Forsyth United Way focuses on collaboration

By Todd Cohen

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — In 2007, when the high school graduation rate in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools was only 70 percent, a community-wide collaborative effort was launched to increase it to 90 percent by 2018. In the school year that ended June 30, the graduation rate had grown to 83.5 percent.

And in 2006, a separate community-wide collaborative effort was formed to reduce chronic homelessness. Last year, chronic homelessness had been reduced by 58 percent.

A key leader in both efforts has been United Way of Forsyth County, which increasingly is looking for collaborative solutions to address urgent and often intertwined problems involving health, education and financial stability.

“Those three things are interconnected in people’s lives,” says Cindy Gordineer, United Way president and CEO. “For us to try to address them in isolation doesn’t really get to the level of the kinds of breaking down of those barriers that people in challenged circumstances need.”

As it begins its annual fall fundraising campaign, Gordineer says, United Way’s overall strategy is to “become more focused and targeted with investments we’re making to get deeper and look more comprehensively at those within the community who face the kinds of barriers our donors are expecting us to address.”

Chaired by Cantey Alexander, regional president for BB&T, the campaign is part of a larger year-round fundraising effort that also includes grants and major gifts and aims this year to generate about $20 million, roughly the total it raised last year.

A key focus of this year’s campaign will be to reach new contributors, including retirees and people who do not work in large, traditional workplaces such entrepreneurs, small business owners and people who work remotely.

The campaign, which last year received contributions from over 30,000 donors, also will be targeting “leadership” donors who give $1,000 or more, and “Tocqueville” donors who give $10,000 or more.

Last year, the campaign generated support from 261 Tocqueville donors.

For the second straight year, BB&T has pledged $100,000 to match gifts by women who give at least $500 and agree to increase their annual gift to $1,000 over five years.

That Women’s Leadership Circle matching program, launched six years ago and previously supported by Reynolds American, last year had 1,150 members.

United Way also has four individual “Cornerstone” donors who each gives at least $100,000 a year.

And over the last three to five years, grants and major gifts outside the annual campaign from individuals and institutions have accounted for 15 percent to 20 percent of the total resources that United Way raises throughout the year. Those gifts include a 10-year, $2 million pledge in 2013 from Andy Brown, former chair of United Way’s board and owner of COR365, a data-storage company.

“We know there are other individuals like Andy, and corporations, that want to invest more deeply in some outcomes they’d like to see that align with United Way’s mission,” Gordineer says. “We’ve been able to demonstrate progress and outcomes, and measure them in a way that individual donors and corporations and foundations want to see.”

An emerging effort in United Way’s larger strategy involves early discussions with neighborhoods that face “more barriers to success” and “need more partnerships to help remove those barriers,” Gordineer says.

“We are looking at how we work with neighborhoods, potential partners and other community organizations to pilot more comprehensive solutions in those neighborhoods or areas that really do face more obstacles,” she says.

The first pilots, likely to involve a “continuum of services” that are “place-based,”  could begin in 2015.

They will be part of United Way’s larger and ongoing community-wide strategy to address critical needs, Gordineer says.

“We are able to look at those community-level issues that face our community,” she says, “and bring resources and partners and strategies, and align all of those to address the kinds of issues that no one agency can address.”

Nonprofit news roundup, 09.19.14

High Point University gets $35.1 million in gifts and pledges

High Point University received $24.3 million in cash gifts in fiscal 2013-14, up from $9.1 million a year earlier, while pledges fell to $10.8 million from $28.2 million, and enrollment grew to 4,300 from 4,000.

Since 2005, the school has raised over $225 million in contributions and invested over $1 billion in growing the institution, while undergraduate enrollment has climbed from 1,450.

Belk Endowment gives $2.3 million

The John M. Belk Endowment has awarded $2.3 million to Central Piedmont Community College, both in Charlotte, to expand its new Developmental Education Program that works to moves students from remedial to college courses more quickly and helps retain students who otherwise might drop out.

