New CEO aims to diversify Komen fundraising

By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — After attracting 25,000 participants and raising $1.85 million in 2011, making it the largest foot race in the Carolinas, the Komen Triangle Race for the Cure saw attendance and revenue fall in 2012 in the wake of a controversy sparked earlier in the year after Dallas-based Komen for the Cure announced it no longer would fund Planned Parenthood, a  decision it quickly reversed.

On the heels of that drop, Komen’s Raleigh-based North Carolina Triangle to the Coast affiliate has a new executive director and big plans to diversify its fundraising to support its recent expansion in southeastern North Carolina.

“We’ve been extremely successful with our events,” says Pam Kohl, a nonprofit veteran who joined Komen in August after serving for nine years as district director for U.S. Rep. Brad Miller. “Just like any nonprofit, we know we can never depend on any particular revenue stream.”

Formed in 1997, the affiliate operates with an annual budget of $2.2 million and a staff of 13 people and serves 29  counties, including 13 southeastern counties it added this year that include some of the state’s poorest communities.

An estimated 6,000 women in North Carolina are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, and over 1,000 of them die, with the incidence of breast cancer and the mortality rate from disease in eastern North Carolina 11 percent and 20 percent higher, respectively, than in the rest of the state, says Kohl.

“Poverty affects breast cancer rates because of a lack of education on breast health and breast screening,” she says.

The affiliate, one of four in North Carolina, aims to ensure that “no women’s life should be dependent on her geography,” says Kohl, former executive director of the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education and former president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Capital and Coast, both in Raleigh.

Kohl says the affiliate will be launching an annual fund drive and an effort to secure major gifts, and will begin a new race in Wilmington on March 2.

The affiliate, which makes its own funding  decisions, gives 75 percent of what it raises to local groups that provide education, screening, treatment, transportation and other services, investing $1.1 million this year through 19 grants to benefit women in 20 counties.

It gives the remaining 25 percent to Komen for breast cancer research, or $400,000 last year, when Komen in turn invested $2.4 million in research at Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill.

Kohl says she looks forward to bringing people together to raise money to help find a cure for breast cancer and that it was mistake for Komen to get involved in political controversy.

“I’m a breast cancer survivor,” she says. “When I went to meet with my surgeon, I did not care whether she was a Democrat or Republican or what she felt about any issue. I wanted to know she was technically proficient and that she care about me. That’s what Komen has been. We don’t care about politics. We care about the cure.”

Big foundations pay out 5 percent or more of assets

Most large endowed independent foundations in the U.S. are paying out in grants or overhead at or above 5 percent of their net investment assets, the minimum required by law, a new report says.

Among more than 1,000 of the biggest U.S. independent foundations, 46 percent paid out in grants and overhead 5 percent to 5.9 percent of their net investment assets, on average, in the years 2007 to 2009, while nearly one in five had payout rates at or above  10 percent, says Understanding and Benchmarking Foundation Payout, a report from The Foundation Center.

Still, few operating characteristics beyond endowment size were associated with consistently higher or lower payout rate practices, and variation was modest, the report says, and payout rates in general tended to decrease as endowment size increased.

Employment of staff is the single biggest factor affecting expenses levels at big independent foundations, followed by staff size, says Benchmarking Foundation Administrative Expenses, a second report from The Foundation Center.

Another big factor affecting payout rates are big swings in the economy and capital markets that affect the value of foundations’ net investment assets, The Foundation Center says.

“While the very top grantmakers tend to pay out close to the 5 percent minimum, there is surprising variation in payout levels of larger foundations overall, and annual rates are affected by drastic changes in the stock market,” Loren Renz, author of the reports and vice president emeritus for research at The Foundation Center, says in a statement.

Patterns of charitable administrative expenses vary dramatically and are shaped foundations’ giving levels, assets, operational styles, geographic reach, and programs, the reports say.

Paying staff, for example, significantly raises administrative costs, and expenses levels rise consistently with the number of staff, the reports say.

Staff size, in turn, depends on a foundation’s mission, roles and scope of activities, they say.

Foundations that tend to give the most have the biggest staffs, although smaller foundations with complex programs often have staff size that are above average relative to their giving.

Foundations that employed staff had median expense ratios — charitable administrative expenses as a share of charitable distributions — of nearly 8 percent, on average, compared to less than 1 percent for those without staff.

International grantmaking, direct charitable activities, and programs that provide grants to individuals are strongly associated with higher expenses rations, the reports says.

Health legacy foundations, or those created through health-care mergers, tend to have higher administrative expense levels, particularly for smaller foundations.

Family foundations, which represent most staffed foundations, had a median expense ratio of 6 percent, compared to 10 percent for foundations with little or no family involvement, probably because family members help hold down staff-related costs by providing administration and other assistance, the reports say.

Independent foundations are highly sensitive to stock market trends because their mandated payout levels are based on their net assets, the reports say.

Because  giving and payout are driven by assets valuation in the preceding year or over a few years, they say, most foundations reduced their 2009 giving after holding steady or increasing giving in 2008, the year the capital markets collapses.

