Nonprofit news roundup, 08.29.14

Bell House closing after 35 years

Bell House, a nonprofit assisted-living facility in Greensboro serving individuals with ortho-neurological physical disabilities, no longer is accepting new residents and will move all existing residents from the facility by October 31.

Bell House, which cited federal and state Medicaid policy changes in announcing it will shut down, was founded 35 years ago and now serves 20 residents, most of whom have cerebral palsy and require significant assistance with activities of daily living.

“These latest rounds of cuts along with increasing resident needs, have led us to the sad realization that our care model is no longer financially sustainable,” Jeni Kirk, executive director at Bell House, says in a statement.

Despite engaging in advocacy efforts and evaluating options since policy changes first were announced in 2012, says John Murray, board chair, Bell House has “exhausted all avenues” and has not been able to find a way to keep operating.

“The capital and operational needs are simply too great and the funding insufficient,” he says.

Duke Endowment moves to new building

The Duke Endowment, a private foundation in Charlotte with $3.5 billion in assets, has moved into a new three-story headquarters building.

The Endowment, which borrowed $40 million to pay for the project, built the 46,000-square-foot building on a 1.8-acre site at 800 East Morehead St. after leasing space in the Bank of America Corporate Center uptown since 1993.

The Endowment this year expects to distribute over $126 million to organizations in the Carolinas to support child care, health care, higher education and rural churches.

North Carolina Medical Society gets $125,000

All five medical schools in North Carolina — Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine; University of North Carolina School of Medicine; Duke University School of Medicine; Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, and Wake Forest School of Medicine — each has contributed $25,000 to the Center for Leadership in Medicine building fund campaign of the North Carolina Medical Society.

Wake Salvation Army raises $26,000

The Salvation Army of Wake County has raised over $26,000 to support programs for at-risk youth at its Community Center from sponsors and teams for its second annual Most Amazing Race in downtown Raleigh.

The event is presented by Vision Stairways & Millwork. Sponsors include Capitol Broadcasting Co., Salisbury Moore Construction, Captrust, and Baker Roofing Co.

Boys & Girls Clubs get donated school supplies

The Raleigh Girls Club, Boys & Girls Club of Wake Forest and John Avery Boys and Girls Club in Durham will receive over 50,000 school supply items donated by employees of personal-computer supplier Lenovo. The total is over four times the amount employees donated in previous drives.

Grant funding available from Black Philanthropy Initiative

Nonprofits serving the Winston-Salem and Forsyth County may apply for up to $5,000 each in grant funding from the Black Philanthropy Initiative at The Winston-Salem Foundation for work in the areas of education, parenting and financial literacy. The deadline for applications September 26 at 5 p.m.

Williams stepping down as chief of WilMed Healthcare Foundation

Robin Williams is stepping down as executive director of of WilMed Healthcare Foundation after nearly 12 years in the job, The Wilson Times reported.

Williams, who raised over $16 million to support the Foundation’s mission, applied for but did not get the job of leading the Healthcare Foundation of Wilson, the successor organization to the WilMed Healthcare Foundation following the acquisition of WilMed by Duke LifePoint. The top position still has not been filled.

Williams says she decided not to remain in the job she was offered running the programs she has led, the Times says.

Reynolds American CEO honorary co-chair of Old Salem campaign

Susan M. Cameron, president and CEO of Reynolds American and president of subsidiary RAI Services Company, has joined Old Salem Museums & Gardens’ capital campaign as an honorary co-chair.

Project planning focus of Volunteer Council panel

Planning more successful projects will be the topic of a panel discussion on September 4 sponsored by the Corporate Volunteer Council in Greensboro. Panelists for the session, to be held from noon to 1 at Action Greensboro at 203 S. Church St., include Kat Kornecki, volunteer manager for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Greensboro; Don Milholin, executive director of Out of the Garden Project; and Kelli Crawford, volunteer coordinator for the Greensboro Science Center.

