Fellowship Hall grows to fight addiction

By Todd Cohen

GREENSBORO, N.C. — When it opened its residential addiction-treatment program in 1971, Fellowship Hall in Greensboro became the first specialty alcohol-and-drug-treatment hospital in North Carolina to receive a license from the state Department of Mental Health.

And this year, after adding 12 beds for a new extended-treatment program, the nonprofit became the first agency in the state to receive a license for extended treatment of recovering addicts and alcoholics.

Now, as it continues to face rising demand for its services, particularly because people in recovery often face multiple issues ranging from depression to physical or sexual abuse or trauma, Fellowship Hall is expanding its services and partnerships to better address those needs.

“We need to look at expansion of our continuum of care,” says Rodney Battles, the agency’s president.

Founded by a group of local business executives who were recovering alcoholics, the agency has served over 23,000 guests in what is now a 72-bed facility that occupies seven buildings on a 120-acre campus in north Greensboro.

Fellowship Hall operates with an annual budget of $7 million and a staff of about 120 employees, with 40 of them hired in the past 16 months.

Fueling that expansion was the need to add an extended-treatment program to address patients’ longer-term needs for recovery.

The agency traditionally has included a 60-bed residential in-patient facility that serves 800 to 900 individuals a year, typically for three to four weeks each, along with intensive out-patient services that serve 150 to 200 individuals a year, typically for four to six weeks each.

The new extended-treatment program is designed to serve patients facing multiple issues in their recovery, with patients expected to stay for 90 days.

Fellowship Hall this year also launched a regular out-patient service that provides ongoing support for individuals the agency has discharged from its system.

That new service is expected to grow to the extent that the agency would undertake a capital campaign that could begin in 2013 to raise money to build a new facility to house it, Battles says.

Fellowship Hall also offers a program that provides services four days a week for family members of patients in treatment, or about 500 to 600 family members a year.

To finance the new extended-treatment program, the agency tapped about $200,000  from its $15 million endowment to renovate two facilities – one for men, the other for women – it already owned on its campus.

Fellowship Hall undertook that effort in the wake of a $3 million renovation three years ago to its main residential facility and an addition that added 16 beds. Contributions from individuals and corporate donors financed roughly a third of the cost of that expansion.

Generating 75 percent of its operating funds from insurance, patient payments and fees, and 25 percent from contributions from corporations, individuals and foundations, Fellowship Hall raises about $50,000 to $60,000 a year through its annual fund.

That includes an annual golf tournament, held in conjunction with an annual conference at Bryan Park, that will take place August 3 and raises about $35,000.

Murphy Sullivan, who joined Fellowship Hall in March as director of development and community relations after serving as vice president for government affairs at the Charlotte Chamber, will be working to raise awareness about the agency.

Fellowship Hall, which partners with the medical schools at Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill to train psychiatric residents in addiction medicine, also aims to work with the two schools to create a post-doctoral fellowship program in addiction medicine.

“Fellowship Hall started out as a mission-driven organization,” Battles says. “That singleness of purpose has been a major key to its growth.”

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Nonprofit news roundup, 07.27.12

Arts & Science Council investing $12.5 million

After raising $100,000 more than last year in its annual fundraising campaign this year, the Arts & Science Council in Charlotte will invest $12.5 million in the cultural community in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County in fiscal 2012-12.

That investment consists of public and private funding from the city of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, N.C. Arts Council, surrounding Mecklenburg County municipalities, endowment earnings and the Arts & Science Council’s annual campaign, which this year raised $8.4 million.

Investments allocated in direct funding, totaling nearly $12 million, will support arts, science, history and heritage organizations, cultural neighborhood projects, and artists.

Indirect funding, totaling $519,900, will support capacity building and training efforts for cultural organizations and artists, including board development, management and audience development.

After raising a record-high $11.4 million in 2008, before the economy collapsed, the annual fund campaign raised $7.1 million in 2009, representing a 38 percent shortfall.

Still, the campaign, which generates most of its funds through workplace campaigns, has continued to meet its annual fundraising goal, the Council says, with the 2011 campaign raising an extra $1 million for education programs in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

Triad United Ways score on big gifts

Local United Ways in Winston-Salem, High Point and Greensboro ranked 2nd, 3rd and 4th, respectively, in the number of donors who gave $10,000 or more, as a share of the local population, among 13 affiliates in the Southeast that participated in a survey.

