Babcock Foundation names new executive director

By Todd Cohen

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — David Jackson, a 25-year veteran of government, philanthropy and nonprofits who has focused on affordable housing and on workforce and economic development, has been named executive director of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation in Winston-Salem.

Jackson, who is president and CEO of the Center for Working Families in Atlanta, will begin his new job in November, succeeding Gayle Williams, who has led the $154.5 million-asset foundation for 19 years.

Kathy Mountcastle, chair of the foundation’s board, said in an email message to colleagues that the organization’s senior staff would remain, “ensuring continuity in our approach and grantmaking.”

Under Williams, the focus of the Babcock Foundation has been helping to move people and places in the Southeast out of poverty.

For the next two years, the foundation will be completing a 10-year strategic plan, and then embarking on a new strategic plan that will be informed by its current work, Jackson says.

Jackson, who has a special interest in creating business-ownership opportunities for residents of underserved communities, says his work has taught him that “change is most sustainable when people who want to change participate and lead in making it happen.”

Change also results from “learning and listening and doing it through collaboration,” he says.

Both the Babcock Foundation and the Center for Working Families are rooted in working in partnership with other organizations to improve the lives of people and places in need, he says.

A native of New York City who grew up in Harlem and the South Bronx, Jackson says he saw a lot of abandoned buildings as a child and told his mother, when she asked him what he wanted to be when grew up, that he “wanted to be the guy who builds buildings.”

He studied architecture at the High School of Art and Design, and received a bachelor of science degree in architecture from the New York Institute of Technology, then went to work for the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, where his first assignment was helping tenants take over the management of apartment buildings by turning them into limited equity cooperatives.

He later worked as associate director of the Atlanta office for the Enterprise Foundation, one of the largest financiers and developers of affordable housing in the U.S., and then returned to the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development as assistant commissioner of homeownership.

Before joining The Center for Working Families, he served as vice president of One Economy Corporation, a global nonprofit that works to use technology and information to help plug low-income communities into the economy.

He led One Economy’s expansion into new markets, including Atlanta, San Antonio, New Orleans and Kansas City.

Operating with an annual budget of $4 million and a staff of 30 people, the Center for Working Families serves about 1,200 people a  year, providing intervention services such as connections to support services for roughly half of them, and deeper services such as job coaching and financial coaching for the other half.

Jackson, who holds a master’s degree in business administration  from the Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University, says he learned in business school that “if someone does it better, don’t try to do it yourself, just buy it or partner to get it.”

The Babcock Foundation “works with communities and nonprofits that don’t have unlimited resources,” he says.

“At the Center for Working Families, I sometimes tried to think of our work like an auto plant that assembles cars from parts such as windshields and seats manufactured by other companies, working with them to serve the ‘end-user,'” he says. “We were more effective by working together with other nonprofits to serve our constituents.”

In the case of low-income families and neighborhoods that are “disconnected,” for example, nonprofits can partner with one another to connect families “to the resources they need to achieve the goals they’re setting out for,” Jackson says.

And working with constituents is key to effective collaboration, he says.

“I’ve always found that when people who are wanting a change help design and implement that change, outcomes remain sticky, it lasts longer,” Jackson says. “When it’s a top-down approach, it might work for a little while, but eventually it’s not sustainable.”

Nonprofit news roundup, 08.10.12

SECU Foundation makes $2.5 million loan

The SECU Foundation is providing a 10-year, $2.5 million low-interest loan to assist with construction by Piedmont Health Services of a Program for All-inclusive Care for the Elderly, or PACE, facility in Pittsboro.

The new 4.5-acre rural site will serve residents of Chatham, Lee and southern Orange counties.

Piedmont Health Services and the Department of Family Medicine at the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will team up to establish the first PACE program in North Carolina, educating medical and allied health professionals in the PACE model.

Charlotte Museum of History reopening building

The Charlotte Museum of History is reopening its Museum building at 3500 Shamrock Drive for special events, weddings, corporate meetings and community gatherings.

The building has been closed to the public since May 26 as a result of financial difficulties, and the Museum is working on a new plan to re-open its exhibits and programs, including tours of the Hezekiah Alexander home site.

