Nonprofit news roundup, 02.13.15

UNC shortchanges fundraising, its fundraising chief says

The fundraising chief at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill told its board of trustees the school has not been reaching out to donors properly and has “significantly underinvested” in his office, the school’s student newspaper reports.

UNC spokesman Scott Ragland told The Daily Tar Heel that at a trustees meeting in January, David Routh, vice chancellor for university development, “was referring to the extent to which we’ve invested in development infrastructure, such as personnel, including front-line fundraisers.”

Routh, former managing director for U.S. Trust/Bank of America Private Wealth Management in Raleigh, and former director of gift planning at UNC-Chapel Hill, was named vice chancellor for university development in September 2013.

In addition to his annual salary of $395,000, Routh can earn incentive pay of up to 25 percent of his base pay by meeting goals set by Chancellor Carol Folt, according to deal Folt proposed and the board approved.

UNC is gearing up for a comprehensive campaign to raise as much as $4 billion, according to a Business North Carolina report last summer.

The magazine said Routh envisions an eight-year campaign, including a two-year silent phase.

Roger Perry, former chairman of the school’s board of trustees and a Chapel Hill developer, told the magazine UNC was raising $250 million to $300 million a year but needed to be raising $350 million to $400 million.

Inter-Faith Food Shuttle names executive director

Dave Koch, executive director at Atria Southpoint Walk Senior Living in Durham, has been named executive director of Inter-Faith Food Shuttle in Raleigh.

Koch will be responsible for daily operations.

Jill Staton Bullard, the nonprofit’s CEO and co-founder, is moving to a more external role focusing on community development, long-range system change, advocacy, and strategic fund development.

Tubaugh new executive director at HandyCapable Network

Anne Tubaugh, former associate executive director at the North Carolina Humanities Council, which recently relocated to Charlotte from Greensboro, has been named executive director of HandyCapable Network in Greensboro.

Breit to join Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina

Eric Breit, interim executive director at PLM Families Together in Raleigh, will join Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina in March as director of policy and systems initiatives.

Charitable giving grows 2.1 percent

Overall charitable giving in the U.S. grew 2.1 percent in 2014, while online giving grew 8.9 percent, a new report says.

Online giving accounted for roughly 6.7 percent of total fundraising revenue, excluding grants, says the 2014 Charitable Giving Report from Blackbaud.

The report is based on overall giving data from 4,798 nonprofits representing $16.2 billion in total fundraising in 2014, and online giving data from 3,724 nonprofits representing $2 billion in online fundraising in 2014.

Blackbaud reports lower profits

Blackbaud, a provider of software and services for nonprofits, said its net income fell for the three months and year ended Dec. 31, 2014, while revenue for both periods grew.

Net income for the fourth-quarter fell to $4.8 million, or 26 cents a share, from $11.8 million, or 26 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier.

Total revenue for the period grew to $152.8 million from $134.9 million.

Net income for the year fell to $28.3 million, or 62 cents a share, from $30.5 million, or 67 cents a share, the previous year.

Blackbaud’s board of directors approved a first-quarter 2015 dividend of 12 cents a share, payable on March 13 to stockholders of record on February 27.

Guilford College gets $500,000

An anonymous donor has made a commitment to give $500,000 to Guilford College in Greensboro.

The gift will support the William R. Rogers Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies Endowed Fund.

Named for Bill Rogers, who was Guilford’s president from 1980 to 1996, the fund will support the position of Friends Center director.

Max Carter, leader of the center since 1990, has been named the first William R. Rogers Director of Friends Center. Among other duties, the director teaches Quakerism and Quaker studies in the Department of Religious Studies.

Bailey’s Fine Jewelry gives over $56,000

Bailey’s Fine Jewelry in Raleigh donated over $56,000 to local charities in 2014 through a program that provides customers with a complimentary watch battery replacement and in exchange requests that a donation be made to a charity the jeweler selects each month.

Since launching the program in 2008, Bailey’s has donated over $231,000 to charities in Raleigh, Rocky Mount, Greenville and Fayetteville, where its stores are located.

Compass Center for Women and Families to host art exhibition

The Compass Center for Women and Families in Chapel Hill will host its annual art exhibition on March 6, with proceeds supporting the self-sufficiency, adolescent empowerment and domestic violence crisis services it provides for women, men and children.

Winston-Salem Foundation gives $423,000

The Winston-Salem Foundation awarded 25 community grants totaling $422,896.

SAFEHaven for Cats gets $10,000

Snowflake Animal Rescue has awarded a $10,000 grant to SAFEHaven for Cats in Raleigh to provide financial assistance for 200 pet owners and perform sterilization services for their pets.

