Nonprofit news roundup, 06.28.13

Piedmont Land Conservancy gets $2.3 million in bequests

Piedmont Land Conservancy in Greensboro has received two bequests totaling $2.3 million, the biggest in its 23-year history, and will use the funds to preserve farmland and for general conservation projects.

With the bequests, from Karen Austin and Patricia Nussbaum, the Conservancy will create three funds.

The Frances Lindsay Austin Fund, created in memory of her mother with part of the proceeds from Austin’s request, will support ongoing stewardship activities at Lindale Farm, which is located on Deep River in High Point and was the last operable dairy operation in High Point.

Austin protected the family farm through the donation for a conservation easement to the Conservancy in 1995, marking the first major farmland conservation project the organized had completed.

The Karen Austin Farmland Preservation Farm will support farmland preservation projects throughout the nine-county region the Conservancy serves.

The Patricia Nussbaum Conservation and Support fund will defray costs of conservation transactions and support ongoing.

InterAct names two associate executive directors

Kathryn Johnson, associate executive director of programs at InterAct in Raleigh, has been named associate executive director of resource development. Lisa Allred Draper, chief program officer at Triangle Family Services, has joined InterAct as associate executive director of programs.

Charlotte Bridge Home names executive director

Cindi Basenspiler, a U.S. Army veteran and former vice president for human resources operations at Time Warner Cable, has been named executive director at Charlotte Bridge Home.  Established in 2011, the nonprofit works to help veterans and their families successfully transition home after military service.

Winston-Salem Foundation changes grants timetable

The Winston-Salem Foundation has changed its timetable for receiving and responding to requests for community grants.

Starting November 1, the Foundation will accept preliminary applications on the first business day of odd-numbered months, and then within 15 days will let organizations know whether their preliminary applications qualify them to submit a full grant application. Foundation staff then will visit organizations that qualify.

The Foundation says the entire process will take three months.

The final community grant application under the old schedule will be due Aug. 1. No preliminary applications will be accepted this September or October.

Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation funds 19 summer internships

The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation in Winston-Salem is funding summer internships for 19 college students through its Nonprofit Internship Program it launched in 2011 and matching them with nonprofits it has funded throughout the state.

Duke getting $5.5 million

Duke University has received a $5.5 million commitment, most of it to support its Energy Initiative, from trustee Ralph Eads and his wife, Lisa. The gift will provide funding for an energy-finance professorship of the practice, fellowships, conferences and other events, and will help to create an energy information and analysis research program.

Eads is vice chairman of Jefferies & Co., an investment bank, and chairs the firm’s global energy section.

Robinsons to receive humanities award

Russell M. Robinson II, founding partner of Charlotte law firm Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson, and Sally Dalton Robinson, who was instrumental in the creation and funding of the Levine Center of the New South in Charlotte, have been named recipients of the 2013 John Tyler Caldwell Award for the Humanities from the  North Carolina Humanities Council. The award ceremony is scheduled for October 10 at 7 p.m., at the Wells Fargo Auditorium in Charlotte. A reception will follow at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art at Levine Center for the Arts. The event is free and open to the public.

Asheville-Buncombe Tech gets $30,000

Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina Foundation awarded a $30,000 grant to Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College for the Minority Student Leadership Academy, which works to improve student retention and graduation rates through supportive services and leadership development opportunities.

Junior Achievement launching job-shadow effort for students

Junior Achievement of Central North Carolina, with a $5,000 grant  from the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, and with the assistance of local businesses Timco and Ralph Lauren, will launch a five-week pilot job-shadow initiative this fall in which students will spend one full day each week on site at the participating companies.

Guilford County students will be exposed to various divisions within participating companies to better understand potential careers and how to adjust their studies to pursue those careers.

Arts & Science Council partners with Project L.I.F.T.

Project L.I.F.T. and its Out-of-School Time project are partnering with the Arts & Science Council to provide arts programming and science, technology, engineering and math programming, or STEM, during continuous learning calendar breaks at four schools in West Charlotte.

