Nonprofit news roundup, 03.21.14

Welch rejoining Easter Seals UCP as CEO

Luanne K. Welch, president and CEO of Easter Seals South Florida, has been named president and CEO of Easter Seals UCP North Carolina & Virginia, starting in mid-June.

Welch succeeds long-time CEO Connie Cochran, who stepped down to become assistant commissioner for developmental disability services at the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

Before joining Easter Seals South Florida seven years ago, Welch was chief operating officer and senior vice president of programs at Raleigh-based Easter Seals UCP North Carolina & Virginia.

During her tenure at Easter Seals South Florida, that organization increased revenue; opened Easter Seals Academy: Autism School, an educational program serving students from kindergarten through eighth grade; created six Head Start and Early Head Start centers and formed teams to improve outcomes for individuals and families living with disabilities.

Welch also has worked as a regional manager for the Chicago-based national Easter Seals organization.

Formed in 1945, 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.

Bush new CEO of Arts & Science Council

Robert E. Bush Jr., interim president of The Arts & Science Council in Charlotte since July 2013, has been named president.

Bush joined the Arts & Science Council in 2000 and previously served as senior vice president and chief innovation officer.

Before that, he was president and CEO of United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County, and at Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne in Indiana.

He also was director of development with the Mint Museum of Art in Charlotte, and executive director of Catawba County Council for the Arts, now United Arts Council of Catawba County.

Founded in 1958, the Arts & Science Council works as an advocate, grantmaker, fundraiser and planner for the cultural sector in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.

12-year-old raises over $30,000 for camp for sick kids

Sydney White, a 12-year-old from Julian who has raised over $30,000 since 2008 for Victory Junction, a camp in Randleman for children with serious illnesses, is the recipient of the 2013 Kimberly S. Roberts Servant’s Heart Award from law firm Crumley Roberts.

The firm will make a $5,000 donation to Victory Junction in honor of her work.

To raise money for the camp, Sydney has organized a broad range of events, including softball and golf tournaments, bake sales, special parties and a walk-a-thon at her school.

Arts Council plays matchmaker for kids’ agencies, arts groups

United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County held a “speed dating” event to provide an art connection for nearly a dozen social-service organizations serving youth in Wake County.

At the session, held March 20, each arts group attending United Arts Council’s monthly lunch ‘n’ learn gathering were introduced to each social-service group.

During brief exchanges before moving onto the next pairing, each social-service group talked about its work with youth, and each arts group could ask questions or talk about possible partnerships.

Cone Health, employees give $261 million

Cone Health in Greensboro and its employees gave over $261 million in fiscal 2013 to the communities it serves.

Of that total, $245 million was uncompensated care, which grew by nearly $60 million and includes charity care, bad debt and the shortfall between what governments pay for health care through Medicare and Medicaid, and what it actually costs Cone Health to deliver that care.

Cone Health has provided roughly $1.3 billion in uncompensated care in the last 10 years.

Cone Health also provided nearly $9.5 million in medical education. That includes training 47 medical residents and 1,800 graduate students.

Cone Health’s other contributions include the cost of community health fairs, screenings, donated equipment and volunteer hours of Cone Health employees.

Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina Foundation gives $1.84 million

Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina Foundation has awarded grants totaling $1.84 million to 40 nonprofits.

Of the 40 grants, 18 totaling $813,000 were in the area of social services, 12 totaling $582,795 went to education, and 10 totaling $444,780 were health-care related.

Since 1996, the Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina Foundation has awarded 1,494 grants on behalf of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas South Central Community. Those grants have totaled over $67 million and supported organizations serving unserved or underserved populations.

Harris Teeter card program yields $460,000 for schools

Harris Teeter in Matthews is donating $460,438 to schools in March through its fundraising program for schools in its communities.

The donations bring to $720,000 the total Harris Teeter has given schools this school year, with a third payout to be made in June.

When customers buy Harris Teeter brand products using their VIC card, Harris Teeter contributes a percentage of the dollars from those purchase to schools to which customers have linked their cards.

Since 1998, Harris Teeter’s education program has donated over $20 million to area schools.

North Carolina schools getting the biggest donations in March, and the totals they received, are:

* Grimsley Senior High, choral program, Greensboro — $5,326.
* Page High School, Greensboro —  $4,088.
* Providence High School, Rugby Club, Charlotte — $3,368.
* Providence High School, PTSO, Charlotte — $3,028.
* Lynn Road Elementary School, Raleigh — $2,913.
* Sgt. Eugene Ashley High, NJROTC ,Wilmington — $2,169.
* Charlotte Latin School, Charlotte — $2,058.