Starting in 2014, the Endowment plans to award over $13 million in grants a year to programs and institutions aligned with its mission creating “pathways to prosperity” for underrepresented students by increasing their access to and completion of higher educational opportunities in North Carolina.

Durham schools’ nutrition program wins United Way innovation grant

Child Nutrition Services of the Durham Public Schools has won the $50,000 award from United Way of the Greater Triangle through its Social Innovation Challenge — 100,000 Kids Hungry No More.

A self-funded operation that does not receive funding from the Durham  schools, city or county of Durham, or the state, Child Nutrition Services will use the funds to outfit five schools with equipment that will allow for breakfast in the classroom, “second-chance” breakfast, “grab-and-go” meals, and food kiosks.

Key goals of the program are to enable more students to receive a morning meal, eliminate the stigma associated with “free-and-reduced-cost meals,” and directly affect educational success.

National studies show that students who eat breakfast miss 1.5 fewer days of school a year, score 17.5 percent higher on math tests, and are 20 percent more likely to graduate from high school, United Way says.

The Social Innovation Challenge was a five-month competition to develop new ideas to address childhood hunger in the Triangle.

From forty applications, 12 were selected as semi-finalists, and four became finalists.  The finalists participated in six weeks of education and mentoring to improve their ideas.

The other finalists included Grocers on Wheels, Pennies 4 Progress and Yes2Fresh.

The finalists presented their final pitches to a panel of judges during United Way’s third annual CEO Sleep Out on Sept. 11, 2014.

Durham Public Schools also won a special $5,000 CEO Selects Award given by the executives and community leaders who participated in the Sleep Out.

‘Foundation Fair’ set for eastern North Carolina

Nonprofits in eastern North Carolina are invited to meet representatives of foundations from throughout the state at the 2014 Foundation Fair on October 14 in New Bern.

The event, hosted each year by the North Carolina Network of Grantmakers, is designed to give nonprofits an opportunity to interact with and learn about foundations in the state and find foundations that have missions similar to their own.

The Foundation Fair, to be held at the Riverfront Convention Center, will include a session from 10 a.m. to noon, and another from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Each nonprofit may attend only one session. To participate, nonprofits must register through the North Carolina Network of Grantmakers for either the morning or the afternoon session.

Minor promoted to VP for advancement for UNC system

Tim Minor, associate vice president for university advancement at General Administration for the 18-campus University of North Carolina system, has been named vice president for university advancement.

Before joining UNC General Administration a year ago, Minor served as associate vice chancellor at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, where his roles were senior academic and administrative officer and chief operating officer of development, specializing in major gifts, annual fund, corporate and foundation giving, and gift planning management.

Gray named president of Weaver Foundation

Kevin Gray, interim president of the Weaver Foundation in Greensboro, has been named president, effective immediately.

He has served in the interim role since the retirement of Richard “Skip” Moore on Jan. 1, 2014.  Moore had served as president since July 1999.

Gray joined the Foundation in 2004 as a volunteer. In 2005, he worked part-time while also serving as coordinator for the newly formed Greensboro Nonprofit Consortium, and became a full-time employee in 2007. In 2013, he was appointed vice president and program officer.

National Humanities Center names new president

Robert D. Newman, dean of the College of Humanities at the University of Utah, has been named president and director of the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park, effective July 1, 2015.

He will succeed Geoffrey G. Harpham, who has led the Center since 2003 and recently announced his retirement.

At the University of Utah, where he has served as Humanities dean since 2001, Newman also has served as associate vice president for interdisciplinary studies, special advisor to the senior vice president for academic affairs, and professor of English.

Family Dollar gives $458,000 to Feeding America

Family Dollar Stores in Charlotte has given $458,000 to hunger-relief charity Feeding America. The total, including donations from Family Dollar and customers at over 8,200 of its stores, will provide over 4.5 million meals for children and families in need.

Three nonprofits receive Stewardship Awards

Financial Pathways of the Piedmont in Winston-Salem, El Futuro in Durham, and Legal Services of Southern Piedmont in Charlotte received 2014 Nonprofit Sector Stewardship Awards from the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits.