The programming, along with transportation and meals will be free for students in Project L.I.F.T. , an effort that aims to provide $55 million in private funding to support additional services and educational enhancements for Charlotte-Mecklenburg students in the West Charlotte corridor, which includes West Charlotte High School and the middle and elementary schools that feed into it.

Cary Community Foundation accepting grant requests

The Cary Community Foundation, an affiliate of the North Carolina Community Foundation, is accepting grant requests through August 13 from Triangle nonprofits for community projects that serve Cary residents.

Requests, which will be accepted online only, must be for for human service programs, arts and education, health care and other general charitable needs. The Foundation this year also has funding for capacity-building projects to help nonprofits with internal needs such as office equipment, staff training and other capacity-building projects.

The total amount of grant funding to distribute for 2013 is $7,000.

Boundless Impact to host summit on global opportunities

Boundless Impact will host a Global Opportunities Summit on August 22 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering in Greensboro. The goal of the event is to convene globally engaged leaders from business, economic development, education, government and nonprofits to develop a common global vision for the Triad.

Durham mentoring program getting $2,000

The Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Durham will donate $2,033 to YO:Durham, a mentoring program for opportunity youths.

Triangle United Way adds three board members

United Way of the Greater Triangle has added three board members, including Matt Czajkowski, a member of the Chapel Hill Town Council; Nancy Pekarek, vice president of communications for the US Pharmaceuticals business at GlaxoSmithKline; and Bryson Powell, partner and director of residential development for East West Partners Management Company, a real estate firm based in Chapel Hill.

Volunteers build playground in Greensboro

Over 200 volunteers from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, the Greater Glenwood Neighborhood Association, the Greensboro Parks and Recreation Department, organizers from KaBOOM! and residents of the Glenwood and Piedmont Heights communities teamed up on join forces on June 21 to build a new playground in the Maywood Street neighborhood. The design of the new playground is based on drawings created by children who participated in a Design Day event in April.

Charlotte Symphony focuses on community

By Todd Cohen

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — At a retreat last October, the Charlotte Symphony gave the 44 members of its board of directors the assignment of raising $10,000 each in contributions in addition to their personal pledges.

The Symphony also offered to assist board members in hosting “Symphony Yes” fundraising receptions at their homes that would feature its music director and musicians.

From January through May, the Symphony raised $400,000 at 15 receptions, with most of those funds coming in the form of three-year gifts. And pledges from board members totaled another $340,000.

The receptions were part of a new strategy at the Symphony to boost grassroots support as it prepares to begin a long-term campaign to increase its endowment to $35 million to $40 million from $6 million.

“We need to build community support,” says Robert Stickler, president and executive director of the Symphony. “People who can ultimately give big gifts and endowment gifts are watching. They want to see the community behind us. They want to see financial stability and that the community is pitching in.”

Stabilizing the Symphony’s finances has been a big focus for Stickler, a former senior vice president for corporate communications at Bank of America who served on the Symphony’s board and as president of the Oratorio Singers, its official chorus, before being asked to become interim president after Jonathan Martin was named president and CEO of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in August 2012.

The annual budget Stickler expects to present to the board this month will be in balance or “close to it,” he says, compared to a deficit of roughly $450,000 in the fiscal year that ends June 30, down from $1.8 million two years ago.

An anonymous group this year donated $2 million, making a tentative commitment to renew that gift annually for 10 years, “assuming we make financial progress,” Stickler says.

He says he hopes that gift will serve as a “bridge to allow us to get to financial stability first,” and then will be used to begin to grow the endowment.

Key to the endowment effort, he says, will be Michelle Hamilton, who will join the Symphony on July 1 after having served as chief advancement officer at Crisis Assistance Ministry.

Hamilton says she will be working on “developing relationships between the orchestra and the people who care about it.”