Bromhal leaves SAFEchild for Wake Habitat

Nancy Bromhal, director of development at SAFEchild in Raleigh, has been named director of the annual fund and communications at Habitat for Humanity of Wake County.

SAFEchild, a child abuse prevention agency, is looking for a new director of development.

Tompkins joins Center for Nonprofits

Tim Tompkins, director of business development at Hughes, Pittman & Gupton, has joined the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits as chief sustainability officer.

Jamis buys M Creative from Mikush

Mary Jamis, an eleven-year veteran of M Creative, a communications firm in Winston-Salem serving mainly nonprofits, has purchased the firm from Don Mikush, its founder and principal.

Jamis became president and owner in January.

Charlotte United Way expands ‘collective impact’ work

United Way of Central Carolinas in Charlotte is getting a $150,000 grant over two years from the Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina Foundation.

The funds will be used to continue United Way’s “Collective Impact” work involving children and youth in Mecklenburg County, and to expand that work to Union County.

The effort will focus on collecting and analyzing data for funded agencies serving children and youth in the two counties.

Brain Tumor Society race Saturday in Charlotte

National Brain Tumor Society will hold its inaugural Charlotte Brain Tumor Race on March 22 at Freedom Park.

Sponsored by Carolinas HealthCare System and Piedmont Natural Gas, the National Brain Tumor Society hopes to raise $225,000 during the Charlotte event.

New Hanover County scholarships created

Two new scholarships that will support students studying education and nursing at an institution of higher learning in New Hanover County have been created at the New Hanover County Community Foundation, an affiliate of the North Carolina Community Foundation.

Trustees for the estate of Joseph Bergin and Elsa Flower Davies, who retired to Wilmington in 1980, established the two scholarship endowments with the North Carolina Community Foundation late last year.

Cone Health president speaking to Triad health underwriters

Terry Akin, president and chief operating officer at Cone Health in Greensboro will be the presenter at the April 1 meeting of the Triad Association of Health Underwriters. The meeting, which begins at 11:45 a.m., will be held at Starmount Forest Country Club in Greensboro.

Onslow funder accepting grant requests

The Onslow Caring Communities Foundation, an affiliate of the North Carolina Community Foundation, is accepting online grant applications until April 29 from nonprofits that benefit the people of Onslow County.

Since 2001, the Foundation has made over $172,000 in grants to local nonprofits.

Reading Connections to train volunteers

Reading Connections, an adult literacy agency in Greensboro, has scheduled free training for volunteers to work as one-to-one tutors and small group instructors. Sessions will be offered in the second-floor board room of the Wells Fargo Building, including an orientation session April 3 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., and training sessions April 7 and 9 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Greensboro College event to benefit cancer research

Greensboro College will hold its third annual Relay for Life event to raise money for the American Cancer Society for cancer research from 6 p.m. to midnight on April 11, on Front Campus, or at the Odell Building in case of rain.

Winkler joins Triangle United Way board

Gregory Winkler Raleigh, market president and regional manager at Wells Fargo Bank, has been elected to the board of directors of United Way of the Greater Triangle.

Give your website an organic role in growing your nonprofit

Your nonprofit’s website should embrace visitors and engage them in your work.

It should be your welcome sign, your open door, your directory and your help desk.

It should make clear to visitors, instantly, who you are, who you serve and the difference you make.

And it should make it easy for anyone to find the information, resources and tools they need to understand the issues you address and how you work, and to get involved.

Whatever design you choose — and everyone seems to have an idea about how a website should look, feel and work — keep it simple.

As with all your communications tools and materials, the design and content of your website should be strategic. So steer clear of trendy visual and interactive gimmicks unless they serve a clearly-defined strategic purpose.

Identify who your visitors are likely to be, what they will be looking for, what you want them to learn, and how you want to engage them.

Then design your website to give visitors information they can use to get involved.

Make your website make a difference.

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

Fundraising, Part 7: Arts and culture groups focus on donors

By Todd Cohen

[This article was written for Blackbaud.]

Museums have shifted the focus of their fundraising to better address demand from donors who want to know the difference their gift makes, says Ford Bell, president of the American Alliance of Museums.

“It’s not enough to say we want another picture or exhibit,” he says of fundraising appeals by museums. “Donors want to know our impact on the community.”