Administrative expenses grew by double digits in that period, possibly reflecting a “delayed adjustment to five years of solid growth in foundation portfolios,” the reports say. “When expense levels increase faster than giving, the expense portion of qualifying distributions increases.”

The reports also say the annual Form 990-PF  that private foundations file with the IRS “has not kept up with the changing activities and costs incurred by private foundations in areas such as communications, technology and evaluation,” and does not “adequately capture foundations’ growing involvement in direct charitable activities.”

Among expense categories in the form, “other professional fees” and “other expenses” are especially in need of revision, they say.

Those line items, they say, “have become catchalls that obscure a significant and increasing amount of operating expenditures.”

Todd Cohen


Ravenscroft gearing for 150th, fundraising

By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — In 1862, Raleigh physician Josiah Ogden Watson left a bequest of $5,000 in bonds to “fund and employ a teacher of a Parish school for Christ Church Raleigh.”

The school opened in 1868 with 70 students, and Christ Church reestablished it in 1937 as Ravenscroft School, named for the first bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina and the first rector of Christ Church.

And in 1968, board members Robert P. Holding Jr. and his brother Lewis R. “Snow” Holding, top executives of First Citizens Bank, offered a grant of $750,000 that challenged the school’s board to match the gift within 30 days in an effort to raise funds to build a new school that eventually was located on Falls of the Neuse Road.

Philanthropic support has been fundamental to Ravenscroft, which now provides an education for roughly 1,200 students from pre-school through high school and this fall will kick off a year-long 150th anniversary celebration.

During that celebration, the school also will be laying the groundwork for a major fundraising effort that likely will begin its “quiet” phase in 2013 and will support a strategic vision the school’s board of trustees approved in 2011.

That strategy calls for supporting professional development to help faculty teach more effectively in a world shaped by technology and the global marketplace, making the school more accessible for prospective students, preparing students to be leaders, and improving facilities.

“We’re going to prepare people to thrive in an interdependent world,” says Phil Higginson, assistant head of school for institutional advancement.

Through a partnership with the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, for example, Ravenscroft is preparing students to be leaders and engaged citizens.

And in an initiative piloted last year for all seventh- and 10th-graders, with the pilot funded through a gift from John Replogle, a Ravenscroft trustee and CEO and president of Seventh Generation, the school this year will provide a Chromebook laptop for every student in grades seven through 12.

With a $13 million endowment, Ravenscroft raises over $1 million a year, including $900,000 through its annual fund.

Under a policy the school’s trustees adopted about four years ago, 10 percent of dollars raised through the annual fund are designated for the endowment.

The new policy has added $70,000 to $80,000 a year to the endowment and raised awareness of endowment needs, with three people creating new endowments through annual gifts, Higginson says.

Ravenscroft, which in spring 2011 completed a campaign that raised $2.2 million for new entrances to its campus from Falls of the Neuse Road and Newton Road, as well as a new circle, columns and trees on campus, will spend its anniversary year celebrating its philanthropic legacy.

The anniversary celebration includes an anniversary book that was unveiled Sept. 27 at kickoff event at the North Carolina Museum of History, and a gala next spring.

“Our passion now,” Higginson says, “is making certain our faculty are given the tools they need through professional development to really be able to provide the finest educational experience.”

Change underway at Greensboro United Way

By Todd Cohen

GREENSBORO, N.C. — As it begins its annual fundraising campaign, which aims to raise 3.5 percent more than it did last year, United Way of Greater Greensboro is undergoing changes in its strategy and top leadership.

In recent weeks, United Way has lost its vice president of donor relations, hired a new chief financial officer and brought in a former executive at American Express as a consultant on its new “community impact” strategy, says Sue Cole, chair of United Way’s board of directors.

Aiming to make an impact on some of the region’s toughest health and human services problems, United Way is shifting its focus to collaborative efforts to help boost academic performance and grade advancement for children, improve health literacy, and strengthen the financial stability for individuals and families.

“A lot of things have to be done differently” as a result of that new long-term strategy, says Cole, who is managing partner at Sage Leadership & Strategy.

Marci Peace, former vice president for finance at Greensboro College, has joined United Way as vice president for finance and administration.

And United Way’s board has hired Michelle Gethers-Clark, president at The Center for Service and Leadership and former senior vice president and general manager for card operations at American Express, as a consultant on an interim basic on the community impact strategy.

Cole says Gethers-Clark is “coaching and mentoring all of our employees about the processes and strategies related to the community impact model, as well as fundraising strategies.

“As we’re moving to this new model, we’re looking not only at how we impact the community, but also how we’re doing business inside the organization,” Cole says.

She says the campaign, which has a goal of $11 million and is chaired by Harold Martin, chancellor at N.C. A&T State University, is “going very well.”

An event earlier this month for women donors was attended by over 150 women and raised about $15,000, or triple what it raised at its inaugural event last year.

Keith Barsuhn, president and CEO of United Way, says Gethers-Clark is working to “help us align our internal processes and strategies and tactics” to the organization’s new strategic plan.

“That enables key people, including myself, to be laser-focused on the campaign,” he says.

The “transformational changes” at United Way, including the way it works externally with community partners and stakeholders, and internally among staff, have elicited a range of responses from employees, he says.

