Wealthy donors give $19 billion, favor higher education

Nearly 1,250 individual and institutional donors in six regions of the world made nearly 2,000 gifts of $1 million or more totaling $19 billion in 2012, a new report says.

Institutions of higher education received the most funds, $7.05 billion, followed by foundations, which received $2.87 billion, says the Million Dollar Donors Report from Coutts and the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Individuals gave 46 percent of total dollars donated in all six regions combined, including the U.S., Britain, Russia, the Middle East, China and Hong Kong, while foundations gave the most gifts in four of the six regions.

Donors mainly focused on giving to organizations in their home country, with gifts abroad accounting for just 5.6 percent of the total value of $1 million donations in all six regions.

In the Middle East, however, 71 percent of $1 million gifts went abroad.

The report also says many million-dollar donors want to establish foundations to formalize and sustain their philanthropy, and increasingly want to be “strategic” in their giving by establishing a clear mission or objectives, or to collaborate with other philanthropists.

That shift toward strategic giving, a well-established trend in the U.S. and Britain, also is a  growing trend in Hong Kong and Russia, and is an emerging trend in the Middle East and China, the report says.

Interest in social investment that aims to generate measurable social impact in addition to a financial return also is growing in China, Hong Kong, Britain and the U.S., it says.

In the U.S., donors made 1,408 gifts of $1 million or more that totaled $13.96 billion, representing fewer gifts and a smaller total than in 2011, although the average gift size grew to $9.9 million, the highest value since the recession began in late 2007.

Foundations gave 52 percent of gifts of $1 million or more in the U.S. in 2012, up from 35 percent in 2011, while the share of gifts that size given by individuals fell to 35 percent in 2012 from 45 percent in 2011.

Higher education institutions received the biggest share of gifts of $1 million or more in the U.S., accounting for 40 percent.

The report, the first by the two organizations, builds on the Million Pound Donors Report published since 2008 by Coutts, the London-based wealth division of Royal Bank of Scotland Group, and the Million Dollar List published by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

The new study, conducted by the school, tracks 1,955 donations from 1,249 donors, and is based on data collected by institutional partners in each country from a combination of publicly available sources and, in some cases, from surveys of prominent donors and charities.

Todd Cohen

Nonprofit developing statewide veterans center

By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina is home to over 800,000 veterans, including over 8,800 estimated to be homeless, or about one in five of people in the state who are homeless.

To support homeless and at-risk veterans and their families, and help returning veterans move successfully into civilian life within two years, the Veterans Leadership Council of North Carolina-CARES plans to build a Veterans Life Campus Center on the John Umstead Hospital Complex in Butner.

VLC-CARES will provide emergency and transitional housing for homeless and at-risk veterans and their families, as well as counseling, employment assistance, vocational education, life skills training, and treatment for combat-related issues, offering many of those services in collaboration with public and private agencies.

“Our goal is to provide statewide relief,” says Jeff Smith, financial director for VLC-CARES. “Many smaller communities and counties do not have the suite of programs these men and women need.”

Founded in 2009, VLC-CARES last year launched the quiet phase of a capital campaign to raise $10 million to develop a campus that ultimately would serve 400 veterans and create 50 jobs.

The first phase aims to raise $6 million to provide emergency and transitional housing facilities to house and feed up to 150 veterans in Building 71, known as Deerfield Cottage, on the Umstead campus. That would generate 30 jobs.

The effort has received a $4.2 million grant from the state Department of Commerce through a federally backed grant administered by the Town of Butner.

It also has raised nearly $300,000 in private contributions, including $200,000 from an event last January at the North Raleigh Hilton, plus another $300,000 in in-kind contributions of services from lawyers, accountants and other professionals.

And the N.C. Housing Finance Agency has provided VLC-CARES with a $25,000 loan to pay for preliminary engineering studies by Summit Design and Engineering in Hillsborough.

Umstead was built as a U.S. Army hospital during World War II and sold in 1947 to the state, which in 2011 leased eight buildings on the campus to VLC-CARES.