SECCA, School of Arts team up

The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, both in Winston-Salem, are launching a new program series that will support dialogue and understanding around contemporary art for the public, while creating educational opportunities for students.

Under the program, known as “The Artist’s Studio,” contemporary artists brought in by the two organizations will work with students and faculty from the School of the Arts to create original new works while documenting the creative process.

The program will kick off in September, when conceptual artist Neil Goldberg will work with dance and film students and faculty at the School of the Arts, culminating with a ticketed public event at SECCA on September 21.

The second collaboration is slated for winter.

Women’s Impact Fund offering grants

The Women’s Impact Fund Charlotte is accepting letters of inquiry for grants to support arts and culture, education, environment, health, and human services.

The Fund, which since 2003 has donated over $3.7 million for causes in Mecklenburg County and awarded “high-impact” grants to 49 organizations, plans to award five grants ranging from $40,000 to $100,000 to local nonprofits, with one grant in each of the five areas.

The deadline for submitting a letter of inquiry is October 10.

John Avery Boys and Girls Club turning 75

The John Avery Boys and Girls Club in Durham will celebrate its 75th Anniversary with a weeklong series of events that kick off September 28 with a Harlem Wizards basketball game at Southern High School, and conclude with the annual JABGC Gala at the Durham Convention Center.

Events also include the annual Golf Fore Kids golf tournament at The Preserve at Jordan Lake, a whiskey tasting at Alizarin Gallery, a club alumni mixer at American Underground at Main, and a jazz concert at Beyu Caffe.

Four N.C. schools part of Special Olympics study

Four North Carolina high schools have been selected along with high schools from Colorado and Michigan to participate in a two-year study about the impact of Project Unify, an education and sports-based program started by Special Olympics to build an inclusive environment among youth with and without intellectual disabilities, and to empower them to become youth leaders in their schools and community.

Participating in the study will be South Stokes High School in Walnut Cove, N.C., and Currituck County High School in Barco, N.C., which will launch Project UNIFY beginning this fall, while Zebulon B. Vance High School in Charlotte, and Newton Conover High School in Newton, N.C., will launch it in fall 2015.

Special Olympics launched Project UNIFY in the U.S. six years ago with the support of a grant by the U.S. Department of Education. 

Peters to head Triad Health Underwriters Association

Elizabeth Peters, a benefit consultant executive for the Southeast division of HUB International, a global insurance brokerage, has been named president of the Triad Association of Health Underwriters.

Habitat Greensboro awards scholarships

For the third straight year, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Greensboro has awarded scholarships to Habitat homeowners and family members in Greensboro.

In 2014, a total of $3,000 was awarded to five recipients from the Small Wonders Scholarship Fund, which was started through an endowment provided by Joyce Powers of Greensboro.

Green Chair Project to hold fundraiser

The Green Chair Project, a Raleigh nonprofit that reuses donated furnishings to support participants in local programs moving them to stability from homelessness, crisis or disaster, will hold a fundraiser sale of upscale furniture and household items from September 11 to September 14 at its headquarters at 1853 Capital Blvd.

Art event to benefit Hirsch Wellness Network

The 6th annual “Art Lives Here” silent art auction on September 11 featuring work by local artists will benefit the Hirsch Wellness Network, which provides arts and wellness programs supporting the emotional needs of cancer survivors and caregivers in Greater Greensboro.

The event will be held from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at The Elm Street Center.

All proceeds go directly to Hirsch Wellness programs taught by local artists.

Young Peacemaker Awards moving to Greensboro YMCA

Win-Win Resolutions is transferring its Young Peacemaker Awards, created in 2002, to the Greensboro YMCA.

The change will be made during the 12th Annual Young Peacemaker Awards Banquet will be held September 6 at the Grandover Resort.

The event will feature the presentation of conflict-resolution awards to six Guilford County middle school students, along with recognition of all 88 nominees.

The Greensboro YWCA also will continue to provide Win-Win Resolution’s anti-bullying programs for pre-kindergarten through high school students and families in Guilford and surrounding counties.

