Nonprofit news roundup, 09.15.17

Economic mobility focus of new center

Studying barriers to economic mobility in East Winston-Salem and Forsyth County will be the focus of a new center that Winston-Salem State University is launching with a $3 million grant from the Thurgood Marshall College Fund,

To be directed by economics professor Craig Richardson, the WSSU Center for the Study of Economic Mobility will serve as a hub for faculty research, undergraduate student research scholarship, and community outreach.

Children from low-income families in Forsyth County are less likely than children anywhere else in the U.S. — except for two counties in South Dakota — to move up the income ladder as adults, according to research.

Residents in neighboring Yadkin, Stokes and Surry counties have better economic prospects, Winston-Salem State says.

Alvin Atkinson, previously director of the Center for Community Safety at WSSU, will serve as associate director of the new Center, which part of the College of Arts, Sciences, Business and Education at WSSU.

The startup grant is from the Thurgood Marshall College Funds’s Center for Advancing Opportunities, an initiative supported by Charles Koch Foundation and Koch Industries.

Reducing blood-pressure focus of partnership

Novant Health and the American Heart Association are teaming up on a program to improve blood pressure for 5,000 people in Forsyth County by providing tools and resources, and training to companies, organizations and nonprofits.

The Heart Association program aims to develop positive self-monitoring habits, share tools and tips to improve blood pressure, and reduce the risk factor for heart disease and stroke by lowering blood-pressure levels.

Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death of men and women in the U.S., and second-leading cause of death in Forsyth County.

Stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death in the U.S., and fourth-leading cause of death in Forsyth County.

Eighty percent of deaths from heart disease and stroke are preventible, the Heart Association says.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of death from hypertension per 100,000 people in Forsyth County for 2013-15 was 213.6, the Association says.

Schools, YMCAs getting $44,000

Twenty-two schools and YMCAs throughout North Carolina are getting a total of $44,000 — $2,000 each — from United Health Foundation and Whole Kids Foundation to build or expand an existing vegetable garden and provide educational resources about agriculture and maintaining healthy lifestyles.

Event raises $154,000 for Methodist Home

An “Epicurian Evening” in Wilmington that featured local chefs, bakers and brewers raised a record-high $154,000 for community Methodist Home for Children in Raleigh, bringing to over $1 million the total the event has raised over 11 years.

Methodist Home serves vulnerable children and families throughout North Carolina with foster care, adoption, family preservation, specialized services, early childhood education, juvenile justice homes, and support for higher education.

Staff promotions at Triangle Community Foundation

Jessica Aylor, director of community investment at Triangle Community Foundation, has been promoted to vice president of community engagement, and Ken Baroff, director of donor development, has been promoted to vice president of donor development.

Timothy W. Trost, senior vice president and chief financial officer at Chimerix, has joined the Foundation’s board of directors.

Summit to focus on type 1 diabetes

The Piedmont Triad Chapter of JDRF will host a TypeOneNation Summit on September 23 at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro that will focus on helping individuals and families living with type 1 diabetes navigate the medical, social, physical, and psychological challenges of the disease.

Keynote speaker at the event, to be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., will be author Gary Scheiner, the 2014 Diabetes Educator of the Year and owner and clinical director of Integrated Diabetes Services, a Philadelphia-area practice that specializes in intensive insulin therapy and advanced education for children and adults.

Scheiner, who has had T1D for 33 years, also will lead a breakout session on “Advanced Insulin Pump Management.”

High Point Regional to host benefit run

High Point Regional will host its 31st annual Heart & Sole 5K and Fun Run September 16 starting at 8 a.m. to benefit its Heart Strides Program, which provides cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation to patients.

Triad Health Project to benefit from dance  event

Twisted Dance Collective will host the 9th Annual Project Shimmy, a world dance event to benefit HIV/AIDS service organization Triad Health Project, on September 23 at 7:30 p.m. at Van Dyke Performance Space at 200 North Davie St. in Greensboro.

King to speak at Financial Pathways event

Kelly S. King, chairman and CEO of BB&T Corporation, be guest speaker at a luncheon hosted by Financial Pathways of the Piedmont on September 27 at 11:30 a.m. at Bridger Field House at Wake Forest University.

Event to benefit ALS Association

The North Carolina Chapter of the ALS Association will receive proceeds the ALSapalooza music festival on October 7 at Grove Winery and Vineyards in Gibsonville to help fund ALS research and provide care for people living with ALS in North Carolina.

The Chapter, which serves nearly 800 people a year living with ALS, by supporting all of the state’s multidisciplinary ALS clinics, providing financial assistance to people living with ALS, and operating support groups and a medical equipment loan program.

Two join Junior Achievement board

Andrea “Andy” Bunn, senior vice president and regional banking executive for First National Bank, and Neal Davis, founder and CEO of Dais X, have joined the board of directors Junior Achievement of the Triad in Greensboro.