“The is a first step back to reopening the entire campus,” says Kathy Ridge, the Museum’s interim director. “We have been able to perform maintenance, make needed repairs to the facility and contract with a wonderful special events planner who can create and customize events for guests”.

Arts for Life names development director

Don Timmons, former Triad regional director for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central & Western North Carolina in Clemmons, has been named director of development of Arts for Life in Weaverville.

In 2011, the agency brought 18,441 art, music, and creative-writing lessons to over 4,500 children and their families in four hospitals in North Carolina —  Mission Children’s Hospital in Asheville, Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem, Presbyterian Hemby Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, and Duke Children’s Hospital in Durham.

Guilford Nonprofit Consortium kicking off programs

The Guilford Nonprofit Consortium is launching the fall programs for its Nonprofit Management Institute, Board Development Academy, and Executive Director Academy.

While the Institute and Executive Director Academy both are full, the Board Development Academy still has openings.

The Nonprofit Management Certificate Program will recognize 30 hours’ credit toward its certificate for completing the Board Development Academy, which begins Sept. 11 at United Way of Greater Greensboro.

Communities in Schools names development director

Beth Shore, former national account executive at University Conference Service, where she was responsible for corporate sponsorship sales for executive education conferences across the U.S., has been named director of development for Communities In Schools of North Carolina.

Junior Achievement honors Qubein

Junior Achievement of Central North Carolina has named Nido Qubein, president of High Point University, as the 2012 inductee into its Business Hall of Fame, recognizing excellence in the Triad business community. Qubein, along with recipients of the organization’s Volunteer of the Year Award and Educator Extraordinaire Award will be honored at a black-tie gala on Oct. 18.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is leading an effort to expand Strive to Revive, a program it kicked off in Charlotte in 2010 to help prevent deaths related to cardiovascular disease by providing automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, and CPR training to 150 places of worship across North Carolina.

Over the next three years, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina will work with the American Red Cross, the North Carolina Council of Churches and state Rep. Becky Carney of Charlotte, a cardiac-arrest survivor, to distribute another 150 AEDs, certify 500 people in CPR and train them to properly use an AED.

In addition to serving organizations that attract large groups of people, the program focuses on populations that are more affected by heart disease, cardiac arrest and other health risk factors, including African Americans, Latinos, women and seniors.

Indian Health Board

The North Carolina American Indian Health Board, in partnership with the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity at Wake Forest University, and Health Career Connection in Oakland, Calif., celebrated the graduation of the first class of North Carolina interns. The goal of the new program is to inspire and empower undergraduate students, particularly those from under-represented or disadvantaged backgrounds, to choose and successfully pursue health-care and public-health careers.

YWCA Central Carolinas

Sharon Blalock, principal and founder of Spot Marketing, and Deepa Naik, associate consultant at Capstone Advancement Partners, have been elected to the board of directors for YWCA Central Carolinas in Charlotte.

NCCJ of the Piedmont Triad

NCCJ of the Piedmont Triad in Greensboro named 10 new members to its board of directors, including Brian Clarida, UNCG School of Education; Brian Goldberg, VF Jeanswear; Jennifer Cross Green, community volunteer; Sharon Hicks, community volunteer; Pat Janke, Novartis Animal Health; Al Lineberry Jr., Hanes Lineberry Funeral Homes; Ginny Lineberry, community volunteer; Carolynn Rice, community volunteer; Lee White, Stinson Management Group; Patrick Williams, Ralph Lauren.

Healthcare philanthropy standards

The Association for Healthcare Philanthropy published a Standards Manual, designed for nonprofit hospitals, foundations and professionals who raise funds for healthcare institutions through philanthropy, that provides standards for measuring and reporting charitable giving.

SECU Foundation

The SECU Foundation provided funding for the purchase of new vehicles to be used by the North Carolina Troopers Association/North Carolina State Highway Patrol Caisson Unit. The vehicles will be used to transport Caisson Unit horses, personnel, and equipment to funeral ceremonies for North Carolina law enforcement officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty.

