Nonprofit news roundup, 11.14.14

New role for Bullard at Inter-Faith Food Shuttle

Jill Bullard, CEO and co-founder of the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle in Raleigh, will shift her role early next year from day-to-day operations at the 25-year-old nonprofit to community development, long-range change in the food system, advocacy and strategic fund development.

Bullard will continue to report directly to the board of directors, which has created the new position of executive director that also will report directly to the board and be responsible for daily operations, including managing staff, delivering programs and services, managing finances, and strategy for marketing and development.

The board’s personnel committee is beginning a search for the new executive director.

NC New Schools gets $20 million federal grant

NC New Schools has won a $20 million federal grant to develop new early college opportunities for students in rural communities.

Final approval of the funding hinges on NC New Schools securing commitments totaling $1 million from non-government funders, with pledges totaling $500,000 due by Dec. 10 and the remaining $500,000 required within the first six months of the program.

An additional $3.2 million in funding will be raised jointly over the five-year project by NC New Schools and participating districts and states.

 Five North Carolina counties are prospective partners in the initiative — Duplin, Harnett, Hertford, Rutherford and Surry.

Out-of-state partners are in Illinois, Mississippi, South Carolina and a fourth state partner to be sought from proposals.

Young, single, non-religious women generous

Young single women without a religious affiliation give two-and-a-half times more money to charity than do middle age and older single women are not religiously affiliated, and twice as much as young, single women who are religiously affiliated but attend service infrequently, a new study says.

Those women also give twice as much as their unaffiliated male peers, and they give twice as much to organizations identified as non-religious they do to organizations identified as religious, says Women Give 2014, a study from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

U.S. foundations give record-high $52 billion

Giving by the 86,192 foundations in the U.S. totaled a record-high $52 billion in 1012, Foundation Center says in its Key Facts on U.S. Foundations.

The annual research study says those foundations held $715 billion in assets and it estimates giving in 2013 totaled $54.7 billion and likely will grow ahead of inflation in 2014, with independent and family foundations growing at a higher rate than other types of foundations.

Donor advised funds post record-high grants, gifts

Grants from donor advised funds to qualified charities totaled a record-high $9.66 billion in 2013, up 12.6 percent from 2012, says the 2014 Donor-Advised Fund Report from the National Philanthropic Trust.

Total charitable assets at donor advised funds grew nearly 20 percent to $53.74 billion, while contributions to donor advised funds totaled a record-high $17.28 billion, up 23.5 percent.

The U.S. was home to 217,367 donor advised fund accounts, with one of every three donor advised funds created in the last seven years.

The average size of a donor advised fund account totaled a record-high $247,217, up 13.4 percent.

Wealthy donors give $26.3 billion

Wealthy donors in seven regions of the world gave $26.3 billion in gifts of $1 million or more in 2013, says the Million Dollar Donors Report from Coutts in association with the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Thirty-four percent of the total value of all gifts of $1 million or more supported high education, which received 43 percent of the total value of million-dollar gifts in the U.S.

Overall, million-dollar giving in the U.S. grew $3 billion to nearly $17 billion — its highest level since 2008.

Investment returns grow for operating charities

Investment returns for 60 operating charities with a total of $24.3 billion in assets grew to an average of 15.1 percent in fiscal 2013, up from 11.7 percent in fiscal 2012, according to the FY2013 Common Fund Benchmarks Study of Operating Charities.

Cook named Girls Scouts CEO

Lane Cook, vice president for advancement at Alexander Youth Network in Charlotte, has been named CEO of Charlotte-based Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont.

Autism Society events raise $430,000

A series of run-walk events hosted this fall by the Autism Society of North Carolina in Greensboro, Asheville and Raleigh raised over $430,000 for families affected by autism in North Carolina.

Three North Carolina communities join effort to end homelessness

Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, Greensboro and High Point, and Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are among 67 communities in the U.S.  that Community Solutions has selected to participate in Zero: 2016, a national campaign to end veteran homelessness by December 2015 and chronic homelessness by December 2016.