Concert to benefit InterAct

InterAct in Raleigh will benefit from the Second Annual Love Heals Fundraiser on September 22 at the Mayton Inn in downtown Cary from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Event to benefit water projects in India

Global Hope India and clean water projects in India for Dynamic Water will receive all benefits from the Carry the Water walk-run event on September 23 at Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh.

Global Hope India aims to raise $40,000 at the event.

Event to benefit Lung Cancer Initiative

Proceeds from the Annual LUNGe Forward 5K, to be held September 24 at Midtown Park in Raleigh and presented by Duke Raleigh Hospital, will benefit local research, awareness, education and access programs of the Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina.

Boys &  Girls Clubs to host gala

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Durham and Orange Counties will hold Great Futures Gala on October 14 at the Durham Convention Center at 6 p.m.


Aquarium Society casts wider net for donors

By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — In 2008, the total number of students visiting North Carolina’s three aquariums and a facility at Nag’s Head peaked at 70,000.

Last year, in the face of cuts in spending by local public schools, that number had fallen to 50,000, and many of those who did visit were from more affluent communities or schools with strong parent-teacher associations able to raise private funds to support field trips, says Jay Barnes, director of development for the North Carolina Aquarium Society, a Raleigh-based nonprofit that generates private support for the state-run aquariums.

“Schools that were left out were poor schools across the state,” says Barnes, who served for 20 years as director of the aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores before joining the Society as development director in 2009.

To help more students visit the aquariums, or to bring aquarium programs to schools or offer them through distance-learning technology, the Aquarium Society this year launched an “Aquarium Scholars” program to raise $800,000. The campaign so far has raised over $400,000 that will be used, starting by next spring, mainly for mini-grants to teachers in the poorest schools for field trips to an aquarium, or for am aquarium to bring its programs to schools.

“Many of these programs we offer are STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs,” Barnes says. “We’ve got live animals and technology, and our facilities are located on a beach or sound or marsh or coastal habitat, making the aquariums wonderful destinations.”

Formed in 1986, the Aquarium Society in 2016 generated $7.4 million for its facilities, which are located at Fort Fisher, Pine Knoll Shores, Roanoke Island, and Jennette’s Pier at Nags Head.

The Society generates revenue from sales at gift shops it operates at the facilities; from about 21,000 household memberships; from concessions such as food and photography vendors; from in-kind support and private support; in lease revenue through an arrangement with the state that helped finance expansion and renovation of the aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores; and in investment income.

From 2000 to 2011, the Society raised a total of $15 million in campaigns that were part of a $100 million effort to renovate all three aquariums, nearly tripling their size, and to reconstruct Jennette’s Pier at Nags Head.

Now, for a new round of renovations, the Society raised $5.6 million for the Roanoke Island aquarium, and is planning to raise at least that much for the Fort Fisher aquarium.

In 2013, working with consulting firm Capital Development Services, the Society also launched its “Living Treasures” campaign, an ongoing fundraising effort that includes an annual fund, planned giving, memberships for small businesses, a donor-prospecting program, and a range of sponsorship opportunities.

The Society over the past three years more than doubled the number of total individual, corporate and foundation donors, Barnes says, and last year received a total of about 1,000 donations.

It has received five commitments for planned gifts, and enlisted about 45 small business members.

It also hosts three “Under the Sea” events a year for prospective donors, typically held in private homes in locations from Raleigh and Greensboro to Figure Eight Island and Duck, with another scheduled for October 19 in New Bern.

“These Under the Sea events are helping us to grow a broader base of support for the aquariums for the future,” Barnes says. “The aquariums’ value to the state is beyond just the educational impact and the environmental stewardship they promote. They also serve as an important part of the state’s tourism economy, with more than 1.3 million annual visitors.”

Nonprofit news roundup, 09.08.17

Food insecurity focus of research at N.C. A&T

Fifty masters and doctoral students at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro will receiving training in interdisciplinary research using data from the domestic food-supply chain for humanitarian relief, thanks to a five-year, $3 million grant through the Research Traineeship Program of the National Science Foundation.

The research will be designed to serve as the basis for “an innovative, evidence-based, scalable approach to training the future workforce,” says Lauren Davis, a professor of industrial and systems engineering at A&T and principal investigator for the project.

The work at A&T will combine disciplines in industrial and systems engineering, computer science, mathematics, agricultural economics, sociology and public policy.

Forsyth United Way offers challenge gift for hurricane relief

United Way of Forsyth County has challenged the community to contribute $100,000 by September 21 to support relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, and will match those contributions, dollar for dollar, up to $100,000.

With its matching gift, United Way would give up to $50,000 to the Red Cross for immediate relief efforts, and up to $50,000 to United Way of Greater Houston, with contributions from the community also going to those two organizations.