“For some people, it’s exciting,” he says. “For some people, change is concerning.”

In addition to the former chief financial officer, who left early last summer, Barsuhn says, United Way’s former marketing director left in the spring, and a development officer left at the same time for another job.

“I am excited about the success of our new direction,” he says. “I feel very confident about our ability to achieve the goal.”

United Way also has set a “stretch” goal of $11.25 million, representing an increase of 5.9 percent from the total raised last year.

That larger goal, Barsuhn says, is “in our sights, too.”

Nonprofit news roundup, 10.26.12

Executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Greensboro leaving

Winston McGregor is stepping down from her position as president and executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Greensboro at the end of the year after 10 years with the agency. Habitat, which earlier this year began construction of its 400th home in Greensboro, has raised $3.25 million toward its campaign goal of $4.5 million for its 25th anniversary. McGregor joined the staff in 2002 as director of development and communications, and was named president and executive director in 2006.

Girls Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont names regional executive

Cindy Stubblefield, former development manager of corporate, foundation and faith-based giving at Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina in Winston-Salem, has joined the Colfax-based Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont as regional executive. She will be responsible for  raising philanthropic support for the organization’s work in the Piedmont region, including Alamance, Caswell, Guilford and Rockingham counties. That will include helping to identify, cultivate, solicit and steward potential donors. Stubblefield formerly was director of annual giving at Salem Academy and College.

Nasher Museum of Art gets $5 million

Nancy A. Nasher and her husband, David J. Haemisegger, have given $5 million to the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University to create two new endowments for a visiting curatorship and the acquisition of modern art. The gift brings to more than $16 million the total given to the museum by members of the Nasher/Haemisegger family. Nancy Nasher’s father, Raymond Nasher, and his foundation provided the largest gift, $10 million, toward the new museum building.

Program set on domestic violence and the workplace

Verizon Wireless will team with United Family Services on November 2 to host DV@Work, a two-hour program for Charlotte area business executives that will focus on how to develop and implement policies and protocols to protect employee victims and the workplace overall from domestic violence.

United Way of Forsyth County gets $300,000 from Wells Fargo

United Way of Forsyth County received a $300,000 grant from Wells Fargo to provide financial counseling to lower-income households. United Way is one of eight local United Ways across the U.S.  selected by Wells Fargo and United Way Worldwide to assist in launching what will become a nationwide network to provide multi-year financial counseling for low- and middle-income households.

Winston-Salem Foundation

The Winston-Salem Foundation awarded 22 community grants totaling $374,271 to organizations serving the areas of animal welfare, arts and culture, community and economic development, education, health, human services, public interest, and recreation.

Krispy Kreme Challenge

Kappa Delta sorority at High Point University will host a Krispy Kreme Challenge for the second straight year at noon on Nov. 4 starting at the Slane Student Center outdoor basketball court. Proceeds will benefit Family Service of the Piedmont. Kappa Delta hopes to double the more than $3,000 it raised in last year’s event.

Candle Tea

Candle Tea, organized by the Women’s Fellowship of Home Moravian Church, celebrating its 83rd anniversary and benefiting local charities, will begin Nov. 29 at the Single Brothers’ House on Salem Square in Old Salem. The event raised over $21,000 in 2011.


Nonprofit pairs veterans, psychiatric dogs

By Todd Cohen

HIGH POINT, N.C. — Roughly 300,000 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, or nearly 20 percent of returning forces, are likely to suffer from either post traumatic stress disorder or major depression, and another 320,000 returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan may have experienced traumatic brain injuries during deployment.

In addition four to five veterans commit suicide every day, on average, and possibly as many as 18 a day, according to some estimates.

In 2010, to help returning veterans cope with life back home, an Army veteran who is an animal trainer created Patriot Rovers, a nonprofit in High Point that trains Golden Retrievers as psychiatric service dogs and pairs them with wounded veterans.

Operating with an annual budget of roughly $175,000, Patriot Rovers has placed 47 dogs, mainly in North Carolina, including 27 it expects to place this year.

And it aims to place 30 to 50 dogs next year, says Kathy Bull, a consultant who serves as the group’s executive director.

Founded by David R. Cantara, who serves as its board chair, Patriot Rovers rescues dogs, trains and boards them, provides veterinary care, and then pairs them with veterans, spending about 80 hours over a month or two helping the veterans and the dogs adjust to one another.

The dogs are trained to perform tasks such as reminding the veterans to take their medicine, or calming them when they have anxiety attacks or wake up from night terrors.

The Veterans Administration or the trauma units at its hospitals refer veterans to Patriot Rovers, which works with the American Psychiatric Service Dog Society to keep up with research and best practices, Bull says.

“It’s almost like a prescription,” she says.”Veterans are referred to us because the VA believes that in addition to counseling, this is an important part of being able to function.”

The nonprofit also names the dogs, with permission from Gold Star families, for soldiers killed in service.

Patriot Rovers counts on individual donations and corporate sponsorships from companies such as Purina Dog Chow and Market America to cover all its costs.

ma Cares, a corporate philanthropic initiative of Market America and, recently awarded $27,300 to the organization.