Barsuhn quits as CEO of Greensboro United Way

By Todd Cohen

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Keith Barsuhn has resigned as president and CEO of United Way of Greater Greensboro, effective Jan. 31, and Michelle Gethers-Clark, a former American Express executive who the United Way board of directors hired in October as a consultant on an interim basis, has been named interim CEO and president.

Barsuhn, who has served as CEO since July 1, 2008, “told us he wants to pursue other things,” says Sue Cole, chair of United Way’s board and managing partner at Sage Leadership & Strategy.

Barsuhn says he “came here to rebuild this United Way and give it a new direction, and I’ve done that.”

He says he has “some really good opportunities I’m pursuing that I’m expecting to be imminent.”

John Cross, a former chair of United Way’s board and a lawyer at Brooks Pierce, will chair the search for a new CEO.

“We will take our time to find the right person,” Cole says.

Gethers-Clark, who is president of The Center for Service and Leadership and former senior vice president and general manager of card operations at American Express, has agreed to serve as interim president and CEO until a successor is found, Cole says.

Cole said at the time Gethers-Clark was hired as a consultant that changes needed to be made in the organization as a result of a new long-term strategy that involved shifting United Way’s focus to collaborative efforts to help boost academic performance and grade advancement for children, improve health literacy, and strengthen financial stability for individuals and families.

Since then, Cole says, Gethers-Clark has focused on processes inside United Way, while Barsuhn has focused on United Way’s fundraising.

“The best way to accomplish things is to divide and conquer,” Cole says. “We asked Michelle to focus on the people within the organization and the processes within the organization, and making sure we were being efficient and effective with everything we do.”

United Way’s annual fundraising campaign, which raised $10.3 million a year ago and set a goal of $11 million for the campaign that began last fall, is “tracking” last year’s effort, Cole says.

“I’m very optimistic we will meet it,” she says.

The position of vice president for resource development, formerly vice president for donor relations, has been open since last fall, she says.

Emphasizing she believes in “continuous improvement,” Cole says the biggest challenges facing United Way are to carry out its its collaborative community impact strategy, particularly by matching mentors with people they mentor, and training organizations that provide the mentoring; taking care of its volunteers, including leaders and board members; and develop[ing staff and making sure “they have the resources they need to do the jobs that need to be done in the community.”

Gethers-Clark’s focus has been on “processes,” Cole says.

That has included reviewing the process for hiring people and getting them in their jobs; for receiving contributions; for making board meetings and planning more efficient; and for the way staff members work.

Event planning, for example, has been assigned to a single staff member, who is planning events on March 22 and May 14, respectively, for its leadership groups for African-Americans and for women.

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Retirement a concern for nonprofit employees

Roughly 45 percent of all employees working in the nonprofit sector are not confident with their ability to prepare financially for retirement, a new study says.

Those findings “underscore the need for the nonprofit and philanthropic sector to address their employees’ long-term financial security, create more opportunities for advancement within the sector, and look for national, cross-sector solutions,” TIAA-CREF Institute and Independent Sector, which released the study, say in a statement.

While roughly 59 percent of 1,000 full-time employees age 21 and older in the nonprofit and philanthropic sector who were polled for the study are “very or extremely satisfied” with their current employment, nearly half have considered leaving the sector to get greater compensation elsewhere, says the study, Financial Security and Careers in the Nonprofit and Philanthropic Sector.

Over 90 percent of sector employees say personal satisfaction with their organization’s mission is a “central driver” for their career decisions, but only 30 percent are “very or extremely satisfied” with opportunities for career advancement.

“The results demonstrate the need for financial planning and advice to help these employees combine the best of both worlds,” Paul Yakoboski, senior economist at TIAA-CREF Institute, says in a statement.

Diana Aviv, president and CEO of Independent Sector, says concerns about financial security “can undermine the sector’s ability to attract and retain the most talented individuals to address the tough challenges we face.”

The sector should consider “how to secure the financial future of staff and those interested in working in the charitable sector,” she says. “Financial security will make it possible for these leaders to remain in the sector over an entire career.”

The nonprofit and philanthropic sector consists of 1.6 million organizations, including charities, foundations and professional associations, and employs roughly 10 percent of the U.S. workforce, TIAA-CREF and Independent Sector say.

Todd Cohen

Nonprofit news roundup, 01.18.13

Giving to National Christian Foundation affiliate grows 50%

Charitable giving in 2012 to the Raleigh affiliate of the National Christian Foundation grew by 50 percent from 2011 to $39.5 million, with the number of funds growing by 40 to over 200.