Trailing only the affiliate in Birmingham, Ala., which ranked first in the survey with 1 donor giving at that level for every 1,468 citizens, Winston-Salem ranked second, with 1 donor at that level for every 1,605 citizens, High Point ranked 3rd, with one for every 1,818 citizens, and Greensboro ranked 3rd, with one for every 2,450 citizens.

Other high-ranking affiliates in North Carolina included Asheville, which ranked 7th, with one donor at that level for every 4,339 citizens; Charlotte ranked 9th, with 1 donor for every 4,984 citizens; and the Triangle ranked 13th, with one donor at that level for every 18,987 citizens.

Triangle Community Foundation

Triangle Community Foundation made grants totaling $240,000 to 18 nonprofits, including nine grants for youth leadership and development, and nine grants for civic engagement.  Since it launched its Communty Grantmaking Program in spring 2007, the Foundation has made grants totaling 182 grants totaling over $2.3 million to 103 nonprofits, including 47 that received multiple grants. On average, that program awards over $420,000 a year to nonprofits.

North Carolina Bar Association Foundation

The North Carolina Bar Association Foundation approved 22 endowment grants totaling $162,156, including 16 statewide grants and six local and regional grants. The Endowment, with $8.7 million in assets, is the philanthropic arm of the North Carolina Bar Association Foundation and the North Carolina Bar Association. Since 1988, 517 endowment grants totaling more than $4 million have been awarded.

NCCJ of the Piedmont Triad

NCCJ of the Piedmont Triad received over $36,000 in grants to support its mission of building a community free of bias, bigotry and racism. They include $15,000 from The Cemala Foundation; $10,000 from Lincoln Financial Foundation; $5,000 from the Alexander Worth McAlister Foundation; $3,000 from the Rotary Club of Greensboro Foundation; $2,000 from the Women’s Professional Forum Foundation; $500 from New Garden Friends Meeting; $500 from the Crescent Rotary Club Foundation; and $300 from Sign-a-Rama.

Alzheimer’s Association

The Neurological Institute, which operates The Memory Institute in Charlotte, is teaming with the Charlotte-based Western Carolina Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association to provide education conferences, referral sources, and free screenings. The Neurological Institute also is donating proceeds from the sales of its book, “Alzheimer’s Disease Pocket Guide,” to the Western Carolina Chapter.

Duplin County Community Foundation

The Duplin County Community Foundation, an affiliate of the North Carolina Community Foundation, has awarded over $12,000 to local nonprofits through the annual Duplin Community Grants Program and the Duplin Foundation for Youth Advancement. Since 2005, the Duplin County Community Foundation and the Duplin Foundation for Youth Advancement have made more than $46,000 in grants to Duplin County nonprofits.

North Carolina Community Foundation

The North Carolina Community Foundation is accepting grant applications for projects funded from its statewide Women’s Fund. Funds are available for nonprofits that sponsor programming that supports women or families, or both, with particular emphasis on women’s health and leadership issues. Programs must serve areas within the 67 counties the foundation serves. The fund this year will award a total of $9,000, with grants typically ranging from $1,000 to $2,000. It awarded grants in 2011 to Helping Hands Clinic in Caldwell County, Albemarle Hopeline in Elizabeth City, StepUp Ministry in Raleigh, YMCA of Catawba Valley, Down East Partnership for Children in Rocky Mount, and the Chowan/ Perquimans Smart Start Partnership.

North Mecklenburg  Women’s Club

The North Mecklenburg Women’s Club in Huntersville has awarded a $10,000 grant to the ANSWER Scholarship Endowment to help send local mothers to college.

