Nonprofit news roundup, 12.28.12

Duke Endowment gives $3 billion in 90 years

The Duke Endowment in Charlotte has distributed over $3 billion in grants since it was founded in 1924.

It took the Endowment 68 years to distribute its first $1 billion, another 12 years to reach $2 billion, and only eight more to arrive at $3 billion.

Established by industrialist and philanthropist James B. Duke, the Endowment is the largest private foundation in the Southeast and distributes grants in the areas of child care, health care, higher education and rural churches to organizations in the Carolinas.

James B. Duke also was instrumental in the the founding of Duke University and Duke Energy, although the three organizations are separate from one another.

Solicitors keep 45.68 percent of what they raise

Charitable solicitation firms handling fundraising campaigns in the state pocketed 45.68 percent of over $43.6 million they generated from North Carolinians in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2012, with the remainder going to the charities that hired the firms to raise money for them, says a report from the state Secretary of State’s Office.

In contrast, the report says, national solicitation campaigns that included North Carolina citizens and were reported to the office generated nearly $578.8 million, with solicitation firms pocketing 57.45 percent and the remainder going to the charities.

Giving circles focus of conference

Strategic giving and collective philanthropy will be the focus of North Carolina’s first conference for giving circles, to be held Jan. 26, 2013 in Raleigh.

Keynote speaker for the event, to be held 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Junior League Center for Community Leadership, will be Eugene Cho, founder of One Day’s Wages.

Organized by Darryl Lester of Next Generation of African American Philanthropists and Hindsight Consulting, and Heather Yandow of Beehive Collective and Third Space Studio, the conference will include workshops on basics of grantmaking; understanding nonprofits;community problem solving; websites and social media; understanding funders, networks and resources in the state; growing and engaging membership in giving circles and engaging in advocacy.

Supporters of the event include A.J. Fletcher Foundation, Hindsight Consulting, North Carolina Community Foundation, Third Space Studio, Triangle Community Foundation, and Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

For information, visit nccollectivegiving.org.

Loftis leaving Council for Children’s Rights

Brett A. Loftis has resigned as executive director of the Council for Children’s Rights in Charlotte, effective Feb. 1, 2013, to become CEO of The Crossnore School.

Biggs leaving NC Prevention Partners

Beverly Biggs is stepping down at the end of the year as vice president for development and marketing at NC Prevention Partners in Chapel Hill after seven years with the organization, a period in which the organization tripled in size and expanded into other states.

NC MedAssist meets challenge goal

NC Med Assist in Charlotte met a $50,000 challenge grant from The Leon Levine Foundation, which agreed to match, dollar for dollar, new or increased gifts the agency raised in just under 90 days. NC MedAssist raised $79,980, securing the match, and enabling it to serve over 900 additional clients.

Three Greensboro groups team up for kids

Three local organizations in Greensboro teamed up to benefit local kids during the holiday season through the Gifts for Good Toy Drive. New Jerusalem Cathedral, Bridlewood Executive Suites and Wrights Care Services Greensboro hope to serve around 2,500 kids from the Guilford County area. The event, which marked its 13th year and included a gift giveaway and Christmas Cantata, was held at New Jerusalem Cathedral.

North Carolina DECA

J.D. Giddley, a certified financial planner practitioner with Ameriprise Financial, has been awarded an honorary life membership in North Carolina DECA, a Raleigh-based membership association that prepares high school and college student to be emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management.

High Point University teams with United Way

High Point University partnered with the United Way of Greater High Point and local nonprofits to feed 400 people on its campus on Dec. 21 and offered them free admission to a men’s basketball game after the meal. Children and their parents from Communities in Schools, YWCA, YMCA, Oak Hill Elementary School, clients of the Housing of Authority of High Point, and other local agencies attended the dinner.

Bell Partners supports food banks

Bell Partners, a Greensboro-based apartment investment and management company, collected 35 tons of food from over 200 Bell apartment communities in 15 states during a three-month drive that benefited over 75 food banks.  In 2011, the Bell “Annual Give & Get Charity Program” collected 11.7 tons of food.