Community School of the Arts gets $200,000

Community School of the Arts in Charlotte has received anonymous gifts totaling $200,000 in honor of Carol Cuthbertson Hamrick,  its newest lifetime board member.

The funds will be used to create a $200,000 quasi-endowment, its largest endowment ever, to provide for the long-term support of the School. And if the school ever decides to establish a permanent building or home, it can use the corpus of the quasi-endowment to support that effort.

The School also honored Hamrick and three other lifetime board members – founder Henry Bridges, George Campbell and Harriette Line Thompson — at an event at the home of Scott and Jenny Stevens.

Old Salem gets $150,000

Old Salem Museums & Gardens has received $150,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Old Salem will use the funds to help transform its 1794 Boys’ School into an exhibit building and educational experience.

Thompson Child & Focus gets $10,000

The Rite Aid Foundation has given $10,000 grant to Thompson Child & Family Focus, a nonprofit in Matthews that supports at-risk children and families through therapy, education and care.

Charlotte-area lawyers, advocates donate time

Roughly 550 lawyers and advocates gave over 6,400 pro-bono hours over the past year to the Council for Children’s Rights, Legal Aid of North Carolina, and Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, serving nearly 1,300 local children, families and individuals in need in the region.

On September 16, the three agencies hosted the third annual Pro Bono Awards at Foundation for the Carolinas. The event included a special presentation to honor Sarah Parker, former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, for her commitment to access to justice in the state.

Awards and winners included:

* Distinguished Pro Bono Service Award, a lifetime achievement honor — Larry J. Dagenhart of McGuireWoods.

* Outstanding Firm Service Award — Katten Muchin Rosenman; Conrad Trosch & Kemmy; and Norelli Law.

* Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award — Sheri A. Harrison; Stephen D. Allred of McGuireWoods; and Landon S. Eustache of Hunton & Williams.

* Outstanding Volunteer Service Award — Harriet “Sis” Kaplan for over five years of service in the Custody Advocacy Program at the Council for Children’s Rights.

Greensboro United Way honors four philanthropists

United Way of Greater Greensboro honored four philanthropists at its 4th Annual Women in Philanthropy Luncheon, which was held on September 3 at Grandover Resort and Conference Center and attracted over 700 individuals.

Recipients of the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award were Royce and Jane Reynolds, while recipients of the 2014 Legacy Award were Phyllis Shavitz and Joy Shavitz.

Bike event to benefit MS Society

The Greater Carolinas Chapter of the National MS Society will hold its 29th annual Bike MS: VF Corporation & Wrangler Tour to Tanglewood on September 27 and 28.

Presented by B&G Foods and beginning at Tanglewood Park in Clemmons, the event will include over 1,500 cyclists and 500 volunteers and is expected to raise $1 million.

Nine nonprofits get pro-bono work from Excalibur

Nine nonprofits have received over $40,000 worth of pro-bono direct-marketing services from Excalibur Direct Marketing in Winston-Salem.

Volunteers to paint, fix up homes

Community Housing Solutions in Greensboro will hold its 4th Annual Paint The Town in the Southmont and Spring Valley neighborhoods on Saturday.

Over 140 volunteers from area businesses and faith organizations will provide low-painting, minor home repairs and landscaping for low-income homeowners.

Hospice of Davidson County to train new volunteers

Hospice of Davidson County will offer training sessions for new volunteers from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on October 7, 8 and 9 at the Administrative Building on its campus at 200 Hospice Way in Lexington.

Women in prison and their children focus of partnership

Our  Children’s Place, a Chapel Hill nonprofit that supports children of incarcerated parents, and Mothers and Their Children, a family resources center at the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women in Raleigh, are teaming up to expand a program a community outreach and education program at the nonprofit.

Women in the correctional institution use donated yarn to handcraft hats, baby outfits, blankets and other items. Those items, along with items handcrafted by community members, are displayed at awareness events throughout the year.

Donations received in exchange for a handcrafted item will be used to support the awareness and outreach activities of Our Children’s Place, and to help with the transportation needs of the children involved in Mothers and Their Children.