The second phase of the project would renovate seven other buildings, providing another 250 beds, plus a full institutional kitchen, as well as administrative and classroom space. The kitchen also would serve as a classroom for a vocational culinary program.

The third phase calls for development of an agribusiness demonstration model farm and gardens to support the educational, therapeutic and sustenance needs of the campus.

Smith says half-a-dozen federal agencies, half-a-dozen state agencies and up to 100 other organizations will provide services to veterans and their families living at the campus.

While Asheville-Buncombe Christian Community Ministries, a consortium of 277 congregations that administer social programs, operates a residential program known as Veterans’ Restoration Quarters for over 240 men, VLC-CARES says, North Carolina generally has a “glaring lack of coordinated reintegration resources” for veterans.

“We’re creating a focal point for many veterans programs to work together,” Smith says, “in a collaborative environment that currently does not exist in the state.”

Nonprofit news roundup, 12.20.13

Cochran leaves Easter Seals UCP for Virginia state job

Connie Cochran, long-time CEO of Easter Seals UCP North Carolina & Virginia, has been named assistant commissioner for developmental disability services at the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

Fred Waddle, chief compliance and policy officer at Easter Seals UCP, has been named interim CEO while the agency’s board of directors conducts a search for a successor to Cochran.

Cochran served as CEO of United Cerebral Palsy starting in 1995 and then as CEO of Easter Seals UCP after the merger of Easter Seals and UCP.

Based in Raleigh, Easter Seals UCP operates with an annual budget of $86 million, employs 3,000 people and delivers over 3.3 million hours of support to over 20,000 individuals and their families managing disabilities and mental health challenges throughout North Carolina and most of Virginia.

Poston to head Public School Forum

Keith Poston, senior director of community investment for Time Warner Cable, has been named president and executive director for the Public School Forum of North Carolina.

Poston will succeed Jo Ann Norris in January at the Public School Forum, a nonprofit that focuses on educational innovation and research.

At Time Warner Cable, he led strategic philanthropy and community engagement for the company’s East Coast operations, including the Carolinas, New York and Maine.

Wake Tech raises $17.5 million

The Wake Tech Foundation raised more than $17.5 million over the past two years in its first-ever major gifts campaign, exceeding its $12.5 million goal.

The campaign, which will fund student scholarships, faculty and staff initiatives, and major technology upgrades at Wake Technical Community College, included an anonymous seven-figure gift, the largest single cash gift in the school’s history.

Launched in early 2012 with an initial goal of $10 million, the campaign generated cash and in-kind contributions from corporations and individuals.

Wake Tech employee contributed $365,000, with a 87 percent of employees participating in the campaign.

Co-chairing the campaign committee were Dr. Bill Atkinson, former president and CEO of Wake Med, and Frank Holding Jr., chairman and CEO of First Citizens Bank.

Charitable solicitors pocket nearly half the dollars they raise

Charities using a professional fundraiser received nearly $32.6 million in donations from North Carolinians in 2013, with 50.53 percent going to the charity and the remainder going to the solicitation firms, a report from the state Secretary of State’s office says.

For national solicitation campaigns that included North Carolina citizens, $494.5 million was donated, with only 46.01 percent of each dollars going to the charity, the report says.

Sisters of Mercy Foundation awards $1.9 million

Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina Foundation awarded nearly $1.87 million in grants to 43 nonprofits in 12 counties in the Carolinas.

Since 1996, the Foundation has awarded 1,454 grants totaling over $65 million to organizations serving unserved or underserved populations.

The Foundation is a supporting organization and sponsored ministry of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas South Central Community, providing support for its charitable, religious and educational mission.

The South Central Community, which is based in Belmont, N.C., and has over 600 Sisters serving 24 states and the U.S. territories of Guam and Jamaica, is one of six communities of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, part of an international order of Roman Catholic women that works to address poverty, sickness and lack of education.

High Point University gives over $200,000 to United Way

High Point University this year donated more than $200,000 through its annual employee campaign to the United Way of Greater High Point.

In addition to monetary donations, students, faculty and staff at High Point University donated 104,625 hours of volunteer service in 2013.