Agency offers resources and referrals for women

By Todd Cohen

GREENSBORO, N.C. — In 1995, four Triad women who informally had been sharing information to help one another through life transitions such as the need to care for elderly parents or to find legal assistance for a pending divorce concluded women in the community could use that kind of support on a regular basis.

They did some research, visited local health and human services agencies to learn about possible gaps in services, and enrolled in classes offered by Duke University’s certificate program in nonprofit management.

They also found that North Carolina was home to seven local centers that provided resources for women, and that Greensboro was the largest city in the state without such a center.

So they formed the Women’s Resource Center of Greensboro.

“We recognized Greensboro had a wealth of health and human service agencies but not many people knew where they were,” says Ashley Brooks, executive director of the Center and one of its founding members.

Operating with an annual budget of nearly $500,000, a fulltime staff of seven people and an active corps of 350 volunteers, the agency serves roughly 9,000 women a year.

In one of its biggest programs, 40 trained volunteers provide counseling on community resources to nearly 1,000 women a year by appointment, and to several thousand more by phone.

A second program, provided by human resources representatives from local companies, offers classes for about 200 women a year to prepare them for the workforce after they have been years taking care of their children and families and now need a paying job as a result of divorce, disability, downsizing or death.

Classes, offered four to five times a year, run three days a week for three weeks and include mock job interviews, resume writing, career counseling, and advice on how to transfer home skills to the marketplace, with the HR reps also serving as mentors for up to a year.

The Center also offers an attorney hotline, with 37 volunteer lawyers answering basic legal questions that cover 22 areas of law in 15-minute conversations scheduled by appointment with nearly 1,000 women a year.

The lawyers also host legal lunches and offer two-hour workshops, mainly on legal issues such as divorce or child custody.

Other programs the Center offers include a four-part self-esteem series that is offered twice a month, once during the day and once in the evenings, and is taught by trained volunteers to about 250 women a year.

“We recognize we can give women resources when they come in,” Brooks says, “but sometimes there are circumstances where they cannot act because of fear or the enormity of whatever situation they’re in.”

And the Center offers community workshops throughout the year that attract about 500 women and are provided by other agencies on topics in which its clients indicate an interest, such as financial literacy, consumer credit and predatory lending.

It also provides training to community volunteers.

Last year, for example, it trained 60 volunteers who work with Winter Emergency Shelter, a program organized through Greensboro Urban Ministry in which local churches provide shelter during the winter months for homeless people when local homeless shelters are full.

The Women’s Resource Center, a partner agency of United Way of Greater Greensboro, also receives funding from local foundations and individual donors.

Its big annual fundraising event, Men Can Cook, was held Aug. 11 at the Special Events Center at the Greensboro Coliseum, netted $60,000 and attracted 800 guests.

Nurses partner with first-time mothers

By Todd Cohen

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Fifty of every 1,000 pregnancies in Forsyth County involves a teen mother, compared to 43 of every 1,000 pregnancies throughout the state, and nearly eight births for every 1,000 in the county result in the death of an infant, with 10.3 percent of all babies born in the region considered low birth-weight, or 5.5 pounds.

To help address those and related problems, Forsyth is joining 16 other counties in the state that are part of a national, evidence-based program that pairs nurses with low-income, first-time mothers, thanks to a five-year, $2.5 million grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust in Winston-Salem.

The Foundation has selected the Forsyth County Department of Public Health to lead the initiative, which is known as the Nurse-Family Partnership.

The initiative features regular in-home consultations, with registered nurses working with first-time mothers to improve maternal health, promote healthy child development, and help mothers continue school or find work.

The grant supports a masters-prepared nurse supervisor, four registered nurses and an administrative assistant, with each nurse dedicated to a caseload of 25 mothers at a time.

Home visits for the program, which is free and voluntary for eligible mothers, begin early in pregnancy and continue until a child’s second birthday.

Registered nurses encourage participation from fathers and other family members.

“Nurse-Family Partnership is such an essential resource for vulnerable families, providing knowledge and support at an absolutely critical time,” says Marlon Hunter, Forsyth County health director.

“Decisions made during pregnancy and in the first years after a child’s birth can greatly impact the health of the child and the future of the family,” Hunter says. “Nurse-Family Partnership ensures that our most fragile families have the care they need to get on the right path.”