In 2013, 1,445 donors contributed to the Symphony, up from 1,345 the previous year, with 188 donors giving $2,000 or more, up from 167 donors the previous year.

Enlisting more donors to make those larger gifts, Hamilton says, will depend on raising awareness about the role the Symphony plays in the community.

“We can’t have a vibrant community if we don’t have a strong cultural sector,” she says.

While ticket sales in the year ended June 30 are expected to generate $2.4 million, up slightly from the previous year and counter to a downward trend at big orchestras in the U.S., Stickler says, the Symphony counts on ticket sales for only one-third of its revenue.

What’s more, the relative age of people attending concerts is older and more educated than the general population.

“That’s a dilemma for us and for the average American orchestra,” Stickler says. Increasing the importance of individual contributions is a decline in funding from the Arts & Science Council to $825,000 in the fiscal year just ending from $2 million five years ago.

The Symphony, which already serves 15,000 students through its education programs, is working to better engage donors by thanking members and letting them know their investment supports more than just an arts organization, Hamilton says.

“We will continue to talk to our donors about their investment in the orchestra as an investment in our community,” she says.

Nonprofit news roundup, 06.21.13

Heinen honored for advocacy work for nonprofits

David Heinen, director of public policy and advocacy for the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits, has received the second annual Flo Green Network Champion Award by the National Council of Nonprofits.

“David is the definition of a champion, a valiant fighter for nonprofits and the communities they serve,” Tim Delaney, president and CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits, says in a statement.

“He has set a high bar for advocacy efforts at the state level and always works to help his peers clear it,” Delaney says. “The example David sets in sharing resources and insights constantly inspires others across the network to do the same, strengthening nonprofits nationwide and back in North Carolina.”

The award honors a leader who demonstrates a commitment to sharing knowledge and elevating the work of state associations of nonprofits.

Before joining the Center for Nonprofits in 2007, Heinen spent seven years as an attorney with Dorn & Klamp, a Washington, D.C., law firm serving nonprofits, where he advised small to mid-sized nonprofits on a wide range of legal issues.

Greensboro United Way names Gethers-Clark president and CEO

Michelle Gethers-Clark, a former executive at American Express who was hired by the board of United Way of Greater Greensboro as a consultant last October, and named interim president and CEO in January, now has been named president and CEO.

A native of New York who has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Long Island University and is a certified public accountant, Gethers-Clark succeeds Keith Barsuhn, who resigned in January.

She worked for American Express for over 20 years in a number of global leadership roles, and moved with the company to Greensboro in 2000, and most recently served as its senior vice president and general manager of card operations.

In 2010, she formed The Center for Service and Leadership, serving as president.

United Way of Central Carolinas awards $16.5 million

Thirty-seven programs at 26 of its partner agencies will get $16.5 million from United Way of Central Carolinas in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

With funding from its annual campaign last year that raised $21.2 million, marking the second straight year the campaign exceeded its goal, United Way worked with 164 trained volunteers to review funding requests from 84 agencies serving nearly 325,000 women, mean and children in five counties.

United Way received $1.2 million in funding requests it could not meet, and reduced funding for 18 agencies, while other agencies lost funding in one program but gained funding in a program with stronger results in serving at-risk clients.

United Way gave priority for funding to agencies with “proven outcomes” in its funding focus areas, including children and youth; health and mental health; and housing and stability.

It provided level or increased funding for 16 agencies collaborating on its “Collective Impact” initiative, which has a 10-year goal of improving graduation rates for children and youth in poverty.

Lavery to head Prevent Child Abuse

Bud Lavery, executive director of Communities in Schools of Durham, has been named president and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina, effective July 29.

Lavery will succeed Rosie Allen Ryan, who has served as president and CEO since 2008.

Armstrong McGuire, a philanthropic advisory group in Raleigh, worked with the board at Prevent Child Abuse to identify an initial list of prospects.