With donors receiving a growing number of funding requests from nonprofits that address basic needs such as shelter, food and clothing, Bell says, museums have been doing a much better job talking about the diverse roles they play in their communities.

The 17,500 museum institutions in the U.S. that range from art museums to zoos provide 18 million instructional hours a year, often offering targeted programs for a broad range of audiences.

Those audiences, to name just a few, include patients with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers; children on the autism spectrum; new Americans; children and families involved in the juvenile justice system; and people concerned with hunger and food security.

“Museums are engaged in a wide variety of community issues today,” Bell says. “We really have hidden our light under a bushel. People don’t think of us as educational institutions.”

Museums also are using a variety of fundraising strategies, depending on donors’ age, interests and capacity to give.

Recognizing that younger donors are looking for results and want to be involved in the organizations they support, for example, museums are creating “an experience that’s meaningful and relevant for them,” Bell says. “Museums need those younger generations to feel the museum is a place they want to be part of.”

So museums are offering travel opportunities, taking people to lunch, meeting with them personally, and inviting them to serve on the board.

And donors who make larger gifts are receiving more personal attention, including events designed specifically for them.

Whether targeting younger donors or major donors, museums increasingly are using digital and social media to communicate, and refining their message to be more relevant, Bell says.

The key is to “show them what you’re doing in the community, and also to engage them in that work,” Bell says. “There’s still a problem in the museum field. People still feel we hang stuff on walls. People have to see we’re making a difference in the community.”

Whether for young adults or new Americans, he says, “we’re trying to get them in the door.”

Next: Public benefit groups diversify fundraising

The series:

Part 1: Growth tied to capacity, cultivation, communication.

Part 2: Healthcare groups invest in capacity.

Part 3: Higher education cultivates major gifts.

Part 4: Data key for independent schools.

Part 5: International affairs groups refine message.

Part 6: Religion focuses on fundamentals.

Part 7: Arts and culture groups focus on donors.

Part 8: United Way diversifies.

Part 9: Conservation groups connect with donors.

Part 10: Communication, planning key for human services.

Part 11: Peer-to-peer strategy fuels medical research.

Education endowments rebound

Endowments at U.S. colleges and universities posted investment returns averaging 11.7 percent, net of fees, in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013, marking a strong recovery from losses averaging 0.3 percent a year earlier, a new study says.

Among 835 U.S. colleges and universities that provided data for the 2013 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments, with endowment assets totaling $448.6 billion, the portion of their operating budget funded by their endowment averaged 8.8 percent.

That ranged from of a high of 16.2 percent for schools with assets over $1 billion to a low of 2.5 percent for schools with assets under $25 billion.

Domestic equities generated the highest average return in fiscal 2013, at 20.6 percent, net of fees, followed by international equities, at 14.6 percent; alternative strategies, 8.3 percent; fixed income, 1.7 percent; and short term securities, cash and other, 1.2 percent.

Three-year returns for participating schools averaged 10.2 percent, while five-year returns averaged 4 percent, and 10-year returns averaged 7.1 percent.

Endowments with assets under $25 million reported the highest average three-year and five-year returns, at 10.6 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively, while those with assets over $1 billion generated the highest average 10-year return, at 8.3 percent.

“This year’s investment results reflect in large measure the strength in publicly traded equities that has prevailed since early 2009,” John Griswold, executive director at Commonfund Institute, says in a statement.

While larger endowments performed better over a 10-year period, smaller endowments with higher allocations to domestic equities have performed well in the shorter term, he says.

Asset allocations remained stable, with participating schools allocating 53 percent of their portfolios to alternative strategies, compared to 54 percent a year earlier.

Alternative strategies include marketable alternatives such as hedge funds; private capital; distressed debt; and private equity real estate.

The effective spending rate for the 835 schools averaged 4.4 percent, up from 4.2 percent a year ago.

Schools with assets over $1 billion reported the highest spending rate, 4.8 percent, while schools with assets under $25 million reported a spending rate of 4.1 percent.

Fifty-one percent of schools reported an increase in gifts while 30 percent reported a decrease.

Among those reporting an increase, the median increase was 55.8 percent, and among those reporting a decrease, the median decrease was 33.9 percent.

The median total of new gifts to endowment was $2.3 million, and the the average gift was $9.4 million, up from $8 million a year earlier.

John D. Walda, president and CEO at NACUBO, says in a statement that, despite the improvements in investment returns over the past year, colleges and universities “are in a period of rethinking their budget-setting strategies and priorities.”

