Nonprofit news roundup, 03.13.15

High Point United Way raises $4.91 million

United Way of Greater High Point raised a record-high $4.91 million in its annual campaign, just over its goal and exceeding by 1 percent the total it raised a year ago.

Chaired by Owen Bertschi, owner of Crescent Ford, the campaign marked the fifth straight year United Way has raised a record-high total.

United Way, citing results reported to United Way of North Carolina, says the rate of growth of its campaign was the highest among the major metro areas in North Carolina — including Charlotte, the Triangle, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Asheville and Wilmington — for the seventh time in the last eight years.

It says it also is the only United Way in a major metro area in the state that is raising more funds than in 2007, before the economy collapsed.

Since 2007, it says, giving to the nearly 60 United Ways in North Carolina has dropped over 30 percent.

Giving to High Point United Way grew despite the fact that at least 12 of its biggest donor companies recently underwent either a change in ownership or leadership, creating uncertainty in their workplace-giving campaigns, says Bobby Smith, United Way president.

Old Dominion Freight Line and its employees gave $427,000, the most of any contributors, followed by $241,000 from the City of High Point and $225,000 from High Point University.

Funds raised in the annual campaign benefit 28 local agencies that serve over 80,000 clients a year.

Greensboro United Way pilots partnership to fight poverty

Bundling local services to help entire families lift themselves out of poverty is the focus of a collaborative effort United Way of Greater Greensboro is piloting in southeast Greensboro.

Teaming with Guilford Child Development, which will develop and operate the pilot project, United Way’s new Family Success Center will serve up to 100 families in the 27406 zip code over 18 months.

Families living in that zip code who currently are enrolled in Head Start early child development programs at Guilford Child Development will have the opportunity to opt into the pilot program.

More than 12 additional community partners, to be announced by United Way on March 26 at the kickoff of its new Center, will provide a range of services for all members of participating families.

Designed to help participants get jobs and achieve financial stability, the program will provide services such as job-readiness training, job-placement assistance, financial literacy classes, case management for children and families, and youth mentoring.

Broader goals include increasing per-capita income for low-income neighborhoods, improving community health, and boosting the readiness of children for school to help ensure they will graduate from high school.

United Way announced a year ago it would focus its work for the next 10 years or more on breaking the cycle of poverty.

In Greensboro, nearly one in five individuals lives in poverty. According to federal guidelines, a family of four with annual income of $24,250 or less lives in poverty.

Guilford Child Development operates Head Start programs that serve children from birth to age five, and their families, living at or below that income level.

Over the next three years, United Way plans to develop at least three more Family Success Centers in partnership with local nonprofits.

United Way estimates it will cost $500,000 to launch and operate each Center for the first year.

United Way has solicited and received new donations designated for the project that will be counted as part of United Way’s annual fundraising.

United Way also is seeking grant support for the Center, and its board of directors has approved using funds for the pilot from reserves at United Way.

The first Center will be housed in the Arlington Street headquarters of Guilford Child Development and headed by a director United Way will name from its own staff.

Staffing the Center will be employees of Guilford Child Development and of other community partners in the project, as well as an AmeriCorps VISTA member serving at United Way who will be dedicated to the project.

Greensboro Salvation Army building new facility

The Salvation Army of Greensboro has broken ground on a new facility that will include a child-care center, worship and service center, and Boys & Girls  Club.

The Salvation Army Royce and Jane Reynolds Center for Worship and Service and Boys & Girls Club, located at 400 West Whittington St., will double the capacity of the Boys & Girls Club, include a new day-care center for infants to six-year-olds, offer activities for adults and seniors, and feature a youth development park funded by the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation and Kevin Harvick Foundation.

The Ripkin-Harvick Youth Development Park will feature a synthetic-surface outdoor field that can be used for for soccer, baseball, flag-football and lacrosse.

The new facility, which will serve 250 children and teens, up from 125 at the Boys and Girls Club on Ayock Street it is replacing, will be built at the site of the former J.C. Price School, off Freeman Mill Road, in the Warnersville community.