Cash contributions totaled $9.1 million, stock donations more than doubled to $3.8 million, and non-liquid gifts such as real estate, businesses or restricted securities totaled $26.5 million.

The Raleigh affiliate facilitated over 2,600 grants totaling nearly $10.5 million from donor advised funds, compared to just over 2,000 grants totaling $6.2 million in 2011.

Assets at the affiliate total $60.5 million, including $24.5 million in cash and $36 million in non-cash assets waiting to be liquidated for giving.

Since 1982, the Georgia-based National Christian Foundation has received over $5 billion in contributions and made $3.3 billion in grants to over 30,000 churches, ministries and charities.

Since it began operating in January 2005, the affiliate has received $92.9 million in contributions and made $41 million in grants.

Triangle United Way to increase support for agencies

United Way of the Greater Triangle says it will distribute $10.6 million to nonprofits this year after generating $15 million in revenue in 2012, including an annual campaign that raised $14 million, the same amount it had raised the previous year.

Half those funds will go to causes designated by donors.

The other half will go to programs approved by United Way, the first increase in five years and 2 percent more than United Way had allocated in 2012.

To make up the difference between what it has allocated and what it raised, United Way has reduced expenses by a total of 10 percent last year and this year.

That has included reducing the staff by four employees to 36, and using technology to handle more of its campaign operation, including marketing and the collection and distribution of funds, says Mack Koonce, United Way president and CEO.

That reduction also will allow United Way to lower to 13 percent from 16 percent starting in this fall’s annual fundraising campaign the administrative fee it charges to donors who designate that their gifts go to specific programs rather than to a general fund United Way uses to allocate funds using its discretion.

AFP Triangle to hold annual philanthropy forecast

Corporate and foundation giving, city and county government funding, and charitable giving by individual major donors, all in the face of current issues and the fiscal “cliff,” will be the focus of the annual philanthropy forecast hosted by the Triangle chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Luncheon keynote speaker for the event, to be held January 30 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Embassy Suites in Cary, will be Dan Gerlach, President, Golden Leaf Foundation, who will talk  about the federal budget impact for philanthropy and nonprofit management.

Komen to host Inaugural Wilmington Race for the Cure

The Raleigh-based North Carolina Triangle to the Coast Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure will host its Inaugural Wilmington Race for the Cure on March 2.

The family event will feature 5K Race/Walks, a Kid Zone and a Survivor Breakfast, all in support of raising awareness and funds to fight breast cancer.

The North Carolina Triangle to the Coast Affiliate last year added nine counties in southeastern North Carolina to the 20 counties it already was serving. Its Komen Triangle Race for the Cure, which celebrated its 16th year in 2012, has attracted as many 23,000 participants in the past.

Last year, with funds it raised, the North Carolina Triangle to the Coast Affiliate distributed $1.1 million to 19 agencies in the region to provide a continuum of breast health services to underinsured and uninsured women, and contributed another $400,000 for national breast cancer research.

That same year, Dallas-based Susan G. Komen for the Cure, one of the largest fundraising charities in the U.S. to fight breast cancer, returned $2.4 million to the region in the form of research grants to Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Judy Woodruff joins Duke Endowment board

Judy Woodruff, co-anchor and senior correspondent for The PBS NewsHour, has been elected a trustee of The Duke Endowment in Charlotte. A graduate of Duke University and former member of its board of trustees, Woodruff has covered politics and other news for CNN, NBC and PBS.

Autism Society to hold annual conference

The Autism Society of North Carolina will hold its annual conference Feb. 8-9 in Charlotte. To be held at the Hilton University Place, the conference will focus on planning for and proactively addressing the challenges of transitions to adolescence and adulthood.

Bailey’s Fine Jewelry gives over $41,000

Bailey’s Fine Jewelry in Raleigh donated over $41,000 to charities in 2012 through its A Time to Give program, raising the most funds since launching the program in 2008. Bailey’s provides a free replacement for any watch battery and in exchange asks that a donation be made to a designated charity the company selects each month. Bailey’s has donated over $141,000 through the program to the communities where Bailey’s stores are located, including Raleigh, Rocky Mount, Greenville and Fayetteville.

Keep NC Beautiful accepting grant requests

Keep NC Beautiful, in partnership with the NC Coca-Cola Bottlers Council, is accepting grant applications for community improvement projects to be completed in 2013 that address litter prevention and roadside clean-up, waste reduction and recycling and beautification.

Wells Fargo giving $3 million to UNCF

Wells Fargo will invest $1 million annually in the United Negro College Fund during the next three years to help students earn college degrees and get an education before college that prepares them for college coursework and college success.

