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.

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