The $11.8 million project is replacing two facilities on Aycock Street — the Boys and Girls Club and a community center — that both have been purchased by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

The Salvation Army, which aims to raise $7.64 million for the project, has received pledges of over $7 million.

The park is scheduled to open later this year. The Community Center and Boys and Girls Club is scheduled to open in fall 2016.

Biogen Idec Foundation awards $125,000

Biogen Idec Foundation awarded 34 grants totaling $124,999 to support science education programs and projects in North Carolina public and charter elementary, middle and high schools, and at nonprofits that serve students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

The grants program is administered by Triangle Community Foundation.

Urban Ministries raises $86,000

Urban Ministries of Durham raised $86,083 at its 9th Annual Empty Bowls event, up 29 percent from the total it raised at the event last year.

It  will use the money to work to help end homelessness.

Teens award $10,000 to 11 groups

The Teen Grantmaking Council of The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro has awarded $10,000 in grants to 11 youth-lead service projects in Guilford County.

The Council consists of 30 high school students from Guilford County who meet once a month for seven months starting in September.

Council members learn about philanthropy. They decide which issues to address with funds the Foundation allots to them. They issue a request for proposals to young grant-seekers. And they read the proposals and interview grant-seekers before making final decisions about funding.

The projects the Council funded focus on food insecurity; science, technology, engineering and math education, or STEM; at-risk immigrant youth; dance education for underprivileged youth; children’s literacy; therapeutic horseback riding; and highlighting positive youth through the media.

Summit to focus on reducing school violence

Decreasing the potential for violence in schools and communities will be the focus of the 15th SAVE Summit on March 21 that will be hosted in Raleigh by the National Association of Students Against Violence Everywhere.

Formed in 1989 in Charlotte and now based in Raleigh, nonprofit works to educate students to take action in stopping violence in schools.

It now has over 2,100 chapters in seven countries and 48 states.

Bordeaux joins Coalition to End Homelessness

Beth Bordeaux, former executive director of PLM Families Together in Raleigh, has been named data team director at the North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness.

Leadership and board changes at Goetz Foundation

Nathaniel H. Goetz, co-founder and chief operating officer of the Noah Z.M. Goetz Foundation in Durham, has stepped down from the nonprofit’s board of directors to become its first executive director.

The nonprofit, which works to help those experiencing infertility become parents through education about domestic adoption, along with grant support, has named five new members to its board.

They include Jeffrey Clarke, a physician at Duke University Medical Center; Kearny Davis, president and owner of Carolina Home Mortgage; Nadia Heuberger, civic leader; Ryan Hill, claims quality assurance program manager at Builders Mutual Insurance Company; and Larry Tollen, founder and team Leader at MyNCHomes.

Russ recertified as Certified Fund Raising Executive

Paul Russ, vice president of marketing and development for Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro, has been recertified as a Certified Fund Raising Executive by CFRE International.

Lincoln County Habitat opening second ReStore

Habitat for Humanity of Lincoln County will open its second ReStore, in the Westport Market Shopping Center in Denver, on April 14. 

The ReStore will sell new and gently used items donated by individuals and businesses, including include furniture, appliances, building materials, home accessories, antiques and books.

Legal Services, Legal Aid to host annual luncheon

Mark Martin, chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, will be the keynote speaker on March 12 at the annual Justice for All Luncheon in Charlotte hosted by Legal Services of Southern Piedmont and Legal Aid of North Carolina.

The event, from noon to 1 p.m., will be held at The Westin Charlotte.

Gear your story to change

The charitable marketplace is undergoing sweeping, unprecedented and rapid change, and the way your nonprofit tells its story needs to adapt to that change.

Who gives, why we give, what we give to, and how we give all are in flux.

Nonprofits need a range of options for communicating with different groups of donors, based on their age and interests. Those include older donors, Boomers, younger donors, entrepreneurs, traditional foundations and corporate donors, and hybrid social enterprises that focus both on making a profit and making a social and environmental impact.

Digital technology has exploded the range of options for reaching and engaging donors, volunteers and other partners.

The fiercely competitive global economy has unleashed new opportunities for making a difference and giving, while fueling rising demand from donors that nonprofits show their impact through clear metrics.