Century Link

CenturyLink employees and local communities the telecom firm serves collected 106,275 actual pounds of food and $271,900 in the 2012 CenturyLink Feed the Children Backpack Buddies Food Drive in June at roughly 650 company locations across the U.S., and the CenturyLink Clarke M. Williams Foundation contributed $1 million to the drive, with the total donation equivalent to a donation of over 7.7 million pounds of food to food banks across the U.S. In Rockingham and Stokes counties, 25,781 pounds of food — including monetary donations, food items and the Foundation contribution — were collected to benefit The Lord’s Pantry, Hands of God, and East Stokes Outreach Ministries.

Reynolds Trust targets health in poorest counties

By Todd Cohen

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust in Winston-Salem is investing $100 million over 10 years to improve health in 10 to 15 of North Carolina’s most economically distressed counties.

Starting with Beaufort, Halifax and McDowell counties, the Trust plans to work in each county with local leaders and residents, not only nonprofits and not only in the health-care field, to develop a range of “mutually reinforcing” strategies to promote good health.

Those strategies, to be developed differently by each county based on local factors, will focus on issues such as access to primary care; community-centered prevention; diabetes; and mental health and substance abuse.

Addressing those issues could involve approaches such as fostering opportunities for people of all ages to engage in physical activity and get access to healthy foods; and offering affordable, accessible and preventive health care.

“We’re really recognizing that there are so many other factors outside the health-care system that go into either supporting or defeating a community’s attempt to get healthier,” says Allen J. Smart, director of the Trust’s Health Care Division.

While funding from the Trust will support and stimulate the development of these strategies, it wants to do that in partnership with other groups and funders

And while the Trust within five years expects to be investing in the new initiative half the roughly $15 million it distributes each year through its Health Care Division, which accounts for three-fourths of its total grants, it will not be “leading with money” or trying to shape the health-care solutions for the counties it supports, Smart says.

“This is not a prescriptive model,” he says. “It’s really meant for people to come together around common interests in utilizing some of the assets they have in place, and do some serious attempts at problem-solving – not just grants and putting people in competition for grant dollars, but trying to break both our own model and how communities often respond to funders.”

The Trust is among fewer than 10 funders throughout the U.S. that are “attempting to embrace a larger community ownership of health issues in the community, and doing it with long-term commitment,” Smart says.

While it might identify “assets” it has in the area of children’s health, such as good pediatricians and a good health department, for example, a community might find it has gaps in care, with children not being as healthy as they might be, he says.

So community leaders might work together to identify and advocate for strategies to improve health outcomes for children, with the Trust investing in better access to health care, for example, other funders investing in increasing the availability of child care, and private employers working to improve the health of parents.

The focus, Smart says, is “longer-term, from when you get up in the morning to when you go to bed at night, and everything that affects your health.”

The Trust selected the first three counties based on an analysis of their populations’ health needs, and existing “capacity” in the public and private sectors, as well as the state’s geographic and cultural diversity.

If the strategies work in the counties the Trust is targeting, it will try to expand into adjacent counties, with the pilot counties serving as “hubs,” Smart says.

The initiative, he says, is “an attempt to create discussion and ownership of community health issues by people and institutions well outside the health-care delivery system.”

The focus will include not only the health status of children entering school, opportunities for people of all ages to engage in physical activity, or access to healthy foods, for example, but also affordable, accessible ad preventive health care; and developing better access to transportation, child care and employment.

“We’re really recognizing that there are so many other factors outside the health-care system,” Smart says, “that go into either supporting or defeating a community’s attempt to get healthier.”

Funders focus on metrics to improve outcomes

By Todd Cohen

Mercy Housing and Shelter Corp. in Hartford, Conn., assumed the main users of its soup kitchen were homeless individuals who frequented the shelter overnight.

But the agency learned from an evaluation it conducted that while half the clients of the soup kitchen were in fact homeless, the other half were families and children living in apartments in the neighborhood.

The evaluation also found that while food was the biggest need for all clients of the soup kitchen, a second big need was for medical services.

So the agency, which had a clinic in its facility, now is moving its meals program to new space on the second floor and creating a medical suite on the lower level.

Mercy is one of roughly 30 agencies in north-central Connecticut that have participated in “Building Evaluation Capacity,” an 18-month program the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving offers to its grant recipients.

