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Maurice “Mo” Green brings a unique perspective to his work as leader of one of the South’s largest family foundations. Green has a background in public education and law — working both as a private practice attorney and, later, the superintendent of schools in one of North Carolina’s largest districts. In May 2016, he was hired as executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, an 80-year-old family foundation that has granted more than $550 million.
The National Center for Family Philanthropy recently spoke with Green to learn more about how he has approached his role.
What tips do you have for other new executive directors for developing strong relationships with the board and with the family?
This Foundation has a Board of Trustees that is made up of family and non-family members, both of whom work very well together. The family members very much value Trustees who are not family members, as well as the staff, which has created a culture for the way in which the Foundation operates.
In this role, it has been helpful for me to be in constant communication with our Trustees, to share with them the work that staff is doing and to keep them informed, in multiple and varied ways, of what is happening at ZSR. It has also been important for me to recognize the knowledge, skills, relationships, and experience of the Trustees and to use those attributes in ways that would benefit the Foundation.
How have you developed an understanding of and learned to handle family dynamics?
I have been blessed to become a part of an organization where the family has been so inclusive of non-family members. It has been a great honor for me to get to know each of the family members. I respect and value each of their gifts, skills and talents and utilize them as much as possible to accomplish the goals that the Foundation has set forth.
Read the full interview with Maurice Green on family foundations by Peter Panepento at the National Center for Family Philanthropy.