Boomers at top in charitable giving

Baby Boomers, the generation born from 1946 to 1964, account for 43 percent of charitable giving in the U.S., more than that of any other generation, and will dominate charitable giving for the foreseeable future, a new study says.

Seventy-two percent of Boomers, or 51 million donors ages 49 to 67 in 2013, give to charity, supporting 4.5 charities on average and making an annual gift that averages $1,212, says the study, Next Generation of American Giving.

The study, commissioned by Blackbaud and based on an online survey of 1,014 U.S. donors conducted by Edge Research, also found that while most Americans give, overall giving remains flat.

Eighty-eight percent of “Matures,” or those age 68 or older this year, and 60 percent of “Gen X” and “Gen Y”, or those age 33 to 48, and 18 to 32, respectively, give to charity, the study says.

But 59 percent of donors say the amount they give, and 70 percent of donors say the number of charities they give to, will remain the same in the future.

Nearly 60 percent of Gen Y identified the ability to directly see the impact of their donation as a critical part of their decision process, the survey says, a concern that declines with each older generation, the survey says.

The biggest share of donors across all generations supports social service charities, houses of worship, and health organizations, the survey says.

Gen Y is least likely to support local social services, it says, while Gen X and Gen Y are more likely to support children’s charities; Boomers and Matures are more likely to support veterans’ causes; Gen Y is less likely to support environmental causes; and Gen X and Gen Y are more likely to support human rights and international causes.

Nearly half of Boomers and Matures but only 36 of Gen X and 25 percent of Gen Y believe monetary donations make the biggest difference.

Online giving continues to grow in importance and prominence, with 42 percent of Boomers reporting they give online as their primary method and 40 percent preferring to give through direct mail.

“For the first time, we are seeing a different generation emerge as the torchbearer of giving,” Dennis McCarthy, vice president of strategy for Target Analytics, a division of Blackbaud, says in a statement. “This really signals a strong shift is needed in the way nonprofits think about supporter engagement.”

— Todd Cohen

Huntington’s disease could help map and treat other hereditary diseases

By Todd Cohen

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

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Huntington’s disease, a relatively rare and fatal inherited brain disease known as HD, could serve as a model for gaining insights into other hereditary diseases, ranging from breast cancer to dementia, that affect millions of people.

“The average person has inherited six or seven genetic risks, most of them potential burdens they don’t know about,” says Dr. Ira Shoulson, professor of neurology, pharmacology and human science at Georgetown University, and founder and chairman of the Huntington Study Group, or HSG, an international network of clinical researchers who study and care for patients and families with HD.

Although it affects only about 30,000 people in the U.S., HD “in fact has implications for a variety of more common hereditary disorders,” says Shoulson, who also serves as director of the Program for Regulatory Science and Medicine at Georgetown.

Clinical research on HD, now conducted at over 105 credentialed sites in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and South America, will highlight the 7th Annual HSG Clinical Research Symposium and Workshops on November 9, following two days of educational and training programs for researchers and clinicians on November 7 and 8.

The international gathering, jointly sponsored by Huntington Study Group and Charlotte AHEC, will be held at the Omni Hotel in Charlotte and will be open to HD patients, families, caregivers, researchers and medical professionals.

Workshops will include networking for regional doctors and health care providers, continuing education for medical professionals, and training programs for service providers, caregivers and local practitioners.

The symposium will feature reports on the latest research on Huntington’s disease, an inherited brain disorder that affects control of movement, thought and behavior.

Following the symposium will be an interactive community workshop, including discussions between patients, their families and researchers.

Sessions will examine issues of local social and medical care that affect caregivers who treat HD patients and families, including the work of groups such as HD Reach, a North Carolina-based nonprofit that has pioneered models to make sure patients and families throughout the state, particularly in rural areas, have access to HD care and resources.

A key focus will be on “progress being made to understand what [the HD] gene does or doesn’t do, so we can develop more rational therapies,” Shoulson says. “Our motto is, ‘Seeking treatment that makes a difference for HD patients and families.”

HD typically results in death 15 to 25 years after onset of motor signs of the disease.