BJH Foundation for Senior Services

BJH Foundation for Senior Services, based in Greensboro, awarded over $200,000  to 19 different programs focusing on improving the lives of Jewish seniors throughout the Carolinas, including Jewish Family Services of Western North Carolina, Asheville; Jewish Family Services of Greater Charlotte, Sandra and Leon Levine Jewish Community Center, and Temple Beth-El, Charlotte; Durham-Chapel Hill Jewish Federation; Jewish Family Services of Greensboro, Temple Emanuel, Beth David Synagogue, Greensboro; Agudus Israel Congregation, Hendersonville; Temple B’nai Sholem, New Bern; and Temple Beth Or, Raleigh. Over the past six years, the foundation has awarded over $1.2 million to qualifying nonprofits.

Harris Teeter

Harris Teeter shoppers donated over $445,000 to a Support Our Troops donation-card campaign in May benefiting USO and Wounded Warrior Project.

Raleigh Rotary Club

Raleigh Rotary Club, North Carolina’s oldest civic organization, named new board members and provided a total of $11,000 in  grants, including The Salvation Army, SAFEChild, Girl Scouts-N.C. Coastal Pines, Triangle Family Services and other charities. New board members include Cindy Poole, Rusine Mitchell Sinclair, Reagan Weaver, Brad Krehely, Mark Livingston, Mary Moss, Louis Rogers, Kirk Warner, Steele Hall, Aaron Guyton, Eric Larson and Mike Tadych.

TwelveInTwelve

Actor J.D. Lewis, who moved to Charlotte in 2007 to open an Actor’s Lab office, has established TwelveInTwelve, a nonprofit that aims to help families making international humanitarian trips, and raise money and awareness for organizations he and his sons supported on a recent year-long trip around the world.

Communities in Schools

Communities In Schools of North Carolina, part of a national dropout-prevention network, is participating in a statewide campaign with Walmart to collect school supplies for economically-disadvantaged students in the state.

Me Fine Foundation

The North Carolina Community Foundation contributed $1,500 to Me Fine Foundation to help local families with children being treated at UNC and Duke Children’s Hospitals. Me Fine Foundation’s project, Johnston County Children’s Fund, is providing financial support for Johnston County families who are sacrificing their livelihoods to give their children lifesaving or last chance treatment. The grant was awarded as support from the Cara Lee Powell Priest Endowment for Johnston County, a component fund of the North Carolina Community Foundation.

Health Underwriters

The Triad Association of Health Underwriters donated $5,000 to NC Free Clinics with funds raised at its annual charity golf tournament.

Meals on Wheels

Enid A. Borden is stepping down as president and CEO of the Meals On Wheels Association of America after more than 20 years of leadership to become CEO of the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger.

— Todd Cohen

Higher-ed lags on ‘sustainable’ investing

Investment in environmental, social and corporate governance by college and university endowments, an investment strategy those institutions pioneered in the 1970s with anti-apartheid campaigns, is less widespread than it may seem, a new study says.

Higher-education endowents, which represent over $400 billion in combined assets under management, also show a “general lack of transparency” in their practices in environmental, social and governance investing, or ESG, says the study, which was commissioned and funded by the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute and conducted by Tellus Institute.

“Historically, endowments were groundbreaking institutional investors that addressed social  and environmental considerations in their investments far earlier than others,” Jon Kukomnik, executive director of the IRRC Institute, says in a statement. “Our findings indicate that today’s endowments no longer are leaders in the institutional ESG investment arena.”

The study, “Environmental, Social and Governance Investing by College and University Endowments in the United States,” is based on an analysis of “sustainable” investing by education endowments, including the aggregation of”multiple survey data sets,” plus new primary research.

The main form of sustainable investing activity by higher-ed endowments tends to remain “single-issue negative screening” of public-equity portfolios such as tobacco or targeted divestment from the Sudan, the study says.

And while a growing number of surveys and reporting mechanisms have emerged in the last 10 years to obtain inforation about sustainable and responsible endowment management, it says, a “widespread lack of independent verification of self-reported data exists” and sustainable investment transparency “remains poor.”

Investment policies by college and university endowments are “remarkably opaque, even at some state-funded universities,” the study says.

The education community also is “largely is absent from the national and global institutional investment networks,” it says.

Not a single higher-education endowment is among the 900  signatories of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment, for example, and only one is a member of the Council of Institutional Investors, the leading U.S. association of institutional investors, the study says.

It also finds issues that relate to “confusion about ESG semantics.”