Legal Services in Charlotte expanding support for veterans

Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, which for the past two years has offered civil legal assistance to low-income veterans in Mecklenburg County, has received support from United Way of Central Carolinas to expand its services to veterans in Cabarrus and Union counties.

Salvation Army in Winston-Salem launches Red Kettle Campaign

The Salvation Army in Greater Winston-Salem has kicked off its Annual Red Kettle Campaign, aiming to raise $375,000, as well as its Annual Angel Tree Program to help serve 7,000 children in Forsyth, Stokes and Yadkin counties.

Angel Trees, located at 26 sites in the region, invites individuals, churches, civic groups and corporations to adopt children in need and provide them with personalized gifts and necessities.

High Point Boys & Girls Clubs honored

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater High Point has received the NC Honor Award for Program Excellence from the North Carolina Area Council for its “Teens With a Plan” program.

The program provided teen Club members with opportunities to go on college tours, have teen nights, participate in financial literacy programs, and explore career options.

The program was supported through funding from the Staples Foundation, Tannenbaum-Sternberger Foundation, Bank of America Foundation and United Way.

Information session on 2015 Human Race scheduled

Companies and nonprofits that want to participate in The 2015 Human Race, to be hosted by The Volunteer Center and held April 18, 2015, at the Greensboro Coliseum, may attend an information session on November 19 at 5:30 p.m.

Topics include: overview and history of the event, nonprofit team responsibilities, corporate walking team responsibilities, dates to remember, and benefits. To reserve a spot, visit at HRInfoSession.eventbrite.com or call The Volunteer Center at 336.373.1633.

Last year’s event generated over $142,000 for 97 nonprofits, school PTAs and church groups that participated.

Over the past 20  years, the event has raised over $4.1 million for local nonprofits.

Wake Forest volunteers preparing Thanksgiving dinners

More than 150 student, faculty and staff volunteers at Wake Forest University have prepared and are delivering over 400 traditional Thanksgiving dinners to Triad-area residents in need during Turkeypalooza, an annual event hosted by The Campus Kitchen at Wake Forest University.

Stop Hunger Now to hold annual Thanksgiving fundraising dinner

Stop Hunger Now in Raleigh will hold its Thanksgiving fundraising dinner on November 27 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Plates Neighborhood Kitchen at 301 Glenwood Avenue.

Chinese Business Association to celebrate 10th anniversary

The North Carolina Chinese Business Association will celebrate its 10th anniversary at a dinner on November 18.

Speakers include Jean Davis, president and CEO of MCNC; Gina Qiao, senior vice president of Lenovo; and Tony Copeland, partner at Williams Mullen.

The event will be held at the Research Triangle Park Foundation at 12 Davis Drive in  Research Triangle Park.

Different Roads Home to hold fundraiser

Different Roads Home will host its 5th Annual Evening of Hope and Inspiration on November 15 at McGlohan Theater in Charlotte to raise money and awareness for its Jeanne White-Ginder Food Pantry.

Green Chair Project to hold sale

The Green Chair Project will host its year-end fundraiser sale Nov. 20-Nov. 22 at its headquarters at 1853 Capital Blvd. in Raleigh.

Proceeds from the sale of upscale furniture and household items will support the nonprofit’s mission of helping local families move to self-sufficiency and furnish their homes.   

Arneke named interim media-relations director at N.C. A&T.

David Arneke, director of research communications at N.C. A&T State University in Greensboro, has been named interim director of media relations.

Concert to benefit Neuse Riverkeeper

A concert to benefit the Neuse Riverkeeper will be held November 21 at 8 a.m. at RallyPoint Sport Grill in Cary and feature singer and songwriter Pierce Pettis.

GreenNC conference set for December 4 in Raleigh

The North Carolina chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council will hold its 7th annual GreenNC conference on December 4 at the Raleigh Convention Center.

Family Promise moves

Family Promise of Greater Guilford County has moved moved from Starmount Presbyterian Church to the Summit House at 2505 Fairview St. in Greensboro.

