CFNCE Donor HighlightThe CF of NC East is honored to have the opportunity to work with our Donor Families whom have such a profound interest and passion in their philanthropic giving.  We are proud to share such an inspiring story of vision, mentorship, and entrepreneurship that is the result of the generosity of Donors, Walt Sliva and Laura Benson, and daughter Kendall.

First Rung partners is a 501 (C) 3 charitable organization founded in 2020 to help eastern North Carolina’s small business economy by providing entrepreneurs with funding to help launch a startup or accelerate an early stage business.  The ultimate goal is to enhance the well-being of this region by fostering a vibrant business environment that makes it possible for people to thrive. In may rural areas, including Carteret County, access to capital is a barrier for entrepreneurs. First Rung is especially interested in investing in business owners between the ages of 21 and 50 years old, a demographic currently under supported in Carteret County.

Their vision for First Rung began many years ago, first through a paid internship program for high school students who worked full time for sic weeks each summer in nonprofit agencies.  Since 2007, more than 130 young people have added capacity to nonprofits, earned a professional wage, and learned about the leadership and impact that the nonprofit sector makes in their communities.

We are proud to feature this special Donor family and we thank them for their generous contributions to the eastern North Carolina region! To learn more about the First Rung Partners, INC, you can visit their website at