HSG-conducted research, which over the past 20 years has included over 30 cooperative studies, receives sponsorship from government and private funds totaling several million dollars a year, Shoulson says.

That research, he says, has resulted in the development of one drug, tetrabenazine (Xenazine), which was developed by HSG and approved by the Federal Drug Administration in December 2009 for treatment of chorea, or involuntary movements in HD.

Six clinical trials that have enrolled a total of roughly 2,000 patients currently are underway.

“Incremental progress is being made,” Shoulson says. “We’re really looking now at therapies, not just to treat involuntary movements, but also some of the cognitive or intellectual impairment that develops in HD patients, and also some of the behavioral problems that develop.”

Shoulson was part of a research team, supported with funding from the National Institutes of Health, that in 1993 first identified the HD gene through blood tests on a large family in Venezuela that had HD.

“We knew it was a genetic disorder because of the hereditary patterns,” he says. “By identifying the gene, we could better understand what the gene was doing so we could develop treatments, and help people at risk of HD who choose to learn of their gene status.”

And HD research, which is sponsored by government, foundations and industry, has implications for research on a broad range of other diseases, he says.

“As we unravel the human genome, we’re learning more and more about hereditary disorders that have relevance to HD,” Shoulson says. “Down the line, we will have more information, so people should be attentive to what we learn in HD because it may affect them.”

Critical to HD research and clinical trials, he says, is the “need to have people volunteer to participate in these studies all over the world, including the North Carolina region.”

In contrast to HD, which results from a single abnormal gene, the origins of many diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, are largely unknown.

Because the average person has a handful of genetic risks, and because HD has implications for many common disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, HD research is critical, yet it is a continuing challenge to find volunteers to participate in HD clinical trials, Shoulson says.

“The challenge is how to do this interesting, important research in a relatively small community of research participants and advocates,” he says. “How we deal with these new genetic risks that we learn about will be an important model for living with other genetic burdens that people will learn about through advancing technology.”

Children’s Home Society works to provide stability for kids

By Todd Cohen

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Thirty-eight times a day, on average, every day of the year, a child is reported abused or neglected to the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services.

Creating “permanence” for children in the foster care system in Mecklenburg and 23 other counties stretching to the Asheville area is the Charlotte-based West regional office of Children’s Home Society, a Greensboro-based nonprofit that serves 80 of North Carolina’s 100 counties.

Operating with over 50 full-time staff, the regional office last year served over 1,800 children and families, most of them in Mecklenburg County, and invested over $5 million in the region’s economy through program and staffing expenses.

The regional office recently purchased a 15,000-square-foot building on East Seventh Street for $2.2 million from Matthews-based Thompson Child & Family Focus, and has consolidated employees who had been located in two separate facilities.

“Getting all the Children’s Home Society staff located in one place together will make us more efficient and allow us to better serve kids and families,” says Frank H. Crawford Jr., regional vice president in the West region for the agency.

And because Charlotte is one of three main hubs for the agency, in addition to Greensboro and Raleigh, he says, “being a property owner is investing in this community, and we want to invest just like the community is investing in us.”

Children’s Home Society, which in 2010 merged with Youth Homes, receives funding from federal, state and county government for roughly 60 cents of every dollar it spends, and for the remainder counts on private dollars through fundraising and events and from foundations, corporations and individual donors, says Crawford, who served for 17 years as CEO of Youth Homes.

The agency borrowed funds to finance the new headquarters for the regional office, and now is planning a statewide multimillion-dollar comprehensive fundraising campaign that will include funds to repay the loan but mainly will focus on the array of programs it provides for children and families, he says.

Those programs, he says, all are designed to move children from the temporary solution of foster care to a permanent solution.

They include reuniting with a family a child who has been removed from the family by addressing the issues that led to the removal; finding alternative placement of the child with someone in the child’s extended family who can provide a safe and stable living environment; and recruiting families from the general population, and providing them with training and support, so they can adopt a child.

Significantly fewer children are in foster care than they were 10 years ago, Crawford says, because public agencies and nonprofits like Children’s Home Society now are providing more preventive care, including”intensive family preservation services,” that often keep kids out of foster care.

