The Gambrell Foundation Insights


In an effort to provide inspiration and resources to the community, our team likes to share books Sally is reading, stories from our community, and articles, papers, and videos that help shape our views and inform the way we work. We hope these insights spark creativity and increase effectiveness for fellow difference makers.

On Sally's Desk

The New Jim Crow

A stunning account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status—denied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement. 

by Michelle Alexander

Learn More

Where Do We Go From Here

In this prophetic work, Martin Luther King, Jr. lays out his thoughts, plans, and dreams for America's future, including the need for better jobs, higher wages, decent housing, and quality education.

by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Learn More

The Nordic Theory of Everything

A Finnish journalist, now a naturalized American citizen, asks Americans to draw on elements of the Nordic way of life to nurture a fairer, happier, more secure, and less stressful society for themselves and their children.

by Anu Partanen

Learn More

Acts of Faith

A remarkable account of growing up Muslim in America and coming to believe in religious pluralism, from one of the most prominent faith leaders in the United States. Eboo Patel’s story is a hopeful and moving testament to the power and passion of young people—and of the world-changing potential of an interfaith youth movement.

by Eboo Patel

Learn More

Just Mercy

A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time.

by Bryan Stevenson

Learn More

The Warmth of Other Suns

In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life.

by Isabel Wilkerson

Learn More


From a foremost expert on the science of emotions and consultant to Pixar’s Inside Out, a groundbreaking and essential exploration into the history, science, and greater understanding of awe.

by Dacher Keltner

Learn More

You're Invited

Regardless of what we want to accomplish, from growing your business, creating a great company culture, championing a social cause, or affecting your habits, we can’t do it alone. The people around you define your success (whatever that means for you) and they have the potential to change the course of your life.

by Jon Levy

Learn More


Discover the secret to flourishing in an age of division: belonging. In a world filled with discord and loneliness, finding harmony and happiness can be difficult. But what if the key to unlocking our potential lies in this deceptively simple concept? Belonging is the feeling of being a part of a group that values, respects, and cares for us—a feeling that we can all cultivate in even the smallest corners of social life.

by Geoffrey L Cohen

Learn More

The Good Life

What makes a life fulfilling and meaningful? The simple but surprising answer is: relationships. The stronger our relationships, the more likely we are to live happy, satisfying, and healthier lives. In fact, the Harvard Study of Adult Development reveals that the strength of our connections with others can predict the health of both our bodies and our brains as we go through life.

by Robert Waldinger, MD & Marc Schulz

Learn More

Your Brain On Art

A mind-altering journey through the new science behind humanity’s evolutionary birthright — to make and behold the arts and its power to transform our lives.

by Susan Magsamen, Ivy Ross

Learn More


A groundbreaking, revelatory portrait of the six generations that currently live in the United States and how they connect, conflict, and compete with one another—from the acclaimed author of Generation Me and iGen.

by Jean M. Twenge, PhD

Learn More

Of Boys & Men

Boys and men are struggling. Profound economic and social changes of recent decades have many losing ground in the classroom, the workplace, and in the family. While the lives of women have changed, the lives of many men have remained the same or even worsened.

by Richard Reeves

Learn More

Demon Copperhead

Demon Copperhead is set in the mountains of southern Appalachia. It’s the story of a boy born to a teenaged single mother in a single-wide trailer, with no assets beyond his dead father’s good looks and copper-colored hair, a caustic wit, and a fierce talent for survival. In a plot that never pauses for breath, relayed in his own unsparing voice, he braves the modern perils of foster care, child labor, derelict schools, athletic success, addiction, disastrous loves, and crushing losses. Through all of it, he reckons with his own invisibility in a popular culture where even the superheroes have abandoned rural people in favor of cities.

by Barbara Kingsolver

Learn More

Ours Was the Shining Future

The clear-eyed, definitive history of the modern American economy and the decline of the American Dream, from the Pulitzer Prize–winning columnist behind The New York Times’s “The Morning” newsletter.

by David Leonhardt

Learn More

Go on an amazing journey together with pastors, poets, common people, some Danish royals, and the so-called schoolmen as they lifted Scandinavia from the bottom.

by Lene Rachel Andersen

Learn More

Thought Leadership from Other Foundations

4,000 Weeks: A Wake-Up Call

When’s the last time you stopped to consider how much time you truly have left? Inspired by Oliver Burkeman’s transformative book, “4,000 Weeks: Time Management for Mortals,” our CEO finally did the math. If she’s fortunate, she has roughly 884 weeks remaining. This realization has profoundly shifted her perspective on how she spends her time. Click below to read more from Sally.

Visit Website

Embracing a Sense of Awe: How Wonder Can Transform Our Community

Have you ever had an experience so powerful that it made you question your understanding of the world, the kind of moment that stops you in your tracks to say “wow” — in other words, a moment of awe? Recently, two very different groups of local residents had this type of transformative experience during trips that the Gambrell Foundation supported.

