Nonprofit news roundup, 11.21.14

Hood leaving Locke Foundation to head Pope Foundation

John Hood, president, CEO and a founder of the John Locke Foundation, a conservative think-tank in Raleigh, has been named president of the John William Pope Foundation, a Raleigh-based grantmaking foundation.

Hood, who begins his new job January 5 and will continue to chair the board of the Locke Foundation, succeeds business executive Art Pope, who is stepping down as president of the Pope Foundation and will continue to chair its board.

Succeeding Hood as president and CEO of Locke Foundation, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary in February, will be Kory Swanson, its long-time executive vice president.

Pope, who stepped down this year as state budget director, is chairman and CEO of Variety Wholesalers and co-founder of the Pope Foundation.

His daughter, Joyce Pope, has served as vice president of the Pope Foundation since July 2013.

Public School Forum launching initiative to boost new teachers

The Public School Forum of North Carolina will launch an initiative in 2015 aimed at retaining and supporting new public school teachers in the state.

With a grant from Golden Corral, the Forum will pilot its Beginning Teacher Network in Wake County next spring, and operate the program for its first full year in 2015-16, with plans to expand to additional counties.

North Carolina loses roughly half its public school teachers within their first five years in the classroom, says Keith Poston, president and executive director of the Forum.

“With increasing teacher turnover in recent years and declining enrollment at our state’s teacher preparation programs,” Poston says in a statement, “it is critical we support our teachers at the beginning of their careers, both to help them develop even more quickly into highly effective teachers, and to keep them in the profession long-term.”

To better retain, support and speed development of new teachers, the new initiative will include monthly face-to-face forums and digital networking in the areas of education policy and advocacy; cross-curricular collaboration; and professional development.

Triangle arts groups get grants to build capacity

Ten small and medium-sized arts groups in the Triangle have been picked to participate the New Realities Triangle Regional Initiative, a capacity-building program presented through a partnership of Triangle Community Foundation and the North Carolina Arts Council.

Each group will receive a $3,450 grant for consulting provided by ARTS Action Research.

The groups, which also will participate in regional roundtables and receive individualized technical assistance over the course of a year, are: Artsplosure – The Raleigh Arts Festival; Deep Dish Theater Company; Durham Symphony; Full Frame Documentary Film Festival at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University; Hidden Voices; Justice Theater Project; Mallarme Chamber Players; North Carolina Opera; Raleigh Review; and Southern Documentary Fund.

ArtsGreensboro kicks off $1.2 million campaign

ArtsGreensboro has launched its 2015 ArtsFund campaign, setting a goal of $1.2 million.

Funds raised through the campaign will provide support to over 50 arts organizations, artists, and teachers.

In the fiscal year ended June 30, ArtsGreensboro provided $1.2 million in funding and in-kind support to the local arts community.

Co-chairing the campaign are Denny Kelly, chairwoman of Bouvier Kelly, and Josephus Thompson III, a poet and Founder of The Poetry Project.

Cash giving grows to churches, faith-based nonprofits

Annual cash charitable giving to 1,525 churches and nonprofits accredited by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, or ECFA, grew 6.9 percent in 2013, up from an increase of 6.4 percent in 2012 and 1.7 percent in  2011, a new report says.

The 5th Annual State of Giving Report from ECFA reflects total cash donations of $11.6 billion in 2013, up from $10.9 billion in 2012.

While the report focuses on cash giving, non-cash giving held relatively steady in 2013, growing 0.7 percent to $3.4 billion of gifts.

Total revenue grew 8.2 percent to $23.1 billion for 2013, compared with $21.4 billion for 2012.

Cash giving grew 18.8 percent for camps and conferences; 13.9 percent for children’s homes; 12.3 percent for students and youth; 12 percent for orphan care; 10.7 percent for medical programs; 10.2 percent for relief and development; child sponsorship; 10 percent for child development; and 10 percent for leadership training.

Data for the report, unadjusted for inflation, comes directly from financial statements, mainly audits, prepared by independent certified public accountants.

Online give-a-thon in Minnesota raises $18.2 million in a day

Nonprofits and schools across Minnesota raised a record-high $18.3 million on November 13 through the sixth annual Give to the Max Day, a 24-hour online give-a-thon.

Over 62,607 people donated to 5,544 organizations through GiveMN.org, representing increases of 20 percent in the number of donors and 25 percent  in the number of organizations receiving gifts, compared to last year’s event, which raised a total of $17.1 million.

Meredith College raises $18 million

Meredith College in Raleigh says it raised over $18 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30, eclipsing its previous record-high annual total of $7.2 million.

Meredith says its endowment also grew to a record-high of over $93 million.

Greensboro Children’s Museum gets $25,000

Piedmont Natural Gas Foundation had made a $25,000 grant to the Greensboro Children’s Museum to establish “Outdoor Engineers,” an educational program for students in kindergarten through second grade that promotes science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.

8,800 kids sign up for Wake Salvation Army’s Christmas program

The Salvation Army of Wake County registered a record-high 8,807 children from Wake County for its annual Christmas Cheer Program that will provide children in need with toys, stockings and clothing.