Modeled on a program developed by the Bruner Foundation in Rochester, N.Y., that is designed to help nonprofits “think evaluatively and use evaluation in a strategic way,” the effort by the Hartford Foundation aims to help nonprofits better understand and use evaluation to track and improve their impact, says Annemarie Riemer, director of the foundation’s Nonprofit Support Program.

The foundation is one of a growing number of funders that are using metrics to evaluate the impact of their grantmaking, to help the agencies they fund better track their own impact, and in the process help themselves and their grantees become “learning” organizations that can improve their programs and operations to better fulfill their missions.

“We’re trying as a field to move beyond just counting the number of kids in after-school programs or the number of poor people who receive health-care services,” says Heather Peeler, vice president for programs at Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, or GEO, a coalition of 370 grantmaking organizations.

“We’re trying to understand how these programs make a difference in people’s lives,” she says, “and that’s complex.”

Market-driven trend

Among 700 foundations responding to a survey GEO conducted in 2011, roughly 70 percent said they evaluated their work, a percentage that was unchanged from a similar survey GEO conducted in 2008.

But among foundations that evaluate their work, about 80 percent of them seem to be using the evaluations for “accountability” purposes, with only about 60 percent using the data they collect to strengthen their future grantmaking, and only 30 percent using it to “strengthen knowledge in the field” Peeler says.

GEO believes foundations should use evaluation metrics for all those reasons, she says.

“Grantmakers should be accountable to their communities,” she says, “but more focus should be on using evaluation as a learning tool.”

The growing attention to metrics and evaluation is the result of a number of market factors, expert says.

Those factors include the desire by funders in a tough economy to better understand the return on their investment, as well as a growing number of products and services offered by vendors and consultants to help foundations and nonprofits better measure their impact.

“Funders are having fewer resources and greater demands,” says Althea Gonzalez, program manager for North Carolina for Hispanics in Philanthropy, a national organization that raises money from other funders and makes grants to groups that are led by and serve Latinos.

“We want to make sure we’re making good investments, and strategic investments,” she says.

Peeler of GEO says the number of companies and consultants offering evaluation products and services has grown in response to market demand.

“We need as many tools and resources as possible to help understand and navigate measurement,” she says. “Unlike the business world, social change isn’t about counting widgets.”

The growing popularity of evaluation also may be partly the result of foundations wanting to insulate themselves against criticism, particularly if the evaluation is “activity-based rather than outcome-based,” Gonzalez says.

But with nonprofits and funders becoming more “bottom-line-oriented,” she says, “there’s going to be an increasing need to be able to demonstrate that the investment was effective, and to tell the story of that investment.”

Building capacity

With the damaged economy continuing to strain the operations and finances of nonprofits, a growing number of funders have been focusing grant dollars on strengthening nonprofits’ organizational “capacity,” a focus that often includes trying to help nonprofits improve the way they measure their impact.

And measuring an organization’s impact is an indicator that can be tough to gauge, funders say.

“Capacity-building is the hardest thing to have good metrics around,” Gonzalez says. “It’s much more tenuous to say how is the board stronger this year in their leadership than, say, in a diabetes program, how many people did you serve.”

Hispanics in Philanthropy, which has raised and made grants totaling over $4 million in North Carolina since it began operating in the state in 2002, focuses its grants only on capacity-building, a focus that increasingly has included on  “qualitative human dynamics” in addition to “tangible” measurements that can be easier to track, Gonzales says.

For a nonprofit that never has had a financial audit or had the capacity to conduct an audit, and that still is handling its financial records through Excel spreadsheets or handwritten notes, for example, might get a capacity-building grant from HIP to improve its financial management.

Funds from the grant might be used to provide financial training to the organization’s executive director and finance officer, buy QuickBooks accounting software, pay a consultant to set up financial-management “checkpoints” to ensure proper accounting, and hire an auditor.

“That’s tangible measurement and can catapult an organization to efficiency and measurement,” Gonzales says. “That’s an easy metric, an easy way to evaluate what happened.”

A tougher challenge would be to track the way a nonprofit, for example, addresses problems in its leadership and governance, she says.