Click below to learn more.

Visit Website

The Happiness Research Institute

The Happiness Research Institute is an independent think tank exploring why some societies are happier than others. The mission is to inform decision-makers of the causes and effects of human happiness, make subjective well-being part of the public policy debate, and improve overall quality of life for citizens across the world.

Visit Website

Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation

We admire the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation’s vision is to create a world where sustainable and inclusive communities thrive

Visit Website

Trust-Based Philanthropy Project

The trust-based philanthropy movement is fundamentally reimagining the role funders can have in building a more just and equitable society.

Visit Website

Hollingsworth Funds


Where Everyone Has a Meaningful Opportunity to Achieve Their Highest Potential 

We admire their values:

    • Accountability – “We hold themselves and our community stakeholders accountable for the actions we all take, and we aim to actively monitor, evaluate, and learn from the results.”
    • Empathy – “We aim to listen first and understand the experiences of those we seek to support.”
    • Equity – “We believe in fair access to opportunities for all.”
    • Excellence – “We strive to surpass ordinary standards in everything we do.”
    • Integrity – “We do what we say we are going to do and acknowledge our mistakes when we make them.”
Visit Website

Mission Investors Exchange

Mission Investors Exchange is the leading impact investing network for foundations dedicated to deploying capital for social and environmental change. They provide resources, inspiration, and connections to help members increase the scale and impact of their impact investing practice. Members come to Mission Investors Exchange and each other for best practices, new investment opportunities, deal partnerships, and innovations in impact investing around the world. The Gambrell Foundation is proud to be a member.

Visit Website

North Carolina Network of Grantmakers

NCNG is North Carolina’s only statewide forum for sharing information and promoting cooperation among grantmakers. We admire the way they have stepped up to be leaders connecting funders across North Carolina to knowledge, resources and one another.

Visit Website

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

We admire their mission to achieve their vision:

  • Ensure more children and young people survive and thrive
  • Empower the poorest – Especially women and girls, to transform their lives
  • Combat infectious diseases that particularly affect the poorest
  • Inspire people to take action to change the world
Visit Website

The Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute has earned a reputation for gathering diverse, nonpartisan thought leaders, creatives, scholars and members of the public to address some of the world’s most complex problems. But the goal of these convenings is to have an impact beyond the conference room. They are designed to provoke, further and improve actions taken in the real world.

Visit Website

Things That Make Us think

Male inequality, explained by an expert | Richard Reeves

Modern males are struggling. Author Richard Reeves outlines the three major issues boys and men face and shares possible solutions.

Watch Now

Podcast: Good Life Project

A weekly podcast highlighting “inspirational, intimate and disarmingly-unfiltered conversations about living a fully-engaged, fiercely-connected and purpose-drenched life.

Listen Now

Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life

The Aspen Institute’s Sit Down with Author Dacher Keltner, professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and faculty director of the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center.

Watch Now

Diversifying Society’s Leaders? The Determinants and Causal Effects of Admission to Highly Selective Private Colleges

New research from Raj Chetty, David J. Deming, John Friedman

Read More

How to Solve The Education Crisis for Boys and Men

TED Talk by Richard Reeves, President – American Institute for Boys and Men.

Watch Now

Supporting Community Colleges: Emergency aid helps keep students in college

Many schools, even if they do not have specific funds set up to provide emergency aid to students, will offer small sums of money – typically a few hundred dollars – in the form of either a loan or a grant, which can often be used for things like paying an electric bill, buying food or helping out with rent. Programs vary by school.

Read More

College and University Basic Needs Insecurity: A National #RealCollege Survey Report

The #RealCollege survey is the nation’s largest annual assessment of basic needs security among college students. The survey, created by the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice (Hope Center), specifically evaluates access to affordable food and housing. This report describes the results of the #RealCollege survey administered in the fall of 2018 at 123 two- and four-year institutions across the United States.

Read More

Is America Dreaming?

Understanding Social Mobility – Richard Reeves and Brookings Institution

Watch Now
The Saguaro Seminar

The Saguaro Seminar

The Saguaro Seminar is a research initiative that brings together leading thinkers and practitioners to develop actionable ideas for civic renewal. In 2015, the Seminar launched the Closing the Opportunity Gap initiative. The initiative convened five working groups of roughly a dozen of the country’s leading experts in each of five areas: family and parenting, early childhood, K-12 education, community institutions, and “on-ramps,” like community college or apprenticeships. These non-partisan white papers distill the best evidence-based ideas for narrowing the opportunity gap.

Learn More
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Opportunity Task Force Report

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Opportunity Task Force Report

Learn More


An Evening with Dacher Keltner

Author of Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life

As part of The Gambrell Foundation’s new initiative to invest in Ideas Worth Trying™, we brought Dr. Keltner to Charlotte this past May to help us explore what role awe plays in creating a great life. Together, we learned why everyday awe and wonder are so essential and how we can experience collective awe in our community more often.

Watch The Replay