Some colleges and universities “claim to be making sustainable investments when those investments do not meet the standard definitions of such investments,” the study says.

Confusion about the semantics of sustainable investing has resulted in “problematic claims and misclassification of investments,” the study says.

And despite considerable focus on proxy-voting recommendations, an effort that encourages endowments to be more active and engaged shareholders by using their proxy power, many colleges are shifting investments from publicly-traded securities to “indirect investments in commingled vehicles and more opaque, illiquid investments in alternative asset classes,” the study says.

Traditional equity investing, including proxy voting, represents a decreasing portion of many endowments, it says.

“The endowment community exhibits a weak understanding of ESG investing strategies, trends, opportunities, and language,” the study says.

While sustainable investing is not widespread in the higher-ed endowment community, it says, some innovative investing programs could serve as models.

Those include Middlebury College and Dickinson College, which have invested in a Sustainability Investments Initiative that includes clean-tech investments, as well as the Omidyar Tufts Microfinance Fund at Tufts University.

And misperceptions about sustainable investing “open immense learning opportunities for the endowment community,” the study says, “though a much great openness to discussions of sustainable and responsible investing is needed.”

— Todd Cohen

Domestic violence focus of campaign

By Todd Cohen

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Chahnaz Kebaier, a researcher at UNC-Chapel Hill who died after being shot multiple times in the head and body while picking up her children at their elementary school on May 25, had been involved in an ongoing domestic dispute with her estranged husband, who has been charged with her murder.

Kebaier’s death was the 24th homicide attributed to domestic violence this year in North Carolina, which ranks 4th in the U.S. in homicides by men against women.

To raise awareness about domestic violence and about resources available to victims and perpetrators, a task force representing half-a-dozen organizations aims to raise $1 million in private funds to support a media campaign that will be piloted in Mecklenburg and Iredell counties in 2013.

The task force then would seek funding from state lawmakers in 2014 to help support a statewide campaign that also would be funded with private contributions.

“The incidence of domestic violence is often a hidden problem,” says Beth Briggs, executive director of the North Carolina Council for Women, a state agency that is a lead partner in the task force. “Families are fearful about speaking about it. And we want to provide an opportunity to create awareness and information to protect women and families across the state.”

Domestic violence, including sexual abuse, cuts across categories of race, religion, ethnicity, socio-economic status and age, says Jill Dinwiddie, a Charlotte resident who is co-chairing the fundraising effort to support the campaign and retired last November as executive director of the Council for Women.

But people tend to be reluctant to talk about domestic violence or to seek help for themselves or get involved to help victims, she says.

“We’re trying to raise awareness everywhere, among employees and educators, and with victims,” she says. “We want victims to know there are resources they can go to for help and support. We want perpetrators to become better educated about appropriate behaviors. And we want the community at large to assume responsibility for helping people that show symptoms of abuse.”

A woman is abused in the U.S every nine seconds, and domestic violence represent the number-one reason women and children become homeless in the U.S.

And intimate-partner violence is estimated to cost employers over $5 billion a year, with one study finding 54 percent of employees living with domestic violence missed at least three full days of work a month.

“Frequently, the workplace may be the last holdout for a woman who’s being abused, who puts makeup on bruises and doesn’t want anybody to know she’s in an abusive relationship,” says Dinwiddie, who co-chairs the fundraising effort.

Jenny Ward, board chair for the Council for Women and sustainability engagement manager at Duke Energy, says the public-awareness campaign will focus on the impact of domestic violence on victims, families, communities, businesses and the economy.

An eight-minute video, funded by Wells Fargo and created by Charlotte communications firm Wray Ward, tells the stories of survivors of domestic violence, while a website at enoughviolence.com, created on a pro-bono basis by VisionPoint Marketing in Raleigh, features information on domestic violence and resources for dealing with it.

“We want to raise the community consciousness, and connect with victims earlier so they don’t wait and wait and wait,” says Ward, who also co-chairs the fundraising effort.

The overall campaign, designed by communications firm Wray Ward on a pro-bono basis, will feature television, radio, outdoor, print and social media, as well as community outreach and education.

It also will include training materials developed for human-resources professionals to help them identify signs that an employee may be in trouble, and to raise awareness in their organizations about the issue.