Charlotte Race for the Cure set for Oct. 5

The 18th Annual Susan G. Komen Charlotte Race for the Cure will be held October 5.

Presenting sponsors for the event, which last year raised $1.7 million that helped Komen Charlotte fund 17 community health programs, are Novant Health and Mecklenburg Radiology Associates.

Reading to benefit Alzheimer’s work

Alzheimers North Carolina and USAgainst Alzheimer’s are teaming up for a public reading on September 5 at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s and related dementias, and raise funds for programs and services in local communities.

Speakers, who will read the first act of Surviving Grace, include Gov. Pat McCrory; Diane Rehm of National Public Radio; TV star Loni Anderson; stage performer Lise Bruneau; WRAL-TV anchor Debra Morgan; philanthropist Darlene Shiley; and David Henderson of Theatre in the Park.

Duke gets $1.5 million for STEM learning

Duke University has been awarded a five-year, $1.5 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to improve learning for science, technology, engineering and math students, or STEM, particularly underrepresented minorities, in introductory science courses.

Duke will use the funds to launch the COMPASS Project, or Collaborating on Mentoring, Persistence, Assessment and Student Success. It will focus on helping Duke STEM students by putting proven teaching practices into effect in the classroom.

Be smart in mimicking Ice Bucket Challenge

The explosive success of the Ice Bucket Challenge for the A.L.S. Association is driving charities everywhere into a frenzy trying to figure out how to create their own breakthrough social-media campaigns to raise money and awareness for their cause.

And for good reason: In three weeks, the Association raised $42 million from 739,000 new donors, many of them only too happy to be videotaped being dunked with ice water as a challenge to their friends to contribute to the cause.

Those dollars more than doubled the $19.4 million the Association had raised in the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, 2013, to fund research on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, which attacks nerve cells and leads to total paralysis.

Only 30,000 Americans — in a population of nearly 320 million — have ALS.

Charities that dream of replicating that success may want to curb their enthusiasm. While social media offer huge potential to reach vast numbers of people instantly, the runaway success of the Ice Bucket Challenge is the rare exception, not the rule.

The stiff odds should not, of course, stop charities from looking for innovative ways to help people understand the needs they address, and to secure the resources they need.

But a far more critical and immediate need for all charities, including the A.L.S. Association and other groups that turn to social media to raise money and awareness, is how to engage donors for the long term, beyond their initial gift.

According to fundraising researcher and consultant Adrian Sargeant, the biggest factor for donors in deciding whether to continue to give to a particular charity is how the charity’s fundraising staff treats them.

And the proof is in the pudding: Sixty percent of donors who give to a charity for the first time typically do not give a second time, and those first-time givers typically make only small donations.

Yet instead of attending to their existing donors, many charities spin their wheels trying to reduce the loss, or “churn,” of first-time donors.

A huge challenge for charities is to truly understand their existing donors and what they care about; help those donors understand the problems their organizations address, and their impact; and help donors see that investing in the charity will help improve those problems while advancing the donors’ values.

Clever social-media gimmicks like the Ice Bucket Challenge have the potential of raising a lot of money and awareness for a cause quickly. The bigger job for all charities is to cultivate donors for the long-term by getting to know them, telling stories that inspire them, and getting them more involved in your organization.

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.

Triangle United Way shifting role to catalyst

By Todd Cohen

MORRISVILLE, N.C. — In September, culminating a regional competition known as the Innovate United Challenge, a local organization or group of organizations will win $50,000, along with pro-bono consulting, to launch a collaborative program to reduce childhood hunger in the region.

Sponsored by United Way of the Greater Triangle, the competition is part of a larger effort by United Way to transform its role and impact.

Traditionally seen as an umbrella group that raises money each fall, mainly in workplace campaigns, to support partner agencies providing health and human services, United Way now is focusing on raising awareness about urgent problems related to poverty, and engaging community resources to address their symptoms and causes.