A board and executive director might not be working together effectively, with the executive director needing to develop skills in board management, and the board needing to develop skills in managing the executive director.

So a grant might be used to hire a consultant to coach the executive director about how to work with the board, and to train the board to work with the executive director and conduct an annual performance review.

While that kind of investment is “really building major capacity,” Gonzalez says, “tangibly demonstrating” at the end of the grant that the “board is in a better place to supervise the executive director, and that the executive director can better manage the board, is difficult.”

Actionable data

Funders increasingly are looking for indicators they can use to improve their funding strategies.

“We don’t want to just collect data that sits on shelves,” says Marisa Allen, director of research and evaluation at the Colorado Health Foundation in Denver. “We are very intentional about using this data for decision-making and to refine our grantmaking.”

In funding programs that were trying to enroll adults and children in the state in Medicaid, for example, the foundation found some of those programs were not able to enroll a high number of Coloradans who were eligible for that coverage.

Trying to learn why, the foundation found some programs were not effective because they were “casting a wide net,” trying to enroll people at big events like health fairs, and that a more targeted enrollment strategy might be more effective.

“If a program identified a group of Coloradans who were highly likely to be eligible for public health-insurance programs, then they were able to achieve measurable results and enroll more,” Allen says.

Programs that used data on free and reduced lunch served at schools to students, the foundation found, were able to identify families eligible for public health insurance, and so were much more successful in enrolling them.

So the foundation began partnering with school systems to provide nonprofits with the names of low-income families whose children might be eligible for free and reduced lunch.

Learning organizations

In making grants to help nonprofits build their organizational capacity, a growing number of funders also are aiming to help those nonprofits, as well as themselves, become “learning” organizations.

“We think an organization that is able to evaluate the effectiveness of its programs, and organizations that are learning organizations, are more likely to achieve mission,’ says Kevin Cain, president and CEO of the John Rex Endowment in Raleigh, N.C. “That helps us achieve our mission. And they’re more likely to be running efficiently and effectively.”

In 2010, the Endowment invited agencies it funds to participate in an intensive, peer-learning initiative to help them do a better job evaluating their impact.

Led by the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, N.C., the evaluation training worked of representatives of nine participating agencies, with the agency representatives organized into three teams.

With representatives of each agency selecting a specific project to work on, the teams received evaluation coaching, returned to their agencies to put their evaluation projects into effect, then reconvened to share what they had done and get feedback from their peers and coaches.

A key strategy in the effort was to help the representatives of each agency involve other members of the agency’s staff in the evaluation process and encourage them to share information.

“There was a lot of work engaging more people than program people who have direct contact with clients, involving more people in the conversation,” Cain says. “You become more learning organizations. You start to understand that human resources has a role, the accounting department has a role.”

As a result of the process, the Endowment hopes to become “more systematic about offering evaluation support to selected organizations we provide funding for,” Cain says. “As part of the grant application process, we’d identify an organization and make sure we build in support for evaluation for the grant with this organization.”

Capacity for change

Western North Carolina Nonprofit Pathways is a collaboration in the region that supports training and organizational development for local nonprofits.

To evaluate the impact it was having on its grantees, and identify what was working and what might be improved, WNC Nonprofit Pathways a few years ago hired TCC Group, a national consulting firm.

That evaluation found that the best key to the success of an organization is its “adaptive leadership ability,” says Gonzalez of HIP, who serves on an advisory group for the collaborative.

“Their ability to respond and even proactively plan for change is what ensures they’re going to survive the changes that are inherent in nonprofits and in our economic situation,” she says. “There needs to be an ability to respond quickly and well to what’s happening, rather than trudging forward to what the status quo is.”

The way nonprofits “train for those qualities, and assess the effectiveness of the training afterwards, is the key,” she says.

So funders should be working to get nonprofits to start thinking about evaluation, and helping them get the evaluation training they need.

“A nonprofit often thinks of activity as the end point of evaluation, rather than the impact,” Gonzalez says. “Getting them to understand what evaluation really is, and to put those measures into place, is a huge deal. It’s capacity-building in and of itself for nonprofits.”

