable, universal access to high-quality early childhood and K-12 public education that develops the full potential of each child. Education is a foundation block of democracy and is essential for the future economic sustainability, prosperity and ongoing vitality of our state and its communities. ZSR believes that children are best prepared to live, work and lead in our increasingly diverse state if schools are racially, ethnically and economically diverse and if schools value the individual experiences and contributions of each student. 

Throughout the Foundation’s history, ZSR has supported some of North Carolina’s most important statewide initiatives in education, including:

  • Support for the ongoing Leandro litigation for equitable early childhood and K-12 public school funding
  • Numerous programs to bolster the recruitment and retention of teachers, particularly new teachers and teachers of color
  • Start-up grants to help launch the Public School Forum of North Carolina and EdNC, among numerous other organizations

Today, ZSR supports efforts that build the public will to support, strengthen, and fund North Carolina’s public systems of education, as well as efforts to advance educational equity. 

ZSR’s mission is to improve the quality of life for all North Carolinians. ZSR’s framework for grantmaking and learning has three strategies: a state-level systemic change strategy; a community-based strategy; and an exploratory, visionary ideas strategy. ZSR’s support for public education falls under the state-level systemic change strategy.


Interested in being a sponsor? Learn more.


Previous Jay Robinson Education Leadership Award Recipients

2019 – Barbara and Jim Goodmon
2018 – Ann Goodnight
2017 – Howard N. Lee
2016 – Governor James G. Martin, John Dornan and Jo Ann Norris
2015 – Governor James B. “Jim” Hunt, Jr. and Carolyn L. Hunt
2014 – Dr. Mark Edwards
2013 – Dr. Edward Eugene “Gene” Causby and Dr. Patricia “Pat” Ashley
2012 – Justice Burley Mitchell and Dr. Peggy Smith
2011 – Erskine Bowles and Dr. Sam Houston
2010 – Lawrence L. “Larry” Seigler
2009 – Dr. Dudley E. Flood
2008 – Dr. William C. Harrison
2007– Phil J. Kirk, Jr.
2006 – Dr. Ann T. Denlinger
2005 – Judge Howard E. Manning, Jr.
2004 – Dr. Robert E. Bridges
2003 – Dr. James F. Causby
2002 – Dr. Tom McNeel
2000 – Laura Bilbro-Berry



About the Public School Forum

The Public School Forum has been working to increase educational opportunities for the state’s 1.5 million public school students for more than 35 years. Through trusted, nonpartisan, evidence-based research, policy analysis and innovative programs, the Forum works to ensure all children in our state have the opportunity to reach their full potential through equitable and meaningful public education that nourishes our state’s civic and economic impact.

The Jay Robinson Education Leadership Award

Since 2000, the Forum has bestowed the Jay Robinson Education Leadership Award to recognize exemplary leaders who have made outstanding contributions to public education. The award is named in honor of the late Dr. Jay Robinson, one of our state’s most distinguished education leaders and the first president of the Public School Forum.

2023 Jay Robinson Education Leadership Awardee: Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation

The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation has been a statewide catalyst for positive change in North Carolina for more than 80 years. Since its inception, the Foundation has invested over $589 million into North Carolina, including a start-up grant to help launch the Forum.

For more information, contact Marisa Bryant, Director of Strategic Partnerships, at mbryant@ncforum.org or 919-781-6643 ext. 100.


May 4
6:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Angus Barn Pavilion
9401-1 Glenwood Ave
Raleigh, 27617 United States