Elizabeth Nager

President & CEO, Polk County Community Foundation

Tryon, NC

Shift Capital  |  Funding / Investment

Polk County Community Foundation has moved 10% to place-based impact investing and is finding ways to creatively deploy assets.

Elizabeth is the President & CEO of the Polk County Community Foundation in Tryon, North Carolina. She received her AB from Duke University and JD from UCLA. After practicing commercial real estate law at a large law firm in Los Angeles and serving as in-house counsel at Glaxo in the Research Triangle Park, she and her husband relocated to Tryon seeking a wonderful place to raise their three sons. For the past 12 years, she has lead the Community Foundation and enjoyed the challenge of reaching a point where the Foundation sustains itself and generates healthy unrestricted and lightly restricted endowment fund distributions which enable creative Board initiatives to enhance the community. In October, 2012, the National Park Service awarded her organization a Certificate of Achievement for its leadership role in establishing a 160 acre nature preserve which includes a portion of the Revolutionary War Overmountain Victory Trail.



Polk County Community Foundation‘s vision is to advance philanthropy and improve the quality of life for all citizens in Polk County, North Carolina and the surrounding area.

The Foundation receives charitable donations of all sizes from community members and then distributes grants to area nonprofits, awards scholarships to local students, manages endowment funds for local nonprofits, and administers other funds tailored to the specific charitable wishes of individual donors.

Currently, the Foundation manages more than 200 permanent endowed funds and non-permanent funds, including charitable remainder trusts. More than 100 new funds have been established in the past 10 years, with total assets now exceeding $50,000,000.

The mission of the Polk County Community Foundation is to:

  • Support charitable and beneficial activities in the community
  • Provide and administer a variety of planned giving programs
  • Serve as responsible stewards of all funds entrusted to it
  • Provide initiatives in recognizing areas of community needs and supporting solutions