Nonprofit news roundup, 11.27.13

Band Together to support StepUp’s expansion to Durham

Band Together NC, which has raised nearly $3 million for nonprofits through live music since it was launched in 2001, has selected StepUp Ministries in Raleigh as its nonprofit partner for 2015.

StepUp, which already has expanded to Greensboro, will use the proceeds to help it expand to Durham.

New Belk foundation to focus on post-secondary education

A new Charlotte-based foundation that will have over $200 million and will focus on post-secondary education is gearing up to begin operating in 2014.

The new John M. Belk Educational Endowment has named Kristy Teskey, former senior vice president of the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, as its executive director.

Teskey previously was vice president of community investment at Triangle United Way.

Eleven Charlotte nonprofits team up for ‘Giving Tuesday’

Eleven Charlotte nonprofits are joining forces on December 3 as part of “Giving Tuesday” to celebrate giving and encourage giving during the holiday season.

Participants in #GivingTuesCLT include A Child’s Place, Charlotte Family Housing, Care Ring, Communities In Schools, Community Link, Council for Children’s Rights, Crisis Assistance Ministry, NC MedAssist, Regional AIDS Interfaith Network, Safe Alliance, and YWCA Central Carolinas.

John Rex Endowment gives $370,000

The John Rex Endowment in Raleigh made six grants totaling over $370,000 in Wake County to support a Latino youth empowerment project at El Pueblo; nonprofit capacity building projects at the Autism Society of North Carolina, the North Carolina Healthy Start Foundation, and PLM Families Together; and nonprofit organizational assessments at the North Carolina Parent Teacher Association and StepUp Ministry.

Urban Ministries benefit raises $34,500

Urban Ministries of Wake County attracted 525 people and raised an estimated $34,500 at its 9th Annual Stone Soup benefit on November 20  at White Memorial Presbyterian Church in Raleigh. Urban Ministries addresses hunger and homelessness, and provides healthcare to those living in poverty in Wake County.

BJH Foundation gives $25,000 for Hanukah celebrations

BJH Foundation for Senior Services in Greensboro has provided $25,000 in funding for Hanukah programs to Jewish Family Service, Temple Emanuel and Beth David Synagogue.

The Foundation also awarded $22,347 to Jewish Family Services for its Congregational Nurse program.

Those grants to Greensboro organizations were part of $203,230 in overall funding the Foundation awarded in the Carolinas.

Different Roads Home raises $7,500

Different Roads Home, a Huntersville nonprofit that provides a range of support services for HIV/AIDS patients, raised $7,500 at its 4th Annual Evening of Hope and Inspiration on November 23.

Wine event raises $11,000 for Make-A-Wish

Nomacorc, a Morrisville producer of alternative wine closures — substitutes for sealing wine bottles in place of traditional corks — raised $10,980 to benefit Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina at its “Wine for Wishes” event on October 3.

Vanguard Charitable names chief philanthropic officer

Ann Gill, a Philadelphia banking executive, has been named chief philanthropic officer at Vanguard Charitable, a national donor-advised fund.

Gill, who will head Vanguard Charitable’s Philanthropic Services Group, was regional director and senior vice president at Wells Fargo and managing director of Wachovia Securities/First Union Bank.

Since it was founded by Vanguard in 1997 as an independent 501(c)3 organization, Vanguard Charitable has granted more than $4 billion to charity.

Training for adult-literacy volunteers

Reading Connections, a nonprofit that provides free literacy services to adults in Guilford County, will hold an orientation session on December 5 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., and free training for volunteer tutors on December 9 and 11 from 9 a.m. to noon, in the boardroom of the Wells Fargo building at Main Street and Kivett Drive in High Point.

Babcock Foundation names board president, new board members

The Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation in Winston-Salem elected Dee Davis, executive director of the Center for Rural Strategies in Whitesburg, Ky., as its president of its board of directors.

Joining the board in January will be Chad Berry, academic vice president and dean of the faculty at Berea College in Kentucky, and Jerry Gonzalez, founding executive director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials and the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund in Atlanta.

SECU Family House board elects officers

Susan Elster, a community volunteer, has been elected chair of the board of directors of SECU Family House in Winston-Salem.

Also elected as officers were Melinda McConnell, a community volunteer, as vice Chair; Jeff Jones of State Employees’ Credit Union as secretary; Mickey Boles of Smith Phillips Building Supply as treasurer; and Sharon “Shari” Covitz, a community volunteer, as member-at-large.

Michelle Clifton, a partner at Grace, Tisdale & Clifton, was elected to the board.

North Carolina Community Foundation named IT manager

D’Wayne Wilkins has been named manager of information technology at the North Carolina Community Foundation. Wilkins has a bachelor’s degree in information science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MBA from the University of Phoenix.