What has not changed is the need for nonprofits to tell their story in a way that is clear, concise and compelling.

The challenge is to be able to adapt that story to address the varying needs, values, interests and perspectives of the audiences you need to reach to advance your mission.

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

Cultivating donor and adviser key to big gift

By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — In the spring of 2007, at the invitation of First Citizens Bank, Beth Boney Jenkins of the North Carolina Community Foundation met in Raleigh with a group of the bank’s trust officers to talk about how the foundation could work with them as they advised clients on their charitable giving.

“Outreach to professional advisers is one of the key dynamics of our work,” says Jenkins, vice president of development at the Foundation. “They are very often working with people of wealth or people with charitable interests who would be in a position to utilize the services of the Foundation.”

That spring meeting ultimately led to a $20 million endowment bequest to the Foundation from the estate of Louise Oriole Burevitch, a Wilmington philanthropist represented by one of the bank’s trust officers.

Working with advisers

Jenkins says the gift was the fruit of relationships she developed over the past seven years with the trust officer and the donor.

“You have to build a relationship of trust, especially when donors are thinking about their legacy giving,” she says, referring to the type of significant gifts donor often through estate planning or bequests.

A core job at nonprofits is raising money, and cultivating donors is central to that job. At community foundations, which work with donors to create charitable funds and to make grants from those funds to support causes they care about, a key task of the fundraising staff is to develop relationships with donors and with professional advisers.

As part of their “cultivation” of advisers — including lawyers, accountants, estate planners, brokers, insurance agents and trust officers at financial institutions — charities offer to make their philanthropic expertise available when the advisers are working with clients on their philanthropy.

Genesis of a gift

In August 2007, Jenkins got a phone call from the trust officer at First Citizens inviting her to meet in Wilmington with the trust officer, her 90-year-old client, and the client’s lawyer.

Jenkins was asked to talk about the advantages for the donor of creating a donor advised fund at the North Carolina Community Foundation, compared to creating a private foundation.

By establishing a donor advised fund, Jenkins told them, the donor could avoid the initial and ongoing expense of a broad range of tasks needed to create and operate a private foundation. Those include setting up the foundation and its board; securing charitable status; reviewing grant requests and making grants; complying with tax rules and paying taxes; and accounting for finances.

“A donor advised fund is much simpler than a private foundation,” Jenkins says.

At the North Carolina Community Foundation, a donor pays a annual fee of 1.5 percent of the balance of donor advised funds that are smaller than $1 million. A fund must have at least $10,000 to be created and generally should aim not to fall below that level.

After the meeting, Jenkins was asked to draft a document creating a donor advised fund. The donor’s advisers followed up with a series of questions. And in January 2008, Jenkins met again with the donor and her two advisers in Wilmington, where the donor signed documents creating the Louise Oriole Burevitch Endowment. The initial amount donated to the fund was modest, Jenkins says.

“The idea was after she started the small fund, she would sort of  take us for a test drive and determine whether this charitable vehicle was a fit for her ultimate estate gift,” Jenkins says.

Cultivating relationships

Over the next seven years, Jenkins visited the donor at least three times a year, always letting the trust officer know in advance, and for the initial meetings, always meeting both with the donor and the trust officer. She also talked every three months with the trust officer.

And once a year, she received a list of all the donor’s charitable gifts for the year “so we could learn the pattern of her giving so when the time came we could duplicate that pattern of giving and have this ultimate fund reflect who she was and the charitable interests she was devoted to,” Jenkins says.

Those gifts totaled hundreds of thousand of dollars a year, she says.

The visits with the donor, each lasting an hour or two, were social, Jenkins says, and involved mainly casual conversation about topics of interest to Mrs. Burevitch, often involving care for animals and her dog, Jake, a Shih Tzu. Twice a widow, Mrs. Burevitch had no children.

In her final years, working closely with her professional advisers and the Foundation, Jenkins says, it was Mrs. Burevitch’s clear intent to create the donor advised fund and leave the bulk of her estate to endow it.