One of the MATCH programs brings children of incarcerated women to the prison to visit with their mothers. Inside the prison, MATCH runs a visitation center for mothers and their children to share.

Realtors give supplies to Greensboro school

Members of the Community Service Committee of the Greensboro Regional Realtors Association donated 1,600 composition books and 800 folders for children at Hunter Elementary School in Greensboro.

Transparency can help build trust

Nonprofits and foundations often talk about the need for transparency in the charitable world but can fall far short of it themselves.

Whether or not your charity claims to be transparent, you should make it easy for anyone — individual donors, institutional funders, other nonprofits, news reporters, the general public — to find basic information about your organization.

Your website should explain your mission, programs and basic financial data, along with links to the Form 990 tax return you file with the Internal Revenue Services.

It also should include the names, titles, phone numbers and email addresses of the members of your staff, as well as the names, outside affiliations and similar contact information for members of your board.

You also should consider posting short biographies and photos of your staff and board members. Visitors to you website, particularly prospective donors, grantees and other clients and partners, want to know who they are doing business with.

And when anyone contacts your organization, make sure you respond quickly. You do not want to lose a potential donor, funder, volunteer or partner, or leave a reporter thinking you are trying to hide something.

When you distribute a news release, be sure to include key details. If you are announcing you have been awarded a grant or gift, for example, don’t simply describe it as “generous,” but how much it is for and who is making it.

Making basic information about your organization easily accessible is an important step in building the trust you need to do your job and advance your mission.

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

Museum of Art concludes $50 million campaign

By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — Based on a pilot program in a handful of counties, nearly 300 seventh-graders at 46 middle schools in 24 counties throughout the state now are learning about history, English language arts, science and math by studying digitized versions of art from the North Carolina Museum of Art, with the help of a curriculum and training the Museum developed with and for teachers.

Supporting the “Art of Collaboration” initiative are funds the Museum raised in a just-concluded capital campaign that generated a record-high $50.6 million, exceeding its goal by $600,000.

Roughly half the total raised help boost the Museum’s endowment, which had plunged in value during the recession to $14 million in 2006 and now totals $31 million.

The endowment, which remains smaller than those of peer institutions such as the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Fla., and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Va., supports operations, education programs, exhibitions, art purchases, lectures and symposiums.

Chaired by Ken O’Herron, president of O’Herron and Co., the campaign generated $15.7 million in deferred gifts through bequests and annuities from 28 individuals, including $14.5 million to the endowment, three-fourths of which is restricted by donors to specific uses.

Kathryn Yandell, senior director of major gifts at the Museum, says key goals of the campaign were to secure deferred gifts and strengthen its efforts to develop major gifts and planned gifts.

The campaign also generated $8.85 million to support landscaping around the $73.3 million West Building the Museum opened in April 2010 with public funds, and to sustain and maintain the Museum’s grounds and park.  Funding for the West Building included $15 million from Raleigh and Wake County and the remainder from state appropriations.

The campaign also generated $7.6 million to support the Museum’s $18 million in general operations. Operating with a staff of 150 people, the museum receives 30 percent of its operating funds from the state and 70 percent from private support.

The biggest gifts to the campaign, which enlisted nearly 300 donors, included $9.5 million from an individual who asked to remain anonymous; $2.5 million each from Wells Fargo and the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust; $2 million from the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation; and $1.45 million from the Andrew Mellon Foundation.

With just over 18,000 members, the Museum generates $4 million to $6 million a year in annual revenue, including membership revenue that is main source of its unrestricted funding each year.

The campaign eclipsed the $26 million the Museum raised in the early 2000s in a comprehensive campaign that, unlike the just-ended campaign, included annual fundraising.

While the campaign has ended, the Museum now is trying to raise $400,000 to supplement $1.6 million it received through a state allocation to improve storage space and technology for its collection, which is housed in its East Building that opened in 1983, says Ellen Stone, director of development.

