Nonprofit news roundup, 10.31.14

Private PR bills add up for UNC-Chapel Hill in scandal

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has received a bill for $782,000 from Edelman, the big public-relations firm it hired earlier this year to help it deal with its escalating scandal over academics and athletics, and with its overall communications, The News & Observer in Raleigh reported.

Edelman has assigned at least 14 employees to work on UNC’s response to a scathing report by a former top official at the U.S. Justice Department that found UNC officials worked to secure grades for athletes that were just high enough to keep them eligible to play sports, the newspaper said in a separate report last week.

A UNC spokesman told The N&O that UNC was not using taxpayer dollars to pay Edelman, which touts itself as the world’s biggest PR firm.

UNC previously spent $500,000 on other private PR work related to the scandal, the newspaper said.

All that spending on private PR consulting is in addition to the $300,000 annual salary the school is paying Joel Curran, a former top executive for another big PR agency, who UNC Chancellor Carol Folt hired a year ago to fill the new job she created of vice chancellor for communications and public affairs.

Donors ‘misguided,’ watchdog group says

Charitable donors see a nonprofit’s finances as the most important indicator of trust, according to new data, and that view represents a “misguided review of a nonprofit,” a watchdog group says.

Based on previous research that found most people do not look at any aspects of a charity before donating to it, watchdog group BBB Wise Giving Alliance asked Porter Novelli to include in a larger online survey a question that asked respondents what single factor they would use as the basis for trusting a charity.

According to the survey, which generated over 4,500 responses, 46 percent of Americans would verify their trust in a charity by looking at finances, while 20 percent cited ethics, 14 percent would use name recognition, and 11 percent would look at results or impact.

“In fact, no single measure can signal if a charity is trustworthy or not,” the watchdog group says in a statement. “Judging a charity by its overhead ratio or impact as sole barometers cannot accurately portray the overall performance and health of the organization.”

Donors who use only a single piece of information “may have a false sense of confidence,” Art Taylor, president and CEO of BBB Wise Giving Alliance, says in a statement. “It’s best to holistically review a charity before donating.”

Taylor said by phone that the survey question was prompted by broad discussion in the charitable sector about the “overhead myth,” or the idea that people tend to judge a charity bases solely on its finances, or in most cases on the share of its budget that a charity spends on overhead.

Also prompting the survey question, he said, was the idea that the trustworthiness of a charity could be determined using only a single factor, and that the best factor for evaluating a charity might be its impact.

“In the end, most charities haven’t created the impact they were set up to achieve,” Taylor said. “Donors don’t support them because of their impact but because of the trustworthiness that one day they will achieve their impact.”

The watchdog group, which says the most important action a donor can take before donating is to “check the trustworthiness of a charity,” evaluates charities on 20 “holistic” standards that cover such issues as governance, effectiveness reporting, finances and “appeal accuracy.”

Gerhardt leaves Compass Center

Ann J. Gerhardt, executive director of the Compass Center for Women and Families, has left the nonprofit to pursue other opportunities, the board of directors of the Chapel Hill nonprofit said this week.

Gerhardt had served as executive director since the agency was formed on July 1, 2012, through the merger of The Women’s Center and Family Violence Prevention Center, and previously was executive director of The Women’s Center for six years.

The board of the Compass Center said it had named Ardith Burkes, associate executive director, as interim executive director during the search for a new executive director.

Before the merger, Burkes served four years as crisis services and programs director at Family Violence Prevention Center.

Lawrence retiring from N.C. Justice Center

Melinda Lawrence is retiring at the end of the year as executive director of the North Carolina Justice Center.

Lawrence, who joined the Raleigh-based statewide organization as executive director in February 2007, is a lawyer whose previous practice focused on litigation in the areas of civil rights, consumers and employment rights.

Operating with an annual budget of about $4.5 million and a staff of 45 people, the Justice Center provides research, advocacy and legal services that focus on low-income and middle-income North Carolinians.

Raleigh consulting firm Elinvar is conducting a search for an executive director and CEO to succeed Lawrence.