Forsyth United Way names board members

United Way of Forsyth County named seven new members to its board of directors, including Doug Debrecht, vice president of information technology and chief information officer at B/E Aerospace; Debra Donahue, director of the Forsyth County Department of Social Services.; Beverly Emory, superintendent of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools; Rogan Kersh, provost of Wake Forest University; Martha Logemann, owner of Logemann & Co.; David Martin, Pepsi Beverages Company; and Betty Lou Vontsolos, senior vice president for client services at Inmar and chair of United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council.

Rooted in community

By Todd Cohen

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

DURHAM, N.C. — Community service is built into Jim Stewart’s DNA.

His mother’s uncle, C.C. Spaulding, was an early executive of North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, which became the largest black-owned business in the U.S. and, with Mechanics and Farmers Bank, and Mutual Savings and Loan, served as the core of the Parrish Street section of Durham that was known as “Black Wall Street.”

His father, John S. “Shag” Stewart, was president of Mutual Savings and Loan, and served on the Durham City Council from 1954 to 1971, and as mayor pro-tem in 1970-71, during critical years of the Civil Rights Movement.

“I think it’s a moral duty of everyone to try to help improve the lives of everyone, particularly those who have less than we do,” says Stewart, owner of Stewart Commercial Real Estate, board chair of Mechanics and Farmers Bank, and incoming board chair for Triangle Community Foundation.

Early lessons

Stewart’s father and mother were deeply involved in business, entrepreneurship and real estate, and “those were the skills that we learned,” he says.

“He and my mother always preached, ‘Save your money, savings is the basis of anybody’s life,'” says Stewart. “As you grow in business, their concern was always that everyone had decent housing, access to health care, and education. The more successful you are, the more you need to give back and spend time, money and effort helping the community.”

His parents taught him about the importance of education, about business and about giving back.

His mother, Otelia Spaulding Stewart, a graduate of North Carolina College — now North Carolina Central University — was a pianist who encouraged him to take piano lessons when he attended C.C. Spaulding Elementary School, which was named for his great uncle.

“I quit early and wish I had stuck with it,” he says, although he did play alto saxophone in the band and marching band at Whitted Junior High School before attending Hillside High School.

As a child, he sometimes accompanied his father to work. And at age 11, he started cutting grass at his father’s housing projects for $1 an hour.

Years later, when his father was the volunteer chief fundraiser for Lincoln Community Health Center — a primary care facility that was built on the site of the former Lincoln Hospital, the hospital for African Americans where Jim Stewart was born — “he asked me for money,” Stewart says.

He also remembers a key role his father played in the startup of Triangle Community Foundation.

Shag Stewart introduced Shannon St. John, founding executive director of Triangle Community Foundation, to potential donors, “trying to raise money to get the foundation started,” Stewart says. “I knew how passionate he was about it. It’s in my genes.”

College and career

Stewart, 66, wanted to be a helicopter pilot when he grew up.

“I didn’t know about war and Vietnam,” he says. “I just liked mechanical things.”

He received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, where he also completed the ROTC program, then got a job as a junior engineer at IBM in Research Triangle Park before entering the U.S. Army.

He spent a year at Fort Eustis in Virginia, teaching data processing, then spent three years in Heidelberg, Germany, working as a plans officer, handling budgeting, correspondence and acquisition of supplies. He completed his four-year tour in 1975 as a first lieutenant.

After mustering out of the Army, Stewart returned to IBM, and in 1982 moved to the marketing division as a systems engineer working to help install and maintain software systems for big customers like banks and insurance companies.

He left IBM in 1997, when he was a senior market support representative providing support for a network management tool, to found Stewart Commercial Real Estate, which works as a brokerage and consultant for commercial real estate, mainly in Durham.

Stewart, who received an MBA from N.C. State in 2009, also runs two other family businesses. They include Clearview Housing Corp., a commercial real estate holding company his father founded in 1951 to provide housing to low-income people, and Majaja Inc., a real estate holding company founded in the 1970s that takes its name from the first two letters of the first names of Stewart and his sisters Jan and Marie, who died in 2011.

Life in the Triangle

Growing up and spending most of his life in Durham has enriched Stewart’s life with longstanding relationships he values, and with the heritage of a city built on leading institutions and industries in diverse fields, including higher education, financial services, tobacco and health care, he says.

Like other communities in the Triangle, he says, Durham has experienced significant growth powered by the region’s strong mix of universities, business and research.

But growth and the affluence it has helped fuel also have generated big challenges like traffic and have masked nagging problems tied to poverty, Stewart says.