The museum also is looking at possible improvements to its park that might include such amenities as benches, water fountains and a visitor center. The park already is attracting 100,000 visitors a year, while the museum typically attracts 300,000 visitors a year, a number that can grow by 100,000 in years it stages blockbuster exhibitions.

Nonprofit news roundup, 09.12.14

Housing for New Home names executive director

Gretchen Senez, deputy to the CEO at Unity House in Troy, N.Y. , an agency that works to connect the chronically homeless with support services and long-term housing solutions, has been named executive director of Housing for New Hope in Durham, effective October 1.

Senez succeeds Terry Allebaugh, the agency’s founder and executive director, who stepped down on May 31.

Eric Breit, a former development director at Housing for New Hope for five years, returned in June to serve as interim executive director.

High Point United Way sets $4.91 million goal

United Way of Greater High Point has set a goal of raising $4.91 million in its annual campaign that kicked off September 9, up from its $4.75 million goal last year, when it raised $4.86 million.

The one percent increase in the goal “doesn’t reflect the true need in the community, but rather is a reflection of the economic uncertainty and corporate downsizing and changes in local ownership among some of our largest donor entities,” Bobby Smith, United Way president, says in a statement.

Guilford partnership on homelessness serving 28 households

Partners Ending Homelessness, a partner agency of United Way of Greater Greensboro, says the “Housing First” initiative it launched in February is providing access to stable housing to 28 formerly homeless households.

The initiative by the agency, a collaborative effort that includes 80 community partners, was funded in 2013 with a $1 million grant from the Phillips Foundation to address the needs of the chronically homeless.

The agency says it needs to secure roughly $2.5 million over the next four years from public and private sources to expand the program.

Junior Achievement in Greensboro ranks in top 5 in U.S.

Junior Achievement of Central North Carolina ranks in the top five among Junior Achievement chapters throughout the U.S. in every performance category tracked by Junior Achievement USA.

Greensboro-based Junior Achievement, which has expanded throughout Forsyth, Alamance, Rockingham, Randolph, Guilford and Montgomery counties, ranked third in class growth, second in student growth, and fourth in volunteer hours served.

BJH Foundation gives $230,000

BJH Foundation for Senior Services in Greensboro has awarded 24 grants in the Carolinas totaling over $230,000 to help fund programs such as elder day care, congregational nursing and social worker programs, home and community services, guardianship and care management for Jewish older adults.

Funding for the projects supports program expenses for food, mailings, supplies, educational materials, salaries for social workers and nursing staff.

Fund created at Winston-Salem Arts Council

The Endowment Fund of The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County is establishing the James H. and Barbara C. Corrigan Fund in memory of Jim Corrigan, an ardent local arts supporter who died this year and left a bequest to the Endowment Fund.

Corrigan was president of RJR Archer, RJR Foods and Mebane Packaging Company, and was a founder and director of what is now NewBridge Bank.

The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, the first locally established arts council in the United States, awarded $1.9 million in grants in 2013, including $1.68 million in organizational support grants to 19 funded partners.

Arts and community groups get $125,000

Seventeen local arts organizations and community organizations have been awarded project support grants totaling $125,325 from ArtsGreensboro for the 2014-15 year.

Leadership North Carolina selects 55 leaders for new class

Leadership North Carolina, a statewide leadership engagement program, has accepted 55 civic and community leaders for its 2014-15 class.

Class members will participate in six two-and-a-half-day sessions that will feature discussions with top officials and professionals, field trips, and experiential learning activities.

The sessions will focus on economic development, education, environment, government, and health and human services.

Volunteer Center to honor volunteerism

The Volunteer Center of Greensboro will present its 2014 Volunteer Award to six individuals, groups and companies at a luncheon on October 8.

Keynote speaker at the event, to be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30pm at the Elm Street Center, will be the Rev. Odell Cleveland, chief administrative officer of Mount Zion Baptist Church and former president, CEO and co-founder of the Welfare Reform Liaison Project.

Awards to be presented, and the recipients, are:

* Lifetime of Service — Martha Kaley, Junior League of Greensboro.