Stop Hunger Now ships 2.2 million meals for Ebola outbreak

Raleigh-based Stop Hunger Now, an international relief agency, has shipped 2.2 million meals, along with aid, from the U.S. and southern Africa to partners in Sierra Leone and Liberia in response to the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa.

Meals on Wheels of Wake County delivers 8-millionth meal

Meals on Wheels of Wake County delivered its 8-millionth meal on Thursday.

Formed in 1974, the nonprofit works to address the nutrition needs of homebound elderly and people living with disabilities in Wake County by serving a daily meal and providing a visit from a volunteer.

Number of homeless in state declines, HUD says

The number of persons throughout North Carolina experiencing homelessness on a single night fell to 11,491 in 2014 from 12,168 in 2013 and from 12,191 in 2010, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says.

Throughout the U.S., the number of persons experiencing homelessness on a single night fell to 578,424 in 2014 from 591,768 in 2013 and from 640,466 in 2010, HUD says.

Davis new chief advancement officer at Crisis Assistance Ministry

Mike  Davis, senior vice president for advancement at the McColl Center for Visual Art in Charlotte, has been named chief advancement officer at Crisis Assistance Ministry in Charlotte.

Methodist Home for Children names chief financial officer

Peter Williams, former president and chief financial officer of Piedmont Service Group Inc., will join the Methodist Home for Children in Raleigh as chief financial officer in November.

Raleigh-based Piedmont Service Group is a heating, ventilation and air-conditioning service, construction and facility services business with locations in the Carolinas and Virginia.

Bynum joins N.C. Foundation for Advanced Health Programs

Brandy Bynum, director of policy and outreach at NC Child, has been named associate director for the regional support center of the North Carolina Foundation for Advanced Health Programs in Cary.

Private funders invested $380 million in Hurricane Sandy relief

Nearly 600 foundations, corporations and other institutional donors invested over $380 million for relief, recovery and building efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, a new report says.

Still, philanthropic donations represent a small fraction of the $60 billion in emergency assistance that the federal government provided, or of the $19 billion paid out by insurance companies, says Philanthropy & Hurricane Sandy: A Report on the Foundation & Corporate Response.

The report was published by New York-based Foundation Center in cooperation with the funder associations Philanthropy New York and the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, and with support from the Washington, DC-based Center for Disaster Philanthropy.

New playground for Raleigh

Over 225 volunteers from CarMax and PLM Families Together, along organizers from KaBOOM! and Raleigh residents, pitched in on October 29 to build a new playground at PLM Families Together for area kids. The design is based on children’s drawings created at a special design event in September.

John Rex Endowment gives $136,000 for capacity-building

The John Rex Endowment in Raleigh has awarded four grants totaling over $136,000 to Kidznotes, North Carolina PTA, Passage Home and StepUP Ministry for capacity-building projects to plan or put into effect strategies to increase their effectiveness and sustainability. 

The Endowment has invested over $1.65 million since October 2009 to support capacity-building for 33 local nonprofits that work to help children and families in greater Wake County live healthy lives.

Blackbaud reports higher net income, revenue

Blackbaud, a company in Charleston, S.C., that provides software and services for nonprofits, reported net income totaling $10.4 million, or 23 cents a share, on total revenue of $144.6 million in the three months ended September 30, up from $9.4 million, or 21 cents a share, on total revenue of $127.9 million in the same period last year.

Raleigh chapter of National Christian Foundation gives $780,000

Overall giving by the Raleigh chapter of the National Christian Foundation totaled over $780,000 in over 350 grants in September. 

Auction to benefit SAFE Haven for Cats

SAFE Haven for Cats and Raleigh Auction and Estate Sales will co-host the 10th Annual Auction for the Cats on November 15 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Raleigh Auction and Estate Sales.

Two new officers at Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust

Jason Baisden, former executive director of the North Carolina Association of Free Clinics, has been named program officer for the Eastern North Carolina region in the Health Care Division of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust in Winston-Salem.

Robin DeVane, former grants manager for The Winston-Salem Foundation, has been named program coordinator in the Health Care Division of the Reynolds Trust.