Triad Health Project to hold walk, run on December 5

Triad Health Project, the region’s HIV/AIDs service organization, will hold its 23rd Annual Winter Walk for AIDS and its inaugural Ron Johnson 5K run on December 1 at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

The new 5K is named for a partner in law firm Johnson, Peddrick & McDonald in Greensboro who has raised a total of roughly $400,000 over the past 21 years for the Annual Winter Walk for AIDS to support programs and services at Triad Health Project.

Paradigm 360 teams with Junior Achievement

On November 21, volunteers from Paradigm 360 partnered with Junior Achievement of Central North Carolina and and volunteered in every classroom Kimberley Park Elementary School in Winston-Salem to help students complete in a single day the five lessons in JA’s program that focuses on entrepreneurship, work readiness, and financial literacy.

Children’s Home Society launches Little Red Stocking drive

Children’s Home Society of North Carolina has launched its annual Little Red Stocking campaign to raise money to provide families for children in need.

Proceeds from last year’s Little Red Stocking Fund helped the agency serve 17,321 children and families, including placing 590 children with foster families, giving 113 children a permanent family, assisting 1,229 families with post-adoption services, counseling 65 birth parents, and providing educational services to 13,231 teens, professionals and parents.

Nearly 10,000 children live in foster care in North Carolina, and more than 2,000 children await adoption, the agency says.

ROTC students volunteering at Benevolence Farm

Forty Reserve Officers’ Training Corps students from UNC-Chapel Hill will volunteer this weekend at Benevolence Farm in Graham, sawing down trees and clearing land. The nonprofit farm will provide transitional housing, jobs and support for women getting out of prison.

Theatre Raleigh gets first development director

Leono Taylor, former development officer at InterAct, has joined Theatre Raleigh as its first development director.

Raleigh Little Theatre gets $10,000

Raleigh Little Theatre received a $10,000 grant from the Jandy Ammons Foundation to support installation of a new hearing loop system in the Cantey V. Sutton Theatre. The hearing loop will enable patrons with hearing aids to tap into an electromagnetic signal through telecoil, or T-coil, broadcast throughout the theater.

Surry Community College gets truck donation

Hardy Brothers has given the Truck Driver Training and HVAC programs at Surry Community College in Dobson a 2007 Peterbilt tractor and enclosed trailer, along with three refrigeration trailer units.

Reynolds Trust gives $10.6 million

The Health Care Division of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust in Winston-Salem made 44 grants totaling over $10.6 million to improve the health of low-income individuals throughout the state.

Don’t be fooled by how much you think you know

A big stumbling block in the charitable world to making a big impact is the inflated vocabulary that muddies the way nonprofits and foundations communicate.

Often seduced by how much they think they know, professionals who work at charities can get hooked on using technical and academic language, jargon and acronymns that can confuse and turn off the supporters, volunteers, donors and partners that charities count on to do their work.

Instead of using the fewest possible words to tell a story that is clear and compelling, many nonprofits and foundations seem overly fond of using a lot of words that are big, abstract, vague and ultimately meaningless and off-putting.

Charity professionals, like their peers in fields such as education and government, also tend to favor the passive voice, as if to avoid any responsibility or accountability for their actions and decisions.

So in telling your story and communicating with the audiences you need to reach, use common sense and keep it simple.

To help do that, get to know the people you are trying to reach, and what they care about. Be direct, use plain words and the active voice, and say what you mean.

And steer clear of the annoying philanthro-babble that devalues the important work you do and makes you sound abstract, clinical and full of yourself.

Your job is to help people understand your cause, not to impress your peers with how much specialized knowledge you have acquired about your field and about philanthropy.

So when you tell your story, make it real.

Want help?

Philanthropy North Carolina is a consulting practice that provides writing and strategic communications support for nonprofits, foundations, colleges and universities, and others working for social good.

To find out more about hiring Philanthropy North Carolina to work with your organization to improve your communications, contact Todd Cohen at 919.272.2051 or toddcohen49@gmail.com.

Food, dignity and hope for people in need

By Todd Cohen

[Note: This article was written for Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro.]

GREENSBORO, N.C. — For most Americans, Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks, sit down to a special meal with their family, reflect on what life has given them, and maybe give something back.

But for each of the one in four households in the Greensboro and High Point region that live in a state of “food insecurity” — the region trails only New Orleans as the metropolitan area in the U.S. with the highest food hardship per capita — Thanksgiving is just one more day of struggling to survive, as well as a reminder that they lack what other households take for granted.

For the past 28 years, through an initiative known as Community Tables, a total of 85,000 people in need in the region have been able to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, while thousands of volunteers have had the opportunity to participate in the tradition of giving back.

Supported by roughly $20,000 that individuals contribute each year to the Thanksgiving/Holiday Fund at Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, volunteers for Community Tables prepare meals that other volunteers from local churches and nonprofits pick up and either serve to people and families in need or deliver to their homes.

“It’s something they don’t have every day,” says Mary Lacklen, a co-founder of Community Tables and director of restaurant operations for Libby Hill Seafood Restaurants. “It’s about giving thanks for what we do have.”

Feeding people in need

For the past four years, North Carolina has ranked among the 10 states with the highest share of people who find themselves short of food. The state also is among the 10 states with the highest share of children who don’t get food on a regular basis. And the metro region that includes Greensboro and High Point, along with Winston-Salem, ranks second-to-worst in the U.S. in the level of food insecurity.