Randomized, controlled trials conducted over 30 years have found Nurse-Family Partnership resulted in a 79 percent reduction in pre-term delivery for women who smoke; 50 percent reduction in language delays of the child at age 21 months; 48 percent reduction in child abuse and neglect; 46 percent increase in the father’s presence in the household; 32 percent fewer unintended subsequent deliveries; and 20 percent reduction in months on welfare.

Nurse-Family Partnership operates in 16 other North Carolina counties through a public-private partnership that includes the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust; The Duke Endowment; Division of Public Health in the state Department of Health and Human Services; Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation; The North Carolina Partnership for Children; and Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina.

Other counties served by Nurse-Family Partnership are Buncombe, Cleveland, Columbus, Edgecombe, Halifax, Hertford, Gaston, Guilford, McDowell, Mecklenburg, Northampton, Pitt, Polk, Robeson, Rutherford and Wake.

Nonprofit news roundup, 12.21.12

Clarity Group and The Futures Company team up

Clarity Group and The Futures Company, both in Chapel Hill, are joining forces, effective Jan. 1, 2013.

Craig Wood, who left The Futures Company six years ago to launch Clarity Group, a consulting firm for nonprofits and faith-based groups, will become head of The Future Company’s Insights Integration division. That division develops database solutions to link proprietary research data with transactional data.

The Futures Company, which tracks influences on consumer values, attitudes and trends, will use the Clarity Group’s knowledge of the charitable world to help its corporate clients on their corporate social responsibility practices, Wood says in a statement.

Biogen Idec Foundation partners with Triangle Community Foundation

The Biogen Idec Foundation in collaboration with Triangle Community Foundation awarded 28 grants totaling $48,914.55 to Triangle area schools and nonprofits as part of its Micro-Grants in Science Education program. The program provides small, one-time grants ranging from $250 to $2,500 to schools and nonprofits to support science education initiatives.

Junior Achievement gets $25,000 from Walmart Foundation

Junior Achievement of Eastern North Carolina received a $25,000 grant from Walmart Foundation.  Junior Achievement will use the funds to bring financial literacy, entrepreneurship and workforce readiness programs to over 1,000 students in eastern North Carolina.

Festival Stage gets anonymous challenge pledge

An anonymous donor has pledged to match two-to-one any new gifts to Festival Stage of Winston-Salem between now and Jan. 31, 2013. As part of the challenge, the donor will match any new dollars up to $18,000, including gifts from first-time donors and from previous donors who have not yet made a gift this fiscal year. The match also will apply to increases in giving from current donors. Gifts must be designated for the annual fund, which is used for a variety of operating expenses. If the challenge is met, Festival Stage will raise a total of $27,000.

Salvation Army gets toys, gifts

Time Warner Cable and News 14 Carolina delivered over 6,200 toys and gifts to the Salvation Army for families in need across the Carolinas. Over 300 Time Warner Cable employees are volunteering 1,100 hours of their time across the Carolinas, delivering gifts and working at Salvation Army Toy Shops and distribution centers.

High Point University

High Point University teamed up with United Way partner agencies and neighborhood organizations to bring 400 individuals to campus for a free meal and to attend a men’s basketball game. The individuals were invited to the dinner through local nonprofits and community groups such as the Housing Authority of High Point, YWCA, YMCA and several local schools.

North Carolina Shakespeare Festival

The North Carolina Shakespeare Festival delivered 30 toys and 250 cans of food to Salvation Army of High Point, and another 250 cans of food to Leslie’s House, a High Point shelter that is part of West End Ministries and serves homeless women. The toys and food were donated by over 200 adults and children who were admitted free to the Dec. 13 preview performance of A Christmas Carol in return for bringing a new toy or three cans of food.

Method Child Development Center

Method Child Development Center in Raleigh formed the Jan Sharp Memorial Scholarship to help low-income families receive affordable and dependable childcare and early education. Sharp, who died in 2009, was vice president for human resources at Capital Broadcasting Company member of the board at Method Child Development Center.