Legacy gift

On Sept. 20, 2014, Jenkins received a phone call from the trust officer, who said Mrs. Burevitch had died that day. She was 97

On October 7, the Foundation received a letter from the Estate Settlement Services office at First Citizens. Under her estate plan, the letter said, the Foundation would receive the bulk of Mrs. Burevitch’s estate, to be added to the endowment fund she had created.

Later that month, in a meeting, officials of First Citizens shared documents with officials of the Foundation showing that the bequest would total $20 million.

The Foundation now is creating a committee to administer a grants program to support Mrs. Burevitch’s areas of interest, including animal causes, education, and women and children.

Cultivation, Jenkins says, was key to the bequest.

“Build and nurture your relationships,” she says. “You find out what’s important to that donor, and you listen.”

Nonprofit news roundup, 03.06.15

Meredith College raises over $41 million

Meredith College in Raleigh has raised over $41 million in two years in the early phase of a campaign, exceeding the funds it raised in its last seven-year campaign.

The total includes over $18 million raised in fiscal 2013-14, eclipsing the single-year record of $7.2 million.

The total also includes a $3 million gift by alumna Katherine Furches Rumley that will establish the Ellen Amanda Rumley Memorial Scholarship, in memory of her daughter, a member of Meredith’s class of 1977.

The campaign has been supported by the Meredith College Campaign Planning Committee. Honorary co-chairs of the committee are alumna and broadcast journalist Judy Woodruff, and Raleigh business leader O. Temple Sloan, Jr.

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center gets $1 million challenge

The Hartman Foundation in Austin, Tex., has made a $1 million challenge grant to researchers studying Alzheimer’s disease at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

The grant, which will provide $1 for every $1 dollar the medical center raises, supports a two-year study that will investigate a primary cause of Alzheimer’s, and also will help pilot strategies for preventing and treating the disease.

The study is led by Suzanne Craft, director of the Alzheimer’s disease program at Wake Forest Baptist, which is affiliated with the J. Paul Sticht Center on Aging and Rehabilitation.

It examines abnormal shifts in brain metabolism that occur at the very earliest stages of Alzheimer’s and whether these shifts can be corrected with medication or lifestyle interventions.

The challenge grant already has generated a gift to Wake Forest Baptist’s Alzheimer’s Research Initiative Fund that is being used to help recruit faculty to assist with the study.

High Point YWCA renovating facility

YWCA High Point has begun construction of a new entrance and elevator tower, as well as improvements for people with disabilities, at its facility at 112 Gatewood Ave.

The YWCA, which raised $1.5 million for the project in a campaign chaired by Shelley Delmestri, also has begun an effort to raise another $1.5 million to renovate its existing building to better accommodate the needs of its members, provide adequate space for its programs and allow for future growth.

Bill Moser of Moser Mayer Phoenix is the architect for the construction project, and Dunbar and Smith will be the general contractor.

CASA gets $100,000 for apartments for veterans with disabilities

CASA, a Raleigh-based provider of affordable housing, has received $100,000 from the Home Depot Foundation to support construction of 12 new units in The Denson Apartments in Durham for veterans with disabilities.

CASA, which is seeking another $40,000 for the new units, completed 11 units the complex in 2014.

Since 1992, CASA has focused on building and managing affordable housing for extremely low-income families and individuals, in particular veterans and people with disabilities. CASA manages over 340 affordable apartments and homes in Wake, Durham, and Orange counties.

Habitat Wake to mark 30th year, build 500th home, honor shooting victims

Habitat for Humanity of Wake County will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2015 and build its 500th home.

Habitat Wake also is partnering with the Islamic Association of Raleigh and, to build a house in the Crosstowne neighborhood in southeast Raleigh honoring the lives of three of its Islamic supporters who were shot and killed in Chapel Hill on February 10.

And with a $65,000 grant from MetLife, Wake Habitat will build a house in Apex for Hassan Muhumed and his family.

On  March 13, Wake Habitat and sponsor partners Christ Church and Highland United Methodist Church will begin building its 500th home in the Crosstowne neighborhood.

Habitat Wake will hold its annual Blueprint Breakfast on March 17 from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. at the Hilton-North Raleigh Midtown.