“Sometimes dignity is taken away, with no job or income, and children in need,” Lacklen says. “There is such a high population of kids and so many families who are struggling to make ends meet. They may not be homeless, but they may have only one job in the household, and the other person has lost theirs, and the one job may be for a minimum wage. They should be able to celebrate Thanksgiving just like the rest of us.”

Ken Conrad, another co-founder of Community Tables and chairman of Libby Hill Seafood Restaurants, says the needs of hungry people in the region are greater than ever.

The collapse of the economy in 2008 led to massive unemployment, including the loss of jobs in the textile and tobacco industries that are “gone forever,” and the exodus overseas of jobs in the local furniture industry, says Conrad, who also serves as chairman of the National Restaurant Association.

Guilford and Rockingham counties have been particularly hard hit, as has Forsyth County, and unemployment rates in the region are among the highest in the state, he says.

A tradition of giving back

Inspired by a Christmas meal that the late Marc Freiberg, owner of Ham’s Restaurants, had provided for years to people in need, Community Tables was launched in 1986 as an annual community project by the now-defunct Guilford County Restaurant Association.

Initially, volunteers prepared about 200 Thanksgiving dinners at the Salvation Army, cooking whole turkeys in pit cookers in the organization’s parking lot in downtown Greensboro.

After three years, unable to feed the growing number of hungry people in the community who otherwise would not have had a Thanksgiving dinner, Community Tables moved production of its Thanksgiving meals to Potter’s House, the community kitchen operated by Greensboro Urban Ministry.

And last year, thanks to a generous offer from the City of Greensboro, Community Tables moved its operation to the kitchen at the Greensboro Coliseum.

Anna Freiberg, who is Marc Freiburg’s daughter and operates Bender’s Tavern, continues to serve about 1,000 Christmas dinners a year at the restaurant to people in need.

That effort, supported by Community Tables and by donations to the Thanksgiving/Holiday Fund that donors may earmark to support the Christmas meal, continues the tradition that the Freiberg family has spearheaded for decades in the Jewish community to serve Christmas dinner to Christians in need.

Volunteers and donors giving back

Community Tables truly is a community effort.

Through its Thanksgiving/Holiday Fund, Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro raises about $20,000 a year that Community Tables uses to buy food to serve about 3,000 meals a year.

Roughly 300 volunteers a year sign up on Facebook, at ThanksgivingHolidayFundGSO, to prepare Thanksgiving dinner, working either during the 11 a.m.-to-6 p.m. shift the day before Thanksgiving, or during the 5 a.m.-to-9:30 a.m. shift on Thanksgiving Day.

Separate courses for the meals are prepared at a handful of locations, including Victory Junction, a camp in Randleman for kids with serious illnesses, which cooks 1,200 pounds of boneless turkey breasts, and Painted Plate Catering in Greensboro, which prepares the gravy and stuffing.

Volunteers deliver those separate courses to the kitchen at Greensboro Coliseum, where other volunteers carve the turkeys; prepare mashed potatoes, green beans, and candied yams; package portions of those foods and cranberry sauce into boxes; and cut slices of pumpkin pies that have been purchased and put them into individual containers.

Then volunteers from churches and nonprofits partnering with Community Tables pick up the meals and either serve them at their own facilities or deliver them to people at their homes.

Meals on Wheels and Senior Resources, for example, deliver the Thanksgiving dinner to elderly shut-ins, while Triad Health Project delivers it to people with HIV/AIDS.

Delancey Street Foundation, a residential self-help organization for substance abusers, ex-convicts, homeless and others who have hit hard times, serves the meals to families at its facility.

Summerfield United Methodist Church provides the meals for people who pick them up at the church.

And other churches and nonprofits typically request Thanksgiving dinners from Community Tables.

Conrad himself drives his company’s refrigerated truck to pick up the cooked turkeys at Victory Junction and deliver them to the kitchen at Greensboro Coliseum.

“It gives me personal satisfaction,” he says. “If you feed one person who was not going to eat, then it’s all worth while.”

A gathering for family

Several years ago, Conrad and Lacklen recognized that families in need typically were not turning up at shelters and other facilities that were serving the Thanksgiving dinner prepared by volunteers for Community Tables.

“The original intent was to feed the homeless,” Conrad says. “There are a lot of needy families, including children, who would not go to a homeless shelter for Thanksgiving. It’s just not an atmosphere conducive to kids.”

So he and Lacklen looked for community partners that would serve meals to families and children, along with homeless individuals, at their own facilities.

Starting in 2012, Congregational United Church of Christ has partnered with Community Tables to serve about 300 meals at its fellowship hall.

Volunteers provide flowers and tablecloths for the tables, and serve as waiters. And families often dress up for the occasion.

“We’re trying to provide a family atmosphere,” Lacklen says. “One woman had tears in her eyes. She said she had finally found a place where she was treated with a level of dignity and respect, and she could be proud in front of her kids.”

Community Tables also has provided many other families with a tradition of giving back at the holidays.

“We have a lot of the same volunteers year after year,” Lacklen says. “It’s part of their holiday tradition, a way people can share every year. They give up their Thanksgiving mornings to do it.”