One option for donors to make contributions is through a campaign United Way has launched, at, labeled either “Forsyth 4 Houston” or “United Way of Forsyth County.”

New buses for Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club

Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of High Point purchased two new buses with a $33,600 grant from High Point Community Foundation and through a partnership with Thomas Built Buses and Carolina Thomas, which constructed the buses.

purchase new student transportation by The High Point Community Foundation.

Employees of the companies volunteered their time to assist in building the buses. Spheros Air Conditioning provided and installed rooftop air-conditioning units, and Syntec Seating Solutions provided passenger lap and shoulder seat belt seats for both uses.

Women, children and families focus of new fund

An endowment that focuses on critical needs of women, children and families in the High Point region, including Archdale, Trinity, Thomasville and Jamestown, has been established at the High Point Community Foundation with a challenge gift of $250,000 that donors are invited to match through the end of 2017.

A new group, Women in Motion of High Point, aims to raise funds for the match.

The group was formed through a partnership between the Foundation and the L. Paul Brayton Family to establish the endowment fund in honor of Paul Brayton’s late wife, Gwendolyn Kay Brayton.

Junior League of Greenville joins international organization

The Junior League of Greenville has become the newest League in the Association of Junior Leagues International.

Since it was stablished in 2010 as the Junior Women’s Association of Greenville, the organization’s 115 members have contributed over 7,000 volunteer hours to the community and helped raise over $160,000 for local organizations.

The current focus of the Junior League of Greenville is combating hunger and food insecurity, and helping to foster physical activity and healthy eating habits.

Transitions LifeCare names building for Gibson

Transitions LifeCare named a building on its west Raleigh campus for Brenda C. Gibson, one of the three chairs of a capital campaign for its $6.1 million expansion project.

The Brenda C. Gibson Education and Community Services Center houses administrative staff, a grief center and meeting space.

Other chairs of the three-year campaign were Billy Dunlap and Thad Woodard

Badr, Haire join community foundation board 

Attorney Joanne Badr and Connie Haire, retired vice president of the Macon campus of Southwestern Community College, have joined the board of directors of Community Foundation of Western North Carolina in Asheville.

Gala to mark Quaker group’s centennial

The American Friends Service Committee — an international Quaker organization — will mark its centennial with a gala on September 9 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Hege Library at Guilford College in Greensboro.

Junior Achievement gets $10,000

Junior Achievement of the Triad received a $10,000 grant from Duke Energy that will supports its program to provide fifth-graders in Guilford County Schools with skills in science, technology, engineering and math.

Truliant donates water

Truliant Federal Credit Union in Winston-Salem donated 1,000 cases of water for relief and rehabilitation efforts in Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Two Chapel Hill nonprofits gets $6,200

Babalu Tapas & Tacos in Chapel Hill donated $6,200 — the proceeds from beverage sales and guest donations during its “soft” opening — to local nonprofits TABLE and Volunteers for Youth.

Triad Goodwill to hold annual awards banquet

Goodwill Industries of Central North Carolina will host its Annual Awards Banquet

October 5 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in The Empire Room at The Elm Street Center at 203 South Elm St. in Greensboro.

Carolina For The Kids Foundation to host race event

Carolina For The Kids Foundation will host its sixth annual Kilometers For The Kids race on October 15 at 8 a.m. at the Old Well on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Waccamaw-Siousan Tribe to host annual Pow Wow

The Waccamaw-Siousan Tribe of North Carolina will host its 47th Annual Waccamaw Siouan Pow Wow on October 20 and 21 at the Waccamaw Siouan Tribal Grounds in Bolton.

First Bank to sponsor Downtown Greenway event

First Bank, formerly Carolina Bank, will be the title sponsor for Downtown Greenway’s 8th Annual Run 4 the Downtown Greenway in Greensboro on October 28.

Carrboro nonprofit uses art for healing

By Todd Cohen

CARRBORO, N.C. — In the Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Durham public schools, students who are refugees or immigrants, typically do not speak English, and generally have lived in the community for less than a year, draw pictures and use other forms of art to express their feelings and talk about themselves and where they grew up.

At Durham nonprofit Families Moving Forward, a group of single parents who are homeless and living in transitional housing meet once a week in a group and use music or other art activities to help work through challenges they face.

And at Galloway Ridge, a retirement community in Chatham County, residents with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia spend time every other week occupying themselves with painting and other arts activities.

Providing all those programs is the Art Therapy Institute, a Carrboro nonprofit that provides therapeutic art-making opportunities for people who experience illness, trauma or other challenges in living.

“Art transcends language barriers,” says Hillary Rubesin, interim executive director at the Institute. “A lot of the population we work with are considered marginalized groups. Providing them with the tools and the means to share their own voices — that’s the power of the arts.”