“One of the challenges we have is to plan this out,” he says. “We’re talking about light rail, which I think would help avoid some of the problems that [other] large areas already are seeing.”

While “sometimes politically it’s difficult to channel resources where they can do the most good,” he says, the Triangle needs to continue to develop its infrastructure to keep pace with its growth.


Stewart says he learned the importance of hard work, giving back and community service from his parents.

His father ran for the seat on the Durham City Council that represented the black community because “the community needed a business leader to take over that seat after R.N. Harris stepped down,” he says.

And while he admired and learned from his father’s “outgoing style and his ability to work with people,” particularly his effort to work with whites to find peaceful solutions to integrate society during the turbulent era of the early 1960s, he says, he never has wanted to pursue politics himself.

“I keep up with it,” he says. “I contribute to it. I get involved. But I’ve never had the itch to run for anything.”

Stewart is married to Frances Dyer, a retired lawyer who worked mainly in the area of estates and real estate. Their son, Justin, is a biomedical engineer who lives in Tampa, Fla., with his wife and two children, ages 18 and 16.

Stewart, who enjoys spending summers and holidays at a home his family owns at North Topsail Beach, says he has little spare time for hobbies.

“What I do for fun is when I take time out and create,” he says. “When I go to the beach, I’m working on something.”

He says he does take time for sports — he is a big N.C. State Wolfpack fan — and as he and his wife “get to the fourth quarter of our lives, we’re starting to travel more.”

A big part of his life is his role as board chair at Mechanics and Farmers Bank, which was a cornerstone of Black Wall Street and has been in existence for 108 years.

“We continue to grow and thrive,” he says.

A member of White Rock Baptist Church, Stewart says what inspires him most is his faith.

Giving back

A member of the board of visitors at N.C. State and its Chancellor’s African American Advisory Council, Stewart created the James A. Stewart Scholarship Endowment Fund at the university to support “kids who are in need and are from underserved populations.”

Higher education is critical because it is “a ticket to success,” he says, but he also has learned about the importance of early education from his work on the board of the John Avery Boys & Girls Club in Durham.

“The kids we serve don’t have a lot of opportunity,” he says. “We help to support them in their education, helping with homework and tutoring — priority one after they get there after school and get a hot meal. It’s important. They may not get it otherwise.”

The Club also gives kids experiences, such as field trips to museums and college campuses, that they otherwise might not have, he says.

At Triangle Community Foundation, Stewart and his wife created the James A. Stewart and Frances Dyer Fund, a donor advised fund that has supported scholarships, the Foundation’s Send a Kid to Camp program, and religious institutions, among other causes.

“What inspires me,” he says, “is going to events and hearing stories about where people have been helped so much by philanthropy and what we do with the Foundation and the Boys & Girls Club.”

Caring for people with disabilities, mental illness

By Todd Cohen

[Note: This was written for Easter Seals UCP.]

RALEIGH, N.C. — Individuals in central North Carolina struggling both with developmental disabilities and mental illness are getting better care, more quickly, and at lower costs, thanks to a pioneering state-funded program of Easter Seals UCP.

Durham-based NC START Central, the Easter Seals UCP program, now has become the first of its kind in the U.S. to gain certification from the New Hampshire-based Center for START Services, which developed the model for the program.

With that certification, NC START Central has emerged as a leading provider and champion in addressing the critical needs of the nearly 6,500 individuals in 26 counties in central North Carolina who face the critical and often-undiagnosed challenge of living both with development disabilities and mental illness.

“Expertise is sorely lacking for diagnosing and caring for people who face those dual conditions,” says Jill Hinton, vice president for clinical services at Easter Seals UCP and a member of the training team at the Center for START Services that helps other states develop and operate START programs.

“As a result, many individuals with those dual conditions are misdiagnosed, do not get the care they need, and can spend lengthy and unnecessary stays in psychiatric hospitals at significant cost to taxpayers,” Hinton says.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, which in 2008 was looking for a way to improve services and reduce the cost of care for individuals living with development disabilities and mental illness, selected Easter Seals UCP to create a program for central North Carolina based on the evidence-based model developed by the Center for START Services.

The Center, a program of the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire, supports START programs that serve or will serve clients in 17 states and Canada.

Easter Seals UCP launched NC START Central in 2009, and each year serves over 300 individuals, who typically are referred by families, caregivers, residential group homes, hospital emergency rooms, law enforcement agencies, and other groups.

NC START Central acts as a broker and provider of services. It also serves as a consultant to other agencies, helps coordinate and link with their services, and works to raise awareness about people living both with developmental disabilities and mental illness. Its goals are more accurate and speedier diagnosis, a more coordinated and efficient system of delivering services, more effective care, and lower costs of care.