And some individuals and families who are the recipients of the meals from Community Tables return in future years as volunteers to prepare the meals for other people in need.

Conrad says Community Tables plans to grow and serve more people by partnering with other churches and organizations that want to serve Thanksgiving dinner to families and individuals at their facilities, particularly in East Greensboro, Southeast Greensboro and predominantly minority neighborhoods.

Providing dignity, building community

For many years, volunteers and partner agencies were responsible for raising the funds Community Tables needed to buy food for the Thanksgiving dinner it prepares. Some years, especially in tough economic times, raising money was a particular challenge, but donors in the community always came through.

In recent years, Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro has handled fundraising for Community Tables, allowing its volunteers and partner agencies to focus on preparing, serving and delivering the meals.

Donors may support the Thanksgiving dinner through a contribution to the Thanksgiving/Holiday Fund, and also may designate that some or all of their gift support the Christmas dinner.

A donation of $5 allows a hungry person in the community to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings.

Community Tables “makes our community stronger,” Lacklen says. “There are a lot of kids who don’t get meals. We’re trying to provide meals in a lot of different venues so we reach as many people as possible.”

Conrad says that in addition to providing a holiday dinner for people in need, Community Tables gives them a sense of promise.

“You always have to have hope,” he says. “Things like this just give people hope, that there is a brighter tomorrow.”

Nonprofit news roundup, 11.14.14

New role for Bullard at Inter-Faith Food Shuttle

Jill Bullard, CEO and co-founder of the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle in Raleigh, will shift her role early next year from day-to-day operations at the 25-year-old nonprofit to community development, long-range change in the food system, advocacy and strategic fund development.

Bullard will continue to report directly to the board of directors, which has created the new position of executive director that also will report directly to the board and be responsible for daily operations, including managing staff, delivering programs and services, managing finances, and strategy for marketing and development.

The board’s personnel committee is beginning a search for the new executive director.

NC New Schools gets $20 million federal grant

NC New Schools has won a $20 million federal grant to develop new early college opportunities for students in rural communities.

Final approval of the funding hinges on NC New Schools securing commitments totaling $1 million from non-government funders, with pledges totaling $500,000 due by Dec. 10 and the remaining $500,000 required within the first six months of the program.

An additional $3.2 million in funding will be raised jointly over the five-year project by NC New Schools and participating districts and states.

 Five North Carolina counties are prospective partners in the initiative — Duplin, Harnett, Hertford, Rutherford and Surry.

Out-of-state partners are in Illinois, Mississippi, South Carolina and a fourth state partner to be sought from proposals.

Young, single, non-religious women generous

Young single women without a religious affiliation give two-and-a-half times more money to charity than do middle age and older single women are not religiously affiliated, and twice as much as young, single women who are religiously affiliated but attend service infrequently, a new study says.

Those women also give twice as much as their unaffiliated male peers, and they give twice as much to organizations identified as non-religious they do to organizations identified as religious, says Women Give 2014, a study from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

U.S. foundations give record-high $52 billion

Giving by the 86,192 foundations in the U.S. totaled a record-high $52 billion in 1012, Foundation Center says in its Key Facts on U.S. Foundations.

The annual research study says those foundations held $715 billion in assets and it estimates giving in 2013 totaled $54.7 billion and likely will grow ahead of inflation in 2014, with independent and family foundations growing at a higher rate than other types of foundations.

Donor advised funds post record-high grants, gifts

Grants from donor advised funds to qualified charities totaled a record-high $9.66 billion in 2013, up 12.6 percent from 2012, says the 2014 Donor-Advised Fund Report from the National Philanthropic Trust.

Total charitable assets at donor advised funds grew nearly 20 percent to $53.74 billion, while contributions to donor advised funds totaled a record-high $17.28 billion, up 23.5 percent.

The U.S. was home to 217,367 donor advised fund accounts, with one of every three donor advised funds created in the last seven years.

The average size of a donor advised fund account totaled a record-high $247,217, up 13.4 percent.

Wealthy donors give $26.3 billion

Wealthy donors in seven regions of the world gave $26.3 billion in gifts of $1 million or more in 2013, says the Million Dollar Donors Report from Coutts in association with the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Thirty-four percent of the total value of all gifts of $1 million or more supported high education, which received 43 percent of the total value of million-dollar gifts in the U.S.

Overall, million-dollar giving in the U.S. grew $3 billion to nearly $17 billion — its highest level since 2008.

Investment returns grow for operating charities

Investment returns for 60 operating charities with a total of $24.3 billion in assets grew to an average of 15.1 percent in fiscal 2013, up from 11.7 percent in fiscal 2012, according to the FY2013 Common Fund Benchmarks Study of Operating Charities.

Cook named Girls Scouts CEO

Lane Cook, vice president for advancement at Alexander Youth Network in Charlotte, has been named CEO of Charlotte-based Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont.

Autism Society events raise $430,000

A series of run-walk events hosted this fall by the Autism Society of North Carolina in Greensboro, Asheville and Raleigh raised over $430,000 for families affected by autism in North Carolina.