Wake Women’s Giving Network gives $120,500

The Women’s Giving Network of Wake County, a program of the North Carolina Community Foundation, awarded $120,500 to four area nonprofits that support women or children, or both.

Awards included $45,000 to InterAct to support victims of domestic violence; $38,500 to Note in the Pocket to help provide clothing to children in need; $27,000 to Haven House Services to provide programs to help struggling youth; and $10,000 to NC Arts in Action to help enrich the lives of children through performing arts.

The Women’s Giving Network, which awarded $100,000, now has awarded a total of $901,500 in eight years.

Winston-Salem Foundation awards scholarships

The Winston-Salem Foundation has named three winners of the 2015 Dean Prim Scholarship, which offers a summer travel program to China and a college scholarship in the amount of $1,500 a year for four consecutive years, and three winners of the AIFS Scholarship, a travel scholarship for the China study program to Dean Prim Scholarship applicants.

Urban Ministries to hold Stone Soup Supper

Urban Ministries of Wake County will host its 10th annual Stone Soup Supper on November 19 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at White Memorial Presbyterian Church in Raleigh.

The event last year raised over $35,000 for the Raleigh nonprofit, which supports 27,000 people a year.

Dress for Success Triangle gets $30,000

Dress for Success Triangle has received a $30,000 gift from Lenovo to support a new program to provide image and career coaching for women who are unemployed or underemployed after leaving the military.

Band TogetherNC picks Kidznotes as 2016 partner

Band Together NC, a Triangle-based organization that uses live music to raise money for nonprofits, has picked Kidznotes as its 2016 nonprofit partner.

Women’s Fund of North Carolina gives $11,500

The Women’s Fund of North Carolina at the North Carolina Community Foundation awarded a total of $11,500 to six organizations.

AT&T, employees, donate clothes to veterans

AT&T and its employees donated winter coats, caps and gloves to support veterans in need in the Triad.

 The items will be distributed by the Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program at Salisbury Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

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Develop communications workshops for nonprofits

An effective way to build the capacity of nonprofits is through workshops that focus on their communications.

Funders can offer communications workshops to nonprofits they support, while groups of nonprofits can pool their resources to create communications workshops that add value to the operations of all of them.

Nonprofits also can look for donors or funders that want add value to the causes they care about.

The goal of a communications workshop is to help a nonprofit’s staff and board better understand the indispensable role that communications play, and to better handle the way they communicate.

Communication is fundamental to everything a nonprofit does, both externally and internally. That includes delivering programs; running the organization; securing resources; developing partnerships; hiring, managing and retaining staff; recruiting and engaged board members and volunteers; advocating; and working with public officials and the media.

Topics at the workshop could include, for example, how to develop a communications strategy; how to create a short narrative, talking points and “elevator” speech about your organization; how to write web content, news releases, newsletters, an annual report and case studies; how to frame marketing and fundraising materials; how to train your board and staff to communicate more effectively; how to build relationships with the news media; and how to handle big announcements and crises.

Communications is the heart of nonprofit work. Offering workshops to help nonprofits communicate more effectively is an investment that will pay invaluable dividends for the causes you care about.

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.

Collaboration seen as key to improving youth literacy

By Todd Cohen

[Note: This article was written for Triangle Community Foundation.]

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — At age three, Travis Mitchell got a first-hand lesson in the value of literacy.

Growing up in southeast Raleigh, he says, he spent many afternoons with his grandmother while his mother, a teacher, worked to earn credentials so she could get a counseling job in the Wake County public schools.

Although his grandmother had not gone to college, she “created an environment of learning,” he says. “There were books around I was required to use. There were conversations I was required to know something and share something about.”

Enriching kids with a culture of reading before they start school is critical to prepare them to succeed in school, in the workplace and in life, according to Mitchell and two other education leaders who spoke on October 9 to the Triangle Donors Forum.

The Donors Forum, hosted by Triangle Community Foundation and held at the offices of Research Triangle Park Foundation, spotlighted youth literacy, which is a focus of Triangle Community Foundation’s “People and Places” initiative to invest in pressing community needs in the region.