“Individuals living with developmental disabilities and mental illness should get the right services in the right place at the right time with better outcomes at lower costs,” Hinton says.

Operating with an annual budget of $1.1 million, NC START Central fields a team that includes four social workers who help coordinate services among multiple agencies that serve people living with those dual conditions. The team also includes a psychiatrist and a psychologist.

Many individuals with those conditions can find themselves in emergency rooms, most often because of aggressive behavior that may trigger the involvement of law-enforcement agencies. If emergency room staff then diagnose mental illness, for example, and suspect the individual also may have a developmental disability, they will contact the NC START team.

The team can provide a thorough assessment, and then link the person to other agencies that can provide appropriate support and services. The team continues to monitor the individual, as well as the care and services the individual receives. It also can provide expertise and support for other agencies serving the person.

NC START Central also operates a four-bed Resource Center in Durham that provides therapeutic crisis support for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities, and keeps them out of hospitals.

NC START Central received its certification based on completing extensive training, including 55 hours of video and taped courses for each of its team’s four coordinators, as well as on-the-job training the coordinators received while working with clients.

The START model is a “collaborative linkage” model, so the team also had to demonstrate a team approach using clinical and medical expertise, demonstrate effective outreach into the community, and demonstrate positive outcomes. It also had to show it was using and had mastered the model’s evidence-based practices and its approach to linking support systems. 

In the 25 counties NC START Central serves, nearly 22,000 adults live with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Based on national trends, an estimated 20 percent to 35 percent of those adults, or nearly 6,500 individuals, also live with behavioral, mental or personality disorders that require specialized services.

While the state provides $1.1 million to cover the annual operating costs of NC START Central, those funds represent about half of the cost needed to effectively address the needs of individuals in central North Carolina living both with developmental disabilities and mental illness.

The cost to NC START Central of serving an individual totals about $6,000 a year. That is a fraction of the costs of psychiatric hospitals or the frequent use of emergency rooms.  When NC START Central receives crisis calls, the team is able over 75 percent of the time to support the system to keep the individuals in their current setting.  That eliminates the need for services that are more expensive and often inappropriate.

“Individuals with this dual condition who are misdiagnosed have difficulty accessing appropriate supports in a timely manner and can end up in a psychiatric hospital or utilizing expensive emergency services,” Hinton says. “For a fraction of the cost of hospitalization for people who may not even need to be hospitalized, NC START Central can improve the quality of their lives and the care they receive.”

NC START Central is one of three START programs in North Carolina that have served over 1,200 individuals since 2009. The other two programs are based in New Bern and Statesville and operated by RHA Health Services.

Nonprofit news roundup, 02.06.15

N.C. Community Foundation gets $20 million bequest

The North Carolina Community Foundation has received a $20 million bequest from a Wilmington philanthropist.

The gift from the estate of Louise Oriole Burevitch, who died in September 2014 at age 97, will support an endowment created at the Foundation in 2008 at her direction.

The Foundation expects by this summer to establish a grants committee to administer a grants program to support areas of interest Burevitch had identified.

Beth Boney Jenkins, who is vice president of development at the Foundation and worked for many years on philanthropic matters with Burevitch, says her charitable interests focused mainly on animal causes, education, and women and children.

Big gap found in local spending on N.C. schools

North Carolina’s 10 highest-spending counties spend $56,758 more per classroom, on average, than the 10 lowest-spending counties, a new study says.

In 2012-13, the real-estate “capacity” — local property-tax base — available per student in the 10 wealthiest counties averaged over $2 million, compared with only $339,146 in the 10 poorest counties, says the 2014 Local School Finance Study from the Public School Forum of North Carolina.

The gap has widened by over $1.2 million since the 1997 Leandro decision by the North Carolina Supreme Court that held all children living in North Carolina have a fundamental state constitutional right to the “opportunity to receive a sound basic education.”

The 10 highest-spending counties spend $2,855 per child, on average, compared to $672 per child in the 10 lowest-spending counties.

Orange County spent $4,145 per child, the most of any county, and roughly the same amount per child as the seven lowest-spending counties combined, and more than 10 times the total spent by Swain County, which spent $384 per child, the least of any county.

Wealthier counties “are able to spend more on schools while simultaneously making less taxing effort,” says the Public School Forum, which this year for the first time included charter-school enrollment in its annual study. “Because wealthier counties have more taxable resources, they can keep taxes low while still generating significant revenues.”

At the same time, counties with fewer taxable resources “need to make greater taxing effort to support their schools at comparable levels,” the Public School Forum says.