Donations from the school’s, faculty, staff and students have grown 426 percent from 2005.

Charlotte high school gets $80,000

Bosch Community Fund made an $80,000 grant to Olympic High School in Charlotte. The grant to the Olympic Foundation will support the school’s advanced manufacturing hub machine shop project. Bosch Rexroth Americas is a global supplier of technology and services.

Communities in Schools gets $55,000

Power Plant Management Services raised over $55,000 for Communities in Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, up from $18,000 last year, at its 3rd Annual Charity Golf Tournament on October 3 at Sun City Carolina Lakes Golf Course in Fort Mill, S.C.

Junior Achievement gets $5,000

Junior Achievement of Central North Carolina received a $5,000 grant from the Volvo Group of Companies to support a program to help at-risk students learn about personal finance, professional ethics, economics, entrepreneurship, and skills in science, technology, engineering, and math for career development.

The North Carolina Science, Mathematics & Technology Education Center received $5,000 from the Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina to help create new tools to enhance and support science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in North Carolina schools.

Wilcox joining N.C. Network of Grantmakers

Sarah Mann Willcox, director of sustainability at the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits, has been named program director at the North Carolina Network of Grantmakers.

20 groups selected for SEED20 innovation competition

Twenty groups have been selected to compete in SEED20, the third annual competition hosted by Social Venture Partners in Charlotte to promote and support innovative ideas for building social value in the region.

Starting in January, each participant will be teamed with volunteer business and civic leaders who will work with them to  develop their ideas and presentations.

The competition culminates in SEED20 OnStage! on March 11, when up to 10 participants will compete for cash awards by making three-minute “pitches” to a panel of judges and an audience of business and nonprofit leaders, foundation executives, and other community members.

Make-A-Wish gets gift, adds board members

Trusted Choice and the Independent Insurance Agents of North Carolina made a $7,500 donation to Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina to help grant wishes during the chapter’s annual Season of Wishes campaign.

The chapter plans to grant over 30 wishes representing 19 counties before the end of the calendar year.

The donation was part of a $500,000 commitment by Trusted Choice to help local chapters throughout the U.S. grant more wishes.

The chapter also named three members to its board of directors — Diane Adams, chief people officer at Qlik Technologies; Lisa Cade, vice president of network management at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and Blake Coules, chief credit officer at VantageSouth Bank.

Salvation Army Red Kettle gets diamond jewelry for 3rd year

The Salvation Army of Winston-Salem received white gold and diamond ring in a Red Kettle, along with a note, marking the third year someone has donated a piece of diamond jewelry in one of The Salvation Army of Winston-Salem’s Red Kettle’s with the same note. The latest donation was made at the K&W Cafeteria on East Hanes Mill Road on December 13.

The note reads: “This is real. In loving memory of Benny and Phyllis.”

Triad nonprofit conference set for February 13

The second annual Triad Nonprofit Conference will be held February 13 and feature a keynote speech by Joe Tumolo of Planned Giving Marketing.

The half-day event, to be sponsored by High Point Bank and held at the HPB Insurance Center at 1300 E. Hartley Drive, will include breakout sessions and panel discussions.

Develop clear talking points

Your nonprofit’s story, and your ability to engage supporters, depend on details.

So make a short list of talking points you can use whenever you have an opportunity to talk about your organization.

Your goal should be to help anyone easily understand your work and impact.

Who do you serve? What challenges do they face? What difference does your nonprofit make in their lives?

A big goal for every nonprofit is to raise money and support.

To do that, you need to inform and inspire people.

Before making a gift or serving on your board or volunteering, an individual wants and deserves to know how getting involved with your organization will improve the lives of people.

So give them the facts, and make sure they are clear and compelling.

Details matter.

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 toddcohen49@gmail.com.

Digital civil society emerging

Digital technology and data are driving the use of private resources for public good, and the shape of that emerging social economy will depend on how nonprofits, philanthropies, business and government address critical questions about the ways that data are collected, shared and used, a new report says.