“We’ve recognized more than ever before that children who do get involved with the foster care system have significant mental health issues,” he says. “So there’s been a surge in treatment opportunities for children who come into foster care.”

Nonprofit news roundup, 08.16.13

Winston-Salem Arts Council names new CEO

Jim Sparrow, executive director of Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne in Indiana, has been named president and CEO of the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.

Sparrow, who begins work October 1, will succeed Milton Rhodes, who is retiring.

Sparrow, principal clarinet for the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra from 1988 to 1996, and clarinetist for the Michigan Opera Theatre from 1997 to 1998, joined the development staff of Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne in 1998 and two years later became director of development.

In 2006, he was named executive director.

Through its united arts campaign, Arts United provides general operating support for 55 arts groups in northeast Indiana.

The Arts Council in Winston-Salem, the first locally established arts council in the U.S., raises funds and advocates for the arts, makes grants for arts in education, sponsors events with other arts organizations, and works to strengthen cultural resources, develop social capital, and aid economic development.

In its 2012 grant cycle, The Arts Council made a total of $1.8 million in grants, including $1.6 million in organizational support grants to 21 funded partners.

Blue Cross Blue Shield investing SAFEChild Advocacy Center

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is investing $175,000 over three years in the SAFEchild Advocacy Center in Raleigh to help provide comprehensive medical evaluations to children who have been physically or sexually abused.

The contribution from Blue Cross Blue Shield will be used to fund salaries for medical staff members at the SAFEchild Advocacy Center, including a family nurse practitioner and the medical director.

From July 2011 to June 2012, Wake County officials documented over 2,000 incidents of child abuse or neglect, Blue Cross Blue Shield says.

SAFEchild works to end child abuse in Wake County.

Habitat to build 10,000th home in North Carolina

Habitat for Humanity of North Carolina, which now includes 81 independent affiliates and 63 ReStores at which the public can find donated new and gently used items from individuals and businesses, will build its 10,000th home in the state.

The home will be built this fall in Asheville, where the state’s first Habitat affiliate was founded in 1983.

Habitat affiliates in the state build and refurbish on 400 homes a year, on average.

In North Carolina, in which over 18 percent of residents live below the poverty level, Habitat ranks third among its counterparts in all states in annual home production.

Fellowship Hall names new CEO

Brad Marino, former vice president of surgical services and physicians network for Stanly Regional Medical Center in Albemarle, has been named president and CEO at Fellowship Hall, a nonprofit alcohol and drug treatment center in Greensboro.

Marino previously served in Pittsburgh as vice president of operations for West Penn Allegheny Health System, vice president of business development and professional services for Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, and executive administrator at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Lowes Foods donates seeds to Reap More Than You Sow

Lowes Foods donated over 40,000 packets of vegetable and flower seeds to the Reap More Than You Sow Community Garden Project.

Reap More Than You  Sow, in turn, has distributed seeds to over three dozen community garden projects in the Piedmont at elementary schools, churches, senior citizens’ organizations, YMCAs and neighborhood gardens, and to benefit veterans’ support groups.

Many of those gardens also grow surplus products to benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina in Winston-Salem.

Reap More Than You Sow also sent 48 pounds, or 700 packets of seeds, to Mushayamanda Village in Zimbabwe.

High Point event to benefit Victory Junction Gang Camp

Victory Junction Gang Camp, a year-round camping facility in Randleman that serves children, ages 6 to 16, with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses, will benefit from the inaugural Blue Rock Pizza & Tap 5K.

To be held August 24 from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., the race will start in High Point’s shopping & entertainment district at 1529 N. Main St.

Sponsors include Smart Choice, BB&T, Crescent Ford, Off ‘n Running, 336 CrossFit & Athletic Training, Friends of Blue Rock, Braxton Culler, Smart Choice, and Al Fresco and Onyx Age fabrics.

BCC Rally to benefit Komen for the Cure

BCC Rally, an all-volunteer nonprofit that raises awareness and funds for breast cancer, will holds its 10th annual weeklong series of fundraisers from September 24 to 29 at Ballantyne Country Club in Charlotte, donating all proceeds to Rally for the Cure to benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Since its founding in 2004, BCC Rally has raised $934,000, and has been the most successful fundraising organization in the national Rally for the Cure program since 2008. It also is Komen Charlotte’s single largest donor.