U.S. colleges, universities raise $37.45 billion

Charitable giving to U.S. colleges and universities grew 10.8 percent in 2014 to $37.45 billion, the highest rate of growth since 2000, when giving grew 13.7 percent, a new study says.

The total given was the biggest since 1957, when the Voluntary Support of Education survey, conducted by the Council for Aid to Education, was launched.

Gifts from alumni grew 9.4 percent, gifts from non-alumni grew 4.8 percent, and contributions from organizations grew by double-digit percentages.

Gifts for current operations grew 7.9 percent, and gifts for capital purposes grew 15.1 percent.

Harvard University raised $1.16 billion, the most of any school, and followed by Stanford University which raised $928 million, and the University of Southern California, which raised nearly $732 million.

The 20 schools that raised the most generated a total of $10.7 billion, or 28.6 percent of all gifts to higher-education institutions in the U.S.

Duke raises $437.4 million, most among N.C. colleges and universities

Duke University raised $437.4 million in 2014, the most of any college or university in North Carolina, says the Voluntary Support of Education survey conducted by the Council for Aid to Education.

Trailing Duke among the 12 North Carolina schools that raised the most were the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, $298.8 million; North Carolina State University, $117.5 million; Wake Forest University, $91.8 million; Davidson College, $45.9 million; East Carolina University, $18.7 million; Elon University, $16.5 million; UNC-Charlotte, $15.4 million; Queens University of Charlotte, $14.6 million; Appalachian State University, $14.5 million; Catawba College, $13.5 million; and UNC-Greensboro, $10.6 million.

Investment returns on education endowments grow

Investments returns for endowments at 832 U.S. colleges and universities with a total of $516 billion in investment assets averaged 15.5 percent, net of fees, in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2014, up from 11.7 percent a year earlier, a new study says.

Seventy-four percent of schools responding to the 2014 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments said they increased their spending from endowments to support student financial aid, faculty research and other activities, with a median increase of 9.3 percent.

Annual endowment funds accounted for 9.2 percent, on average, of schools’ total operating budgets, up from 8.8 percent a year earlier.

Domestic equities generated the highest return in fiscal 2014, 22.8 percent, net of fees, followed by international equities, 5.1 percent, and short-term securities, cash and other, 1.9 percent.

Returns for all five assets classes were higher in fiscal 2014 than a year earlier.

Financial outlook seen worsening

Eighteen percent of Americans said in a new survey they planned to give more in 2015, up from 13 percent in 2014.

Saying they plan to give more were 33 percent of African-Americans, and 28 percent of people who attend religious services more than once a week, says the 2015 Dunham+Company/Wilson Perkins Allen State of Philanthropy Study.

Conducted for Dunham+Company by Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research, the study is based on phone interviews with 1,015 adults.

Of the African-Americans who said they planned to give more this year, 50 percent make less than $35,000 a year, 49 percent attend religious services at least once a week and 45 percent live in the South.

Only 8 percent of Americans said they planned to give less this year compared to 24 percent in 2014.

Twenty-five percent said their personal financial situation improved in the last year, down from 35 percent who said that a year ago.

And 26 percent of households said their financial condition had worsened, up from just 19 percent a year ago.

Among those making less than $35,000 a year, 36 percent said their financial condition was worse, up from 26 percent a year ago.

Forty-five percent of those who make $100,000 or more a year said their financial situation had improved, down from 51 percent a year ago, and 43 percent said it had stayed the same.

Center on Wealth and Philanthropy closing

The Center on Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College is shutting down, the Boston Globe reported.

Paul Schervish and John Havens, the two leaders of the Center, are retiring and not interested in continuing to raise the money needed to keep it open, the Globe reported.

Founded in 1970, the Center is known for a report that estimated $40 trillion in wealth would be transferred between generations over a period of 50 years, with at least $6 trillion of that going to charity.

Charitable giving reported to improve well-being

New research finds that donating to charity can improve a giver’s physical and emotional well-being, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The research by Baris K. Yoruk, an associate professor of economics at the University at Albany of the State University of New York and published in the Journal of Economic Psychology, also suggests a link between increases in charitable tax subsidies and improvements in the perceptions people have of their own health, the newspaper reported.

Reynolda House launches $5 million campaign

Reynolda House in Winston-Salem has kicked off a $5 million capital campaign that already has raised 83 percent of its goal, including a $1 million commitment from the Reynolds American Foundation.

The campaign, “Reynolda at 100,” is timed to end with centennial of the estate of tobacco magnate R.J. Reynolds and the 50th anniversary of the Museum, both in 2017.

The campaign is raising funds to help pay for a range of projects and endowment to support the museums.