The challenge

Bob Saffold, who moderated the session and is vice president of the Smarter Learning Group, a national education consulting firm, said two-thirds of third graders in the U.S. do not read proficiently, a share that rises to 80 percent among third graders who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch at school.

In North Carolina, he said, 66 percent of fourth graders do not read proficiently, a share that rises to 78 percent among those who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.

According to newly released state data, one in eight of last year’s third graders throughout the state either were retained in third grade this year or are in a special program to transition to fourth grade, Saffold said.

In the Triangle, the share of last year’s third graders who were retained or are in special transition programs this year total 18 percent in Durham County, 13 percent in Orange County, 10 percent in Wake County, and 6.5 percent each in Johnston County and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools, he said.

Yet despite huge gaps in reading levels between low-income children and those in middle-income and more affluent families, and between what those two groups of children achieve in life, Saffold said, “it’s within our capacity to make a difference.”

Starting early

Communities in Schools of Wake County in recent years has expanded its focus to children before they start school.

“We were beginning programs in kindergarten,” Mitchell says. “We were missing something. Students were already behind.”

To bridge the gap between students who were falling behind and those who were entering kindergarten prepared to read, Communities in Schools launched programs aimed at “preventing students getting behind in the first place,” he says.

In partnership with the federally-funded Head Start pre-school program and with Meredith College, for example, Communities in Schools retrofitted the SAS Learning Center in the Kentwood community to take a “holistic approach to invest in an earlier portion of the pipeline” of students headed for kindergarten, Mitchell says.

Long-term studies have found that students who participate in pre-school programs are more likely to graduate, be employed, earn a significantly higher median annual income, own a home, have a savings account and be arrested less often, he says.

“If we’re going to change the trajectory of children, we have to start early,” said Mitchell, who joined Communities in Schools as president four years ago after a career in broadcast journalism.

Teaching, tutoring, professional development

The Hill Center in Durham takes a three-pronged approach to youth literacy, Denise Morton, director of outreach at The Hill Center and former chief academic officer for the Orange County Schools who has a doctorate in education leadership, told the Donors Forum.

With one teacher for every four students, it operates a private school that provides three hours of instruction a day in reading, math and written language to 170 children from 77 other schools in the Triangle.

It provides tutoring after-school and in the summer for students from public schools in Wake, Durham and Orange counties and from the Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools.

And it provides professional development for teachers who want to learn its specialized technique, known as the Hill Reading Achievement Program, for reading intervention.

Over the last six years, the Hill Center has served over 12,000 educators, including 125 teachers from 13 school districts in the state who are putting those techniques into practice for the first time this year.

And the Hill Reading Achievement Program has been replicated in Geneva, El Salvador, and Colorado Springs.

The Hill Center “wants to spread understanding and services to help children learn to read and read well,” Morton said.

Collaborating on early literacy

Improving the way young children and students learn to read requires careful collaboration among public schools, nonprofits and funding organizations, the experts at the Donors Forum said.

And effective collaboration, they said, requires changing the thinking about reading programs; securing funding over multiple years from multiple funders; and collecting and sharing data to measure the impact of early-intervention reading programs.

Schools and school districts “often have real difficulty engaging with community partners” and “sometimes have a real tin ear on collaboration and public relations,” said Saffold, a former teacher and school administrator whose father also an educator.

Mitchell said “political gridlock and partisan debates” often can stifle innovation. “The environment is very risk-averse,” both at the district level and often at the school level, he said.

So collaborating with schools requires that nonprofits “change our own mindset.”

The best way to engage a school system, Mitchell said, “is to come in willing to listen to possible gaps and how to help, and bring in resources to make it easy for the principal or superintendent to engage.”

And to be effective, he said, partnerships require taking risks and working hard.

“Collaboration is messy,” he said. “Nobody wants to talk about what happens when collaboration doesn’t work. You need a willingness to fail in order to succeed. If you don’t meet your goals, retool, don’t stop.”

Adding value

Morton, who was a special education teacher for 14 years, mainly in Alamance County, said efforts to partner on youth literacy programs with public schools should begin with identifying what the schools need and want and then finding ways to work with the schools to address those needs.

