Nonprofit news roundup, 02.20.15

Higher education adds $63.5 billion to state’s economy, study says

Institutions of higher education in North Carolina add $63.5 billion to its economy, a new study says.

That combined economic impact from the 16 universities in the University of North Carolina system, from the state’s 36 independent colleges and universities, and from its 58 community colleges, represents roughly 14.6 percent of the “gross state product” of North Carolina, and is equivalent to creating over 1 million jobs, the study says.

And while taxpayers invested $4.3 billion to support higher education in the state in fiscal 2012-13, the return on that investment totaled $17 billion.

Based on data from fiscal 2013, the study was commissioned by the UNC system, North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, and the North Carolina Community College System.

In fiscal 2013, the state’s higher-education institutions spent $10.7 billion on payroll and benefits for over 186,000 full-time and part-time employees, and another $11.3 billion on goods and services, says the study, “Demonstrating the Collective Economic Value of North Carolina’s Higher Education Institutions.” It  was prepared by Economic Modeling Specialists International.

The combined economic impact included $27.9 billion from UNC system schools, $21.4 billion from community colleges, and $14.2 from independent colleges and universities.

Today, the study says, 40 percent of wage earners in the state have received education or training at a North Carolina community college during the last 10 years. Former students contributed a total of $19.6 billion in added state income, or the equivalent of creating more than 322,000 new jobs.

UNC’s 16 universities enroll 222,000 students and confer over 70 percent of all undergraduate and graduate degrees in the state. The added state income generated by those schools are equivalent to creating more than 426,000 new jobs.

UNC alumni contributed $17.9 billion of added income to the state. And added state income created through UNC medical operations, faculty research, and related inventions, patents and start-up companies totals $5.2 billion,or the equivalent of created over 57,000 new jobs in the state.

The 36 independent colleges and universities in the state together enroll nearly 90,000 students, generate over $4 billion in payroll and benefits for over 66,00 full-time and part-time employees, and $6.8 billion in goods and services to carry out day-to-day operations, research and clinical activities.

The total state income they add also includes spending on construction and the spending of students, visitors, start-up companies and alumni, or roughly 3.2 percent of the gross state product, the equivalent of creating nearly 219,600 jobs.

Total spending by institutions of higher education creates more spending across other businesses throughout the state economy, resulting in what are known as “multiplier effects,” the study says.

It says its analysis of the net economic impact of higher education in the state directly takes into account the fact that state and local dollars spent on institutions of higher education could have been spent elsewhere in the state and still would have had an impact on the economy.

North Carolina education lagging, should lead U.S., business group says

North Carolina’s education system is trailing those of other states and needs to improve for the state to succeed in the competitive global economy, a report by a business group says.

A draft report from BEST NC, or Business for Educational Success and Transformation, a nonprofit coalition of business leaders, paints a bleak picture of North Carolina’s readiness to compete in the global economy.

While 67 percent of North Carolina of jobs in the state by 2020 will require some education after high school, for example, only 58 percent of adults in the state in 2013 had reached that level of education, it says.

Last year, it says, 40 percent of North Carolina employers reported “absolutely critical” vacancies.

And only 16 percent of North Carolina students graduate from high school ready for college and careers, while 56 percent of North Carolina’s public school students come from low-income backgrounds and enter school and life “with greater barriers to overcome.”

In its “Proposed North Carolina Education Vision for Discussion,” BEST NC spells out a “vision” that it says will help North Carolina make the highest academic progress in the U.S. by 2020 and lead the U.S. in academic achievement by 2030.

It says those goals can be achieved through “three overarching strategies” that span the “education continuum” from pre-kindergarten through post-graduate study.

Those proposed strategies, spelled out in the draft report, call for:

*Supporting students “early, often and comprehensively” by creating a “seamless system of educational support that provides every student the opportunity to  succeed academically.”

* Elevating educators by putting “teaching and leading on par with other top professions in the nation, fostering the talent we need to help students become highly skilled and prosperous professionals.”

* Raising expectations by “meeting each student where they are and taking them where they need to be to participate and collaborate in the 21st century economy.”

The report is based on over 600 recommendations from 17 working groups and a process that included 52 meetings involving over 300 education “stakeholders” from over 200 organizations throughout the state interested in North Carolina education.

The report says North Carolina’s education system is guided by dozens of “disconnected” local and state strategic education plans, each affecting one or many pieces of education “but with no alignment.”

In the past, the report says, North Carolina has led the U.S. in many aspects of education, and has had a series of visions for education.

“But without a clear vision for over a decade, student academic achievement has flatlined,” it says. “We have seen a slew of well-intentioned but disjointed efforts to improve education, but each has had only moderate success because they are formed and implemented in the absence of a comprehensive vision.”

The report invites feedback through March. Starting in April, the group aims to engage “all education stakeholders in North Carolina to participate in moving North Carolina toward this shared vision.”

Civic engagement in North Carolina on par with rest of U.S., study says

Contrary to widely held views, current levels of civic engagement in North Carolina are no better than national averages, a new study says.