Investing in evaluation

Funders that support efforts to build the evaluation capacity of nonprofits agree that evaluation requires an investment in training and the staffing and tools nonprofits need to be effective in measuring their impact.

Evaluation does not lend itself to a “one-size-fits-all” approach, and there are “a lot of ways in which we should answer the questions, ‘Are we making a difference and can we do it better,’” says Peeler of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations.

Funders and nonprofits also need to be “realistic about your expectations for measurement and what’s reasonable,” she says.

The best approach grantmakers can take, she says, is to recognize the true coasts of running programs, including the cost of evaluating them..

“They can provide flexible funding to their grantees in terms of general operating support so nonprofits can make the best decisions about how to direct resources,” Peelers says, and they can provide multi-year support, recognizing that change is hard and takes a long time, often years.”

The return on that investment in evaluation can be nonprofits that do a better job delivering programs, communicating their impact, and raising money to support those programs.

“As the economy continues to languish and doesn’t really improve, the competition to get out there and get the dollars that are available becomes even more difficult,” says Riemer of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

“Providing agencies with a tool like Building Evaluation Capacity, which allows them to tell a story and make adjustments to how they deliver services,” she says, “that’s giving agencies an important resource for effectiveness and sustainability.”

UNC Center focuses on global understanding

By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — In Wake County, which has over 900,000 residents and is the second-most-populous county in North Carolina, 12 percent of the population is foreign-born, a segment of the community that has grown 62 percent since 2000.

Fifteen percent of the population age five and older speak a language other than English. And foreign companies employ nearly 20,000 people in the county, where exports total over $2.2 billion a year and imports total over $1 billion.

Those are just a few facts from an interactive “heat map” developed by the Center for International Understanding in partnership with SAS Institute in Cary that in features 53 “data points” that show education, demographic and economic information for each of the state’s 100 counties.

The Raleigh-based Center hopes the map will help lawmakers, government officials, policymakers, economic developers, educators, civic leaders and others better understand the state’s global connections and help take advantage of opportunities in the global marketplace.

“From one end of the state to the other, we are active in the world in our education systems and our businesses, and we are being impacted and are taking advantage of the world,” says Adam Hartzell, the Center’s executive director. “We hope the next part of the story is how can we start to take that story and be pro-active about taking advantage of the opportunities that a globally-engaged state could have.”

Formed in 1979, the Center is an arm of the Chapel Hill-based General Administration of the University of North Carolina system.

It operates with a staff of six people working full-time, plus independent contractors and part-time employees and interns, and an annual budget of $1.3 million.

State funds account for about 30 percent of its budget, with a charitable arm of the Center known as the Council raising contributed dollars that represent another 20 percent to 25 percent, and program fees and other earned income accounting for the remainder.

To advance its mission of “promoting awareness, expanding understanding, and empowering action through global education,” the Center provides a handful of programs that focus on schools, policy leaders or communities in the state with growing Latino populations, and that connect public policy, business and education.

The Center has helped 27 schools across the state launch programs in Chinese language and culture that include guest teachers from China, for example, and it has taken 650 teachers for study abroad.

The Center also works to help educate political leaders throughout the state better understand best practices throughout the world on key policy issues.

The Center in 2010 took a delegation of state lawmakers and other leaders to Europe for two weeks to learn about clean-energy practices and policies, and another group to China last year to look at trade opportunities for the state, and will host another trip to China this year to look at developing ties in the health-care industry.

And it will take teachers to India in 2013.

The Center also provides strategic advice on statewide issues involving policy, business and education.

And since 1998, the Center has taken nearly 800 leaders from throughout the state to Mexico as part of an effort to help them better understand immigration issues and to develop programs to better integrate Latino immigrants into North Carolina communities.

A separate trip to Mexico in 2009 to study economic and educational ties with North Carolina was the catalyst for discussions that led to development of the global heat map.

“It’s a way to start to measure how communities are taking advantage of global opportunities,” Hartzell says, “and be able to identify some best practices others can evaluate.”

Nonprofit news roundup, 08.03.12

Greensboro arts drive hits goal

United Arts Council of Greater Greensboro raised $1.1 million in contributions and grants to its annual arts fund campaign that ended June 30, meeting its goal, and received donated goods and services during the year worth another $101,500.