Three North Carolina communities join effort to end homelessness

Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, Greensboro and High Point, and Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are among 67 communities in the U.S.  that Community Solutions has selected to participate in Zero: 2016, a national campaign to end veteran homelessness by December 2015 and chronic homelessness by December 2016.

Legal Services in Charlotte expanding support for veterans

Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, which for the past two years has offered civil legal assistance to low-income veterans in Mecklenburg County, has received support from United Way of Central Carolinas to expand its services to veterans in Cabarrus and Union counties.

Salvation Army in Winston-Salem launches Red Kettle Campaign

The Salvation Army in Greater Winston-Salem has kicked off its Annual Red Kettle Campaign, aiming to raise $375,000, as well as its Annual Angel Tree Program to help serve 7,000 children in Forsyth, Stokes and Yadkin counties.

Angel Trees, located at 26 sites in the region, invites individuals, churches, civic groups and corporations to adopt children in need and provide them with personalized gifts and necessities.

High Point Boys & Girls Clubs honored

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater High Point has received the NC Honor Award for Program Excellence from the North Carolina Area Council for its “Teens With a Plan” program.

The program provided teen Club members with opportunities to go on college tours, have teen nights, participate in financial literacy programs, and explore career options.

The program was supported through funding from the Staples Foundation, Tannenbaum-Sternberger Foundation, Bank of America Foundation and United Way.

Information session on 2015 Human Race scheduled

Companies and nonprofits that want to participate in The 2015 Human Race, to be hosted by The Volunteer Center and held April 18, 2015, at the Greensboro Coliseum, may attend an information session on November 19 at 5:30 p.m.

Topics include: overview and history of the event, nonprofit team responsibilities, corporate walking team responsibilities, dates to remember, and benefits. To reserve a spot, visit at HRInfoSession.eventbrite.com or call The Volunteer Center at 336.373.1633.

Last year’s event generated over $142,000 for 97 nonprofits, school PTAs and church groups that participated.

Over the past 20  years, the event has raised over $4.1 million for local nonprofits.

Wake Forest volunteers preparing Thanksgiving dinners

More than 150 student, faculty and staff volunteers at Wake Forest University have prepared and are delivering over 400 traditional Thanksgiving dinners to Triad-area residents in need during Turkeypalooza, an annual event hosted by The Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest University.

Stop Hunger Now to hold annual Thanksgiving fundraising dinner

Stop Hunger Now in Raleigh will hold its Thanksgiving fundraising dinner on November 27 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Plates Neighborhood Kitchen at 301 Glenwood Avenue.

Chinese Business Association to celebrate 10th anniversary

The North Carolina Chinese Business Association will celebrate its 10th anniversary at a dinner on November 18.

Speakers include Jean Davis, president and CEO of MCNC; Gina Qiao, senior vice president of Lenovo; and Tony Copeland, partner at Williams Mullen.

The event will be held at the Research Triangle Park Foundation at 12 Davis Drive in  Research Triangle Park.

Different Roads Home to hold fundraiser

Different Roads Home will host its 5th Annual Evening of Hope and Inspiration on November 15 at McGlohan Theater in Charlotte to raise money and awareness for its Jeanne White-Ginder Food Pantry.

Green Chair Project to hold sale

The Green Chair Project will host its year-end fundraiser sale Nov. 20-Nov. 22 at its headquarters at 1853 Capital Blvd. in Raleigh.

Proceeds from the sale of upscale furniture and household items will support the nonprofit’s mission of helping local families move to self-sufficiency and furnish their homes.   

Arneke named interim media-relations director at N.C. A&T.

David Arneke, director of research communications at N.C. A&T State University in Greensboro, has been named interim director of media relations.

Concert to benefit Neuse Riverkeeper

A concert to benefit the Neuse Riverkeeper will be held November 21 at 8 a.m. at RallyPoint Sport Grill in Cary and feature singer and songwriter Pierce Pettis.

GreenNC conference set for December 4 in Raleigh

The North Carolina chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council will hold its 7th annual GreenNC conference on December 4 at the Raleigh Convention Center.

Family Promise moves

Family Promise of Greater Guilford County has moved moved from Starmount Presbyterian Church to the Summit House at 2505 Fairview St. in Greensboro.

Wake Women’s Giving Network gives $120,500

The Women’s Giving Network of Wake County, a program of the North Carolina Community Foundation, awarded $120,500 to four area nonprofits that support women or children, or both.

Awards included $45,000 to InterAct to support victims of domestic violence; $38,500 to Note in the Pocket to help provide clothing to children in need; $27,000 to Haven House Services to provide programs to help struggling youth; and $10,000 to NC Arts in Action to help enrich the lives of children through performing arts.

The Women’s Giving Network, which awarded $100,000, now has awarded a total of $901,500 in eight years.

Winston-Salem Foundation awards scholarships

The Winston-Salem Foundation has named three winners of the 2015 Dean Prim Scholarship, which offers a summer travel program to China and a college scholarship in the amount of $1,500 a year for four consecutive years, and three winners of the AIFS Scholarship, a travel scholarship for the China study program to Dean Prim Scholarship applicants.

Urban Ministries to hold Stone Soup Supper

Urban Ministries of Wake County will host its 10th annual Stone Soup Supper on November 19 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at White Memorial Presbyterian Church in Raleigh.