“How we use private data for public benefit will be a definitional issue for our future social economies in Europe, the United States, and across the globe,” says Philanthropy and the Social Economy: Blueprint 2013.

The annual industry forecast was written by Lucy Bernholz, a visiting scholar at Stanford University’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, and produced in partnership with GrantCraft, a joint project of the Foundation Center and the European Foundation Centre.

Key digital issues

The report focuses on three areas in which the adoption of “digital practices, not just digital devices, is changing the root structure of work in the social economy.”

Those include the “nature of voluntary association which requires a degree of privacy that may be in jeopardy online;” the “nature of ownership and governance,” both of which are being looked at differently in the digital era; and that way data could “become a backbone resource for the digital economy.”

The report also looks at the emerging trend of tech-savvy individuals volunteering for local governments.

Associations and privacy

In associating with one another to do work that benefits others, people count on “making private choices to act publicly,” the report says. “We are most likely to take these actions if we are certain that we can do them voluntarily, without retribution or fear.”

The U.S. constitution “grants the right to ‘peaceable assembly’ in its First Amendment,” and European countries mainly “put the full force of their laws behind the right to individual privacy and enforce these protections on the Internet and in corporate behavior,” the report says.

Yet the “current digital infrastructure shares certain elements with some governmental regimes, both present and past, which made associations and private voluntary action unsafe,” it says.

“The trails of evidence created through the use of digital tools are long-lasting, remotely stored, and not controlled by the users but instead by the owners of the digital infrastructure or network interface,” it says.

The collection and storage of digital communications “metadata” are the “equivalent of a tap on every phone or an intercept of every piece of mail,” it says. “This can compromise users’ privacy and make digital tools unsafe.”

While nonprofits and foundations are using social media and digital video to “tell their stories, build movements, and raise awareness,” the report says, doing so may be “jeopardizing their existence as private alternatives outside the public sphere.”

So the organizations that make up “digital civil society,” it says, need to think about their own practices involving digital privacy.

And because their existence “depends on the right of people to gather outside the bounds of the market or the state,” the report says, those organizations “have an obligation to participating in shaping the rules and norms regarding digital privacy.”

Ownership and governance

Unlike the era when goods and money “could not be endlessly reproduced,” the report says, digital goods “can be infinitely copied, with no degradation to the original,” thus requiring the invention of “new rules and software to control how digital copies are made, shared, sold, and stored.”

New approaches to owning and sharing digital good now are expanding to apply to digital databases, the report says.

A small group of organizations such as Mozilla Foundation, Creative Commons, Open Knowledge Foundation and Wikimedia foundation are working to seek “redress or exemption from the tax or oversight authorities wherever they are based.”

That work is creating a model for many associations, and the “challenges they face and rule-exceptions they seek now will become norms for many organizations,” particularly as a growing number of organizations become “inherently global in membership and ownership.”

Data as a ‘starting’ resource

Data have become “core resource of the digital age,” the report says.

And data include not only numerical information on grants but also images, stories, movies, music and “almost anything that can be digitized,” it says.

And while major efforts are underway to “collect better information about nonprofits and foundations and the revenue that supports them,” it says, “we still have a long way to go before this information becomes a valuable resources of and for the work of the social economy.”

Early examples, it says, include shared maps of commonly-coded grants data that are being used by funders interested in black male achievement, and a shared platform used by philanthropic education funders to track federal education proposals that need matching funds.

The ability gather, store and share digital information “can change the fundamental practice of social economy actors,” the report says.

The emergence of “impact investing” over the past five years, for example, “has depended on the development of shared metrics for social and environmental return,” it says.

“Data did not create impact investing,” it says. “But the movement would not have grown with the momentum it has if digital solutions hadn’t been available to meet the demand for both common language and metrics.”

Shared, comparable data “are a prerequisite for the impact investing movement,” it says. “Their use here demonstrates how data can catalyze new enterprises, behaviors and investments.”

Yet the “human and organizational resistance to new practices and behaviors is significant, and the pressures to change philanthropic behavior are weak,” the report says.

Still, some groups are pioneering the use of digital data.