Rockingham County Community Foundation gets $250,000

The Rockingham County Community Foundation received a $250,000 gift from the Water Resources Fund at Duke Energy and will be used for protection and revitalization of the Dan River area.

The Foundation is accepting online applications until December 1 at noon for grants of up to $25,000 for community beautification and maintenance to spur tourism, business and population growth in Rockingham County, and for environmental education.

Enlist constituents to help assess your communications

The best way to find out what kind of information your audiences want from your nonprofit or foundation is to ask them.

So create an online survey about your communications, and invite visitors to your website to take it, as well as donors or grantees, clients and other partners you can reach by email.

Find out what they think of the information you are providing — on your website, and in your newsletter, annual report and email communications.

And find out what kind of information they would like to have.

Do they want to know more about your organization, the community needs you address, the underlying causes of the problem, and strategies that have shown success in addressing those problems?

Do they want to see profiles of clients you serve, donors who support your organization, or charities that are your grantees or partners?

Do they want news about the issues you address?

Do they want to the hear the voices and opinions of your staff, board, donors, grantees, clients and other partners?

Do they want information about your organization’s history, programs and finances, as well as biographies and detailed contact information for your staff and board?

Do they want know how to get involved by making a gift or volunteering?

How do they prefer to get their information, including your website, a print or electronic newsletter, or a mobile app?

How your nonprofit or foundation tells its story is fundamental to your ability to deliver programs, operate your organization, raise money, and engage and cultivate relationships with donors, grantees, volunteers and other partners.

So make sure you know what those people think of the way you are communicating, what kind of information they want, and how they prefer to get it.

If you don’t ask, you only will be guessing.

If you ask, you will be engaging.

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

Bigger share of wealthy donors give; average gift grows

The share of wealthy households in the U.S. that give to charity grew to 98.4 percent in 2013, up 3.4 percentage points from 2011, and the average amount they give grew to $53,519, up 28 percent, a new study says.

Fifty percent of wealthy donors plan to give as much through 2018, while 35 percent plan to give more, says the 2014 U.S. Trust Study of High Net Worth Donors.

The study, based on a nationwide sample of 632 U.S. households with a net worth of $1 million or more, excluding the value of their home, or with annual household income of $200,000 or more, or both, recorded the highest rate of participation in charitable giving by high net worth households since the study began in 2006.

That rate of giving compares with 65 percent of the overall population in the U.S. who give to charity.

Still, average giving as a share of household income fell 1 percentage point as growth in income levels slightly outpaced growth in giving levels,  says the study, produced through an ongoing partnership with the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Volunteering and giving

Seventy-five percent of survey participants volunteer with at least one nonprofit, and 59 percent of those who volunteered in 2013 contributed over 100 hours, while 34 percent contributed over 200 hours.

Wealthy donors who volunteered in 2013 gave $76,572 on average, compared to $44,137 donated by wealthy donors who did not volunteer and up from $62,302 in 2009.

Giving to education

Eighty-five percent of wealthy donors gave to education in 2013, with 73 percent giving to higher education and 60 percent giving to education from kindergarten through high school.

Education was the charitable subsector that received support from the biggest share of wealthy households, and also received the largest share of dollars, 27 percent, among all charitable sectors and more than giving to religious, environmental, arts, basic needs, and international causes combined.

The biggest share of wealthy households, 34 percent and 27 percent, made their biggest gifts to religious organizations and educational causes, respectively, with 19 percent making their biggest gifts to higher education, and 8 percent making their biggest gifts to K-12 education

Donors motivation, expectations

Seventy-four percent of wealthy household say believing their gift can make a difference was the top reason they gave, while personal satisfaction was cited by 73 percent; supporting the same causes annually by 66 percent; giving back to the community by 63 percent; and serving on a nonprofit’s board or volunteering for a nonprofit by 62 percent.

Only 34 percent of donors cited tax advantages among the main reasons they give.

Eighty-one percent of wealthy donors expect nonprofits they support to spend an “appropriate” amount of their donation on general administration and fundraising, while 80 percent expect them to demonstrate “sound” business and operational practices, 78 percent expect them to honor their request for privacy and anonymity, and 74 percent expect hem not to distribute their name to others.