Honorary chair for the event is Tommy Fonville, co-founder of Fonville Morisey Realty and president of Community Properties.

Lead sponsors are BB&T, Builders Mutual, and Tom and Pat Gipson. Presenting sponsors are Fonville Morisey, Barefoot, SteelFab, and Bubba Rawl. Supporting sponsors are Bagwell & Bagwell Insurance, Cherry Bekaert, Deloitte, Legacy Custom Homes, Smith Anderson, and Tryon Title.

Deah Barakat, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, who were killed in Chapel Hill on February 10, all had been supporters of Habitat Wake’s Interfaith Build since its inception in 2011.

As part of Habitat for Humanity’s Global Tithe program, Habitat Wake also will pledge to support the construction of a house in partnership with Habitat Jordan, in the Abu-Salha’s native country of Jordan.

Triangle Community Foundation builds fundraising staff

Ken Baroff, former vice president for development at Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina, has been named director of fund development at Triangle Community Foundation.

Baroff, who was executive director of the development team at Duke Children’s Hospital before working at Make-A-Wish, will head the Foundation’s fundraising team.

Caleb Baker, development officer at the Foundation, has been named senior development officer. He will continue to lead research and outreach for the development team, help donors create new funds at the Foundation, and work with community partners to develop collaborative funding opportunities. He also will work with nonprofits to create reserve funds at the Foundation.

Poe Center raises $20,000

The Poe Rodeo event hosted by the Poe Young Professionals on February 7 raised over $20,000 to support health education programming for children and families at the The Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education in Raleigh.

Winston-Salem Hospice holding coffee events for veterans

Hospice & Palliative CareCenter is hosting coffee events throughout the Triad every month that provide an opportunity for veterans to meet and share stories, and feature informal presentations by community groups.

The events, all from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., with pastries provided by Sheetz, are held in Mocksville on the first Thursday of the month at Sagebrush Steakhouse at 1562 Yadkinville Rd.; in Greensboro on the second Thursday at Outback Steakhouse in the Four Seasons Towne Centre; in Winston-Salem on the third Thursday at Outback Steakhouse at 505 Highland Oaks Dr.; and in King on the fourth Thursday at Towne & Country Grille at 627 S. Main St.

DMJ raises $13,000 for Special Olympics

DMJ & Co., a Greensboro accounting and consulting firm, raised $13,000 in the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department’s 15th Annual Polar Plunge for Special Olympics North Carolina at Wet N’ Wild Emerald Pointe.

DMJ, which has participated in the event every year, now has raised $113,000 for the athletes of Special Olympics North Carolina since 2000.  

Medical Society leader named to leadership program

Devdutta G. Sangvai, immediate past president of the North Carolina Medical Society and associate chief medical officer at Duke University Health Systems, has been selected for the inaugural class of Presidential Leadership Scholars.

He is among 60 individuals throughout the U.S. who will participate in the six-month program.

They will travel to the presidential centers of Lyndon B. Johnson, George H.W. Bush, William J. Clinton and George W. Bush.

The program will include roughly 100 hours of sessions and case studies. It will include former presidents, administration officials and academic, and will focus on leadership, developing a network of peers, and exchanging ideas.

Furman recognized for urban development in Charlotte

David Furman, founder of Centro CityWorks, will receive the 2015 Vision Award from Charlotte Center City Partners. The award recognizes a community leader who has made the Center City “more vibrant and extraordinary.”

Furman, an architect and Charlotte native, founded three different architectural practices, as well as Centro CityWorks, a development company that focuses on affordable urban housing projects.

Between 2000 and 2008, the firm created 20 projects valued at over $250 million.

Greensboro Rotary Clubs pack meals for Meals of Hope

Students who need food during the weekend are getting 41,500 meals, thanks to a “Meals of Hope” meal-packing event hosted by Summit Rotary and Rotary District 7690 in Greensboro.

Packing the fortified macaroni-and-cheese meals at the February 28 were 85 volunteers representing six Greensboro Rotary Clubs and including students from Guilford Technical Community College, families and friends.

Participating Greensboro area Rotary clubs included host club Summit Rotary as well as Greensboro’s Airport Rotary, Southern Guilford New Generations Rotary, Crescent Rotary, Gate City Rotary and Guilford Rotary.