Projects to be funded include capital improvements such as restoration and preservation of the landscape; updates to heating, ventilation and cooling systems; a catalog featuring new scholarship on the museum’s collection and new tools for sharing the Reynolda story throughout the estate using technology and signage; and a series of public events planned to celebrate the centennial.

The Museum’s campaign is part of Wake Will: The Campaign for Wake Forest, announced by Wake Forest University in 2013.

Reynolda House formally affiliated with the university in 2002.

Co-chairing the museum’s campaign are Dianne Blixt, president of the museum’s board of directors, and Tom Lambeth, former president of its board of directors and former executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

Winston-Salem Hospice leader joins task force on Alzheimer’s

The Carolinas Center for Hospice and End of Life Care, an association representing over 100 hospice providers in the Carolinas, has been invited by the Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine to participate in its year-long efforts to define a plan for managing Alzheimer’s disease in the state.

Linda Darden, president and CEO of Hospice & Palliative CareCenter in Winston-Salem, will represent The Carolinas Center for Hospice and End of Life Care on the task force.

The Institute is holding the Task Force in partnership with the Division on Aging and Adult Services of the state Department of Health and Human Services; AARP North Carolina; Alzheimer’s NC; the Alzheimer’s Association; and LeadingAge NC.

Lawson joins Museum of Life and Science

Jean Lawson, major gifts coordinator at Hospice of Wake County Foundation, has been named manager of development at the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science.

Meyer named special events manager at Stop Hunger Now

Jane Meyer, executive assistant at Stop Hunger Now in Raleigh, has been named special events manager.

Youth Villages North Carolina gets $860,000

Youth Villages North Carolina has received $860,000 from Phillips Foundation to support a program that provides access to transitional-living services for youth who age out of the foster-care, juvenile-justice and mental-health systems in Guilford County.

Financial Pathways gets $50,000

Financial Pathways of the Piedmont has received a two-year, $50,000 grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation to support a pilot a new effort by the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Asset Building Coalition to improve the financial security and stability of local residents.

Old Salem gets $25,000

Old Salem has received a two-year, $25 ,000 grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation to support its capital campaign to restore the 1794 Boys’ School.

Habitat Greensboro names new board members

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Greensboro has named new members of its board of directors. They include Rob Arnett, M/A/R/C Research; Jim Compton, Davenport & Co.; Kellye Gordon, VF Corporation; John Hodgin, John Hodgin Construction; Sarah Hutchinson, CCCS of Greater Greensboro; Margaret Kantlehner, Elon School of Law; Ike Oglesby, Oglesby Realty; Gayle Rose, Girl Scouts Carolinas; and Jim Wilkie, Compass Financial Partners.

Davidson County Hospice offers volunteer training

Hospice of Davidson County has scheduled a training session for new volunteers. The sessions will be held February 17 through February 19 from 1 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Administrative Building on the campus of Hospice of Davidson County at 200 Hospice Way in Lexington.

Event to benefit Pat’s Place

Pat’s Place Child Advocacy Center in Charlotte will hold its 2nd Annual Rhythm & Brews event at the Peninsula Club on March 28.

Our Towns Habitat to hold ReStore event

Our Towns Habitat for Humanity will hold its fifth annual ReStore ReStyle event on April 28 at its Mooresville ReStore at 121 Norman Station Blvd. in Mooresville.

Giving with a big heart

By Todd Cohen

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

MORRISVILLE, N.C. — As a child growing up in Houston, Tex., Bob Johnston learned the importance of going beyond one’s means to help people in need. His father, a firefighter and then a long-time employee of the U.S. Post Office, and his mother, a bookkeeper, were devout Southern Baptists who took seriously the Biblical prescription for tithing and never failed to give 10 percent of their income to charity.

“They did that even when they definitely needed the money,” Johnston says. “That came off the top for them. As I grew older and realized the sacrifices they made to help people who were less well off than themselves, I asked, ‘How does a person who’s financially secure shows their kids this principle without the example of sacrificing?'”

As a teenager, Johnston promised himself that if he ever had children, he would create a pool of funds and involve his children in deciding which charities to support with that money.

Then, in the late 1990s, after co-founding AlphaVax, a vaccine-maker in Durham, and serving as its CEO and chairman, Johnston talked to Triangle Community Foundation and learned he could create a donor advised fund that would make it “possible for people of ordinary means” to create the type of family philanthropy he envisioned.

So he created the Howard Allen Johnston Fund, named for his brother who was killed at age 20 in an automobile accident.

Johnston and his four daughters, ages 22 to 46, have focused their giving from the fund on agencies in the Triangle that serve homeless people, and on local food banks.