The childhood hunger competition is “indicative of a huge transformation that’s underway,” says Mack Koonce, who joined United Way as CEO two years ago after serving as chief operating officer for Philadelphia-based Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

With its annual fundraising campaign set to begin, United Way is working on a handful of other collaborative efforts to address basic needs and long-term solutions for low-income families and children.

Those efforts include initiatives to serve youth aging out of foster care, improve services for the region’s homeless population, and create customized volunteer opportunities in sync with employers’ business focus.

Chaired by George Habel, executive vice president at Capitol Broadcasting Co., this year’s campaign likely will try to raise more than the $14.2 million it raised last year, when it posted its first increase — 4 percent — since 2006, Koonce says.

Last year’s campaign also raised an additional $5.2 million designated by donors to be distributed to particular programs.

With the funds it raises this year, United Way also expects to invest more in community programs than the $5.8 million it invested last year. In the face of  continuing growth in demand for services, United Way last year invested 10 percent more than the previous year.

Virginia Parker, former associate director of the Wake Tech Foundation who joined United Way this year as senior vice president for resource development and strategic partnerships, says United Way’s focus now is on “year-round engagement.”

Four to six times a year, for example, United Way offers customized volunteer opportunities for each of a growing number of employers such as Nationwide, RTI, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, and Syngenta.

And rather than touting its fundraising during workplace campaigns, Parker says, United Way is “talking about our work, and engaging employees in a community conversation.”

Its work now includes the foster-youth and homelessness efforts, both supported by a Financial Stability Fund for which United Way aims to raise $1.5 million over three years. In its first year, United Way has raised roughly half its goal.

For the foster-youth initiative, five partner agencies each in Wake, Durham, Orange and Johnston counties will coordinate housing, financial-literacy, and education and job-readiness services for a total of 75 individuals ages 17 to 20 who are aging out of the foster-care system. For the Wake effort, launched this year, youth already are receiving services more quickly than in the past, Koonce says.

And for the homelessness effort, United Way and half-a-dozen partner agencies have developed a common web-based tool the agencies are testing to gather “intake” information from clients.

United Way, which operates with an annual budget of $4 million and a staff of 36 employees, supports 160 programs at 82 partners agencies, including 16 it has added through a competitive process open to nonprofits that share United Way’s priorities and can show their impact.

United Way also has reorganized its staff, particularly in the areas of resource development and marketing, “to engage the community in a different way,” Koonce says. “The way to connect donors to enthusiasm is not in the donation but in the work and having them be part of the community,” he says. “This is driving everything we do.”

A key goal for United Way is to “build a network of partners who are working collaboratively to sustain established solutions, build the promising ones, and use the Innovate Challenge to launch new solutions,” Koonce says. “There’s a huge urgency to do more.”

Nonprofit news roundup, 08.22.14

McIntyre retiring from United Way in Charlotte

Jane L. McIntyre, who joined United Way of Central Carolinas as executive director five years ago in the wake of a controversy over compensation for its former CEO, Gloria Pace King, and led its turnaround, will retire at the end of United Way’s 2014 fundraising campaign that kicks off September 2 and concludes next spring.

McIntyre, 68, worked with United Way’s board of directors in 2012 to create a succession plan that now is being put into effect.

Ed O’Keefe, board vice chair will direct a committee to search for a new executive director.  Sockwell Partners, which recruited McIntyre to United Way five years ago this month, will lead the search process.

The year before McIntyre joined United Way, its funding of partner agencies plunged to $14 million.

As a result of the first fundraising campaign under her leadership, funding was restored to $16.5 million in 2010, and remained at that level until this summer, when United Way announced a $500,000 increase to $17 million for 82 health and human service agencies across five counties.

North Carolina Shakespeare Festival shutting down

The North Carolina Shakespeare Festival is closing after 37 years as a  result of continuing financial struggles, the Associated Press reported.