GiveWell, a nonprofit charity review group, and GoodVentures, a philanthropic funder, for example, have teamed up to use data-driven analysis as the basis for individual and shared philanthropic funding decisions, and where all the data and analysis used by the partners are share publicly, the report says.

It also says the role of data in the social economy raises a number of issues, including disclosure of data on donors to social welfare organizations and charitable nonprofits.

No common practices exists to guide the sharing of data “funded by, used by, and resulting from grants given by philanthropic organizations,” it says.

And because “every funder has individual requirements,” it says, a nonprofit with two funders can find itself in the “impossible position of presenting the same information under two different standards.”

What’s more, it says, because many organizations “rely on revenue earned from data in either raw or analyzed form,” while they “may see a benefit to sharing the data freely, they also need to keep the lights on.”

Civic tech

In recent years, tech-savvy individuals in a several cities have been volunteering for local governments, the report says.

While those efforts are driven by volunteers, it says, public agencies also are reaching out to residents and inviting them to improve city services.

And citizens are connecting with one another.

Cities, for example, provide data that coders use to build apps that give public transit riders arrival and departure times, the report says, and clean air advocates reuse data from those apps, along with open mapping software, to propose new bike routes.

Citizens also use software games that let them play with city street grids, and can redesign streetscapes, rally neighborhoods and work with city agencies to build new parks, the report says.

“From superficial efforts to suggest new library logos to substantial engagement through participatory budgeting processes, communications technologies are changing the way we interact with our cities, our elected officials, and our civil servants,” it says.

Todd Cohen

Children & Family Services Center steps up collaboration

By Todd Cohen

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When the Children & Family Services Center opened in 2003 in uptown Charlotte, its main goal was to provide a safe location and long-term leases at below-market rates that would allow its nonprofit tenants to reduce their overhead and use the savings to better serve the children and families that were their clients.

But because the agencies that share space in the 100,000-square-foot building at 601 E. 5th St. all focus on serving children and families, and because their close proximity to one another has created opportunities to work together more effectively, the Center over its first 10 years also has helped foster collaboration.

Now, with a new executive director, the Center is developing a plan to increase its effort to spur collaboration, both among its 10 nonprofit tenants, and among other local nonprofits that serve children and families.

“We will be looking at children-and-family-focused community issues that already have been identified, and build program collaboration around that,” says Shelley White, the Center’s long time chief financial officer who recently also was named interim executive director and then executive director. She succeeded Peggy Eagan, who was named director of social services for Mecklenburg County.

Operating with an annual budget of $2.2 million and a staff of five people, the Center houses 10 agencies that employ about 400 people and serve over 198,600 children and families a year in Mecklenburg County.

Rent from the Center’s 10 nonprofit tenants, and from three other tenants that pay market rates, covers their space plus phones and other telecommunications services.

Agencies share conference, training, kitchen and board facilities, and a center-wide computer system and common phone system that are managed by a shared chief information officer.

Compared to market rates, that rent has helped the Center’s partner agencies save a total of $11.3 million in rent, furniture and technology costs over 10 years.

And six of the nonprofit tenants have opted to pay an additional fee for shared financial and human resources services provided by a limited liability corporation that is wholly owned and controlled by the Center.

But it is the programmatic interaction of the agencies that is at the heart of the Center’s plan to serve as a hub for collaboration.

The agencies, which meet together every other month, often refer clients to one another, and the Center has helped foster four mergers among agencies it has housed, sometimes with one another, sometimes with agencies outside the Center.

It also has teamed with other community agencies to help bring to Charlotte the national Nurse-Family Partnership, which provides prenatal care for disadvantaged mothers and now is a program of Care Ring, a partner agency of the Center.

And it helped incubate Second Helping, which initially was a coffee cart that employed women returning to the community from prison and now has expanded to provide catering services.

Bob Simmons, chairman of the Center’s board and a partner at law firm McGuireWoods, says that collaboration is a natural outgrowth of the organization.

“Some of the great achievement of this building,” he says, “is that it takes a very high level of collaboration simply to create and run the project.”