“Food, shelter and clothing,” says Johnston, who is founder and executive director of Global Vaccines, a nonprofit in Morrisville. “They’re pretty basic. There are many people in our society who lack one or more of those.”

How things work

Johnston hails from four or five generations of Texans. His parents attended the same Houston high school where Lyndon B. Johnson, the future U.S. president, was teaching, although they were not in any of his classes. And while neither of Johnston’s parents went to college, they both taught him a lot about life and how to live it, he says.

“My mother had a pretty tough life growing up,” he says. “She was a very smart and very tough woman.”

His father was “a little more easy going, more athletic type, with a great sense of humor,” he says. “Hardly a day goes by I don’t quote him.”

From an early age, Johnston says, he was curious about “what made things work,” a fascination that led him to major in biology at Rice University and get a Ph.D. in microbiology at the University of Texas.

Having been raised in a religious home, he says, “I learned that giving to other people, doing something for other people, was about the highest calling you could have.”

So from the time he was a teenager, he “always hoped that at some point I could do something in biology that would help the world or some small part of it.”

Academia and research

In 1976, Ph.D. in hand, Johnston got a job as an assistant professor of microbiology at North Carolina State University, where he rose through the ranks to became a professor and also an adjunct professor at what is now the College of Veterinary Medicine at N.C. State. And in 1989, he moved to the School of Medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill as a professor of microbiology and immunology.

Then, in 1997, he co-founded AlphaVax, which initially worked on a vaccine for HIV but later switched its focus to making vaccines for viruses related to herpes — a shift Johnston did not favor.

“The biotech road is littered with with companies that tried to make vaccines for herpes-type viruses,” he says.

Vaccines for poor countries

In 2002, Johnston founded Global Vaccines “to harness new technologies to make vaccines for diseases in developing countries,” he says.

The nonprofit aims to address a gap in the market for vaccines, Johnston says.

For-profit vaccine companies typically license new technologies from universities that develop them, but then have no profit incentive to apply those technologies to diseases for which there often is little or no market, “so diseases that affect billions never benefit,” he says.

“We want to intercept those technologies, apply them to poor countries for these diseases, and see if we could make a difference in the world,” he says.

Global Vaccines has licensed two technologies from UNC-Chapel Hill, including one invented in his lab there that it continues to work on. It has developed an “adjuvant,” or agent, to increase the immune response of vaccines, including one for dengue fever.

Known as “break-bone fever,” the mosquito-transmitted disease is “absolutely rampant in poor countries,” with 400 million cases a year and 2.5 billion people at risk for infection, Johnston says.

Global Vaccines, which employs half-a-dozen people working full-time and part-time, has received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

And while it has not yet brought a vaccine to market, Johnston says, “we’ve got a mighty big heart.”

Making life better

A big heart also could be a metaphor for Johnston’s approach to giving.

Philanthropy is “helping people who don’t have as much as you do, or who haven’t had the opportunities or for that matter the luck that you have had,” he says. “By that definition, everybody can be a philanthropist. The amount doesn’t matter; it’s the act.”

What inspires him, he says, are “ordinary people doing extraordinary things relative to their capacity, ordinary people going beyond themselves to do something extraordinary.”

Life in the Triangle

In addition to the Triangle’s “weather and livability,” what Johnston likes about the region is that it is “intellectually dynamic,” he says. “So many people have good ideas and they put them into practice here. It’s just intellectually a stimulating place.”

The region also faces big challenges. To deal with the traffic its growth has created, the Triangle has opted for the traditional strategy of simply building more roads, he says.

“That’s a big error,” he says. “We need a light rail system and we need it about a decade ago. If we don’t get on that right now, we’re going to have just the same traffic mess as Houston and L.A. and just about every city. We shouldn’t worry about where existing rail lines are. We need to build mass transit.”

He also believes the region need more affordable child care and pre-kindergarten education.

In his own childhood, “my mom was home,” he says. “My grandfather and grandmother were right across the road. My aunt was home. We just had a wonderful childhood. A lot of that was the contributions of our mothers and grandmothers. In today’s world, mom and grandmom are at work. They have to be. So what happens with the kids? You see the result of that.”

Impossible dreams

Johnston says he retired from UNC so he could devote himself to his work at Global Vaccines. And while he keeps a small sailboat on Albermarle Sound, he rarely finds time to actually sail it.

“My hobby is thinking about going down there,” he says.

But he holds onto the dream.