“We want to really make a difference,” Ward says.

Nonprofit news roundup, 07.20.12

Charitable giving grows in Charlotte

Contributions, gifts and grants to private foundations in the 14-county Charlotte region grew to $170 per capita in 2010 from $71 per capita in 2009, while giving to public charities in the region grew to $602 from $574 per capita in the same period, according to the Urban Institute at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Still, while contributions to public charities in the region seems to be on a steady rise, giving to private foundations has been much more sporadic over the years, the Urban Institute at UNC-Charlotte says, citing two annual reports published by the National Center for Charitable Statistics at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C.

Contributions to private foundations grew between 2009 and 2010 in seven counties in the region, including an increase to $434 per capita from $176 in Mecklenburg County, which posted the biggest increase in the region, and a decline to $5 per capita from $15 in Cleveland County, which posted the biggest decline.

Per-capita giving to public charities grew in 10 counties in the region in that two-year period, including an increase to $948 per capita in Lancaster County, S.C., the biggest increase in the region, and falling to $308 per capita from $500 in Cabarrus County,  which posted the biggest decline.

Big Brothers Big Sisters CEO leaving

Amy Rogge Mack is stepping down as president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Services in Winston-Salem after two-and-a-half years in the job to move with her family to Seattle, where her husband has accepted a faculty job at the University of Washington. Mack, a former senior executive at the Corporation for National and Community Services, expects to remain on the job until October at the latest. Big Brothers Big Sisters, which operates with an annual budget just over $917,000 and aims to serve roughly 600 children in this year in Forsyth and Davie counties, pairing them with adult volunteers, is conducting a search for a successor. Recruiting volunteers, Mack says, is the organization’s biggest challenge.

Komen founder and CEO to speak

Nancy G. Brinker, founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, will be the featured speaker at Pink Bow Gala on Sept. 29 at  Ballantyne Country Club in Charlotte hosted by BCC Rally, an all-volunteer nonprofit that raises awareness and funds for breast cancer. BCC Rally is part of the overall Komen Charlotte effort, which last year distributed $1.4 million to 27 grantees serving low-income, underinsured and uninsured women.  Seventy-five percent of funds raised through BCC Rally directly benefit Charlotte and its nine surrounding counties, with the remaining 25 percent supporting research through Komen’s national headquarters.

Contest aims to improve rural health

The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust in Winston-Salem, launched the Innovations in Rural Health Award, looking for original, innovative solutions to drive health improvement in rural communities. In addition to receiving $25,000 each, up to three winners might see their projects implemented in North Carolina by the Trust. Any individual or organization across the U.S. is invited to participate.

Guidestar names CEO

Jacob Harold, who has led grantmaking for the philanthropy program at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation since 2006, has been named president and CEO of GuideStar, which serves as a source of information on nonprofit. He succeeds Bob Ottenhoff, who in March announced he was leaving after 10 years as president.

Agencies form partnership

Thompson Child & Family Focus in Charlotte and Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina in Lake Waccamaw entered into a partnership to  expand regional access to mental-health and child-welfare community services for vulnerable children and families. The agencies will jointly operate program offices in Durham and Fayetteville.

Red Cross raises $35,000

The fifth annual Lake Norman Excursion bicycle ride on July 14 raised $35,000 for the Charlotte-based Greater Carolinas Chapter of the American Red Cross. Sponsored by Lowe’s and CoolBreeze Cyclery, the event drew over 800 people who for a 5K walk/run and bicycle rides.

John Rex Endowment

The John Rex Endowment in Raleigh approved three healthy-weight grants totaling over $525,000 for The Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education, Natural Learning Initiative at North Carolina State University, and WakeMed Health and Hospitals for projects that include overweight-and-obesity-prevention strategies focused on policy and environment changes, long-lasting preventive benefits, and wide public impact.

Capstone Advancement Partners

Deepa Naik, former donor relationship coordinator for a capital campaign to build the Clyde and Ethel Dickson Domestic Violance Shelter, has been named associate consultant at Capstone Advancement Partners in Charlotte.