Bush named interim CEO at Arts & Science Council

Robert Bush, senior vice president and chief innovation officer at the Arts &  Science Council in Charlotte, has been named interim president, effective July 1.

Susan Gary, vice president and chief financial officer at the Council, will work directly with Bush and take on additional responsibilities as interim chief operating officer.

Scott Provancher, the Council’s president since 2009, is leaving the organization on June 30.

Bush, a native of Hickory, N.C., joined the Council in 2000.

Gary, a native of Charlotte, joined the Council in November 2012 after 10 years with Queens University of Charlotte as vice president of finance.

Lenovo donates books for kids

In support of the “Give Five — Read Five” campaign by the state Department of Public Instruction, the USO of North Carolina partnered with Lenovo to collect and provide books to 1,900 local students to encourage them to read over their summer break. Through Lenovo’s donation, every student received a book at Gordon Elementary School and Shugart Elementary School, both in Cameron, N.C., serving the Fort Bragg community, and at W.J. Gurganus Elementary School in Havelock, N.C., serving the Cherry Point community.

Charlotte group raises $3.3 million for American Diabetes Association

The Charlotte Father’s Day Council, which has raised more than $3.3 million for diabetes research and education, named four local business leaders as Charlotte’s 2013 Fathers of the Year. Honored at the 13th Annual Father of the Year Awards fundraiser on June 14, benefiting the American Diabetes Association, were Mark F. Copeland, office managing partner, Ernst & Young; Rob Engel, managing director, and co-head of investment banking and capital markets, Wells Fargo Securities; Jim Kelligrew, executive vice president, and head of high grade fixed income, US Bancorp; and Mark A. Pringle, vice president, Charlotte Energy Hub, Siemens Energy.

Atwell elected vice-chair of Parkinson’s Disease Foundation

Constance Woodruff Atwell of Pinehurst, retired director of the Division of Extramural Research at the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, has been elected vice chair of the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.

Goetz Foundation expands grants program

The Durham-based Noah Z.M. Goetz Foundation, which works to help people experiencing infertility become parents through education about the infant domestic adoption process and the provision of grant funding, has expanded its grants program to include new beneficiary education and family networking support.

High Point United Way awards venture grants

United Way of Greater High Point awarded 10 venture grants totaling $45,285 to fund innovative programs and capital needs at United Way agencies and other area nonprofits. Recipients include Community Outreach of Archdale-Trinity; Guilford Department of Public Health; Jamestown Public Library; Mary’s House & Homes; Mental Health Associates of the Triad; Piedmont Health Services & Sickle Cell Agency; Reach Out & Read; West End Ministries; YMCA of High Point Association; and YWCA of High Point.

Greensboro United Way, Volunteer Center feed kids in summer

United Way of Greater Greensboro and The Volunteer Center of Greensboro are partnering to help feed hungry children during the summer.

Among the roughly 72,500 students in the Guilford County Schools in kindergarten through 12th grade, over 56 percent are considered economically disadvantaged and qualify for lunch that is free or at a reduced price.

In the summer months, when school is not in session, those children often lack access to a nutritious meal and go hungry.

The summer food program for kids, a project of United Way in partnership with the Volunteer Center, is accepting donations of foods Tuesdays and Thursdays from June 18 through August 6 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Volunteer Center at 1500 Yanceyville St., or at Wiley Elementary School at 600 West Terrell St.

Reading Connections offering training for volunteer tutors

Reading Connections, an adult literacy agency in Greensboro, is offering training for volunteer tutors and instructors.

Training sessions will be held July 9, 17 and 18 at the Self Help Building at 122 North Elm Street in the 8th floor conference room.

Roughly 1 in 5 adults in Guilford County, or about 75,000 individuals, lack the basic skills to fill out a job application or read a children’s book, and another 1 in 4 cannot read at a high school level.

Last year, Reading Connections served over 800 students. Currently in Guilford County, over 40 people waiting for a tutor.