Understanding the larger context of policy and funding discussions and decisions at the state legislature is key to avoid being “left in a silo,” she said, as is understanding “what you’re walking into in a school district. Every one is different.”

It also is important in approaching a school system “to know the right person to get to at the central office,” she said, “There are layers of people. You have to know who has the power or you spin wheels.”

Data essential

Equally essential is agreeing in the partnership contract with schools to gather and share data on the progress students are making.

Saffold that “one of the key barriers to effective collaboration with school systems is around the systems’ reluctance to share data needed to track progress and identify gaps in programs to tweak programs,” he said.

Morton agreed.

“It’s real important we have data,” she said. “People won’t pay attention unless there’s a proven track record.”

Mitchell said data not only are essential for funders and partners but also can make a big difference among the staff of the agencies partnering with the schools.

“If you can begin to explain to staff how effective they’re being with the use of their time,” by the end of the year they “can see how they really changed the game for their students,” he said. “Our theory of change is that programs don’t change people, relationships do.”

So having data that measure the progress of a collaborative effort has helped “increase morale and momentum for the organization internally,” he said.

Going to scale

Fostering a culture of collaboration is essential to the success of youth literacy programs, the experts told the Donors Forum.

“We make every effort to connect with as many organizations as possible with a similar focus,” Morton said.

Mitchell said funders want to know in advance what the “return on investment” will be and are looking for metrics that will gauge the “collective community impact” of their funding.

They also want to invest in partnerships that can be expanded and already have the “administrative capacity” to expand, Mitchell said.

Taking such programs “to scale,” he said, requires funding from three to five funders over multiple years.

Morton said the least successful initiatives are those that involve funding for one year only, known as “one and done.”

Collaboration essential

Schools and school districts cannot on their own improve student performance in reading, Saffold said.

“We need to craft and implement a set of community solutions to improve literacy,” he said. “There’s a major role for nonprofits and foundations to get involved to move the needle on literacy.”

Nonprofit news roundup, 11.07.14

Prevention Partners launches statewide health initiative

Prevention Partners has launched a statewide initiative to change workplaces and schools across the state  through healthier policies, benefits and environments.

The new Healthy Together NC initiative, which includes the state Department of Commerce, Center for Healthy NC, and N.C. Hospital Association as partners, has the goal of transforming at least 10 major employers in all 100 North Carolina counties by 2025.

Forsyth Medical Center Auxiliary turns 50

To mark its 50th anniversary, the Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center Auxiliary is donating $50,000 to “Healing in the Arts” for a project in the courtyard of Forsyth Medical Center between the north and west tower.

The Auxiliary, which also funds $20,000 in scholarships each year for health care students at Forsyth Technical Community College, has contributed over three million volunteer hours and over $4 million in gifts since it was formed in 1964.

The Auxiliary is financially responsible for the three gift shops at Forsyth Medical Center, newborn photography and employee fundraisers.

Most funds it raises are returned to Forsyth Medical Center through special projects.

Members of the Auxiliary have volunteered their time at Forsyth Medical Center by visiting patients to offer emotional support and ask about non-medical needs; serving at reception desks and information centers; giving patients and visitors directions and helping them find their way; transporting patients throughout the hospital; and assisting in the hospital gift shop and making welcome deliveries to patient rooms.

MCNC taps Davis as president and CEO

Jean Davis, former chief operating officer and executive director of business, industry and trade at the the N.C. Department of Commerce, has been named president and CEO of MCNC, the nonprofit operator of the North Carolina Research and Education Network.

McPherson named development director at ECU med school

Jeff McPherson, community chapter president for the Northwest North Carolina and Surry County chapters of the American Red Cross, has been named  director of development for the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University in Greenville.

Lawson leaves N.C. Symphony for Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

Mary McFadden Lawson, vice president for philanthropy at the North Carolina Symphony, has been named vice president for philanthropy at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

Mills joins Carolinas Healthcare System as development officer

Merrill McCarty Mills, development officer at the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, has joined Carolinas Healthcare System in Charlotte as development officer.