The High Point Enterprise and News & Record in Greensboro reported the festival’s board of trustees had decided in late May to end operations for the coming fiscal year, AP said.

Nixon new executive director at Reidsville Area Foundation

Jennifer Coleman Nixon,  executive director of the Rockingham County Healthcare Alliance, has been named executive director of the Reidsville Area Foundation.

She succeeds Craig Cardwell, who is retiring.

Nixon, a Rockingham native, returned to North Carolina in 2010 after receiving a PhD in social science from the University of Warwick, and completing a postdoctoral  fellowship at Oxford University, both in England.

The Reidsville Area Foundation is a private foundation formed in 2001 with proceeds from the merger of Annie Penn Hospital with the Cone Health System.

The Foundation, which is not affiliated with Cone Health and is governed by an independent board of directors, has approved roughly $18 million in grants for the benefit of the citizens of Rockingham County in the areas of education, health care, human services and community economic development.

Initiative aims to boost Triangle arts groups

Organizational development for arts groups in the Triangle will be the focus of a new partnership between Triangle Community Foundation and the North Carolina Arts Council.

Based on applications that arts groups in Wake, Durham, Orange and Chatham counties may submit by September 15, 10 groups will be selected to participate in the initiative’s first year.

Those groups will participate in regional roundtable gatherings and receive individualized technical assistance over the course of the year.

The initiative aims to equip small and mid-sized arts groups for appropriate growth and sustainability, develop a shared regional identity, and encourage broader thinking about opportunities, resources, challenges and solutions.

Nonprofits arts and culture represent a $1.24 billion industry in North Carolina, and generate $390 million in direct economic activity in the Triangle, according to Triangle Community Foundation.

$41 million for ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’

The runaway social-media phenomenon known as the “Ice Bucket Challenge” has raised nearly $42 million in just over three weeks for the A.L.S. Association, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C., that funds research on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as Lou Gehrigs’s disease, The New York Times reported.

Over 739,000 new donors have contributed to the fundraising effort, which typically includes short videos on social media showing people being dunked with ice water.

Donations from July 29 until August 21 more than doubled the $19.4 million the Association received in the year ended January 31, 2013.

Roughly 30,000 Americans have A.L.S., which attacks nerve cells and leads to total paralysis, the Times says.

YWCA of High Point raises $1.5 million

YWCA of High Point has raised $1.5 million in the first phase of a campaign to renovate its building, and is launching a second phase that aims to raise another $1.5 million.

Winston-Salem Industries for the Blind gets $950,000

Winston-Salem Industries for the Blind has received a donation of $950,000 from Miracles in Sight Eye Bank, formerly North Carolina Eye Bank, for a new Eye Care Education Center and expanded facilities for its Community Low Vision Center and Optical Services.

Founded in 1936, Winston-Salem Industries for the Blind provides employment, training and services for people who are blind or visually impaired. It is one of the largest employers of people who are blind or visually impaired in the U.S. and operates manufacturing facilities in Winston-Salem and Asheville, as well as over 40 office supply stores and optical centers throughout the U.S.

It also provides outreach through A Brighter Path Foundation, which operates Community Low Vision Centers across North Carolina and Tracy’s Little Red School House based in Winston-Salem.

Geiger joins SECU Family House as development director

Tracy Geiger, a former corporate account manager with Graylyn Conference Center and Estate, has been named development director for SECU Family House, both in Winston-Salem.

Hull named to Bar Foundations national board

Thomas Hull, director of  development at the North Carolina Bar Association Foundation, has been named to the board of trustees of the National Conference of Bar Foundations.

Barker leaves United Way for High Point Bank

Sarah R. Barker, former director of major gifts, leadership giving and donor relations at United Way of Greater High Point has joined High Point Bank as community relations officer.

Teach for America in Eastern North Carolina enlists 160 teachers

In its 25th year in Eastern North Carolina, Teach for America has signed up 160 new members who will teach in 16 school districts and four charter schools.

Along with 155 second-year teachers continuing their work in local schools, the 160 new corps members will join nearly 700 alumni of the program.