Wake arts council working with firm on online strategy

United Arts Council of Raleigh & Wake County is partnering with Brasco Design + Marketing on a project to give the public easier online access to events and opportunities The firm will provide the Council with website management and consult with it on messaging and general online strategy; preparation for a new online presence designed to communicate with constituents and donors; and management of overall customer relationships.

North Carolina pioneering care for Huntington’s disease patients

By Todd Cohen

[Note: This article was written for on behalf of HD Reach.]

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — North Carolina has emerged as a leader in providing care for patients of Huntington’s disease, an inherited brain disorder that affects control of movement, thought and behavior, and leads to death.

While no treatment has been found to stop or slow the progressive loss of mental faculties and physical control from HD, a worldwide network of nearly 100 medical centers known as the Huntington Study Group has emerged over the past 20 years to provide clinical treatment for the disease.

In North Carolina, which is home to HD centers at Duke University and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, and to a genetic testing center at UNC-Chapel Hill, a Raleigh-based nonprofit known as HD Reach is pioneering efforts to make sure patients and families throughout the state have access to HD care and resources.

“We have a huge state,” says Dr. Francis Walker, a professor of neurology and director of the Movement Disorder Clinic at Wake Forest Baptist. “Not everyone can go to Duke or UNC or Wake every month” for treatment.

In recognition of the work of HD Reach, the Huntington Study Group will hold its 7th Annual Clinical Research Symposium on November 7-9 in Charlotte. The gathering, to be held at the Omni Hotel, is expected to attract leading scientists and medical professionals from throughout the world.

More than 30,000 Americans have been diagnosed with HD, and at least 250,000 others are at risk of inheriting it from a parent. Yet fewer than 10 percent of people with a parent with HD get tested for the disease, Walker says.

And because HD typically results in death 15 to 25 years after onset of motor signs of the disease, people with HD and those at risk of inheriting it often live with a “large burden of psychiatric manifestations,” he says. “It can tear families apart when it becomes a problem.”

Those psychological manifestations can include anxiety, irritability, depression and aggressiveness, as well as subtle changes in the brain that may be generated by the disease even before diagnosis.

Some studies have found that as many as one in four people with the HD gene has attempted suicide, says Walker, a member of the Huntington Study Group and medical advisor to HD Reach.

HD Reach is trying to change the culture of living with the disease, he says, noting that patients and families now have online access to information about HD that simply did not exist 20 years ago.

Complementing the long-term work of developing new HD drugs, an international effort supported with $80 million a year in private funding, HD Reach is working in North Carolina to help educate patients and their families about therapies that can help them live with the disease and cope with its psychological impact.

The disease is “quite rare,” Walker says. “I know of a lot of neurologists who have never seen HD. A small group of physicians have seen it. Most internists and family physicians have never seen it.”

So a big challenge HD Reach is trying to address is “helping patients find someone who could provide them with medical care.”

And in a big state in which many people with HD do not live within a short driving distance of an HD center, HD Reach is working to connect patients with medical and health care professionals through a phone hotline and through telepsychiatry that allows patients in remote locations to speak with a therapist at a primary care center.

“Our job is to alleviate suffering,” Walker says. “While we’re waiting for a cure, let’s alleviate suffering using a model that is more grassroots.”

At the same time, the HD centers in the state are conducting clinical research trials of promising new therapies, and scientists throughout the world are engineering new drugs.

“Now we’ve identified the gene” that causes HD, Walker says. “We have a better understanding. Treatment trials are using therapies that are more and more likely to be successful.”

A key challenge for patients is to get tested for HD if a parent has the disease.

While there are no clinical trials for people who have inherited the HD gene but are not yet showing symptoms of the disease, those trials should be available within 10 years, Walker says.

What is important, he says, is that people become more informed about the disease and consider participating in clinical trials.

“We’re going to eventually find something that works,” he says. “Everybody is working on that. We have an unseen army.”