Schaaf new president of N.C. Medical Society

Robert E. Schaaf, a radiologist and former president of Wake Radiology, has been begun a term as the 161st president of the North Carolina Medical Society.

Community in Schools of Durham names development director

Nick DiColandrea, director of MissionCorps North Carolina, has been named director of development at Communities In Schools of Durham.

Heart Association event raises $450,000

The American Heart Association raised over $450,000 for heart disease and stroke research and prevention education programs, and attracted nearly 4,000 supporters, at the 2014 Tanglewood Heart and Stroke Walk, sponsored by Wake Forest Baptist Health on October 18.

TROSA opening second thrift store

Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers, or TROSA, is opening a 100,000-square-foot thrift store in Oxford Commons Shopping Center at 500 N. Roxboro St. in Durham.

TROSA also operates a thrift store and custom picture-framing shop at 1703 E. Geer St in Durham.

Enloe High School aims to raise $75,000 for charity

Enloe High School in Raleigh, which raised over $63,000 last year for SAFEChild, a nonprofit that works to prevent child abuse, has set a goal of raising $75,000 for Inter-Faith Food Shuttle at its Charity Ball on December 6.

Enloe’s Student Council, which organizes the event, has launched a blog about the Charity Ball and is using social media to publicize it and running a Homeroom Wars campaign that aims to raise $15,000, up $10,000 last year. It also has created a “Mobile Tastiness Machine” modeled on the Food Shuttle’s that it is using at events such as football games and concerts to raise funds.

Students also are hosting private dinner parties at their homes to raise money, and Enloe will hold a school-wide fast on November 21 to promote the event, while class councils have volunteered to glean fields and distribute groceries to seniors.

Gala to benefit Bee Mighty

Frenzel Properties, a residential real estate firm in Charlotte, is a sponsor of the Bee Something for Bee Mighty gala on November 15 at Charlotte Country Club.

The event benefits Bee Mighty, a nonprofit that provides financial support for medical therapy for children born prematurely following their stay in a neonatal intensive care unit.

SleepOutChallenge scheduled

The Bethesda Center for the Homeless will hold a #SleepOutChallenge event in downtown Winston-Salem on November 21 to raise awareness around hunger and homelessness in the local area, and to raise funds to support the organizations work in the community.

Lowes Foods holding food drive

Lowes Foods is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its annual “Friends Feeding Friends” food drive through December 31 at its stores in the Carolinas and Virginia.

The drive has provided a total of over 15 meals and is on track to have collected a total of 20 million pound in 2015.

General Mills is donating $20,000 to the drive.

Fundraising event for WakeMed Children’s Hospital

The WakeMed Foundation will hold the 9th Annual Memories for Marcus Fundraiser on December 3 to benefit the WakeMed Children’s Hospital.

The event will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Daily Planet Cafe inside the Nature Research Center of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

Truliant turns to social media to decide charities to support

Truliant Federal Credit Union in Winston-Salem is inviting visitors to its Facebook to vote for 20 charities that will receive $1,000 in grant funding to support operating, programmatic or capacity-building needs.

Truliant has selected 45 grant proposals from a total of 103 nonprofits, and put them in a voting app on Facebook. Voting ends November 21.

In six years, Truliant has donated roughly $160,000 to 150 nonprofits.

Biogen Idec to sponsor North Carolina Science Festival

The Biogen Idec Foundation will be presenting sponsor for the next three years of the North Carolina Science Festival

In 2014, 333,789 North Carolinians in 95 counties participated in the Festival, which included 401 public events and 329 school-based events and is produced by Morehead Planetarium and Science Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

With the grant from the Biogen Idec Foundation, the Festival aims to increase participation to 400,000 North Carolinians in 2015 and to reach one million residents by 2020; expand its geographic reach to all 100 counties in the state; and offer a Festival event within a 30-minute drive of every North Carolinian.

Schwab Charitable grants total over $4.6 billion

Schwab Charitable, a national donor advised fund, says it has received over $10 billion and made over $4.6 billion in grants on behalf of its donors since it was formed 15 years ago.