* Outstanding Volunteer — Jim Blalock, Greensboro Science Center.

* Outstanding Volunteer — Pete Callahan, United Way of Greater Greensboro.

* Corporate — Lincoln Financial Group.

* Outstanding Volunteer Program — Serve the City, Win the City at Mount Zion Baptist Church.

* Emerging Volunteer — Sarah Smoot, Greensboro Urban Ministry.

Event to benefit Communities in Schools

Wine, Women & Shoes will be held at Talley Student Union at N.C. State University on October 9 from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. to benefit Communities in Schools of North Carolina. The fundraising event will be presented by Verizon Wireless.

Race to benefit patients at High Point Regional

High Point Regional Health Foundation will present the 28th Annual Warren Rives Race on September 20 to raise funds for scholarships for patients at Heart Strides, a program at High Point Regional Health that serves over 300 patients a year.

Presenting sponsor is High Point Bank.

March Forth with Hope Foundation to hold golf event

The March Forth with Hope Foundation will host the 12th Annual Hope Stout Golf Classic at the Golf Club at Ballantyne on October 13 to benefit families battling cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Pennington honored by Health Underwriters Association

Carol Pennington of Kernersville, media relations chairperson for the Triad Association of Health Underwriters, has received the Media Relations Award from the National Association of Health Underwriters. The award honors local association chapters for outstanding achievements in using the media to reach out to their members, the industry and the public.

TOURtech donating WIFI and networking for Farm Aid concert

TOURtech, a managed information-technology services company for events, will provide $19,000 in WIFI and networking for the Farm Aid 2014 benefit concert at Walnut Creek Amphitheatre September 13.

Corporate volunteers assemble emergency preparedness kits

HandsOn Northwest North Carolina worked with United Way of Forsyth County to engage a team of 40 corporate volunteers from Bank of America and The Winston-Salem Journal in a local service project on the national 9/11 Day of Service Remembrance.

The team assembled roughly 400 home emergency preparedness kits that will be distributed to low-income elementary school students and their families after they learn about what they can do at home to be prepared in case of an emergency or disaster.

Festival set for Center City Park in Greensboro

Friends of Center City Park will host the inaugural Fall Festival on October 3 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Center City Park at 200 North Davie St. in Greensboro. Proceeds from the free event, including live entertainment, children’s activities, food trucks, local beer and a Pumpkin Patch photo booth, will benefit free community programming in Center City Park.

Widening wealth gap a wakeup call for nonprofits

The gulf is growing between the rich and everyone else, both among Americans overall and among charities, making it clear that most charities need to do a much better job talking about the needs they address and the difference they make.

Two reports this week underscore the widening wealth gap and the challenge it represents for charities.

A new survey by the Federal Reserve says that only the wealthiest Americans have seen income gains during the economic recovery, while incomes have fallen for “very large groups of Americans,” The New York Times reports.

And a review of over 200 private universities rated by Moody’s Investors Service over 10 years shows that schools with over $1 billion in total cash and investments received two-thirds of total gift dollars in 2013, up from just over three-fifths in 2003, while those with less than $100 million received a declining share, or less than 3 percent of total gift dollars, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Implicit in the two seemingly unrelated reports are the high hurdles that charities must clear to survive.

Most of the roughly 1.5 million charities in the U.S. are small, and many face rising demand for services from Americans who have not benefited from the recovery and often live in crisis, cannot afford food, shelter or health care for their families, or day care or after-school activities for their kids. Those Americans also often lack the skills and resources they need find and keep jobs that pay a living wage.

The charities that serve those people are the same charities that often get the short end of contributions, compared to big charities with large endowments, sophisticated fundraising programs, and loyal, wealthy donors.

The silver lining in the face of all the seemingly grim news about the widening wealth gap is that the role charities play is more important than ever, and that the wealthiest Americans have even more to give.

Historically, in tough times, Americans with few resources have dug the deepest to increase their giving to help those with even less to fall back on.