N.C. Science Fair Foundation gets $150,000

The Biogen Idec Foundation has awarded a three-year, $150,000 grant to the N.C. Science Fair Foundation, a statewide nonprofit sponsor of the N.C. Science and Engineering Fair. The grant will allow the Foundation to increase outreach to teachers in grades 3 through 12 across North Carolina and help teachers foster student-led research and inquiry in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.

As part of that outreach, the Biogen Idec Foundation award is funding a series of five, daylong professional development sessions for teachers across North Carolina. 

Wake United Arts creates online artists directory

United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County has created an online directory designed to make it easy for Wake schools to find and hire professional teacher artists from throughout the U.S. for performances, workshops and residencies for their students.

To help schools book artists for a cultural arts program, United Arts offers over $100,000 in grants each year, the equivalent of booking 160,000 hours of arts programming in nearly 35 schools.

Event to raise awareness about lupus

Beautiful Butterflies Inc. will host its 4th Annual Lupus 5K Walk/Run on September 6 at Greenway Trail in High Point. The free event, which runs from 10 a.m. to noon, is designed to raise awareness about lupus.

Event to benefit Backpack Beginnings

The Fifth Annual Kirkwood 5K Run/ Walk/ Push benefiting BackPack Beginning will be held in Greensboro’s Kirkwood neighborhood on August 23, 2014 at 9 a.m.

All proceeds from the event, which is sponsored by Charles Aris Inc. and will start and end at the Kirkwood Park at the corner of Lafayette Avenue and Brookside Drive, will benefit BackPack Beginnings, a local volunteer-run organization that works to provide children in need with nutritious food, comfort items and other basic necessities through the use of backpacks.

Barnabas Network working to help rehouse displaced households

The Barnabas Network, Greensboro’s only furniture bank, has partnered with local agencies to rehouse the 178 households displaced by the closing of Heritage House apartments.

Symphony group launching home kitchen tour

The Symphony Guild of Charlotte on October 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. will launch Heart of the Home Kitchen Tour, a new signature fundraiser that will visit 12 indoor and outdoor kitchens at eight residences in the South Charlotte neighborhoods of SouthPark, Myers Park, and Eastover.

5K event to benefit Center for Smart Financial Choices

Allegacy Federal Credit Union in Winston-Salem will host its first Retro Run 5K at Tanglewood Park on November 1 to benefit The Center for Smart Financial Choices, a nonprofit that assists consumers with skills needed to more effectively manage their money, credit, debt and financial planning.

Health Underwriters Association elects president

Blake Spell, a senior account executive with United Healthcare in Greensboro, has been elected president of the North Carolina Association of Health Underwriters. Liz Gallops, a benefits specialist with JBA Benefits in Raleigh, has been elected president-elect.

Museum of Life and Science gets $55,000

The Museum of Life and Science in Durham has received $55,000 from the SunTrust Foundation to help build a two-acre, nature-based playscape with experiences designed to encourage movement, exploration and skill development.

Wake Salvation Army serves 167 human-trafficking survivors

Project FIGHT, an initiative the Salvation Army of Wake County launched in August 2011, has served 167 survivors of human trafficking. The goal of the effort was to serve 12 victims over two years.

Grifols sponsors Wake Habitat home

Habitat for Humanity of Wake County has received $65,000 from Grifols, a global healthcare company, to sponsor a Habitat home in Raleigh’s Maybrook community.

Health Underwriters Association wins 7 awards

The North Carolina Association of Health Underwriters received seven awards from the National Association of Health Underwriters at its 84th Annual Convention and Exhibition in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Outward Bound school to hold community breakfast

Ann Clark, chief academic officer for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools will be the keynote speaker at a community breakfast on October 30 benefiting the North Carolina Outward Bound School.

Proceeds from the event, to be held Myers Park Country Club in Charlotte, will benefit a scholarship program that supports participation by local high school students in Outward Bound wilderness experiences every summer in Pisgah National Forest. 