High Point University

High Point University students from New York and New Jersey raised $22,000 for Hurricane Sandy Relief and presented a check for that amount to Christy Dvorscak, chapter manager of the American Red Cross, Greater High Point-Davidson Chapter.

AIDS Care Service of Winston-Salem

AIDS Care Service of Winston-Salem will benefit from the 6th annual Small Art Big Heart, to be hosted February 8 by Hampton House Art and Framing, beginning with a reception at 5 p.m. A portion of the proceeds will go to funding the care of those in Northwest North Carolina who are suffering from HIV-AIDS. AIDS Care Service provides support groups, hospice care, housing, a food pantry and counseling for those in need.

Envision Plastics

For its permanent dinosaur dig site exhibit, The Duluth Children’s Museum in Duluth, Minn., is using recycled high-density-polyethylene-plastic resin pellets from Envision Plastics in Reidsville.

Triad Association of Health Underwriters

The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation has been selected to receive proceeds from the Annual Charity Golf Tournament, which will be held May 16 at Cardinal Country Club in Greensboro and sponsored by the Triad Association of Health Underwriters.

John Rex Endowment

The John Rex Endowment in Raleigh is seeking notification of intent to apply, or letters of intent, for grants for nonprofit capacity building. The deadline for submitting notifications or letters is February 12 at noon.

UNC-CH launches search for chief fundraiser

By Todd Cohen

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Holden Thorp, outgoing chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has named an 11-member search committee to help identify candidates to be the school’s new vice chancellor for development.

UNC-CH already is searching for a new chancellor to succeed Thorp, who announced in September he would step down at the end of the school year this June.

“With the search for the University’s next chancellor well under way, it’s important to initiative the process now to time the vice chancellor search so my successor will have an opportunity to provide input and be involved in the interview process and final selection,” Thorp says in a message to faculty and staff.

He says UNC also is “using this strategy with the search for the executive vice chancellor and provost.”

Thorp says in the message that he consulted with his predecessor, James Moeser, “who had to deal with two vacant administrative positions when he became chancellor in 2000.”

Moeser “confirmed my thinking that initiating these key searches now would help accelerate the transition process within the administration and put my successor in the best position after taking office.”

Chairing the search committee will be Lowry Caudill, a UNC-CH alumnus, member of its board of trustees, co-founder of Magellan Laboratories, and an adjunct faculty member.

Thorp announced his resignation a week after Matt Kupec, the school’s long-time vice chancellor for university advancement, quit in the face of disclosures he had taken at least 25 personal trips at the university’s expense with Tami Hansbrough, a  fundraiser at the school and the mother of its former star basketball player Tyler Hansbrough.

She and Kupec, who both are divorced, had been in a relationship.

Kupec had pushed for UNC to hire Hansbrough, who quit several days after Kupec, and Thorp knew about her hiring and about Kupec’s role in it, according to published reports.

Thorp subsequently named Julia Sprunt Grumbles, former corporate vice president at Turner Broadcasting, as interim vice chancellor for advancement.

And Elizabeth Dunn is retiring this month as senior associate vice chancellor for university advancement.

Planning for a comprehensive campaign at UNC to raise $3 billion, an effort that had been expected to begin its quiet phase next summer, remains uncertain.

Four years ago, UNC was set to launch a multi-billion-dollar campaign when the economy crashed, so the school put the campaign on hold.

Last spring,  Thorp and Kupec reportedly asked the board of trustees to approve launching the campaign’s quiet phase this past July, but the board rejected the proposal, concluding the school was not ready and needed to spend another year working on its strategy.

Big Brothers Big Sisters looking for mentors

By Todd Cohen

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Twice a month, 30 sixth- and seventh-graders at Reid Park Academy in West Charlotte get on a bus that takes them to the nearby offices of LPL Financial, where each of them has lunch with an employee volunteer who also provides one-on-one mentoring on topics such as public speaking, organizational skills and preparing to take tests.

The program, which is funded by LPL Financial at a cost of $1,000 per student, was launched in October by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte as part of a larger effort by the agency to get more adult volunteers involved in mentoring kids ages five to 18 throughout the community.

“We felt if we could expose these children to what happens in those buildings in different parts of their neighborhood, then we could light a spark that’s going to really create new possibilities for them and their lives,” says Karen Calder, CEO at Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Operating with an annual budget just over $1.5 million and 21 employees, the agency served nearly 1,400 young people in the fiscal year ended June 30, up 10 percent from the previous year.