The challenge for charities is to dig deeper, too, and invest more to make sure they are telling the clearest and most compelling story they can about the needs they address, the work they do, and the difference they make in the lives of the people they serve.

Charities also need to make sure they are reaching the audiences they need to reach through the channels those audiences prefer, whether social media, email, the web, direct mail, personal appeals in writing, phone calls or personal visits.

Charities have a critically important story to tell about the indispensable role they play in making our communities better places to live, work and play. Their immediate task is to make sure they tell it well so they can get the resources they need to serve people in need.

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

High Point United Way faces rising demand for services

By Todd Cohen

HIGH POINT, N.C. — For each of the past four years, United Way of Greater High Point has posted record-high results for its annual fundraising campaign. For six of the past seven years, its fundraising has grown faster than United Ways in North Carolina’s other major metro areas. And its $60 per-capita giving eclipses that of every United Way in the state except Forsyth County’s.

But sustaining its fundraising growth will be tough this year as changes in corporate ownership drive a continuing exodus of local jobs and a shift to corporate offices outside the state for decision-making about local corporate giving.

All those corporate changes could result in $250,000 in lost contributions, says Bobby Smith, United Way president.

“I would anticipate our goal being at best flat from what was raised last year,” when United Way raised $4.86 million, he says.

Critical to offsetting that lost revenue, he says, will be developing new relationships with employers, and with individuals, retirees and “Tocqueville Society” donors, or those who give $10,000 or more.

Chaired by Owen Bertschi, owner of Crescent Ford, this year’s campaign will kick off September 9 with United Way’s fifth annual “canpaign,” a one-day food drive at over 30 corporations.

Cumulative donations over the five years from the event, which last year collected an estimated 100,000 pounds of food picked up from the collection sites by a volunteer driver from Old Dominion Freight Line in Thomasville, this year is expected to exceed 500,000 pounds with an estimated value of $750,000.

Unlike many food drives that are held in cold-weather months, the United Way event aims to help keep local food pantries stocked until late fall, Smith says.

The Tocqueville effort, which this year is chaired by community activist Chris Greene, will need to raise $100,000 more than the $700,000 it raised last year from 63 donors, Smith says.

And several individuals have made anonymous pledges to supplement contributions from Tocqueville donors who agree to increase their annual gift to $10,000 over three years.

In addition to enlisting new Tocqueville donors, United Way also will be working to encourage existing Tocqueville donors to increasing their giving, Smith says.

For the overall campaign, United Way already has enlisted four companies with a total of over 1,000 employees to hold workplace drives for the first time. Those companies, including WGHP-TV; Whitewood Furniture Industries, Jasper Engineers and NCO, could generate a total of $50,000 for the campaign, Smith says.

The campaign is critical, he says, because demand continues to grow for health and human services from the 73 programs at the 28 partner agencies that United Way supports.

With funds from last fall’s campaign, United Way is investing over $4.1 million in those programs in the fiscal year that began July 1.

Funding requests from partner agencies exceeded by $60,000 the total United Way allocated, Smith says.

United Way also awarded eight venture grants totaling $43,458 to local nonprofits to help meet emerging or unmet needs. Requests for venture funding totaled nearly $300,000.

United Way also continues to look for new collaborations to help support partner agencies, Smith says.

In July, it partnered with Belk, which collected gently-used denim in return for discounted coupons, with Belk then donating the denim to United Way, which in turn gave it to partner agencies to give to kids.

Over two weekends in July and August, United Way teamed with local Walmart stores to collect donated supplies for local schools.

And it was one of four nonprofits that divided $50,000 contributed by the 2014 Wyndham Championship, a PGA Tour event held in August at Sedgefield Country Club in Jamestown. At the event, United Way also received funds from people attending who pledged to make contributions for every birdie scored a particular player. And visitors to United Way’s tent at the tournament helped pack food for 500 backpacks for children in need.

“We’re partnering with other groups, engaging with them, addressing needs outside our partner agencies, and leveraging additional resources, besides just being a fundraiser,” Smith says “If we see a need, a void, and if nobody else is willing to fill it, we’ll fill it.”