Among wealthy donors who stopped giving to a specific charity they previously supported, 42 percent attributed their decision to having receiving solicitations too frequently or because the nonprofit asked for an “inappropriate” amount; 35 percent said they personally changed the focus of their philanthropy; 18 percent said the organization was not effective; and 16 percent said the nonprofit they supported had changed leadership or activities.

Strategic giving

Seventy-three percent of wealthy donors say they have a specific strategy in place to guide the charitable giving, and 93 percent say they give to a targeted set of organizations based on geography or a specific cause or issue.

Fifty-seven percent say they used a giving vehicle — such as private foundations, donor advised funds and charitable trusts — or plan to establish one to achieve their charitable goals.

Giving vehicles received 28 percent of charitable dollars in 2013, compared to giving directly to charitable subsectors such as the arts or environment, up from 23 percent in 2011.

Sixteen percent of wealthy donors gave to a donor advised fund in 2013, eight percent to a private foundation and four percent to a charitable trust.

Thirty-one percent of households with net worth of less than $1 million are likely to have or to plan to use a giving vehicle, compared to 51 percent of households with net worth between $1 million and $5 million, and 69 percent of households with net worth of $5 million or greater.

Eighty-four percent of wealthy donors are aware of innovative giving strategies such as socially responsible investing, social impact bonds or mission-related invested, but only 13 percent currently use those strategies.

Expertise and giving

Fourteen percent of wealthy donors rated themselves as “expert” in charitable giving and gave $150,299 on average in  2013, while 72 percent rated themselves as “knowledgeable” and gave $64,599 on average, and 14 percent rated themselves as “novice” and gave $19,013 on average.

Fifty-three percent of wealthy donors monitor or evaluate the impact of their giving.

Family giving

Sixty-one percent of wealthy donors  who are married or living with a partners make decisions about their giving jointly with their spouse or partner.

And forty-one percent of wealthy families have giving traditions such as volunteering as a family and giving to charity during the holidays.

Among the 75 percent of wealthy donors who volunteer, 68 percent are likely to volunteer with family and 68 percent are likely to volunteer with friends, compared to 25 percent who are likely to volunteer through a workplace campaign and 49 percent who are likely to volunteer through some other organized group.

Social issues and confidence

Education is the top policy issue for 56 percent of wealthy donors, compared to poverty, which is the top issue among 35 percent of wealthy donors; health care, 34 percent; and the environment, 28 percent.

Thirty-two percent of wealthy donors say they would increase their charitable contributions if government decreased funding for an organization their household supports.

Ninety-two percent of wealthy donors say hey have the most confidence in nonprofits to resolve domestic and global issues, compared to 91 percent who have the most confidence in individuals, 73 percent in religious institutions, 61 percent in state or local government, 58 percent in large corporations, 54 percent in the federal government, and 25 percent in Congress.

Todd Cohen

Nonprofit news roundup, 10.24.14

Nonprofits say funders don’t understand beneficiaries’ needs

Nonprofits use feedback from the people they serve to inform their programs but believe most of their foundation funders lack a deep understanding of the needs of those people, a new research report says.

Most nonprofits collect and use feedback from their beneficiaries, and 60 percent of 235 nonprofit leaders who completed a survey share that feedback with most or all of their foundation funders, says Hearing from Those We Seek to Help: Nonprofit Practices and Perspectives in Beneficiary Feedback, a report from the Center for Effective Philanthropy.

Yet 73 percent of nonprofit leaders believe only some or fewer of their funders have funding principles that reflect a deep understanding of the needs of intended beneficiaries, and 84 percent believe only some or fewer of their funders have programmatic strategies that reflect that understanding.

“Our research shows a disconnect between foundations and their grantees when it comes to listening to the people whom both groups are seeking to help,” Phil Buchanan, president of The Center for Effective Philanthropy and co-author of the report, says in a statement. “Foundation strategies will be most effective when they are informed by those who will be affected.”

Community foundations growing

100 years after the first community foundation was founded in Cleveland, the number of community foundations now totals 1,826 in 67 countries, with 75 percent of those foundations created in the last 25 years, a new online directory says.