Chaired by Frank LoNano, owner of LoNano Financial, the campaign received contributions from over 1,400 individuals, companies and foundations, using those funds to support grants to nearly 60 arts groups, projects, artists and schools.

The Council also awarded grants totaling $120,000 to 13 organizations, kicking off its 2012-13 arts funding year.

Forsyth Smart Start names CEO

Smart Start of Forsyth County named Lawrence D. “Larry” Vellani, former director of corporate and foundation relations at Elon University in Elon, as its fifth executive director.

Vallani succeeds Charles Kraft, who became executive director at the Robinhood Road Family YMCA in Winston-Salem in January.

Wake Tech Foundation

ABB has become a partner of the Wake Tech Foundation, committing $150,000 over three years to Wake Tech’s major-gifts campaign, “The Ripple Effect.” The commitment includes $75,000 for endowed student scholarships; $30,000 for faculty innovation; and $45,000 of in-kind ABB equipment for electrical/electronic engineering labs.

NC Free Clinics

The Triad Association of Health Underwriters donated $5,000 to NC Free Clinics with funds raised at annual golf tournament May 17 at the Cardinal Country Club in Greensboro.

Rex Healthcare Foundation

Amy Daniels, manager of foundation operations at the the Rex Healthcare Foundation in Raleigh, has been named executive director. Founded in 1958, the Foundation supports essential programs and services at Rex and raised over $2.3 million during fiscal 2012.

Food Bank of Northwestern North Carolina

The 2012 Matt’s 10K Run to Fight Hunger raised over $5,000 for the Winston-Salem-based Food Bank of Northwestern North Carolina. Coordinated by Got You Floored, which is owned by Matt Ketterman and served as its primary sponsor, the event on July 7 drew roughly 200 runners. The Piedmont Triad Apartment Association, which helped organize the event, made the cash contribution to the Food Bank, enough to buy 60,000 cans of food, exceeding its goal of raising enough to buy 50,000 cans.

National MS Society

For the second year, Golden Corral stores in the Carolinas will raise money through Aug. 31 for the MS Scholarship Fund at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Golden Corral last year raised $51,000 that funded 18 scholarships of high school students either living with multiple sclerosis or who have a parent or guardian with MS.

Onslow Caring Communities Foundation

The Onslow Caring Communities Foundation is awarding over $8,600 to local nonprofits through its annual community grant program. Since 1999, the Foundation has distributed over $176,000 in grants to local nonprofits through its annual competitive grant process.  The Foundation has also worked with families and nonprofit organizations in Onslow County to establish 20 endowment funds and building a local philanthropic asset base of more than $3.8 million.

Triangle  Community Foundation

Triangle Community Foundation added four new members to its board of directors, including Dianne Birch, a Chatham County community volunteer; Easter Maynard, executive director, ChildTrust Foundation of Golden Corral; Michael J. Schoenfeld, vice president, public affairs and government relations, Duke University; and James H. Speed, Jr., president and CEO, NC Mutual Life Insurance Co.

United Way of Greater Greensboro

The MeaningFULL Meals program at United Way of Greater Greensboro is offering food pantry programs to families from Wiley Elementary School and Gillespie Elementary School.  Staffed by United Way volunteers, the program serves 64 families and so far has distributed 250 bags of food. United Way is seeking additional donations and food and financial resources fro corporate and individual donors.

HandyCapable Network

HandyCapable Network, a Greensboro nonprofit that trains adults with developmental disabilities to refurbish computers, named new members to its board of directors, including Donna Smith, Synergy Broker; Tammy McNeil-Rankin, Bennett College for Women; and Corey Hacker, Total Computer Solutions.

Promising Pages

Business Leader of Charlotte gave $10,000 to Promising Pages, which collects and redistributed thousands of books to kids in the community who have none, including 3,440 books it distributed in July.

Patriot Rovers

ma Cares, a corporate philanthropic initiative of Market America and, is giving $27,300 to Patriot Rovers, a High Point nonprofit that pairs trained dogs with wounded veterans.