And with Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx estimating the city arrests 6,000 young people under age 16 every year, “programs like ours really serve as prevention strategies to keep children on the right pathways to be successful adults,” says Calder, who joined the agency in June 2011 after serving as founding executive director of Classroom Central, a nonprofit that provides free school supplies for teachers working in the region’s most impoverished schools.

And Big Brothers Big Sisters is making a difference, she says.

In the most recent fiscal year, she says, every child involved with the agency stayed out of trouble, and 84 percent of those who got involved with the agency when they had grades of C or lower were able to improve their grades.

Eighty-three percent avoided risky behaviors such as drug or alcohol use or involvement with gangs, and 82 percent said they intended to graduate from high school and go to college.

“They have the expectation they will do that,” Calder says, “rather than having lost hope of ever being able to achieve that goal.”

An ongoing challenge for Big Brothers Big Sisters is to find more adult volunteers and sustain itself financially, she says.

Vetting and screening prospective mentors, and helping families understand the needs of their kids and find mentors best suited to them, is time-consuming and costly, Calder says.

And while Big Brothers Big Sisters has nearly 360 “Littles” on its waiting list, it has only 270 prospective “Bigs” in its pipeline, and while most of the kids on the waiting list are boys, most of the prospective mentors are women.

“We are looking for men to be Big Brothers” Calder says.

She also is working to enlist other companies to participate in programs like the one at Reid Park Academy.

The agency, which is part of the “Collective Impact” initiative by United Way of Central Carolinas to recruit 1,000 members, also is working to enlist more donors who can make larger contributions.

And it will hold its annual Bowl for Kids’ Sake fundraising event Feb. 23 at Park 10 Lanes in Charlotte and April 7 at Dave and Buster’s at Concord Mills in Concord.

Calder says Big Brothers Big Sisters not only gives kids a push towards success in life, but it also saves taxpayer dollars.

“It costs $1,000 for us to match and support a child with a mentor,” she says. “The cost of detaining a young person in a juvenile detention center is about $70,000.”

Data seen driving change in social economy

Digital information is playing an increasingly pivotal role in the emerging “social economy” as “doers” and “donors” look to philanthropy, political giving and impact investing to find the most effective options for putting private resources to work for public good, a new report says.

And as they compete in the social economy, which includes the broad range of “business ventures, charitable efforts, philanthropy, and investment capital geared toward producing positive social results,” nonprofits and organized philanthropy will need to be smarter about the way they share data, handle mobile payments, and deal with the issues of transparency and privacy, says Philanthropy and the Social Economy: Blueprint 2013, a report from GrantCraft.

“We are standing at a new ‘starting line’ for data in 2013,” says the report, which was written by Lucy Bernholz, visiting scholar at the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at Stanford University.

That starting line, the report says, “is about putting the data we have to use, looking for relationships between nonprofit/philanthropic data and larger data sets from the public and private sectors, and experimenting with new practices that start from the premise that we now have access to enough useful data that we can move on to explore what to do with it.”

While philanthropy and nonprofits play important roles in the social economy and occupy a “privileged long-term position that allows them a front row seat to the changes underway,” the report says, they “are not the unchallenged center of the economy any longer, nor should we assume that their status, impact or privileged positions are unalterable.”

The next phase for the social economy, the report says, will be driven by a new discussion about “the unique role of organizations like those we know as nonprofits and foundations.”

Data overload

In a world of “digital overload,” with foundations, donors and nonprofits “soon to be drinking from the ‘data firehose,’ the most successful organizations will be those that “figure out how to manage this and thrive within its contexts,” the report says.

Some organizations will deal with data overload “by hiring data analysts to manage data flows, analytics and learning,” while an increasing amount of data “will be made public and transparent for the rest of the sector and any curious others,” it says.

“Data are a resource like money,” it says. “They are critical to success, unevenly distributed, and fundamental to the pursuit of privately resourced, public benefit activities. They are tools for reinforcing or redistributing power.”

Yet the decades of the “information age” have gone “essentially unnoticed by most foundations at least in terms of sharing their information quickly, readily and in a form that would allow easy comparison,” the report says.

By 2009, for example, only 29 percent of foundations “had hung out their nameplate on the Internet,” it says.

That has changed, it says, with over a dozen “meaningful efforts at sharing philanthropic data,” representing “real progress toward a ‘data backbone’ for nonprofits and philanthropy.”

Second phase

With new tools for “sharing raw data and make it useful to the public,” philanthropy has entered the “second phase of a data age” that will focus on “using it ourselves,” the report says.

That phase, it says, will be marked by “finding new ways to compare, analyze and present the data; asking new questions with it; and using the information to inform out work.”