Twenty-six percent of North Carolinians volunteer, compared to 25.4 percent in the U.S., for example, while 53.3 percent of North Carolinians contribute $25 or more to charity, compared to 50.1 percent in the U.S., says the 2015 North Carolina Civic Health Index.

Prepared by the Institute for Emerging Issues at North Carolina State University and produced in partnership with the National Conference on Citizenship, the study measures “civic health,” or the “social vitality that results when citizens interact productively with their neighbors, involve themselves in community institutions, and actively engage in public issues.”

In some measures, the study says, North Carolina departs from national averages.

North Carolinians, for example, participate at higher levels in schools, neighborhoods, community groups and religious institutions, compared to national averages, and at lower rates in sporting and recreational groups.

North Carolinians have lower trust in the media than the national average, and a high number of veterans who are “engagement superstars,” the study says.

Other findings include:

* Young adults’ participation rates on several measures lag those of older adults by more than 25 percentage points.

* Young adults have more trust in corporations, the media and public schools than older adults.

* African Americans and Latinos in North Carolina report lower levels of civic participation than whites and non-Latinos.

* Families with incomes above $75,000 report civic engagement levels that far outpace those of families with incomes of no more than $35,000 on most, if not all, measures.

* Individuals with at least a bachelor’s degree are much more engaged for most measures than those with only a high-school diploma.

* Rural and urban communities are more challenged to engage residents than suburban communities, with rural residents reporting substantially less volunteering activity.

In 25 years, the study says, North Carolina will be one of the seven most-populous “mega-states” and likely will become a state in which minorities together constitute the majority of residents. The state also is “quickly greying, browning and urbanizing,” it says.

Yet  despite its “impressively advanced economy and leadership in many high-growth industries, median household incomes in our state are flat, the income gap is widening, and we are seeing rising poverty in our urban centers,” the study says.

Higher levels of civic engagement, it says, “will strengthen North Carolina communities and differentiate the state economically in an increasingly competitive world.”

Forsyth groups lead in statewide United Way awards

For the second straight year, organizations in Forsyth County received the most Spirit of North Carolina Awards from United Way of North Carolina recognizing commitment and support to the community through local United Way involvement. 

Of the 42 Spirit awards presented at the February 13 annual meeting and awards luncheon by United Way of North Carolina 11 Forsyth County groups received the award.

They include Aladdin Travel and Meeting Planners, BB&T, City of Winston-Salem, Deere-Hitachi, First Community Bank, First Tennessee Bank, HanesBrands, Pepsico, Reynolds American, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, and Wake Forest University.

In a special recognition, Reynolds American won the state Excellence in Community Spirit award, given to a single company that shows the most outstanding community support based on year-round commitment through leadership and advocacy for community change, building a culture of volunteerism, and investing resources to improve quality of life for all. 

Five Greensboro groups honored by United Way

Five Greensboro organizations have received Spirit of North Carolina Awards from United Way of North Carolina recognizing their commitment and support to the community through local United Way involvement. 

Recipients of the award for their support of Unted Way of Greater Greensboro includeVF Corporation; Guilford County Human Resources Department; City of Greensboro and Guilford County Employee Campaign; E.P. Pearce Elementary School; and Guilford County Schools.

High Point University honored by United Way

High Point University received a 2014 “Spirit of North Carolina” award from United Way of North Carolina, marking the third straight year it has received the award.

The school raised $225,000 in 2014 to support United Way of Greater High Point and its 28 partner agencies. That was 13 percent more than it raised last year and an increase of nearly 500 percent from 2005.

Ellis-Stewart joints Mental Health Association

Ericka Ellis-Stewart, principal of GoodStewarts Consulting and at-large representative on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, has joined the Mental Health Association of Central Carolinas in Charlotte as donor relations specialist.

Variety show to benefit two nonprofits

Just Right Academy and Mental Health America of the Triangle, both in Durham, will benefit from an all-volunteer variety radio show that will be held on February 21 at the recently restored Murphey School in rural Orange county.

The ninth Murphey School Radio Show since October 2011 will include a matinee at 3 p.m. and a repeat performance at 7 p.m. The .

Seating is limited to 150 in the auditorium of the recently restored Murphey School. Two performances are planned for Saturday. The evening performance will be recorded for broadcast on WCHL 97.9 FM.

The Historic Murphey School is located at 3717 Murphey School Rd. at the intersection with Old NC 10.

The show is a program of the Shared Visions Foundation and is produced by Minnow Media.

Habitat Greensboro launches effort to pool contributions

Humanity of Greater Greensboro has launched a new initiative, Building on Faith, that aims to quickly pool contributions from multiple faith-based groups to support new housing.

The effort, which also includes study materials, devotions and volunteer opportunities for congregations, already has generated contributions from 31 churches.

It will kick off on February 28 with the start of two new houses at 3602 and 3604 Holts Chapel Road.

Health underwriters to meet

Rebecca Shigley, deputy commissioner of the Agent Services Division of the North Carolina Department of Insurance, will be the speaker at the March 3 meeting of the Triad Association of Health Underwriters.

She will talk about rebating regulations. The event will will be held at Starmount Forest Country Club in Greensboro and begin at 11:45 A.M.

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