In the past 14 years, the number of known community foundations and community philanthropies nearly doubled, says the Community Foundation Atlas from a collaboration of international partners.

Combined financial reserves of community foundations totals $63.2 billion, and their combined grantmaking in the most recent fiscal year reported totals nearly $5 billion.

Sixty-four percent of community foundations employ five or fewer paid employees, and the average staff size is 7.6

The largest endowment of a community foundation is $3.73 billion, two in 10 community foundations have no endowment, and the average population that community foundations serve is 200,000.

Allebaugh joins N.C. Coalition to End Homelessness

Terry Allebaugh, founder and former executive director of Housing for New Hope in Durham, has been named to the newly-created position of community impact coordinator at the North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness.

Allebaugh retired in May from Housing for New Hope, a nonprofit that works to prevent and end homelessness by providing access to housing, health care, and integrated services.

United Arts Council awards $112,000 to Wake schools

United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County awarded $112,000 to 137 Wake schools to bring in teaching artists during the 2014-15 school year for performances and residencies that integrate the arts with core subjects.

In the 2013-14 school year, the program supported 157,688 contact hours to 144,059 students. This school year will fund 311 events.

Raleigh Boys & Girls Clubs dedicate new center

Boys & Girls Clubs of Wake County have dedicated its new Ralph E. Capps Teen Center.

Named for Ralph Capps, its president for 42 years, the new facility at 721 North Raleigh Blvd. replaces quarters it has used since 2007 in the Alliance Medical Ministries facility in Southeast Raleigh.

SAFE Haven for Cats raises $6,800

SAFE Haven for Cats, a nonprofit no-kill animal shelter that works to find homes for homeless cats and kittens, and to reduce euthanasia in the Triangle, raised a total of $6,800 at two recent events, including the 4th annual September Hepcat bike race the 3rd annual October Run for Their Lives 5K.

Shredding event to benefit Heart & Stroke Walk

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and the American Heart Association will host a document shredding event for the public on November 8 from 9 a.m. until noon in the parking lot of the Miller Plaza building at 2200 Cloverdale Ave. in Winston-Salem.
Cintas Corporation will provide shredding services.

The shredding service is free, but donations are welcome. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Heart Association’s Tanglewood Heart & Stroke Walk.

Greensboro Hospice opens education center

Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro has opened its John A. Lusk III, MD, Caregiving Education Center, a 15,000-square-foot facility at 2501 Summit Ave. that includes meeting space for community outreach and education on end-of-life issues, including grief and loss, continuing education for staff and volunteers, and hospice care team meetings.

Duke gets $1 million

Sean Fahey, a graduate of  Duke University and the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, both in Durham, is giving $1 million to endow scholarships at Duke for graduates of the School of Science and Math.

The gift from Fahey, a co-founder and co-chief investment officer of Claren Road Asset Management, an $8.5 billion global credit hedge fund manager, will provide whole or partial scholarships each year to one Duke undergraduate student from each class — from freshman to senior.

It is the largest gift of its kind to a North Carolina university to support graduates from the high school.

Seventy-seven former students at the School of Science and Math have graduated from Duke since 2009, and 38 currently are enrolled.

HandsNFeet Foundation raises $3,500

The HandsNFeet Foundation in Charlotte raises over $3,500 at its 2nd Annual HandsNFeet Cornhole Tournament. It will use the funds to by socks, gloves and hats for people in need.

Howard to chair Heart & Stroke Walk

Mike Howard, vice president of AM West Field Sales at Ecolab, has been named chairman for the 2015 Greater Guilford Heart & Stroke Walk of the American Heart Association.

Goetz Foundation honors couple

Angela and Larry Tollen of Durham will receive the inaugural “Family Building Building Blocks Award” from the Noah Z.M. Goetz Foundation. The award, which recognizes individuals, couples and organizations that support the Foundation, will be presented at the 4th Annual Family Building Blocks Gala on November 13 at Brier Creek Country Club in Raleigh.