Brunswick foundation awards $2,310

Brunswick County Community Foundation, an affiliate of the North Carolina Community Foundation, has awarded five grants totaling $2,310 to local causes.

Get to know news people

If you want the news media to cover your nonprofit, you need to work for it.

Just as you likely would not ask for a big gift when contacting a donor for the first time, don’t expect to get a front-page story the first time you contact a reporter.

So cultivate relationships with reporters, editors and news producers at your local news outlets, just as you would with prospective donors.

As in sales, cultivation starts with cold calls. So make initial contact with a phone call or email message. Introduce yourself, and ask if you can send a short write-up about your nonprofit.

If the answer is yes, keep the write-up short, and add a note offering to provide background information or a source for any story that involves your cause.

You might follow up later, asking to get together for coffee. Again, keep the visit short. Talk about your cause, and your nonprofit’s role and impact.

You also might ask to visit the news outlet and the people there who oversee news and opinion.

Then stay in touch. If the reporter writes a a good story — on any topic — send a note complimenting the reporter for the story.

When you have actual news, let the reporter know, and provide plenty of advance notice. And if your nonprofit is having a crisis, let the reporter know that too — after you and your staff and board have figured out what you want to say.

If you want news coverage, do not take news people for granted. Just as with donors, you have to build relationships and trust. And there is no single or correct way to do this. Use common sense.

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.

Greensboro United Way targets poverty

By Todd Cohen

GREENSBORO, N.C. — In Greensboro, 20 percent of adults and 25 percent of children live in poverty.

To address the challenges they face, which typically compound one another and are rooted in interconnected problems, United Way of Greater Greensboro this fall will begin working with local nonprofits, public schools, government agencies and other partners to develop a collaborative effort that next year will begin to offer a “continuum of services” on a pilot basis to individuals and families in need.

“People who live in poverty don’t have one issue,” says Michelle Gethers-Clark, president and CEO of United Way. “It’s generally speaking a host of challenges and adversities that need to be addressed.”

The new poverty initiative, and the partnerships and community support it will count on, underscore the message that United Way aims to deliver during its annual fundraising campaign that kicks off September 25 at Festival Park.

While the campaign will not set a goal in a repeat of last year’s approach, United Way aims to raise more than the $11 million it raised last year, when it exceeded the previous year’s total by $800,000 and posted its first year-over-year increase in five years.

United Way also aims in the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2015, to invest more in the community than the $9 million it is investing this fiscal year, Gethers-Clark says.

“The need is growing in the community,” she says. “If we really want to make a meaningful difference, we have to give agencies at least the same money or more money year over year.”

Chaired by Jason Bohrer, principal at Newbold Advisers, the campaign will continue strategies it used last year.

Those include visits by Gethers-Clark to speak to employees and executives of corporations and other organizations holding workplace drives; connecting more personally with individual donors; tailoring volunteer programs for companies geared to their corporate social responsibility priorities; and providing opportunities for community service, professional development and networking for women, African Americans and young leaders who make larger gifts.

United Way has developed customized programs for 10 to 12 companies, including Syngenta, where a new women’s leadership initiative has enlisted 75 to 100 women who each volunteer for United Way and want to learn more about philanthropy and how to contribute more of their time and money.

In an effort chaired by Sue Cole, managing partner at SAGE Leadership and Strategy, United Way aims to increase by 10 percent the number of “Tocqueville” donors, or those who give $10,000 or more each, from the 130 who gave a total of $1.1 million last year, Gethers-Clark says.

United Way has relationships with 16,000 donors and volunteers, helps change the lives of 101,000 people a year and, because its 29 partner agencies can “leverage” the United Way dollars they receive to secure support from other sources, has a net impact on the community of over $15 million a year, Gethers-Clark says.

By investing in strategies that focus on collaborative solutions to urgent community problems, she says, United Way provides a “helping hand and not a handout” that makes a difference.