Feeling disconnected can make life difficult for children and adults alike, whether they are new to the region, don’t speak English, are homeless, or live with a physical disability, mental illness, cancer or dementia, says Rubesin, an expressive therapist who uses the arts — such as painting, music, dance and drama — for healing.

Formed in 2006 as a program of The Exchange Family Center in Durham, the Institute became a nonprofit in 2009.

It operates with an annual budget of $200,000, a staff of six full-time clinicians, and clinical interns from local and national colleges and universities, plus about 80 volunteers, and serves about 500 people a year, including about 400 children.

It offers six clinical programs, most of them through partnerships with public schools and nonprofits.

Its exceptional children’s program, for example, serves about 150 students with physical or “processing” disabilities once a week for 30 minutes to an hour in their self-contained classrooms in 20 schools in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro public school system.

To help build their social skills, reduce their anxiety and increase their self-esteem, children with physical disabilities, such as blindness, can squeeze nontoxic, scented food coloring into sand, for example, and then make pictures in the sand to express themselves.

In self-contained classrooms in 20 Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Durham public schools, therapists from the Institute meet once a week with a total of about 150 students who are newly-arrived refugees and immigrants, many of them dealing with past trauma and many of them who cannot speak English, using art to “share parts of themselves and their stories,” Rubesin says.

The same “Newcomer” program, in partnership with resettlement agency Church World Service in Durham and at its own office in Carrboro, also meets every other week with a total of about 40 adults who use art to express themselves and connect with one another.

The Institute also hosts a free weekly community arts group at its office for any adult in the community who identifies as living with mental illness, and provides arts therapy groups at Duke Hospital and UNC Hospitals for children with cancer, as well as monthly arts shows and monthly art-therapy workshops.

Now, the Institute aims to raise more money through grants and from individuals to grow through even more partnerships, including introducing its program for refugee and immigrant adults and children in Wake, Guilford and New Hanover counties.

“For newcomers coming to this country who often cannot speak English or have such intense trauma backgrounds, they’re sometimes not even comfortable talking about it in their own language,” Rubesin says.

“The arts are an equalizing tool for people who might not feel confident in other aspects of their lives, or who might be suffering from mental illness,” she says. “It’s about  being able to express themselves through art. It allows you to tell your story in a way that you want it to be told.”

Nonprofit news roundup, 09.01.17

Aft to succeed Fitzgerald at Second Harvest

Eric Aft, director of development for Wake Forest University and former chief operating officer for United Way of Forsyth County, has joined Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest as chief operating officer and will succeed Clyde W. Fitzgerald Jr. as CEO when he retires in June 2018.

Fitzgerald, who has served as CEO for nearly nine years, announced to the Second Harvest board of directors over 18 months ago his intention to retire.

Second Harvest addresses food insecurity in 18 counties.

Children’s Theatre of Charlotte names co-leaders

Adam Burke has been named artistic director and Linda Reynolds has been named managing director at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, which now has created a “co-leadership” structure for the organization after Burke and Reynolds served in those respective roles on an interim basis for eight months.

Groups team up to provide food to people in need

Holders of an “Orange Card” from Guilford Community Care Network now can get $10 worth local produce and food for free every week from the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market, thanks to a collaboration that includes the Network; its parent organization, Guilford Adult Health; Cone Health Foundation; and local farmers’ markets.

And recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, can receive a match of up to $10 a visit during the mid-week and Saturday Markets that they can use to buy fresh produce, fish, meats, eggs, honey, milk, and other food items from participating vendors.

Old Salem to explore ‘hidden’ African-American community

Old Salem Museums & Gardens has begun an initiative, known as the “Hidden Town Project,” to research and reveal the history of a community of enslaved and free Africans and African Americans who once lived in Salem, North Carolina.

The initiative aims locate the sites of dwelling places of enslaved people throughout Salem’s historic district; fully integrate the story into the interpreted experience for visitors; connect with descendants of enslaved people who lived there; archaeologically investigate designated site; interpret the heritage of enslaved people in Salem and their descendants through contemporary art forms, salon discussions, and public gatherings.

Dying process focus of conference for faith community

The dying process and how to be a more effective companion to people at the end of their lives will be the focus of the second annual spiritual-care conference that Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro will host on September 28 for the region’s faith community.

The conference, “Companions on the Journey: Deepening the Conversation” will be held on from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lusk Center at 2501 Summit Ave.

Concert raises $150,000 for two charities

The 8th Annual Rock Your World benefit concern on August 12 at the Booth Amphitheatre in Cary raised over $150,000 for Hope for Haiti Foundation and Water for Good.

Junior Achievement honors partners

Junior Achievement of Eastern North Carolina presented its Outstanding Corporate Service Award to Fidelity Investments; its Outstanding Individual Service Award to Rick Towner; and its Outstanding Educator Award to Rosalynn Temple, career development coordinator at Heritage Middle School in Wake Forest.