Highway 55 Burgers & Shakes gives $10,000 to Make-A-Wish

Andy’s Charitable Foundation, the charitable arm of Morrisville-based Highway 55 Burgers Shakes & Fries, has made a $10,000 donation to Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina. The gift will help Make-A-Wish grant 30 wishes through December to children in eastern North Carolina with life-threatening medical conditions.

Texas Pete and Walmart collect food for Second Harvest Food Bank

Texas Pete and Walmart teamed up to collect several hundred pounds of food for Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina in Winston-Salem.

The effort included 30-second television commercial, developed by Texas Pete, that highlighted the work of Second Harvest to feed the hungry and provide food industry skills for the underemployed.

The ad, which ran throughout October and into November, requested that food donations be made at local Walmart stores.

Second Harvest food drive bins were distributed to 32 Walmart stores in the Triad.

Foundations prefer to go their own way

Private foundations typically do not collaborate with one another, like to find their own grantees and stick with them, prefer not to push their agendas on grantees, and prefer financial returns to investments that advance their mission.

Those are some of the findings of a survey of 198 private foundation donors that are clients of Foundation Source, a provider of support services for private foundations. Results were based on responses from 198 donors, most with private foundations with less than $50 million in assets.

Only 1 in 4 private foundations say they collaborated on their philanthropy with other foundations over the past year and plan to continue collaborating, while 54.3 percent say they did not collaborate with other foundations over the past year and have no plans to.

Just over 1 in 5 say they did not collaborate but plan to in the near future.

Only 7.9 percent of foundations say they mostly fund organizations that submit proposals and requests, while 85.6 percent say they mostly find and choose on their own the organizations they support.

And nearly two-thirds of foundations estimate that at least 75 percent of their annual grantmaking goes to organizations they have supported in the past.

Only 22.5 percent of respondents say foundations should “direct nonprofits to carry out the foundation’s own vision and ideas,” while 77.5 percent say foundations “should support nonprofits without telling them what to do because it negates the value of nonprofits’ ‘on the ground’ knowledge.”

On investing their assets, 53.9 percent of foundations say getting the greatest return on investment is of primary importance, while 46.1 percent say choosing investments that advance their mission is the top priority.

Nearly half of foundations typically provide general support to nonprofits without restrictions.

In determining whether to make a grant, 37.4 percent of foundations say personal knowledge of a nonprofit or previous experience with it is the most important factor, while 25.6 percent say the main factor is  “clear evidence of demonstrable impact.”

And 96.4 percent of foundations characterize as “fair” or “excellent” the way nonprofits are run.

Todd Cohen

The play’s still the thing at N.C. Shakespeare Festival

By Todd Cohen

HIGH POINT, N.C. On July 30, the N.C. Shakespeare Festival in High Point announced that financial troubles in a tough fundraising environment had forced it to suspend operations and make a big cut in expenses.

NCShakes, which began in February 1977, reduced its staff from 16 full-time and part-time positions to the equivalent of five full-time positions. It cancelled its annual fall production of a Shakespeare play, which this year would have been Macbeth. And it scrubbed its 36th annual production of A Christmas Carol.

But NCShakes’ nonprofit board of trustees had no intention of shutting down the company permanently, says Pedro Silva, an actor who has worked for the company since 1977 and served as managing director since 1983.

“The company never really closed,” he says. “The board made a decision to have the Festival work on this reduced level, with an eye toward renewing the company and restructuring it if at all possible.”

While it won’t be staging A Christmas Carol, NCShakes will present A Christmas Carol Unplugged, a dramatization, on December 20 and 22 at High Point Theater. Instead of paying for tickets, people who attend are being asked to make contributions to help support operations for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2014.

The staff also is working to sell NCShakes’ annual Shakespeare To Go tour, which this year, for 17 weeks from December through April, will visit elementary, middle and high schools throughout the state.

That’s three more weeks than in recent years, when NCShakes visited 60 to 70 schools a year.

NCShakes also launched a campaign to raise $100,000. The effort, known as “Once more into the breach,” a reference to the rallying cry to his troops by Shakespeare’s Henry V, already has raised $80,000.

And it recently received a commitment from the Hayden-Harmen Foundation to give $10,000 if the company’s board can raise $10,000 in new funds from new donors.

Silva says attendance for NCShakes’ annual fall production, which typically has run for three weeks and included a total of 20 to 25 performances, declined 20 percent to 25 percent for evening performances for the general public, and 10 percent to 15 percent for matinees for school groups.

“The Shakespeare Festival has been a really wonderful, active, respected part” of the Piedmont Triad community for 36 years, Silva says. “We have been working to see how we can address the issue of sustainability more effectively, to see how we can bring the Festival back on line by the next fiscal year, beginning July 1, 2014.”