The event last year raised over $35,000 for the Raleigh nonprofit, which supports 27,000 people a year.

Dress for Success Triangle gets $30,000

Dress for Success Triangle has received a $30,000 gift from Lenovo to support a new program to provide image and career coaching for women who are unemployed or underemployed after leaving the military.

Band TogetherNC picks Kidznotes as 2016 partner

Band Together NC, a Triangle-based organization that uses live music to raise money for nonprofits, has picked Kidznotes as its 2016 nonprofit partner.

Women’s Fund of North Carolina gives $11,500

The Women’s Fund of North Carolina at the North Carolina Community Foundation awarded a total of $11,500 to six organizations.

AT&T, employees, donate clothes to veterans

AT&T and its employees donated winter coats, caps and gloves to support veterans in need in the Triad.

 The items will be distributed by the Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program at Salisbury Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Develop communications workshops for nonprofits

An effective way to build the capacity of nonprofits is through workshops that focus on their communications.

Funders can offer communications workshops to nonprofits they support, while groups of nonprofits can pool their resources to create communications workshops that add value to the operations of all of them.

Nonprofits also can look for donors or funders that want add value to the causes they care about.

The goal of a communications workshop is to help a nonprofit’s staff and board better understand the indispensable role that communications play, and to better handle the way they communicate.

Communication is fundamental to everything a nonprofit does, both externally and internally. That includes delivering programs; running the organization; securing resources; developing partnerships; hiring, managing and retaining staff; recruiting and engaged board members and volunteers; advocating; and working with public officials and the media.

Topics at the workshop could include, for example, how to develop a communications strategy; how to create a short narrative, talking points and “elevator” speech about your organization; how to write web content, news releases, newsletters, an annual report and case studies; how to frame marketing and fundraising materials; how to train your board and staff to communicate more effectively; how to build relationships with the news media; and how to handle big announcements and crises.

Communications is the heart of nonprofit work. Offering workshops to help nonprofits communicate more effectively is an investment that will pay invaluable dividends for the causes you care about.

Want help?

Philanthropy North Carolina is a consulting practice that provides writing and strategic communications support for nonprofits, foundations, colleges and universities, and others working for social good.

To find out more about hiring Philanthropy North Carolina to work with your organization to improve your communications, contact Todd Cohen at 919.272.2051 or toddcohen49@gmail.com.

Collaboration seen as key to improving youth literacy

By Todd Cohen

[Note: This article was written for Triangle Community Foundation.]

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — At age three, Travis Mitchell got a first-hand lesson in the value of literacy.

Growing up in southeast Raleigh, he says, he spent many afternoons with his grandmother while his mother, a teacher, worked to earn credentials so she could get a counseling job in the Wake County public schools.

Although his grandmother had not gone to college, she “created an environment of learning,” he says. “There were books around I was required to use. There were conversations I was required to know something and share something about.”

Enriching kids with a culture of reading before they start school is critical to prepare them to succeed in school, in the workplace and in life, according to Mitchell and two other education leaders who spoke on October 9 to the Triangle Donors Forum.

The Donors Forum, hosted by Triangle Community Foundation and held at the offices of Research Triangle Park Foundation, spotlighted youth literacy, which is a focus of Triangle Community Foundation’s “People and Places” initiative to invest in pressing community needs in the region.

The challenge

Bob Saffold, who moderated the session and is vice president of the Smarter Learning Group, a national education consulting firm, said two-thirds of third graders in the U.S. do not read proficiently, a share that rises to 80 percent among third graders who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch at school.

In North Carolina, he said, 66 percent of fourth graders do not read proficiently, a share that rises to 78 percent among those who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.

According to newly released state data, one in eight of last year’s third graders throughout the state either were retained in third grade this year or are in a special program to transition to fourth grade, Saffold said.

In the Triangle, the share of last year’s third graders who were retained or are in special transition programs this year total 18 percent in Durham County, 13 percent in Orange County, 10 percent in Wake County, and 6.5 percent each in Johnston County and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools, he said.

Yet despite huge gaps in reading levels between low-income children and those in middle-income and more affluent families, and between what those two groups of children achieve in life, Saffold said, “it’s within our capacity to make a difference.”

Starting early

Communities in Schools of Wake County in recent years has expanded its focus to children before they start school.

“We were beginning programs in kindergarten,” Mitchell says. “We were missing something. Students were already behind.”

To bridge the gap between students who were falling behind and those who were entering kindergarten prepared to read, Communities in Schools launched programs aimed at “preventing students getting behind in the first place,” he says.

In partnership with the federally-funded Head Start pre-school program and with Meredith College, for example, Communities in Schools retrofitted the SAS Learning Center in the Kentwood community to take a “holistic approach to invest in an earlier portion of the pipeline” of students headed for kindergarten, Mitchell says.

Long-term studies have found that students who participate in pre-school programs are more likely to graduate, be employed, earn a significantly higher median annual income, own a home, have a savings account and be arrested less often, he says.

“If we’re going to change the trajectory of children, we have to start early,” said Mitchell, who joined Communities in Schools as president four years ago after a career in broadcast journalism.