Since 2010, Fidelity has presented Junior Achievement programs to 2,700 students at two middle schools in Durham and Cary.

In the 2016-17 school year, Towner as a voluntneer taught Junior Achievement programs to 250 students in 10 classes, totaling over 1,500 hours.

And for the last eight years, Temple helped 1,900 students participate in Junior Achievement programs.

Junior Achievement gets $56,000

Junior Achievement of the Triad has received a two-year, $55,798 grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust in Winston-Salem to its “Economics for Success” program to up to 3,360 seventh-grade students at six Title I middle schools in Forsyth County.

HandsOn Northwest North Carolina organizing service projects

HandsOn Northwest North Carolina in Winston-Salem is celebrating its 10th anniversary by organizing 10 volunteer service projects with 10 community partners.

At each project, 10 or so community and corporate volunteers will work with a team of AmericCorps National Civilian Community Corps members deployed to Winston-Salem for the projects.

United Way of Alamance plans to move

United Way of Alamance County has purchased new space at 220 East Front Street in downtown Burlington and will move in after renovations that are expected to take at least two months.

Wake Forest Baptist donates bleeding-control kits

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is donating 100 new bleeding control kits to the Winston-Salem Police Department to equip police officers to quickly stop severe blood loss for victims of gunshot or stab wounds, vehicle crashes or other traumatic injuries. The kits contain dressings for wound packing, a hyphen seal for chest wounds and a tourniquet.

Interactive oral hygiene display opens

High Point Regional Health Foundation has opened a new, interactive oral hygiene display at the Millis Regional Health Education Center at 600 N. Elm Street.

The display was funded with a $15,000 grant from the Delta Dental Foundation.

Chief deputy insurance commissioner to speak to underwriters

Michelle Osborne, chief deputy state insurance commissioner will be the speaker at the monthly meeting of the Triad Association of Health Underwriters on September 5 at 11:45 a.m. at Hilton Garden Inn Greensboro Airport.

Dog-adoption events scheduled

Coldwell Banker Triad, Realtors, Animal Adoption & Rescue Foundation, and Guilford County Animal Shelter will host dog-adoption events September 9 in Greensboro and Winston-Salem.

The events will be held at the Guilford County Animal Shelter at 4525 W. Wendover Avenue in Greensboro from noon to 4 p.m., and at Coldwell Banker Triad at 285 South Stratford Road in Winston-Salem from noon to 3 p.m.

Grants available from Syngenta

September 29 is the deadline for Triad nonprofits with projects that promote agricultural and science education or help relieve hunger to submit applications to Syngenta for grants up to $10,000 through its community grant program.

Charlotte YMCA selects app to connect employees

YMCA of Greater Charlotte has selected the Mobile App Platform from StaffConnect to connect its network of 4,700 employees.

Public School Forum expands teacher program, hires writer

The Public School Forum of North Carolina, which works with early-career teachers in Wake, Mecklenburg and Union counties through its Beginning Teacher Leadership Network, is expanding the program this school year to Cabarrus, Carteret and Onslow counties.

For the 2017-18 school year, the Public School Forum is partnering with WakeEd Partnership to jointly lead the program in Wake County.

The Forum also has hired Lindsay Wagner, former education writer and researcher at the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, as senior writer and researcher.

In high gear: The NCAR Dashboard

[Note: This article was written for MPrint, the magazine of the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and was published in its summer 2017 issue.]

By Todd Cohen

In 1987, the year Zenetta Drew joined the Dallas Black Dance Theatre as executive director, the 10-year-old company unveiled an ambitious growth plan: find and move into downtown quarters; begin a touring program; pay full-time salaries to its dancers.

It was a tough time for arts organizations; the much older and larger Dallas Ballet had just announced it was facing financial distress, and folded soon after. And Drew had no professional arts training.

For the previous 12 years, she had held accounting and management jobs at ARCO Oil and Gas Co. But she knew how to use data. Over countless hours, she studied the Dance Theatre’s books, organized and analyzed information, and conducted feasibility studies and audience surveys.

After weeks of assessment, she was able to share metrics with board members and prospective donors. The metrics, such as the expected ticket sales resulting from increased marketing, showed them the return they could expect on their investment in the company’s growth plan.

The strategy worked. During Drew’s tenure, the programs, performances, audiences and revenue the Dance Theatre operates with an annual budget of $4.9 million – up from $175,000 in 1987.

But analyzing finances and performance no longer has to be a manual, time-consuming job for arts leaders.

Now, when Drew wants to assess the Dance Theatre’s financial and management performance, she turns to a new, free online dashboard from the National Center for Arts Research at SMU.