When he was a teenager, he says, he once visited some friends who lived west of Houston on a ranch with a lake, where he tried to learn how to waterski. When he had placed his feet in the skis and adjusted the tow-rope, the pilot of the boat threw the throttle wide open, and nearly jerked the rope out of Johnston’s hands. He initially stood up and skied for about 10 feet, then fell under water but held on for another 30 feet before he let go.

“I think sometimes I hold onto things too long, even as an adult,” he says. “I don’t know when to quit. There’s a lot of Don Quixote in me.”

But Johnston says impossible dreams are what keep him going.

His late wife, Jane Johnston, a nurse in the neonatal unit at WakeMed in Raleigh who died of breast cancer, devoted her life to saving the lives of children born prematurely.

“We both had the same goals,” he says. “But she had the reward of seeing positive results right away. What I’m doing is something now that might help people in 15 or 20 years or after I die.”

Students’ ethical thinking focus of college competition

By Todd Cohen

[Note: This was written for North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities.]

RALEIGH, N.C. — At Martin Marietta, an employee was terminated years ago after being found to have accepted gifts from a vendor, while another employee lost his job after admitting he had filled his personal vehicle with gas at a company pump.

“Violating our code of ethical conduct is a sure, automatic termination,” says Anne Lloyd, executive vice president and chief financial officer at the Raleigh-based company.

While actual cases of fraud are rare at Martin Marietta, which employs 7,000 people, the company in the past has terminated senior-level and long-tenured employees for violations of ethical and business conduct, Lloyd says, and employers everywhere should be vigilant in helping their employees avoid improper behavior.

Critical thinking for the real world – specifically, ethics in education — will be the focus of the fourth annual NCICU Ethics Bowl, which will be held February 6 and 7 at the Campbell University School of Law in Raleigh.

More than 100 college students from 20 of the state’s independent colleges and universities will participate in this year’s competition, which is a program of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, the statewide office for the state’s 36 independent nonprofit colleges and universities.

“Students need to understand that corporate America values ethical behavior and appreciates the dilemmas that are often in the day-to-day actions that we take,” says Lloyd, who has served for four years as a member of the planning committee for the Ethics Bowl. Martin Marietta is one of over 20 corporate sponsors of the event.

Hope Williams, president of NCICU, says the organization created the Ethics Bowl to underscore the indispensable role that ethical thinking and actions play in daily life, and to give students an opportunity to develop the skills to recognize and analyze ethical issues quickly and work in teams to resolve them.

“Ethical thinking prepares students to be workers of high integrity, engaged citizens and responsible adults,” Williams says.

Business, government and foundation leaders serve as judges and moderators at the Ethics Bowl, which pits student teams against one another through four rounds of debate on ethical questions, including those the students have researched in advance, as well as a surprise question. Following the fourth round for all teams on Saturday, the most successful teams compete in two semi-final rounds, held concurrently, followed by a final round.

“It’s really teaching college students how to identify ethical issues, how to analyze them,” says Holly Wenger, director of ethics and compliance at Duke Energy and a judge in the final round of last year’s Ethics Bowl. “Those are the kind of people that Duke Energy wants.”

As it is at many companies, ethical behavior is a core value at Martin Marietta and at Duke Energy, which also is a sponsor of the Ethics Bowl. Spelled out in corporate statements, those two companies’ commitment to ethical behavior is the focus of orientation for new employees and ongoing training for all employees.

Charlotte-based Duke Energy also provides a hotline, administered by a third party, that its 28,000 employees can use to report ethical concerns — anonymously if the employees choose — about issues ranging from fairness and discrimination to whether to accept gifts from vendors, Wenger says. The company then investigates the concerns.

Duke Energy also encourages questions from employees and works with them to provide guidance on ethical issues.

Lloyd at Martin Marietta says a college class in business ethics she took as an elective for her major in accounting and finance was “probably closest to the way the real world works than any other classes I took.”

Corporations recognize that ethical issues represent a “gray area” in the business world and pose the challenge of “taking divergent views and coming to the right course of action for your company, your shareholders and all other stakeholders,” she says.

“It’s better to talk about it and express those differences and come to some agreement as to the course of action rather than keep it to yourself,” she says. “We all face those decisions every day. You have an ethical choice with almost every decision you have to make.”

In addition to the team competition, students participating in the Ethics Bowl will have the opportunity — during the competition and at a reception and dinner at the North Carolina Museum of History —  to meet corporate, foundation and government leaders from across the state who serve as judges and moderators for the competition.

“In today’s competitive global economy, organizations place a significant value on employees who can see and resolve the ethical questions they face in the workplace every day,” says Williams. “The Ethics Bowl reflects the broad effort by North Carolina’s independent colleges and universities to prepare students to think and act critically and responsibly.”