Sep 5, 2023 - News

Local Limelight: AJ Fletcher Foundation's Damon Circosta

Photo illustration of Damon Circosta in a polaroid frame.

Photo illustration: Axios. Photo: Courtesy of the AJ Fletcher Foundation

Welcome back to Local Limelight, where we talk to influential people in the community.

  • This week's feature is Damon Circosta, the executive director of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, which supports charities throughout North Carolina and writes grants for nonprofits.
  • We spoke with Cricosta about his favorite things in the Triangle, gondolas and where to go surfing.

πŸ” Favorite place to eat in the Triangle: Mami Nora's forms the best of my family's food pyramid.

🚠 What the Triangle is missing: Great cities have "a thing." Think the Space Needle in Seattle or the trolleys in San Francisco. With a need to connect Dix Park to downtown, I think Raleigh needs a gondola that leaves from the convention center and connects to Dix Park. Farfetched? Not as much as one might think.

🏫 What brought him to the Triangle: Math and whimsey. Amy, my spouse, did all the research about great schools, affordability, innovation, and quality amenities. Having spent some time in public policy and as a surfer of ocean waves, I wanted a state capital within striking distance of a surfable coastline. We showed up unannounced without jobs or a place to live in 2005. We are now happy to be the parents of two Raleigh natives.

β›³ First read in the morning: The wind speed and direction on the first tee of one of our local disc golf courses.

πŸ“– Last great book he read: "Ways of Being" by James Bridle.

🎧 Go-to podcast: Podcast Raleigh. Ashton and Hayes, through interviews with various people in town, help give us a sense of place, and with so many of us moving here that's indispensable.

πŸ„ Favorite long weekend spot: Long weekends aren't great for travel… not enough time to decompress. Maybe a day trip to Topsail to surf, followed by two days of back porch laziness, cocktails with friends, a quick run to layered croissants with my daughter and driving practice with my 15 year-old son (he's remarkably capable behind the wheel).

🀝 What he's looking forward to: I run the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, a nonprofit that helps other nonprofits by providing resources and connection. We have a board meeting in a month, and as stressful as it is to prepare, board meeting days are good days.

πŸ§— How he unwinds: The answer I wish I could give more often is rock climbing at Triangle Rock Club. The answer that is closer to the truth: Collapsing on the couch with Amy and watching "Jeopardy!" before nodding off like I am 97 years old.


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