The past 10 years of volatile financial markets and deep cuts in government funding for higher education, as well as declines in enrollment and tuition revenue at some schools, he says, provide a context for the strong endowment performance in fiscal 2013 that reflects “continuing stress on tuition, state government appropriations and other revenue sources.”

Among 638 schools that reported they carry debt, average total debt was $204.3 million on June 30, 2013, up from $187.5 million a year earlier, while median debt was $56.3 million, down from $56.7 million a year earlier.

Thirty-one percent of study participants reported their schools increased the level of debt in fiscal 2013, while 62 percent reported a decrease.

Endowments reported they employed the equivalent of 1.6 full-time staff devoted to investment management, unchanged from the previous year.

Fifty percent of participating schools reported they employ risk limits in their portfolios, while 28 percent do not.

And 18 percent of participating schools reported they apply environmental, social or governance criteria, or ESG policy, to portfolio holdings.

Among the 157 schools with some form of ESG policy, 58.6 percent of their portfolio reflects the use of negative screens, 47 percent vote proxies consistent with their ESG criteria, and 70 percent say ESG investing is a formal institutional policy.

Todd Cohen

Make-A-Wish sees rising demand for wishes

By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — In the fiscal year that ended August 31, Make-A-Wish of Eastern North Carolina granted 190 wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions.

That total was up 10 percent from the previous year and represented the most wishes the chapter has granted since it was formed in 1986.

To help fulfill those wishes, the chapter raised $2 million in cash and $600,000 in in-kind contributions, up 18 percent from the previous year and another all-time high.

Still, the chapter cannot keep up with demand.

“The need has never been greater,” says Kristen Mercer Johnson, president and CEO of the chapter.

Serving 49 of North Carolina’s counties and operating with a staff of 12 people, the chapter this year expects to grant 200 wishes, and will hold a series of events to raise money to try to keep up with rising demand.

Children typically are referred to Make-A-Wish by a doctor, social worker or parent.

A medical team of advisers works with the child’s doctor to confirm the child’s life is in jeopardy as a result of a condition that is life-threatening, progressive, degenerative or malignant.

The chapter’s wish-delivery team then assigns two volunteers to the child. They meet the family and child and ask the child for his or her “one true wish.”

A staff member then works to assemble the elements, such as travel or donated services or products, needed to fulfill the wish.

Trips to Disney World account for nearly half the wishes the chapter grants, for example, while travel is required for granting 83 percent of wishes, including those to Disney World.

Many children also want to meet a celebrity, take a trip, or get a gift such as a computer. Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina counts on individual giving for 32 percent of its budget; corporate giving, special events and grants for 33 percent; events held by others for 30 percent; and grants from Make-A-Wish America for 4 percent.

Special events are critical for generating revenue, Johnson says.

The chapter expects to attract 800 people and net $220,000 at its Wish Ball on May 17 at the Raleigh Convention Center, up from 400 people and $164,000 last year.

It expects 500 people, up from 350 last year, at “Wine, Women and Shoes,” a fashion and vendor fair it will hold on April 3 at the Burney Center on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

And in January it kicked off “Women Inspiring Strength and Hope,” or W.I.S.H., a two-month campaign in which 12 women have agreed to raise $7,500 each.

The effort will culminate March 28 with a luncheon at The Umstead Hotel & Spa in Cary that is expected to attract over 200 women.

The chapter also will hold a “Walk for Wishes” in September.

Donated travel miles represent a key need, Johnson says.

The chapter buys about 600 airline tickets a year for children and family members that represent the equivalent of over 29 million airline miles.

In its most recent fiscal year, the chapter spent $161,500 on air travel, or 22 percent of total expenses for granting wishes.

The chapter always is looking for in-kind support, including travel miles, which do not expire if they are donated to a nonprofit, Johnson says.

And granted wishes can make a difference in the lives of children with life-threatening medical conditions, and their families, she says.

A three-year study by Make-A-Wish America found that treatments for children who get wishes are more effective “because they have a positive outlook,” and that the wish process “repairs and strengthens” families, Johnson says.

“Our vision is to continue to grant more wishes, year after year,” she says, “and continue to have that fundraising amount go up.”

Nonprofit news roundup, 03.14.14

Online platform raises over $5 million for arts, the Charlotte-based online fundraising platform for the arts in 23 communities across the U.S., has generated over $5 million in project funding since its launch in August 2011.