Giving in U.S. grows, still lags 2007 peak

Powered by individual donors and corporate funders, charitable giving in the U.S. grew 3.5 percent to $316.23 billion in 2012, or an increase of 1.5 percent adjusted for inflation, a new report says.

Giving by foundations also grew, while giving by bequest fell, according to Giving USA, an annual report on giving in the U.S. from the Giving USA Foundation and its research partner, the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Still, at its current pace and adjusted for inflation, giving overall likely will take six to seven years to regain the peak it reached in 2007, the year before the economy crashed, says Patrick M. Rooney, associate dean of academic affairs and research at the School of Philanthropy.

Individuals give most, still struggling

Giving by living individuals grew 3.9 percent to $228.93 billion in 2012, or an increase of 1.9 percent adjusted for inflation, and represented 72 percent of all giving.

Including giving through bequests and family foundations, giving by individuals represented 86 percent of all giving.

The slight inflation-adjusted increase in giving by living individuals may reflect “the fact that the average household is still struggling in some areas,” Patrick M. Rooney, associate dean of academic affairs and research at  School of Philanthropy, says in a statement.

Giving to religion, which accounted for nearly a third of overall giving, was virtually flat, while giving to the arts, culture and humanities surged after plunging in 2008 and slowly growing through 2011.

Giving to environmental and animal charities also surged, while international giving flattened.

Corporate giving grows

Giving by corporations grew 12.2 percent to $18.15 billion, or an increase of 9.9 percent adjusted for inflation, and represented 6 percent of all giving.

Corporate giving consisted of cash, in-kind donations and grants from corporations and their foundations, and included $131 million they gave to nonprofits for relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Corporate giving is strongly tied to profits, says Giving USA, which cited data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis showing an increase of 16.6 percent in corporate pre-tax profits.

Giving by bequests fell 7 percent to $23.41 billion, or a decline of 8.9 percent adjusted for inflation, and represented 7 percent of all giving.

And giving by foundations grew 4.4 percent to $45.74 billion, or an increase of 2.3 percent adjusted for inflation, and represented 15 percent of all giving.

Giving by community foundations grew 9.1 percent, while giving by operating and private foundations grew 3.5 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively.

Religion, education, human services get most

Giving to religion which represented the biggest share of all giving, or 32 percent,  fell 0.2 percent to $101.54 billion, or a drop of 2.2 percent adjusted for inflation.

Giving to education and human services each accounted for 13 percent of all giving.

Giving to education grew 7 percent to $41.33 billion, or an increase of 4.9 percent adjusted for inflation, with four-year colleges and universities getting 75 percent of all giving to education.

Giving to human services grew 3.8 percent to $40.4 billion, or an increase of 1.8 percent adjusted for inflation, with organizations working on relief and recovery efforts in the wake off Hurricane Sandy getting $223 million.

Foundations get less

Giving to foundations fell 4.6 percent to $30.58 billion, or a drop of 6.5 percent adjusted for inflation, and represented 10 percent of all giving.

Giving to public-society benefit organizations, or umbrella groups such as United Ways, the Combined Federal Campaign and Jewish Federations of North America that receive donations and then redistribute them to charities, grew 5.4 percent to $21.63 billion, or an increase of 3.3 percent adjusted for inflation, and represented 7 percent of all giving.

National donor-advised funds continued to post strong growth in charitable gifts, while organizations assisting people affected by Hurricane Sandy received $54 million.

Fewer international disasters

Giving to international affairs grew 2.5 percent to $19.11 billion, or an increase of 0.4 percent adjusted for inflation, and represented 6 percent of all giving.

That increase, after high growth rates in some recent years, reflected fewer international disasters that captured the attention of Americans, who may have replaced that giving with donations to domestic organizations providing relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Giving USA says.

Giving to organizations in arts, culture and humanities, after plunging 17.6 percent and slowly growing through 2011, grew 7.8 percent in 2012 to $14.44 billion, or an increase of 5.7 percent adjusted for inflation, and represented 5 percent of all giving.