Keep NC Beautiful

Keep NC Beautiful has awarded cash prizes to three winners in its Unusual Litter Contest, sponsored by PepsiCo, including Girl Scout Troop 40109 in Winston-Salem, which won first place and $250 for “bottom half of a mannequin;” Pack 318 at North Raleigh United Methodist Church, which won second place and $100 for “perfect- condition canoe paddle;” and Girl Scout Troop 799 in Huntersville, which tied for third place and won $50 for “toilet seat.”

New School of Philanthropy names Rooney associate dean

Patrick M. Rooney,has been named associate dean of the Indiana University School of Philanthropy. Rooney has served since 2008 as executive director of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, the precursor to the School of Philanthropy. As associate dean for academic affairs and research, he will direct all of the new School’s academic, degree and research programs and activities. His appointment is effective January 1, 2013.

LGBT Community Center of Charlotte

The LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) Community Center of Charlotte has signed a lease to move the 11-year organization from the N.C. Music Factory to 617 East 28th Street in the NoDa neighborhood.

Outward Bound School growing

By Todd Cohen

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In January, roughly 70 employees of accounting firm Dixon Hughes Goodman will spend a day at Reedy Creek Park in Charlotte, teaming with one another in crews to solve problems in a course offered by the Asheville-based North Carolina Outward Bound School.

The School’s Charlotte office, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, provides courses that serve about 500 people a year, including students, professionals and military personnel or returning war veterans.

And with support from groups like the Duke Energy Foundation and John Belk Education Foundation, the office last year provided scholarships for its courses to 48 high school students, 24 local educators and school administrators, and 60 returning veterans.

The focus of the courses is discovery, says Josh Thomas, who joined the office in February as regional advancement coordinator after working for 17 years as a partner in communications firm Topics Education.

“Part of it is discovering the natural world around you,” says Thomas, who enrolled in an Outward Bound course five years ago. “And a big part is discovering your own potential.”

Celebrating its 45th anniversary this year, the Asheville-based North Carolina Outward Bound School is one of seven Outward Bound schools.

Outward Bound was co-founded in 1941 in Wales by Kurt Hahn, a German Jew who had escaped from the Nazis.

“Outward bound” is a nautical term that refers to a ship leaving a harbor, and the first school was designed to equip young seamen with the confidence and interpersonal skills they needed to survive.

With an annual budget of $5 million, the North Carolina Outward Bound School operates base camps in Linville Gorge and Pisgah National Forest in the North Carolina Mountains, on the North Carolina Outer Banks, in the Everglades in Florida, and in Patagonia, Argentina.

Students range from age 14 to people in their 70s, and the cost of classes varies but averages roughly $200 a day.

The North Carolina Outward Bound School sends roughly 6,500 participants on courses each year, including roughy 30 percent who participate with the support of scholarship dollars.

The local office partners with Myers Park, Vance, Butler and Phillip O. Berry high schools in Charlotte, and Cannon School in Concord, and works with groups like Communities in Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Right Moves for Youth to identify potential participants.

Each summer, it sends 12 to 24 teachers from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to courses through fully-paid scholarships.

It teams with companies like Dixon Hughes Goodman and Charlotte Pipe & Foundry to offer courses for employees and rising leaders.

In recent years it has offered roughly a dozen courses a year for military personnel or returning veterans to help them reintegrate into civilian life, Thomas says.

This year, the office is ahead of schedule to meet its goal of providing scholarships for 300 returning vets.

To meet its goal of raising $200,000 to $250,000 a year, the office for the past three years has sponsored a trail race series that this year attracted 1,800 participants and was sponsored by Merrily Lynch and Coca Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated.

The Charlotte office also plans to double — to 10 — the number of its local school partners.

“It’s our intent to grow our  presence in Charlotte,” Thomas says, “and to help more teens and adults discover their true potential.”

Meredith College preparing for campaign

By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — Meredith College is gearing up for the quiet phase of a campaign with a goal expected to be well in excess of the $43 million it raised in its last campaign, which ended seven years ago.

Funds from the drive, which is likely to begin its public phase in 2013 or 2014, would be used to support the goals of a new strategic plan the school’s board of trustees approved in October.

It calls for more scholarships and faculty development; improved enrollment and student retention through support for faculty and student development and leadership; improvements in information technology and infrastructure; greater visibility and marketing for the school; and stronger employee compensation and benefits.