Nonprofit news roundup, 11.22.13

Markanda to head new High Point health foundation

M. Tina Markanda, program officer for health care at The Duke Endowment in Charlotte, has been named founding executive director of new $50 million High Point Community Health Fund that was created through the merger of High Point Regional with UNC Health Care System.

A Charlotte native who has worked at The Duke Endowment for nine-and-a-half years, Markanda begins her new job January 6.

The new foundation last spring received a first installment of $30 million from UNC Health Care, and will get additional $10 million contributions from the Chapel Hill-based system in 2014 and 2015.

The new foundation’s board hired Anderson & Associates in Charlotte to conduct a search for the new executive director.

Davis named director of QENO

Natasha Davis, program coordinator for Quality Enhancement for Nonprofit Organizations in Wilmington, has been named director.

A partnership of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, funders, civic leaders and other community organizations, QENO works to build the capacity of nonprofits in southeastern North Carolina.

Project Enlightenment gets $2 million from John Rex Endowment

Project Enlightenment, an early childhood and intervention program of the Wake County Public School System, received a $2 million grant from the John Rex Endowment in Raleigh to help parents with young children in Raleigh improve parenting skills.

Project Enlightenment and 18 community agencies that provide social, mental health, health care and education services for families will be trained by by Triple P America to deliver Triple P parenting training to parents throughout Raleigh.

Wake Women’s Giving Network awards $100,000

The Women’s Giving Network of Wake County awarded $100,000 to three area nonprofits that support women or children, or both.

Receiving $30,000 grants each were The Hope Center at Pullen for supporting a full-time case manager who provides intensive support services to at-risk young people ages of 13 and 24, and Dress for Success – Triangle for supporting a new career center manager, as well as childcare and transportation stipends.

Read and Feed received $40,000 for a new recreational vehicle for its Feed the Reader Road Show that will serve 96 more children in eastern Wake County.

The Women’s Giving Network of Wake County, a program of the North Carolina Community Foundation, now has awarded $781,000 to area nonprofits in its seven years.

Urban Ministries, McKinney launch naming-rights site

Urban Ministries of Durham and advertising agency McKinney have launched, a website that teaches about homelessness and offers naming rights to 169 items — from deoderant to cans of vegetables — that Urban Ministries uses to serve people facing poverty and homelessness.

The nonprofit and ad agency previously teamed up to launch, an online game that teaches about surviving poverty and homelessness.

Pointer Sisters to headline benefit for Carolina Theatre

The Pointer Sisters, a three-time Grammy winner, will perform on April 24 at Command Performance 2014, an annual gala to benefit Carolina Theatre in Greensboro.

Co-chairing the event are Deidre James and Julia Robinson, members of the Carolina Theatre board. Betty Cone, honorary board chair, heads the sponsor committee.

Proceeds from the event will be used as operating funds for the 86-year-old theater.

Greensboro Salvation Army honored

The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs of Greensboro received the award for Program Excellence in Sports, Fitness and Recreation from The Boys and Girls Clubs of America’s North Carolina Area Council for its summer dance program, “So You Think You Can Dance,” in partnership with Woodruff Family Law and Fred Astaire Dance Studio.

The award is given each year to only one Boys & Girls Club in North Carolina chosen by a panel of judges from throughout the state.  The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greensboro was selected from more than 120 clubs that together serve over 100,000 youth.

Junior Achievement gets $10,000 grant

Junior Achievement of Central North Carolina received a $10,000 grant from the Deluxe Corporation Foundation to support programming that teaches financial literary, entrepreneurship, and work readiness to students in grades K-12.

Founded in 1965, the organization in the past year served over 10,500 students in Guilford, Forsyth, Alamance, Rockingham, Randolph and Montgomery counties.

Eno River church gives $4,000

Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Durham awarded $1,871 to SWOOP, or Strong Women Organizing Outrageous Projects, which enlists women for one-day community service projects, and $2,147 to InSideOut, a youth-led group that serves LGBT youths.

Carrie Gray moves to San Antonio Area Foundation

Carrie Gray, former director of donor engagement at the North Carolina Community Foundation, now is vice president of development and donor services at the San Antonio Area Foundation. She most recently was director of advancement for YWCA Seattle.

Arts Together names board members

Arts Together in Raleigh named three new board members — Tamara Brooks senior database analyst at Fidelity Investments in Durham; Anne Ehlers, director of communications and development for the North Carolina Housing Coalition in Raleigh; and Andrea Osborne, corporate communications specialist and writer for Capital Broadcasting Company in Raleigh.