Family Service of the Piedmont

Family Service of the Piedmont will host its Third Annual Jamestown Pig Pickin’ presented by TCDI and featuring premier Beach Music band The EMBERS on August 4 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Magnolia Farm, the home of George and Jenny Ragsdale on Main Street, Jamestown,, with free parking at Jamestown United Methodist Church.

Triangle Community Foundation

iContact co-founders Ryan Allis and Aaron Houghton made a personal gift of $1.2 million gift to create the iContact Foundation Scholarship Fund at the Triangle Community Foundation. The Fund will offer competitive scholarships for children of employees of iContact from its creation in 2003 through the sale of the company in February 2012.

Arts & Science Council

The Arts & Science Council in partnership with the City of Charlotte will receive $100,000 to commission public artwork to help in the revitalization of the North Tryon Street Corridor from Dalton Ave. to W. 30th St./Matheson Ave. The grant was  among 80 Our Town grant awards totaling $4.995 million from The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announces and reaching 44 states and the District of Columbia.

N.C. New Schools Project

A developing network of secondary schools that focus on science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, with a focus on biotechnology and agriscience – including a regional STEM school in northeastern North Carolina – will get a boost from a $500,000 grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to the N.C. New Schools Project,  a partner in the network and regional model school. The Northeast  Regional School of Biotechnology and Agriscience, North Carolina’s first public school with a regional governing board will open in August with an initial class of 60 ninth graders and eventually will grow to as many as 500 students in grades 7 to 13 from at least five counties. The regional STEM early-college high school is designed to serve as a statewide model and partner in a broader effort to boost the economically-distressed region.

Forsyth United Way

Registration has opened for the 2012 United Way of Forsyth County Scavenger Hunt, an effort to publicize how United Way helps advance education, income and financial stability, and health in Forsyth County, and to build on its social media network.  Teams of four will be tasked with finding United Way’s Building Blocks for a Better Life display at six locations between August 15 and August 30. Clues to Blocks’ locations will be sent through United Way’s Facebook page and its Twitter feed as well as listed on its website at forsythunitedway.org.

Children’s Museum fundraiser

The Young Professionals of the Triad chapter of the Risk Management Association raised over $6,000 for the Greensboro Children’s Museum its annual benefit golf tournament on June 4 at Starmount Forest Country Club. The even was sponsored by Carruthers & Roth,  NewBridge Bank and Senn Dunn Insurance.

MS Society

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society committed up to $18.4 million to support 52 new MS research projects and training fellowships, including nearly $170,000 for a postdoctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who is investigating a possible trigger for immune attacks on the brain and spinal chord for clues to stopping MS activity.

River Landing

For the second straight year, the skilled nursing area at River Landing at Sandy Ridge, a nonprofit continuing-care retirement community in High Point that is an operating division of The Presbyterian Homes, received the highest-possible 5-Star rating following an annual survey by the state Department of Health Service Regulations.

Fill Their Backpacks

Wrights Care Services and the North Carolina Dream Center, both in Greensboro, have teamed up to provide school supplies for students in Guilford County through the Fill Their Backpacks Campaign from July 17 through August 18.

Weatherspoon Art Museum

The Weatherspoon Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro has been awarded grants of $80,000 from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and $10,000 from the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation.

Pro-bono work tops nonprofits’ volunteer needs

Nonprofits need pro-bono services to improve their operational infrastructure far more than they need hands-on support delivering services directly to the community either from skills-based or traditional volunteers, a new survey says.

Still, nonprofits face challenges making productive use of volunters, says the Pro Bono Readiness Survey conducted by LBG Research Institute for a collaborative convened by Capital One Financial Corporation and including Common Impact, Points of Light and the Taproot Foundation.

While 66 percent of 1,348 nonprofits surveyed said they need pro-bono services more than any other volunteer service, roughly 73 percent said they would be more likely to see pro-bono suport if they could identify specific projects and better understand how volounteer time can be used to improve their infrastructure.

Forty-eight percent of nonprofit surveyed, for example, did not know external resources are available to assess capacity-building and infrastructure issues.

Roughly 25 percent of nonprofit surveyed never have used pro-bono services, with 47 percent of that group citing a lack of knowledge about how to obtain pro-bono work, and others citing a general lack of awareness about pro-bono support, insufficient resources to manage a project, and uncertainty about whether or not they were ready for pro-bono help.