Teaching, tutoring, professional development

The Hill Center in Durham takes a three-pronged approach to youth literacy, Denise Morton, director of outreach at The Hill Center and former chief academic officer for the Orange County Schools who has a doctorate in education leadership, told the Donors Forum.

With one teacher for every four students, it operates a private school that provides three hours of instruction a day in reading, math and written language to 170 children from 77 other schools in the Triangle.

It provides tutoring after-school and in the summer for students from public schools in Wake, Durham and Orange counties and from the Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools.

And it provides professional development for teachers who want to learn its specialized technique, known as the Hill Reading Achievement Program, for reading intervention.

Over the last six years, the Hill Center has served over 12,000 educators, including 125 teachers from 13 school districts in the state who are putting those techniques into practice for the first time this year.

And the Hill Reading Achievement Program has been replicated in Geneva, El Salvador, and Colorado Springs.

The Hill Center “wants to spread understanding and services to help children learn to read and read well,” Morton said.

Collaborating on early literacy

Improving the way young children and students learn to read requires careful collaboration among public schools, nonprofits and funding organizations, the experts at the Donors Forum said.

And effective collaboration, they said, requires changing the thinking about reading programs; securing funding over multiple years from multiple funders; and collecting and sharing data to measure the impact of early-intervention reading programs.

Schools and school districts “often have real difficulty engaging with community partners” and “sometimes have a real tin ear on collaboration and public relations,” said Saffold, a former teacher and school administrator whose father also an educator.

Mitchell said “political gridlock and partisan debates” often can stifle innovation. “The environment is very risk-averse,” both at the district level and often at the school level, he said.

So collaborating with schools requires that nonprofits “change our own mindset.”

The best way to engage a school system, Mitchell said, “is to come in willing to listen to possible gaps and how to help, and bring in resources to make it easy for the principal or superintendent to engage.”

And to be effective, he said, partnerships require taking risks and working hard.

“Collaboration is messy,” he said. “Nobody wants to talk about what happens when collaboration doesn’t work. You need a willingness to fail in order to succeed. If you don’t meet your goals, retool, don’t stop.”

Adding value

Morton, who was a special education teacher for 14 years, mainly in Alamance County, said efforts to partner on youth literacy programs with public schools should begin with identifying what the schools need and want and then finding ways to work with the schools to address those needs.

Understanding the larger context of policy and funding discussions and decisions at the state legislature is key to avoid being “left in a silo,” she said, as is understanding “what you’re walking into in a school district. Every one is different.”

It also is important in approaching a school system “to know the right person to get to at the central office,” she said, “There are layers of people. You have to know who has the power or you spin wheels.”

Data essential

Equally essential is agreeing in the partnership contract with schools to gather and share data on the progress students are making.

Saffold that “one of the key barriers to effective collaboration with school systems is around the systems’ reluctance to share data needed to track progress and identify gaps in programs to tweak programs,” he said.

Morton agreed.

“It’s real important we have data,” she said. “People won’t pay attention unless there’s a proven track record.”

Mitchell said data not only are essential for funders and partners but also can make a big difference among the staff of the agencies partnering with the schools.

“If you can begin to explain to staff how effective they’re being with the use of their time,” by the end of the year they “can see how they really changed the game for their students,” he said. “Our theory of change is that programs don’t change people, relationships do.”

So having data that measure the progress of a collaborative effort has helped “increase morale and momentum for the organization internally,” he said.

Going to scale

Fostering a culture of collaboration is essential to the success of youth literacy programs, the experts told the Donors Forum.

“We make every effort to connect with as many organizations as possible with a similar focus,” Morton said.

Mitchell said funders want to know in advance what the “return on investment” will be and are looking for metrics that will gauge the “collective community impact” of their funding.

They also want to invest in partnerships that can be expanded and already have the “administrative capacity” to expand, Mitchell said.

Taking such programs “to scale,” he said, requires funding from three to five funders over multiple years.

Morton said the least successful initiatives are those that involve funding for one year only, known as “one and done.”

Collaboration essential

Schools and school districts cannot on their own improve student performance in reading, Saffold said.

“We need to craft and implement a set of community solutions to improve literacy,” he said. “There’s a major role for nonprofits and foundations to get involved to move the needle on literacy.”

Nonprofit news roundup, 11.07.14

Prevention Partners launches statewide health initiative

Prevention Partners has launched a statewide initiative to change workplaces and schools across the state  through healthier policies, benefits and environments.

The new Healthy Together NC initiative, which includes the state Department of Commerce, Center for Healthy NC, and N.C. Hospital Association as partners, has the goal of transforming at least 10 major employers in all 100 North Carolina counties by 2025.

Forsyth Medical Center Auxiliary turns 50

To mark its 50th anniversary, the Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center Auxiliary is donating $50,000 to “Healing in the Arts” for a project in the courtyard of Forsyth Medical Center between the north and west tower.

The Auxiliary, which also funds $20,000 in scholarships each year for health care students at Forsyth Technical Community College, has contributed over three million volunteer hours and over $4 million in gifts since it was formed in 1964.

The Auxiliary is financially responsible for the three gift shops at Forsyth Medical Center, newborn photography and employee fundraisers.

Most funds it raises are returned to Forsyth Medical Center through special projects.