The site, created by the Arts & Science Council in Charlotte, is designed to connect donors directly to arts and cultural projects.

Through the site, cultural organizations in participating communities can post specific projects that need funding, share their stories, and generate support from donors.

Over 2,080 projects have been funded from throughout the U.S. by individual donations and matching gifts from corporations and foundations.

Over 40 percent of donors to projects posted on are new donors to the posting organization.

Reynolds American gives $100,000 to Red Cross in Triad

Reynolds American Foundation donated $100,000 to Heart of Carolina Region of the American Red Cross.

The Heart of Carolina Region says it has been a tough year for the Red Cross in the  Triad.

In Forsyth County alone, the Red Cross has assisted 315 people affected by disaster, aiming to address immediate needs ranging from food and shelter for the night to mental health counseling after losing a home and all belongings.

The region also has seen eight fatalities this fiscal year, the Red Cross says, including four in Davidson County and two in Forsyth County.

And three children ages three, eight and 13 recently died in fires in their homes.

During unseasonably cold weather this year, the Red Cross says, it opened shelters on several occasions to take in stranded travelers and those without power.

Blust named managing director of Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Emily Blust, development director of the North Carolina chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, has been named managing director.

Stubbing named executive VP at Foundation for the Carolinas

Holly Welch Stubbing, senior vice president at Foundation for the Carolinas in Charlotte since November 2010 and in-house counsel, has been named executive vice president.

Perry-Manning elected officer of national early-childhood group

Susan Perry-Manning, founding executive director of the new North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation and former vice president and senior director for policies and programs at the North Carolina Partnership for Children, or Smart Start, has been elected secretary of the governing board of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Raleigh Kiwanis Foundation gives $57,000

The Raleigh Kiwanis Foundation, Inc., a foundation formed by the Kiwanis Club of Raleigh, made $57,000 in grants to 22 organizations, up $8,000 from the previous year. The Kiwanis Club of Raleigh is the second largest Kiwanis Club in North Carolina.

High Point Fire Department getting $18,758

The High Point Fire Department is getting a grant of $18,758 for a bike response team.

The grant, from Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, was directed to the High Point Fire Department by Calsurance Associates, based on the growth of its business with Fireman’s Fund. Calsurance is a California-based independent agency.

In selecting a grantee, Calsurance turned to Smart Choice, which works to connect independent insurance agents with insurers, and markets Fireman’s Fund coverage to agencies it works with. Smart Choice recommended to Calsurance that the High Point Fire Department receive the grant.

Legal Aid chief selected for fellowship on health

George R. Hausen Jr., executive director of Legal Aid of North Carolina, is among 23 legal aid leaders from across the U.S. for the inaugural class of the Where Health Meets Justice Fellowship program, an effort to increase health care expertise in the legal aid community and promote collaboration among health and legal professionals serving low-income people.

Threshold, Ronald McDonald to get office tech makeovers

Milner, a technology company and provider of office solutions, will donate office technology makeovers to Threshold in Durham and to Ronald McDonald House of Durham.

Northwestern Mutual gives $100,000

Northwestern Mutual, with offices in Raleigh and Durham, gave grants of $50,000 each to nurse researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University who are investigating the quality of care and life for children with cancer, childhood cancer survivors, and their families.

Urban Ministries of Durham event raises $66,700

Urban Ministries of Durham’s Empty Bowls event raised $66,708, up more than 29 percent from last year.

Lincoln Financial partners with Junior Achievement

Lincoln Financial Group is partnering with Junior Achievement of Central North Carolina and Page High School in Greensboro in a Job Shadow program to introduce three students to the world of work.

The students will spend one day a week for five weeks with an individual mentor to learn about information technology, customer care, annuity actuarial, underwriting and new business, and finance, respectively.

National Christian Foundation sees surge in stock contributions

Stock contributions to the Raleigh chapter of the National Christian Foundation totaled nearly $7.4 million in 2013, up 95 percent from 2012 and exceeding cash contributions by $1 million.

Vincent joins Camp Oak Hill board

David Vincent, a solutions architect for Global Knowledge in Cary, has joined the board of directors of Camp Oak Hill, which is located in Oxford, with offices in Raleigh.

Allegacy recognized as ‘Fit-Friendly Worksite’

Allegacy Federal Credit Union in Winston-Salem has been recognized as a platinum-level ‘Fit-Friendly Worksite’ by the American Heart Association for helping employees eat better and move more.