Building the capacity to improve

The easy-to-use NCAR Dashboard allows arts organizations to assess themselves on 24 broad measures in such areas as revenue, expenses, marketing and staffing, and see how they compare to peers throughout the U.S. that are similar in size, field of interest, and audience and community demographics.

Known as the KIPI Dashboard (“KIPI” stands for Key Intangible Performance Indicators), it launched in 2016; Drew was an early tester.

“With this free tool, arts organizations can more easily gauge how well they’re doing in the areas that are important to them, and can make more informed decisions to reach their particular goals,” says Zannie Voss, director of NCAR and professor of arts management and arts entrepreneurship in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts and Cox School of Business.

Moreover, adds Drew, the tool gives arts philanthropists information to help them make donation decisions. “Donors are able to get a better feel for how to evaluate programs and their return on time, money and resources,” she says.

For smaller organizations in particular – which represent most arts and cultural nonprofits – the KIPI Dashboard provides a highly sophisticated diagnostic and analytical capacity they otherwise likely would lack, says Drew, a founding member of the NCAR advisory board.

A grantmaker’s perspective

Dwight Walth, director of cultural facility and grant services in the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture, is a proponent of the KIPI Dashboard. Walth encouraged a number of nonprofits that receive grants from his agency to sign up for one of NCAR’s monthly dashboard webinars.

According to Walth, the arts sector represents a volatile marketplace, and the business model for arts organizations can be complex. In many ways, he says, nonprofits face “different kinds of stresses and issues” than for-profit companies, including their overall dependence on both contributed income and earned income. Nonprofits often get special grants “that can go away next year, so it’s just sort of riding waves of production and exhibits that go well and don’t, special exhibits that do well and don’t,” he says.

“Clearly, what the dashboard offers is a way for the organization to tell the story of their successes and challenges beyond the raw data by looking across the sector peer group as a whole,” he says. “An organization would then have a powerful tool to show to their board of directors and to funders to put in context how they’re doing. They could see in their trend reports, in the trend data or in the final score within an index, that they are performing lower or higher than they would expect.

“And when they dip into their scores, they get trend information and details about how they can increase their score, what factors need to change to increase a score.”

Insights for board members

In June 2016, when the Dallas Black Dance Theatre launched a new strategic plan, its board wanted a clear sense of the financial baseline from which it was setting out, and how it compared to peer organizations throughout the U.S. As a relatively small organization, the board also wanted to know how it stacked up against peer groups in contributions from board members.

Among several other aspects, the DBDT learned from the new tool that its board donations covered eight percent of expenses – two percentage points higher, on average, than expenses covered by boards of larger arts groups such as symphonies.

“When measuring ourselves as a $5 million organization, compared to a $40 million to $50 million organization, it helps our board understand they’re carrying a larger proportional contribution,” Drew says. “It helps them value the level of contribution they’re making.”

The Dance Theatre now uses information from the dashboard throughout the year as it recruits prospective donors and board members who otherwise might not have wanted to get involved because of the mistaken belief they “can’t make much of a difference,” Drew says.

Gauging financial performance

The dashboard has been a goal that Voss and her team at the National Center for Arts Research have been working on since NCAR’s founding in 2012. NCAR was created to assess the health and stability of the arts sector in America by compiling and analyzing the most comprehensive set of data ever assembled on the arts industry. The dashboard is the next evolution of NCAR, providing a free, customized resource that allows arts organizations to look at their own performance relative to the field.

The dashboard draws on data from nearly 8,000 cultural nonprofits that have submitted their information to NCAR partner DataArts over the past five years. The dashboard lets an organization access its own confidential, individual scores that show how it ranks relative to its peers in nine broad indices of finance, operations and attendance. Each index consists of multiple metrics.

The dashboard gauges tangible factors that affect performance, such as an organization’s age, sector and marketing budget, as well as intangible factors such as good decision-making and artistic

Arts leaders can track their company’s performance in each index over five years, and use what they learn as a catalyst to inform and guide their staff and board in planning, decision-making and development.  A nonprofit could use the dashboard to conduct a benchmarking analysis, for example, before undertaking a capital campaign.

And by clicking an “Increase My Score” button on the dashboard, nonprofits can see what they would have needed to do to improve performance in areas such as attendance, corporate contributions or return on fundraising.

The dashboard also features articles on best practices for each of the nine indices. They range from governance and contributed income to community engagement and staffing.

And while NCAR does not provide consulting services itself, its website features a list of national consultants it has worked with over the years that dashboard users can turn to as they work to improve their performance.

Key Data Source: The Cultural Data Profile

The KIPI Dashboard represents a collaboration among a network of partners, including Philadelphia-based DataArts. Founded in 2004 as the Cultural Data Project by a Pennsylvania group of public and private grantmakers and advocates, DataArts now has collected data from 16,000 arts, cultural and science organizations throughout the U.S., ranging from ballet and opera companies to symphonies, museums and performing arts groups.