Of the funds BCC Rally raises for Komen, 75 percent directly benefits Charlotte and 13 surrounding counties. The remaining 25 percent supports research through the national Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and its grants currently support important research at UNC-Charlotte, Wake Forest University, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Duke University.

Alamance Regional Charitable Foundation receives gift

Alamance Regional Charitable Foundation in Burlington received a gift to help employees of the Village of Brookwood.

James H. Smith Jr. and William H. Smith started the Peggy H. Smith Village of Brookwood Employee Assistance Fund in memory of their mother, with a donation made in her name.

While most of the funds at the Alamance Regional Charitable Foundation traditionally serve patients at Alamance Regional Medical Center, the new fund will aid employees of the Village of Brookwood who may be affected by an unforeseen catastrophe in their lives.

Durham County recognized for seniors’ insurance program

The North Carolina Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program, or SHIIP, has recognized Durham as its County of the Year for 2013. Senior PharmAssist, a nonprofit medication assistance and Medicare insurance counseling program, is the SHIIP coordinating site for Durham County. The agency was honored for providing high-quality prescription and health insurance counseling to over 1,300 beneficiaries from April 1, 2012, to March 31, 2013.

Triangle Run/Walk for Autism set for October

The Autism Society of North Carolina will benefit from the Triangle Run/Walk for Autism on Oct. 12 at Moore Square in downtown Raleigh. This event is the largest fundraiser of the year for the Society, which serves the more than 60,000 families affected by autism in the state.

Voices Together gets $15,000 from Rite Aid Foundation

Voices Together, a Chapel Hill nonprofit that uses specialized music therapy to help children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, received a $15,000 grant from The Rite Aid Foundation.

The grant will be used to expand Voices Together’s programming to three more classrooms, helping 35 to 40 more students in the Orange County public school system for one year.

The program has been used in six school districts in the Triangle and Triad in North Carolina.

The Rite Aid Foundation previously awarded $10,000 to Voices Together in 2008 and again in 2010.

Me Fine Foundation on helmet in NASCAR race

Me Fine Foundation in Raleigh received a $10,000 grant from Blue Bunny and will be featured on Jimmie Johnson’s Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope at Michigan International Speedway on August 18. Me Fine was chosen in a drawing as one of the 12 charities on the helmet.

The Jimmie Johnson Foundation has donated over $430,000 to 61 different charities through the Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope Program.

Giving grows slightly to benefit communities in need

Excluding the huge Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, giving by big U.S. foundations to benefit underserved communities grew slightly in 2011 from 2008 to 2010 and represented less than a third of their overall grantmaking, while their giving to support nonprofit operations grew sharply and represented less than a fourth of their overall grantmaking, a recent report says.

“There are some hopeful signs that more foundations are giving in ways that benefit those that need philanthropic support the most,” Aaron Dorfman, executive director of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, or NCRP, says in a statement.

Based on an analysis of all grants of $10,000 or more awarded in 2011 by 1,121 of the biggest U.S. foundations, NCRP says, foundations gave $10.2 billion in grants to benefit underserved communities, including the economically disadvantaged, ethnic and racial minorities, and women and girls, and $2.9 billion to empower them.

Foundation grant dollars reported as benefiting the poor, elderly, women and other marginalized groups grew from $7.8 billion a year on average for 2008-10, and represented 42 percent of total grant dollars, down from 40 percent, says The Philanthropic Landscape: The State of Giving to Underserved Communities 2011.

Foundation funding that aimed to empower or engage disenfranchised groups in addressing problems their communities face fell slightly from $3 billion a year on average for 2008-10, and represented 12 percent of total grant dollars, down from 15 percent in 2008-10.

Without the Gates Foundation, the share of total giving for marginalized communities held steady at 31 percent.

Foundation funding for general operating support grew to $5.9 billion in 2011 from $3.4 billion a year on average for 2008-10 and represented 24 percent of overall giving, up from 16 percent.