Members of the Auxiliary have volunteered their time at Forsyth Medical Center by visiting patients to offer emotional support and ask about non-medical needs; serving at reception desks and information centers; giving patients and visitors directions and helping them find their way; transporting patients throughout the hospital; and assisting in the hospital gift shop and making welcome deliveries to patient rooms.

MCNC taps Davis as president and CEO

Jean Davis, former chief operating officer and executive director of business, industry and trade at the the N.C. Department of Commerce, has been named president and CEO of MCNC, the nonprofit operator of the North Carolina Research and Education Network.

McPherson named development director at ECU med school

Jeff McPherson, community chapter president for the Northwest North Carolina and Surry County chapters of the American Red Cross, has been named  director of development for the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University in Greenville.

Lawson leaves N.C. Symphony for Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

Mary McFadden Lawson, vice president for philanthropy at the North Carolina Symphony, has been named vice president for philanthropy at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

Mills joins Carolinas Healthcare System as development officer

Merrill McCarty Mills, development officer at the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, has joined Carolinas Healthcare System in Charlotte as development officer.

Schaaf new president of N.C. Medical Society

Robert E. Schaaf, a radiologist and former president of Wake Radiology, has been begun a term as the 161st president of the North Carolina Medical Society.

Community in Schools of Durham names development director

Nick DiColandrea, director of MissionCorps North Carolina, has been named director of development at Communities In Schools of Durham.

Heart Association event raises $450,000

The American Heart Association raised over $450,000 for heart disease and stroke research and prevention education programs, and attracted nearly 4,000 supporters, at the 2014 Tanglewood Heart and Stroke Walk, sponsored by Wake Forest Baptist Health on October 18.

TROSA opening second thrift store

Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers, or TROSA, is opening a 100,000-square-foot thrift store in Oxford Commons Shopping Center at 500 N. Roxboro St. in Durham.

TROSA also operates a thrift store and custom picture-framing shop at 1703 E. Geer St in Durham.

Enloe High School aims to raise $75,000 for charity

Enloe High School in Raleigh, which raised over $63,000 last year for SAFEChild, a nonprofit that works to prevent child abuse, has set a goal of raising $75,000 for Inter-Faith Food Shuttle at its Charity Ball on December 6.

Enloe’s Student Council, which organizes the event, has launched a blog about the Charity Ball and is using social media to publicize it and running a Homeroom Wars campaign that aims to raise $15,000, up $10,000 last year. It also has created a “Mobile Tastiness Machine” modeled on the Food Shuttle’s that it is using at events such as football games and concerts to raise funds.

Students also are hosting private dinner parties at their homes to raise money, and Enloe will hold a school-wide fast on November 21 to promote the event, while class councils have volunteered to glean fields and distribute groceries to seniors.

Gala to benefit Bee Mighty

Frenzel Properties, a residential real estate firm in Charlotte, is a sponsor of the Bee Something for Bee Mighty gala on November 15 at Charlotte Country Club.

The event benefits Bee Mighty, a nonprofit that provides financial support for medical therapy for children born prematurely following their stay in a neonatal intensive care unit.

SleepOutChallenge scheduled

The Bethesda Center for the Homeless will hold a #SleepOutChallenge event in downtown Winston-Salem on November 21 to raise awareness around hunger and homelessness in the local area, and to raise funds to support the organizations work in the community.

Lowes Foods holding food drive

Lowes Foods is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its annual “Friends Feeding Friends” food drive through December 31 at its stores in the Carolinas and Virginia.

The drive has provided a total of over 15 meals and is on track to have collected a total of 20 million pound in 2015.

General Mills is donating $20,000 to the drive.

Fundraising event for WakeMed Children’s Hospital

The WakeMed Foundation will hold the 9th Annual Memories for Marcus Fundraiser on December 3 to benefit the WakeMed Children’s Hospital.

The event will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Daily Planet Cafe inside the Nature Research Center of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

Truliant turns to social media to decide charities to support

Truliant Federal Credit Union in Winston-Salem is inviting visitors to its Facebook to vote for 20 charities that will receive $1,000 in grant funding to support operating, programmatic or capacity-building needs.

Truliant has selected 45 grant proposals from a total of 103 nonprofits, and put them in a voting app on Facebook. Voting ends November 21.

In six years, Truliant has donated roughly $160,000 to 150 nonprofits.

Biogen Idec to sponsor North Carolina Science Festival

The Biogen Idec Foundation will be presenting sponsor for the next three years of the North Carolina Science Festival

In 2014, 333,789 North Carolinians in 95 counties participated in the Festival, which included 401 public events and 329 school-based events and is produced by Morehead Planetarium and Science Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

With the grant from the Biogen Idec Foundation, the Festival aims to increase participation to 400,000 North Carolinians in 2015 and to reach one million residents by 2020; expand its geographic reach to all 100 counties in the state; and offer a Festival event within a 30-minute drive of every North Carolinian.

Schwab Charitable grants total over $4.6 billion

Schwab Charitable, a national donor advised fund, says it has received over $10 billion and made over $4.6 billion in grants on behalf of its donors since it was formed 15 years ago.

In the fiscal year that began July 1, 2014, grants already have grown 55 percent, compared to the same period last year, it says, and it expects grants for the fiscal year that ends June 30, 2015, will exceed $1 billion.