Event to benefit Hospice of Wake County

North State Bank will host its 12th Summer Salute for Hospice of Wake County on May 16, 2015, at North Ridge Country Club in Raleigh.

The event has netted nearly $1.2 million since it began in 2004.

Contributions are raised through sponsorships, event and raffle ticket sales, a silent and live auction, a casino and other donations.

The Hospice of Wake County Foundation uses the money raised to help fund its Benevolent Care Program to provide assistance to patients with financial needs.

Engage a donor to help boost your communication

If your nonprofit wants to do a better job telling your story, ask a foundation, company or individual donor to invest in building your communications capacity.

Communicating effectively and strategically is essential for your nonprofit to succeed in delivering services, serving clients, raising money, operating your organization, engaging and inspiring your board and staff, developing strategic partnerships, and advocating for your cause.

Like any other aspect of your business, communications requires investment to develop the resources and support the strategies you need.

So find a donor or funder who cares about your cause and recognizes the value of strong communications.

Engage prospective investors in a conversation about their interest in your issue. Explain the role you play in addressing community needs. And make it clear that communications is central to every aspect of your work.

Then work with the donor or funder to develop a plan for improving the way you tell your story.

Will you need to hire a staff person to handle communications and marketing? Can you outsource that work? Do you need a new brand and organizational narrative? Will your board and staff need communications training and talking points? What communications materials and content will you need to tell your story to the audiences you need to reach to meet your goals?

By engaging donors and funders in helping you think through your communications needs, and in creating a plan to tell your story more effectively, you then may be able to secure their investment in translating those plans into a stronger communications strategy and program.

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

Support Center aims to plug capital gap for small firms

By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — Three years ago, unable to keep up with growing demand for the baked goods she prepared for customers in her home in Holly Springs, Jackie Green turned to The Support Center, a Raleigh-based nonprofit that provides loans and technical support for small businesses throughout the state.

The Support Center made a $200,000 loan to Green, and helped her get technical support from the Small Business Center at Wake Tech Community College and the Raleigh chapter of SCORE, formerly the Service Corps of Retired Executives.

Green , who used the funds and advice to move Sweet Cheeks Bakery out of her home to a retail location off Highway 55 in Apex and hire two staff members, says she now is on track to turn a profit by early next year.

“I would have not been able to do this without The Support Center,” she says

Founded in 1990 as The North Carolina Minority Support Center, the agency initially provided financial and technical assistance to a network of 18 small minority community-development credit unions, mainly in eastern North Carolina.

But four years ago, after the network of credit unions dwindled to 3 members, with two of them facing financial troubles, the organization rebranded itself as The Support Center and shifted its focus to small-business lending and technical assistance, as well as policy work on small business issues.

“If we were going to be viable and relevant, small-business lending was a great void” that needed to be filled, says Lenwood Long, who co-founded the agency with Martin Eakes, CEO of  Self-Help in Durham, and serves as its president and CEO.

Since 2010, The Support Center has provided a total of nearly $12 million in loans to at least 150 small businesses, supporting over 350 jobs. In 2013 alone, it made $6 million in loans, and expects to lend at least $9 million this year.

Small businesses generate over 85 percent of new jobs in the state but typically fail within their first five years, often because they lack access to capital and technical expertise on issues such as marketing, operations and matching supply and demand, Long says.

The Support Center has secured low-interest loans and grants from federal and state agencies, and low-interest loans and lines of credit from banks and other financial institutions, and makes low-interest loans to small businesses, mainly those owned and run by minorities, women and veterans.

Funds it has secured include nearly $1.3 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture; $1 million each from the U.S. Small Business Administration and the state of North Carolina; nearly $3.4 million from the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund of the U.S. Department of the Treasury; $500,000 each from TD Bank and Wells Fargo; and a line of credit totaling $1.5 million from PNC.

Over the next five years, it aims to secure $35 million. And it has set a $500,000 goal for its inaugural annual-fund drive, which kicks off Oct. 30 with an event at the Renaissance Hotel.

“This work is value-added to the state,” Long says, “and to the economic recovery of the state, and to small businesses as they look for capital they cannot receive from banks.”