And multi-year funding grew to $7.2 billion in 2011 from $5.5 billion in 2009 and represented 29 percent of all giving, up from 25 percent in 2009.

The Gates Foundation alone provided 60 percent of those multi-year grant dollars.

Foundations in the South are less likely to report giving to benefit underserved communities, while one in five funders throughout the U.S. provides at least half its grants dollars to benefit those communities.

And while the share of reported grant dollars that support social justice fell, the median grew to 7 percent in 2011 from 4 percent among grantmakers that do provide social-justice funding.

Family foundations, foundations in the South and funders giving $5 million to $10 million were more likely to provide general operating support.

And among foundations that provide multi-year funding commitments, that giving is consistent and at high levels, although only 5 percent of foundations surveyed reported at least half their grant dollars as multi-year funding.

– Todd Cohen

KidZNotes uses music for social change

By Todd Cohen

DURHAM, N.C. — In the school year that begins this month, 300 students in public elementary schools in Durham County and 60 in Wake County who otherwise could not afford to will be playing in a free symphony program, thanks to KidZNotes, a Durham nonprofit modeled on the pioneering El Sistema program.

Formed in 1975 to bring music to impoverished kids in the slums of Venezuela, El Sistema has reached 800,000 children throughout the world.

El Sistema is rooted in the idea that “music could change the social and economic circumstances, that music could be a means of empowerment out of poverty,” says Kathryn Wyatt, executive director of KidZNotes.

Founded in 2010 by Durham philanthropist Lucia Powe, KidZnotes has grown from 60 students its first year and this fall will include five low-income schools in Durham and three in Wake.

To cover the cost of $2,500 per student, the nonprofit receives 40 percent of its funding from individuals, 30 percent from foundations, and 20 percent from events and corporate partnerships.

KidZNotes collaborates with the public schools, which provide free space and the cost of music teachers who team teach with 25 part-time music instructors who work with the nonprofit as independent contractors.

It also partners with the East Durham Children’s Initiative, which manages a collaboration of dozens of partner agencies working to support families and children in a 120-block area east of downtown Durham.

And it collaborates with groups such as the North Carolina Symphony, Duke University, Carolina Performing Arts, American Dance Festival and the Durham Performing Arts Center that provide the kids with free attendance at events.

“We’ve accomplished what we’ve been able to accomplish because we’ve worked as a collaborative organization,” says Wyatt, who learned the viola in third grade, played with the New World Symphony in Miami for two-and-a-half years, and served as director of education for the North Carolina Symphony.

In 2009, Wyatt was one of 10 people selected in the inaugural class of the year-long Abreu Fellowship, named for Jose Antonio Abreu, founder of El Sistema, that immersed her in the program and focused on how to replicate it in the U.S.

Before beginning the fellowship, she met Powe, who wanted to launch an El Sistema program in Durham, already had begun raising money for it, and agreed to hire Wyatt as the founding executive director when she returned from Venezuela.

At KidZNotes, which operates with an annual budget of $650,000 and a staff of four people, every student begins in kindergarten at the beginning, or “Mozart” level, by learning to play the violin and read music, spending 10 hours a week in classes after school and Saturdays.

Starting in first grade, students through auditions can advance to the intermediate, or “Brahms” level, learning different instruments and spending 10 hours a week at a central “nucleo” after school and weekends that brings together students from different schools to practice together in a symphony setting.

Students eventually can progress to the advanced, or “Beethoven” level.

Parents learn to play along with their children, and their participation is critical, Wyatt says.

“Every parent who has a kid learning to play an instrument knows that home practice is key to success and advancement,” she says. “Music has become part of their lives.”

KidZNotes, one of 80 El Sistema programs in the U.S., aims to expand to 500 students in Durham in three years and to 500 students Wake in five years, and eventually would like to operate throughout the state.

The public schools also are tracking the KidZNotes students’ grades, attendance, behavior and end-of-year testing, and comparing them to those of public school students overall in the same grades.

“Music instruction significantly enhances the executive function of the brain,” says Wyatt, a founding member of the National Alliance of El Sistema Inspired Programs. “The El Sistema movement is an energizing, active, involved movement of many, many people coming behind the idea that music has the power to change lives.”