Environment, animals get more

Giving to environmental and animal organizations grew 6.8 percent to $8.3 billion or an increase of 4.7 percent adjusted for inflation, and represented 3 percent of all giving.

And giving to individuals, mainly including medications provided through Patient Assistance Programs administered by the operating foundations of pharmaceutical companies, fell 6.8 percent to $3.96 billion, or a drop of 8.8 percent adjusted for inflation, and represented 1 percent of all giving.

Unallocated giving totaled $6.82 billion and represented 2 percent of all giving.

Unallocated giving includes itemized deductions that individuals and households “carried over” from a previous year — with a donor claiming a gift on a return in one tax year, and a charity receiving a gift and reporting it as revenue in another year. Unallocated giving also includes gifts to government entities, which do not report charitable contributions at the national level; gifts by foundations to entities in other countries; gifts made to new organizations that have not yet been classified as to  what type of charity they are; and deductions taken by a donor who forms a charitable trust but does not tell the recipient organization.

Todd Cohen

Army’s Army focuses on soldiers, veterans, families

By Todd Cohen

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — On May 18, Armed Forces Day, over 200 people participated in two bike rides that raised nearly $4,000 for Army’s Army, a Fayetteville-based national nonprofit that provides support to military families, veterans and children of fallen soldiers.

The participants included John Masson, a triple amputee from Fayetteville who rode 61 miles on a specially designed bike.

The mission of Army’s Army is “watching over those who watch over us,” says Janine West, the nonprofit’s executive director.

Operating with an annual budget of roughly $150,000, Army’s Army was created in 2008 as a division of the Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Two years later, it became a separate nonprofit, co-founded by John Meroski, who chairs its board and is CEO of the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Its two other co-founders are Robert West, CEO of The Republik, a marketing and branding agency in Durham that is a sponsoring partner of Army’s Army and handles its branding, marketing and public relations, and has worked for years with the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Dwayne Frye, chief strategic officer for The Republik. Robert West is married to Janine West.

Army’s Army, which aims to expand to other communities, holds one to two fundraising events every month in Cumberland County that typically are sponsored by local companies.

The event in May, known as Ride to Honor, was the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year.

Sponsored by Cross Creek Cycling Club in Fayetteville, the event featured rides of 34 miles and 61 miles, respectively.

Army’s Army uses funds raised at the events to provide a range of programs. Through its Children Of The Fallen program, for example, its provides monthly educational events for children who have lost a parent or guardian in war.

Two years ago, for example, Army’s Army offered a military boot camp for children and their families in partnership with SERE, a program for Special Operations soldiers at Camp Mackall at Fort Bragg. The kids learned survival skills such as how to build shelters, start a fire without matches and purify water.

And late this summer, in partnership with Mellow Mushroom, Army’s Army will offer a cooking class for kids and their families.

Twice a year, for Memorial Day and Veterans Day, Army’s Army places flags at entrances to cemeteries, including over 2,000 flags it placed on May 24 at 13 cemeteries in Cumberland County.

Its Heroes Homecoming program, which in the past has honored veterans of the Vietnam and Iraq wars, this November will honor veterans of the Korean War on its 60th anniversary.

To be held Nov. 9-11, the event will include concerts, parades, lectures, movies, cultural celebrations and recognition ceremonies.

In partnership with Moral Welfare Recreation at Forth Bragg and the Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Army’s Army also offers a “Scoutlook” app designed to help military families in Cumberland County find events, attractions, hotels, restaurants and other things to do in the region.

And Army’s Army is looking for sponsors for two programs it aims to launch, including an “Ask & Receive” website that would let deployed soldiers request items they need, and let visitors to the site donate those items, and “Remember the Fallen,” a flag that will honor all military from all wars and that Army’s Army aims to have recognized by the U.S. Government and flown over the U.S. Capitol.

“We’re always looking for new partners and sponsors for events,” Janine West says.