WMAG-FM to hold radiothon to benefit Brenner Children’s Hospital

Radio station 99.5 WMAG-FM in Winston-Salem will broadcast a two-day radiothon on December 5 and 6 to benefit Brenner Children’s Hospital at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. The funds raised will be used to advance patient care at Brenner.

In its previous eight radiothons on behalf of Brenner, the station has raised a total of $827,365, including over $150,000 last year, a record high.

Inter-Faith Food Shuttle distributes turkey dinners

Inter-Faith Food Shuttle in Raleigh held its 7th annual “Turkey Takeout” event November 21, distributing turkeys, fresh produce, bread, and pies to pre-selected partner agencies and pantries for 250 families in need this Thanksgiving.

Food was donated by U.S. Foods, Ford’s Produce, FarmPak and other food donors, and was gleaned from farmers’ fields by the agency’s volunteers.

Benevolence Farm gets $5,000 grant

Benevolence Farm in Graham has received a $5,000 grant from The Catherine F. and James H. Stentzel Foundation. The nonprofit farm will provide housing, employment, social support, and hands-on training for up to 12 women after they leave from prison.

Junior Achievement elects officers, adds board members

Junior Achievement of Eastern North Carolina elected new officers, including Camden Webb, a partner at Williams Mullen, as board chair; Clayton Dorn, Western Carolina district manager for UPS as board chair-elect; and Steve Crouse, executive vice president and chief financial officer  for Paragon Commercial Bank, as treasurer. New board members include Franky Batten, general manager Northeast Zone, for Duke Energy Progress; Christopher Bell, audit manager for audit and enterprise risk service for Deloitte Touche; Maureen Breneman, senior vice president and area president in Triangle East Central for Wells Fargo; John DePolt, customer service sector manager, CHEP; and Jonathan Krieps, senior vice president for North State Bank.

Your nonprofit’s story should inspire donors

To succeed in the essential job of raising money, your nonprofit needs a message that grabs donors and makes them to want to support your organization.

Yet far too many nonprofits blow their chance to truly engage donors and secure significant gifts because they do a poor job telling their story.

Instead of narratives that are clear and inspirational, many nonprofits are smitten with the jargon of philanthropy and of their narrow area of interest, such as literacy, hunger or homelessness.

So they end up talking to themselves and their fellow professionals, not to donors.

Donors want to know that investing in your organization will make a difference. They want to know the impact their investment will have on people. And they want to be inspired.

They should not have to grope their way through a fog of vague or technical words, and lifeless data.

Jargon pretends to sound important but conveys little of the magic you create, and the difference you make, by helping real people overcome real challenges to make a better life for themselves.

If you are serious about raising money, you need to make your story sing.

Want help?

Philanthropy North Carolina is a consulting practice that provides writing and strategic communications support for nonprofits, foundations, colleges and universities, and others working for social good.

To find out more about hiring Philanthropy North Carolina to work with your organization to improve your communications, contact Todd Cohen at 919.272.2051 or

Investment returns surge at education endowments

Investment returns on endowments at 461 U.S. colleges and universities averaged 11.7 percent, net of fees, in the fiscal year ended June 30, a sharp reversal from the previous year, when returns on average lost 0.3 percent, new data show.

Among 206 schools that completed a survey for the 2013 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments, returns averaged 10.4 percent over three years, 4.3 percent over five years, and 7.1 percent over 10 years.

The average allocation to alternative investments fell to 47 percent of participating endowments’ portfolios from 54 percent a year earlier, according to preliminary data, showing a “pause in the long trend of growth in schools’ allocation to alternative investment strategies,” Commonfund and NACUBO say.

Offsetting that decline was an increase in allocations to publicly traded equities, with participating institutions’ average allocation to domestic equities growing to 20 percent from 15 percent, and their allocation to international equities growing to 19 percent from 16 percent.

The allocation to fixed income investments was unchanged at 11 percent, while the allocation to short-term securities, cash and other investments fell to 3 percent from 4 percent.

Among 206 institutions included in the preliminary data, the effective spending rate, or the amount of spending specified by the board from the investable assets, usually expressed as an annual percentage of the beginning market value of the fund, averaged 4.2 percent, unchanged from the previous year.

Half of participating schools reported an increase in gifts, while 30 percent reported a decrease in gifts.

Endowments reported an average of the equivalent of 1.2 full-time employees devoted to investment management, down from the equivalent of 1.6 full-time employees the previous year.

Some of that “marked decline,” the study says, may be the result of an increase in outsourcing.

Forty-two percent of study respondents said they had substantially outsourced the investment management function, up from 38 percent the previous year.

And 45 percent of participating schools say they employ risk limits in their portfolios, while 33 percent say they do not.

Todd Cohen