Those nonprofits – about 15 percent of the roughly 100,000 cultural nonprofits in the U.S. that file Form 990 returns with the IRS – have completed annual Cultural Data Profiles for DataArts totaling several million data points.

“DataArts was started to better understand how to help cultural nonprofits become more sustainable,” says Beth Tuttle, DataArts president and CEO. “The organizers were in the business of giving grants and investing in cultural nonprofits, and were seeking greater insight into those nonprofits’ financial and operational health.”

Also prompting creation of the effort, she says, was the overall “lack of detailed data in standardized form to help make decisions as funders, to look at trends and figure out what actually was happening with organizations they were funding.”

The millions of data points represent an unparalleled, broadly available asset for the cultural sector.

Both arts organizations and granting organizations make use of the Cultural Data Profiles. Arts organizations that submit a profile are then able to generate a variety of analytics and reports, such as balance sheets and annual reports; apply for grants; and more. Funders, many of whom require grant applicants to submit data to the profile, can get a report from DataArts for each individual applicant, and can compare applicants to peers and see grantee trends.

Completing the Cultural Data Profile is also the first step in creating an individual KIPI Dashboard. Nonprofits that complete a profile can then seamlessly access the dashboard from either the DataArts platform or NCAR website.

Tracking an audience’s likelihood of buying tickets

Large arts organizations like museums and symphonies “have become increasingly sophisticated about understanding their communities and how to do targeted marketing that understands where in their community their attendees come from and which are more loyal,” says NCAR Director Voss.

Yet the vast majority of arts organizations in the U.S. are small and lack the financial and human capacity to use data to improve their performance and drive their growth, says Voss, a former man- aging director of the PlayMakers Repertory Company at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

To help equip them with that capacity, NCAR is developing a new tool, known as an “audience development heat map,” that will show arts organizations the “likelihood of purchase” for households in every census tract within 20 miles.  “If my goal is to increase purchases, I can look at census tracts and my own organization’s ticket sales, and see areas we haven’t targeted,” she says. Or if an arts organization wanted to diversify its audience by attracting younger or more culturally diverse people, the interactive map will help target areas where those audiences live.

The tool, expected to be launched in 2018, will be designed to be “flexible enough for organizations to use that have different marketing objectives,” and will help small and mid-size nonprofits with limited capacity better understand their audiences and target their marketing, says Voss, who also is a member of the DataArts board.

Rising to challenges: marketing, budgets and politics

Together, the KIPI Dashboard and future audience development map represent breakthrough tools designed to help arts organizations, particularly those that are small or mid-size, navigate an increasingly challenging and complex cultural marketplace, Voss says.

People-per-program-offering – a key metric – generally has declined over time, for example, while the number of offerings has grown. And funders sometimes press cultural groups to come up with new initiatives. As a result, arts organizations are looking for ways to market themselves and their new programs more effectively.

Cultural organizations also have seen the share of their budgets provided by government funding decline, on average, from 5.4 percent in 2011 to 4.8 percent in 2014, she says.

And with the White House and Congress considering elimination of agencies like the National Endowment for the Arts, Voss says, the cultural sector could lose a key source of funding that typically helps drive support from state and local funders, both public and private. In rural areas that lack philanthropic capacity, NEA funding can be critical.

The KIPI Dashboard and the planned heat map from NCAR are tools that give cultural nonprofits otherwise hard-to-get data that make it easy to track their performance, compare themselves to peer organizations, and inform planning and decision-making by their board and staff – along with articles on best practices and success stories – to drive continual improvement, Voss says.

“We are at a moment in time in the field of arts and culture when we’re finally starting to have robust data from the organizations themselves,” she says. “These tools are intended to give them additional knowledge from their own data, useful to them on a personalized basis, to help them move the dial in the performance areas that are important to them.”

Tuttle, who serves on NCAR’s advisory board, says smart, well-organized data is critical for cultural organizations. “Data plus stories equal impact,” she says. “Data alone doesn’t tell the story. Anecdotes alone don’t make the case. But you put those two things together, and you can tell a much more compelling story to a broader set of listeners. And that is imperative in the current political context we’re in.”

Nonprofit news roundup, 08.25.17

Groups team up on hub for regional health data

Local medical centers, health departments, foundations, United Ways and other health and human services providers have partnered to create Piedmont Health Counts, an online database focused on health and other social issues in Guilford and Alamance counties.

The data hub is part of a national initiative, known as Healthy People 2020, that includes targets for preventing disease and promoting health, and aims to help communities assess their health status and build lan agenda for improving community health.

Piedmont Health Counts, at, includes dashboards tracking community health and disparities; data on demographics and “socioneeds;” and comparisons of current data to future targets.

