Lifetime Achievement Award

Easter Maynard

With a professional background rooted in social work and a personal commitment to improving lives of underserved North Carolinians, Easter Maynard employs philanthropy as a tool to advocate for and invest in systemic and programmatic innovation to positively impact young children and families in North Carolina.

In her corporate role as director of community investment for IMC—parent company of Golden Corral and Fleet Feet Sports, among others—Easter leads the company’s charitable efforts through ChildTrust Foundation. In this role, she has helped launch an early childhood funders collaborative of nearly 20 grantmaking partners to advocate for strong early childhood policy and practice in the state. In addition to her corporate and personal philanthropy, she also provides leadership for her family’s charitable giving through the Maynard Family Foundation.

To all of these philanthropic efforts, Easter brings a fierce belief in the importance of high quality educational opportunity for all, starting before birth and extending through post-secondary education. Her influence has led to investments in public education at multiple levels and across a range of strategies, from support for academic enrichment and parent engagement to broad policy and advocacy efforts. The foundations she leads have provided long-term support for ongoing work including WakeEd Partnership’s Partners Read program, the Public School Forum’s Beginning Teacher Leadership Network and the Resilience & Learning Project, EdNC’s coverage of early learning in eastern North Carolina, Teach for America’s recruitment and training in eastern North Carolina, and school-based enrichment programs through KidzNotes and Carolina Ballet. The Maynard Scholars program at East Carolina University, a teacher training program modeled after the NC Teaching Fellows, has produced seven classes of high quality graduates focused on teaching in the eastern part of the state. The foundations have also provided significant support for strong policy and advocacy work in early childhood through key partner organizations including NC Child, Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina and the NC Early Childhood Foundation (NCECF).

As board chair for NCECF, Easter is part of the organization’s efforts to build statewide engagement in the NC Pathways to Grade-Level Reading initiative and assist 80 school districts in developing early learning components in their Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plans. This work helps strengthen collaboration across birth-through-five and K-12 systems to promote alignment and advance policies that improve school readiness and success for all students.

In addition to her philanthropic work, Easter recently took the helm of the Golden Corral board of directors, after having served on the board for 11 years. She also chairs the board of directors for Camp Corral, which she helped establish six years ago to strengthen military families by providing summer camp experiences for children of wounded, injured, ill, and fallen military heroes. Thanks to a unique partnership with Golden Corral restaurants, Camp Corral has grown to serve more than 3,300 children a year in camps throughout the U.S.

Beyond her work through IMC, Easter currently serves on the boards of the North Carolina Network of Grantmakers, Methodist Home for Children, and Boys and Girls Clubs of Wake County. She previously served on the boards of the Triangle Community Foundation, NC Center for Women in Public Service, and the NC Conservation Network.

Easter has received numerous awards for her efforts, most recently the Distinguished Alumni Award from UNC School of Social Work, the 2017 Triangle Community Foundation Catalyst Award for visionary philanthropy and the 2017 Corporate Philanthropy Award from the Triangle Business Journal. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and communications from Wake Forest University and a master’s in social work and community practice from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Easter Maynard was awarded the Vernon Malone Friend of Education Award in 2018.

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