Meredith, with 1,700 women undergraduate students and 300 co-ed graduate students, is working with Winston-Salem consulting firm Capital Development Services to test the feasibility of its new campaign and help set a goal.

The school raises about $6 million a year in private support, including $1 million through its annual fund, which includes gifts of up to $5,000.

It aims over the course of the campaign to increase the annual fund to $1.5 million, says Lennie Barton, vice president for institutional advancement.

Meredith also raises $3 million a year in major gifts, or those of $25,000 or more, and $2 million in planned or deferred gifts, typically through wills and estates.

Planned giving represents the school’s strongest fundraising strategy, says Barton, who joined Meredith two-and-a-half years ago after working at N.C. State University for 33 years, most recently as associate vice chancellor for alumni relations.

Meredith has generated $29 million in planned giving commitments in the past 30 years, he says.

He says the campaign represents an opportunity to engage the school’s 20,000 alumnae, including roughly 6,000 who live in the Triangle, and raise awareness about Meredith and its ongoing focus on preparing women to succeed as leaders.

The new strategic plan, for example, calls for students to develop personal plans for their academic life, their extracurricular leadership activities, their financial stability, and their jobs and careers.

“We’re talking about an individual plan that each student creates,” Barton says.

Efforts people may not know about that are underway or in the works at Meredith, Barton says, include new programs in health care and criminology, and a joint engineering program with N.C. State that lets students earn undergraduate degrees from both schools.

Jo Allen, a 1980 graduate who in April 2011 became Meredith’s first alumna president and only its second female president, says she wants the school to be “more visible, more bold” in reaching out to prospective students and supporters.

“This institution is beloved by the people who know her,” she says, “and for the people who don’t know the institution yet, I think they’re going to fall in love with it.”

Nonprofit use of data mixed

Nonprofits are tracking data on their operations and programs but face hurdles in gathering and building data into their business, a new survey says.

“Too often, barriers keep nonprofits from collecting and integrating important data into their daily work,” says the 2012 State of Nonprofit Data Report from NTEN and Idealware.

Ninety-nine percent of 398 people from nonprofits in 17 states responding to the survey in April 2012 are tracking some sort of metrics.

But many nonprofits also face significant barriers, including collecting and working with data, lack of expertise, issues of time and prioritization, and challenges with technology, the survey says.

Eighty-nine percent of nonprofits are tracking financial data and find it useful for making decisions, while 50 percent are tracking data about outcomes for clients and constituents, 41 percent are tracking external data about their issue area, 39 percent are using data to make budgeting decisions, and 26 percent are using donor data to make program decisions.

Based on six one-hour telephone focus groups with 38 people from nonprofits, consulting firms that work with nonprofits, and foundations, the survey also included recommendations on how nonprofits can become more data-driven.

Nonprofits, for example, should “start small” in using data, it says, picking a “discrete project with a beginning and end,” it says.

“Try defining one thing you’d like to improve or change, define one metric to measure it that would be useful and not too difficult to track, collect that data over time, and then use the data to help understand whether you’re making change in the organization,” a consultant told the survey. “If staff see that this data is useful, it can start the ball rolling on collecting more metrics to support a data-focused culture.”

Nonprofits also should connect their goals to their metrics, developing “quantifiable goals related to what you’re trying to do and determine the best way to measure whether or not you are meeting them,” the survey says.

They also should not begin by “obsessing about outcomes,” it says, because outcomes can be “some of the most difficult” data to track.

Instead, nonprofits should begin their data strategy with other metrics “that are easier to pin down, like financial, fundraising or program status,” it says.

And funders should “think critically about what you can expect nonprofits to be able to produce,” the survey says. “It’s reasonable to ask them to measure their own activities, but measuring their impact on a community might well be a research project that would run into the hundreds of thousands [of dollars] even for a trained evaluation firm.”

The survey also recommended that nonprofits learn from one another about using data, change their organizational culture to value data, beginning with board members, and train their staff to know how to use the organization’s database, understand what data the organization is collecting, and see that “data-based decision-making can help them do their jobs.”

Nonprofits also should evaluate the existing ability of staff for data collection and evaluation, and decide if training “can increase their comfort with data.”

Todd Cohen