It also tracks health priorities and local reports for Guilford and Alamance counties, and provides other tools and resources.

Parters in Piedmont Health Counts include Alamance County Health Department; Alamance Regional Medical Center; Alcohol & Drug Services of Guilford; Cardinal Innovations; Cone Health; Cone Health Foundation; Foundation for a Healthy High Point; Guilford Adult Health; Healthy Alamance; High Point Regional Health; Impact Alamance; Public Health Division of the Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services; United Way of Alamance County; United Way of Greater Greensboro; United Way of Greater High Point; Department of Public Health Education, University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Stevens to head Alamance Community Foundation

Gavin Stevens, former senior director of resource development for United Way of Greater Greensboro, has been named executive director of the Alamance Community Foundation in Burlington.

The position is new for the foundation, which was established in 1991.

Stevens also serves as chair of the board of directors of Reconsidered Goods, a creative reuse center in Greensboro.

Penny named executive director at Family Abuse Services

LaTonya McIver Penny, a bi-vocational senior pastor at New Mount Zion Baptist Church, has joined Family Abuse Services of  Alamance County in Burlington as executive director.

Penny, a Roxboro native who also will continue in her role at the church, succeeds Tammy Smith, former director of residential services, who served as interim executive director starting in January 2017 after Lynn Rousseau, the former executive director, departed to accept a position in Georgia.

V Foundation wine event raises $9 million

The V Foundation for Cancer Research in Cary raised nearly $9 million at the 19th Annual V Foundation Wine Celebration in Napa Valley, Calif., including over $7 million in donations to support the study of BRCA mutation research in laboratories and clinics across the U.S.

In its 24 years, the V Foundation has awarded over $170 million in cancer research grants.

Over the last 19 years, the Wine Celebration has raised over $88 million for cancer research and related programs.

The 20th Annual V Foundation Wine Celebration will be held on August 2-5, 2018.

Funds at endowment honor High Point lawyers

Two North Carolina Bar Foundation Endowment Justice Funds have been dedicated at the North Carolina Bar Center in Cary to honor two long-time High Point attorneys — James F. “Jim” Morgan and his father, the late James V. “J. V.” Morgan.

Established in 1987, the Endowment has awarded nearly $5.8 million for 729 grants across North Carolina.

Addiction Recovery Care Association gets $20,000

The Addiction Recovery Care Association has been awarded a $20,000 grant from the Winston-Salem Foundation to fund a feasibility study to determine community partners and support for a newly planned medical/dormitory facility at the ARCA Campus on Union Cross Road that will more than double the agency’s capacity.

Conducting the study over the next three months will be Winston-Salem consulting firm Whitney Jones Inc.

Cooper Academy gets $25,000

The effort to revitalize space in the former Cooper Elementary School in Clayton, now Cooper Academy, for programs in science, technology, engineering, art and math has received donations of $15,000 from One27Homes and a total of $10,000 from the Parkview and Ashcroft communities, Jaclyn Smith Properties, HomeTowne Realty, and Adams & Hodge Engineering.

One27Homes also donated nearly 200 hours of labor to help with the renovations.

ALS Association to benefit from Restaurant Week

The North Carolina Chapter of the The ALS Association will benefit from proceeds from a pop-up dinner on August 27 from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at The Cadillac Service Garage in downtown Greensboro.

Hosted by local chefs and restaurants that are donating all the food, beverages and staff,  the event, will kick off the third annual Downtown Greensboro Restaurant Week.Free Marketing blitz for nonprofits

August 30 at 5 the deadline for nonprofits in the Triad and Triangle to submit applications to SFW for pro-bono marketing services the firm will provide as part of CreateAthon, an annual 24-hour creative blitz by agencies across the U.S. and Canada to develop and deliver advertising, branding and marketing services for local nonprofits with little or no marketing budget.

In last year’s blitz, SFW served 33 nonprofits and completed 88 marketing projects, serving the most clients and producing the most work out of any agency participating.

Event to benefit service-dog program

The Inaugural maCares Tribute 5K Run/2.5K Walk will be held on September 9 at Country Park/Jaycee Park in Greensboro to honor service members and first responders.

All proceeds will support the maCares & faith Cares Service Dog Support Program, which works to relieve the financial burden of caring for a service dog so  the veteran, child, or adult can focus on living a full and productive life with the aid of the service dog.

The program covers the initial and re-certification training expenses, plus daily care expenses such as food, supplies, veterinary, medications and grooming.

Funding available for arts project

September 22 is the deadline for submitting proposals to the Longleaf Collective for seed funding of up to $20,000, plus volunteer support from members of the giving circle, to explore or put into effect a new arts program, with a particular focus on art that engages underserved communities in nontraditional spaces.

Members of the giving circle aim to raise $10,000 to $20,000 for the effort.