In the fiscal year that began July 1, 2014, grants already have grown 55 percent, compared to the same period last year, it says, and it expects grants for the fiscal year that ends June 30, 2015, will exceed $1 billion.

Invite your supporters to share stories, ideas

Your donors, volunteers, clients and other supporters work with you because your cause is important to them.

They can be even stronger supporters if you take the time to get to know them and engage them more deeply in your work.

So find out what they think. Invite them to share their stories and ideas about the community needs you address, how the problem affects them, their ideas for fixing it, and the role they play in trying to make a difference.

Then find a way to share their stories with your constituents.

You might run excerpts on your website, newsletter or annual report. Or you might follow up with some of them, ask questions, and then run a longer profile or story.

Your supporters can be great resources and the source of more than just money. By inviting them to tell their stories, you can better engage them and get good ideas and feedback about your cause.

And by sharing their stories with your broader audience, you can help raise awareness about the community needs you address, and expand your circle of support.

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.

Bankers Association works to promote financial literacy

By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina, the 10th most populous state in the U.S., ranks 37th among the states and the District of Columbia in financial literacy, according to WalletHub, which looked at 12 metrics gauging knowledge, education, planning and daily habits related to finance.

Aiming to connect groups and individuals in the state that care about financial literacy, and to stimulate efforts to improve it, the North Carolina Bankers Association Foundation has launched the North Carolina Center for Financial Literacy.

“Financial education matters because no matter what career you have, what path you take, it’s one of the most important parts of your life,” says Jan Dillon, the Center’s director.

The Bankers Association Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the North Carolina Bankers Association, has made financial literacy a focus for at least 21 years through Camp Challenge, a one-week residential camp for middle-school students it has offered each summer since 1993.

Over 9,300 kids have participated in the camp, which features traditional camping activities and daily classes in financial education that examine topics such as credit, saving, investing and entrepreneurship.

The lessons are geared to issues the students actually are thinking about, like buying a car or starting their own business, says Dillon, who designs the financial literacy curriculum for Camp Challenge.

Using digital tablets, for example, campers can go online to find out the cost of buying a car, choose the one they want — many opt for expensive makes such as Maserati or Bugatti — use an auto-loan calculator to determine the monthly cost, then compare that monthly car payment with the monthly pay they could expect to receive from the careers they hope to pursue.

“We’re teaching students at an early age what debt really means,” says Dillon, a 2013 graduate of Elon University School of Law who concedes she got a first-hand lesson about finance when weighing whether to attend Elon, which offered her a scholarship, or another school, which did not.

“Law school is an expensive venture,” she says.

The Bankers Association Foundation expects by the end of the year to launch a campaign to increase its endowment, which now totals $1.4 million, to generate enough income to cover the $175,000 annual cost of operating Camp Challenge.

After operating for 20 years at a 4H camp in Stokes County, Camp Challenge this year relocated to Y Camp Weaver in Greensboro, where its costs nearly doubled, causing it to reduce to 300 from 400 the total number of campers who attend eight one-week sessions.

While it is free, Camp Challenge charges a $10 application fee, and covers costs through money raised in an annual fund campaign.

And next summer, Camp Challenge and Camp Weaver will launch a pilot program for one of two Camp Challenge campers to enroll in a two-week leadership program at Camp Weaver leading to their becoming counselors-in-training and then counselors at Camp Weaver.

The two camps also are talking about Camp Weaver offering to its own campers the personal finance course offered by Camp Challenge.

The new Center for Financial Literacy already has convened a roundtable discussion among officials of financial-services companies, state government and others to talk about financial-literacy education in the state’s public schools.

And it is teaming with Communities in Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg to bring a local professional basketball player to teach a credit lesson in a local middle school.

Ultimately, the Center wants to foster greater understanding and conversation about financial literacy, and private-public partnerships that will increase opportunities for students, adults, seniors, military personnel and veterans to learn about it, Dillon says.

Finance, she says, “can be a stresser or it can be an enabler for positive change.”