Aggregated foundation grants data now can begin to be used “in ways that simply weren’t possible before,” it says.

With access to over 170 online giving platforms, the report says, the tools that individual donors have for giving are “light years ahead of most foundation check-cutting processes in terms of real-time information, targeted feedback loops, and the ability to  galvanize additional support by reaching out to social networks.”

And, in isolation, data about foundation grants and nonprofit data from IRS Form 990 are of limited use, the report says.

“They may reveal trends in funding interests, geographic density, and patterns of shared strategy,” it says. “But they say little about either an individual enterprises’ operational strengths or the financial/operational healthy of a group of organizations. These data tell us almost nothing about an organization’s strategies or the results it is achieving, nor do they shed light on the status of the larger issue, be it health access, student reading scores, or the number of hungry elders in a community.”

Foundations and nonprofits, the report says, “still lag behind governments and business in making good use of data.”

Digital engagement

Mobile phones and other digital devices represent the next phase of giving and volunteering, the report says.

“We’ll make smaller, more frequent donations, sparked by social network requests, by tapping a bank account or credit card number with a single swipe,” it says. “Freelance fundraising for our own favorite causes or organizations will be easier.  Crowd-sourced and -funded groups will be clean beaches, feed the homeless, help the elderly, respond to disasters, all while not relying on or turning to an organization for help.”

Because mobile payments can be handled through a smart phone, the report says, the individual donor “has all the pieces of big philanthropy — information and money — in one device. The technology has leapfrogged the big institutions in favor of networked individuals.”

Those developments are “not all positive,” the report says. “Ever-smaller donations to organizations can require ever-greater organizational investments in technology to manage.”

Mobile donations and digital data also raise issues of private and security, and underscores the gap  between people with access to a smart phone and those without access.

And while “networked individuals are good at starting things,” the report says, “the jury is still out on how effective they are at maintaining services over time.”

Privacy and transparency

In the social economy, nonprofits “will be defined by how they use their data for public good while protecting the personal privacy rights of all who contribute that data,” the report says.

Initially, it says, nonprofits will define themselves through “good practice,” while later they may be defined through legal requirements.

“We will all be well served if nonprofits take a leadership role in defining and demonstrating the practices they want to see encoded in future regulations,” it says.

Nonprofits continue to earn “higher trust ratings” than business or government, the report says, and how they use personal information will influence that standing.

And as the nonprofit sector tries to catch up on data, transparency and innovation, it says, “we need to differentiate data about people from data about enterprises.”

Organizations that seek to use private resources for public good need to get the issues of “private” and “public” right, the report says.

The way that enterprises “navigate the tensions of private data and public good will become a differentiating factor for organizations in the social economy — not all will make the same choices,” the report says. “These practices and choices about data may eventually serve to distinguish and define organizations within the social economy the way financial profit motive does now.”

Regulation in the social economy

Organizations and financing systems in the social economy are “not created equal,” the report says.

“Nor should they be,” it says. “They should be complementary. For that to be possible, we need to think about accountability, governance mechanisms, the use of free labor (volunteers), the role of incentives and oversight, and information ownership.”

As politicians resume talks this year about the tax code and limiting charitable tax deductions, the report says, the nonprofit sector “will need to make new arguments to preserve those privileges.”

And those argument “should not just be standard issue self-preservation,” it says.

The political battle may be “fought narrowly over maintaining the tax deductibility of charitable gifts,” and may not include “serious discussion about the most effective ways to provide incentives for private involvement on behalf of public benefit” or any discussion of “data as a public good” or “more substantial regulatory change.”

Yet regulatory change is needed in a social economy increasingly driven by “new networks of ‘doers’ and ‘donors’ using their non-hierarchical, distributed authority, open source model of the Internet and using it for political action and community change,” the report says, citing Future Perfect, a 2012 book by Steven Berlin Johnson.

“We’re reaching a point where impact investing and philanthropy are increasingly intertwined,” the report says, an emerging hybrid characterized as “enterprise philanthropy” in From Blueprint to Scale, a 2012 study from the Acumen Fund and Monitor Institute.

“Whatever you call it,” the report says, “more and more donors and institutional funders are looking at how they can best use a dollar — whether as a donation or an investment — based on the outcome they hope to achieve.

While the thinking of donors and funders now is shaped by rules government donations and investments, the report says, those rules “don’t always serve the larger purpose.”

And with data “beginning to gain traction in practice” as a philanthropic resource, the repot says, “it would be wise for philanthropy and nonprofits to take up the policy issues of data use, ownership, and privacy themselves, rather than wait for a regime to be imposed.”

— Todd Cohen