The survey identified hurdles to putting effective pro-bono projects into place.

While over 85 percent of respondents found pro-bono support helpful, for example, 46 percent did not know how to sustain the project results without external support.

And roughly 40 percent that used pro-bono servcies involving unusual systems or technologies had the technical infrastructure to support the outcomes.

Over 58 percent said they needed stronger project-planning and time-management resources, and 36 percent were not familiar with project-management tools, with another 40 percent saying they were somewhat familiar with those tools.

Management “bandwidth” was a key challenge for nearly 45 percent of nonprofits surveyed.

Over 78 percent of nonprofits surveyed needed pro-bono marketing and branding support, 70 percent needed technology support, over 51 percent needed strategic planning and management support, and over 40 percent needed human-resources and leadership-development support.

“There are many untapped opportunities for corporations and nonprofits to achieve mutual goals through pro-bono services and skills-based volunteering, Selena Schmidt, CEO of Common Impact, says in a statement. “But as the survey demonstrates, nonprofits need a better grasp on the kind of volunteerism that will genrate long-term benefit to their organizations.”

The collaborative is developing an online Readiness Roadmap to help nonprofits understand their their operating needs and the kind of pro-bono services that would address those needs.

United Way aims to spur ‘collective impact’

By Todd Cohen

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Children with economic disadvantages graduate from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools at a much lower rate than other children.

With children overall spending only 20 percent of their time in school, United Way of Central Carolinas sees the time that at-risk, low-performing children spend outside the classroom as a great opportunity to work with them in ways designed to increase the chances they will graduate.

As part of a larger “collective impact” strategy it has undertaken to bring together community partners to address urgent health-and-human-service needs, United Way is teaming with 15 of its partner agencies to help at-risk kids perform better in school.

Central to that effort, which is supported by a $200,000 grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation, will be a system to share data on the children’s academic performance, using those metrics to better understand the role the 15 agencies’ programs play in the children’s progress.

“We need a collective data system to show we’re having impact,” says Dennis Marstall, vice president of community investment and impact at United Way. “And then we need a collective reporting system to demonstrate how we’re having the impact.”

Those 15 agencies serve nearly 32,000 children in Mecklenburg County, with 84 percent of them living in households with annual income below $25,000.

United Way also is partnering on the data-sharing project with the Institute for Social Capital, an arm of the Urban Institute at UNC-Charlotte, which will work with the agencies and United Way do a better job collecting and analyzing data from the school system and other government agencies on students served by the 15 partner agencies.

Another partner, the Larry King Center at the Council for Children’s Rights, is helping to coordinate the work of the participating agencies and help them develop metrics to help predict whether students will drop out.

The project also will track student performance against “benchmark” goals.

A goal for pre-school children, for example, is to be ready to enter kindergarten, while a goal for students is to read at grade level by third, fifth and eighth grade.

The idea is to create a “pipeline” of progress from birth to age 18, and “create early success that builds on success,” says Jerri Haigler, vice president of education, engagement and communications at United Way.

In the past, she says, the 15 participating United Way agencies have lacked access to comprehensive data and analysis needed to help show the full impact of their programs on the school performance of the children they serve.

The date-sharing project will change that, says Jane McIntyre, executive director at United Way.

“All the programs do good work, but we don’t know how good and they don’t know how good unless they can really measure the results they’re getting with children,” she says.

By giving all partners access to all the data, she says, individual agencies can see what is working and what can be improved so they can begin to make changes.

Volunteers also will be key to the initiative, Haigler says.

United Way has launched a drive to recruit, place and train 1,000 mentors, tutors and readers to work with children at the 15 partner agencies.

While it will begin in Mecklenburg County, tracking results over 10 years, United Way plans to expand the data-sharing project throughout the five-county region it serves.

United Way also plans to launch collaboratie initiatives to address the issues of housing and homelessness, and health care, the two other priority needs that are the focus of its new overarching strategy of raising awareness and making a bigger impact on the region’s priority needs.

By sharpening its focus and trying to have a greater impact, McIntyre says, United Way can “make a greater difference with the dollars” it raises in the community.