The meals were packed in partnership with the Out of the Garden Project, which serves “food-insecure” students on the weekend.

Event to benefit Regional AIDS Interfaith Network

The Regional AIDS Interfaith Network in Charlotte will receive all proceeds from Sweet Tooth, a dessert festival that will be held March 22 at the Omni Charlotte Hotel.

Green Chair Project adds board members

The Green Chair Project in Raleigh has added new members to its board of directors, including Kim Glenn of Moss+Ross; J. Ryan Lynch of Wells Fargo Bank;  Olalah Njenga of YellowWood Group; and Mary Reca Todd formerly with the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency. 

Two join Capital Development Services

Capital Development Services in Winston-Salem has named two new senior counsel — C. Eileen Watts Welch, who retired after 17 years at Duke University in the positions of associate dean for advancement at School of Nursing and executive director for advancement at the Center for Child & Family Health; and Harry P. Creemers, who retired after nearly 14 years the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, most recently as senior director of development.

ArtsGreensboro accepting nominations for Arts in Business Award

April 3 is the deadline for submitting nominations to ArtsGreensboro for the 2015 Arts In Business Award.

The award, which will be presented May 12 at the Small Business Awards Evening Event hosted by the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, recognizes a Greensboro small business for its leadership and commitment to the arts and its impact on the arts over the past year.

The award is presented by ArtsGreensboro, in partnership with the Greensboro Chamber, Guilford Merchants Association, and the North Carolina Entrepreneurship Center at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Rockingham funder gives $164,000

Rockingham County Community Foundation, an affiliate of the North Carolina Community Foundation, has awarded $163,547 in funds from Duke Energy for the Dan River Basin area in Rockingham County.

Belk Endowment gives $9.6 million

The John M. Belk Endowment in Charlotte has awarded $9.6 million to community colleges and their partners across North Carolina to help more students complete degrees.

Take stock of your communications

Are you ready to tell your story?

If your nonprofit has not taken a look recently at your communications strategy, you should.

Communicating effectively is fundamental to everything your nonprofit does, including delivering programs; running your organization day by day; raising money; hiring and developing staff; recruiting, training and engaging board members and volunteers; enlisting partners and other supporters; and working with the news media.

So invest the time and effort to take a hard look how you communicate.

Start by spelling out your goals as an organization, the audiences you need to engage to achieve those goals, and the communications materials and vehicles you need to reach those audiences.

Then ask yourself some questions:

* What is your brand?

* What is the basic story you tell about yourselves, including the need you address, the people you serve, and the difference you make in their lives?

* Can you tell your story in one page? Can you tell it in 30 seconds? In a short phrase?

* Are your board and staff prepared to tell your story?

* Do you have an editorial calendar for the year listing the communications, marketing and fundraising materials you will need, and when you need them?

* Do you have a plan spelling out roles and responsibilities for assigning, writing, reviewing, producing and distributing those materials?

* Do you have a plan for working with the news media and handling crises?

Telling a story about your organization that is clear, concise and compelling is essential if you expect to survive and thrive.

Creating a plan to tell that story should be among your highest priorities.

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

N.C. A&T gearing up for campaign

By Todd Cohen

GREENSBORO, N.C. — North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro is preparing for a comprehensive fundraising campaign that has just begun the early stages of its “quiet” phase, and could set a goal and begin its three-year public phase in 2017.

The school faces big challenges as well as big opportunities as it plans for the campaign, says Kenneth E. Sigmon Jr., who joined A&T in January as vice chancellor for university advancement.

Sigmon says the school, which has 24 positions in development, advancement services and alumni relations, needs to fill nine of them, and aims to grow the team soon by three to four more.

The school also needs to build “best practices” for its annual-giving program, he says, as well as secure major gifts and planned gifts; identify alumni it has lost track of; and increase the share of alumni who contribute to the school.

And for a comprehensive campaign, which will raise money for capital needs, programs, faculty support, scholarships, annual fund and endowment, the timetable is relatively short because the funds it will raise will be used to address goals the school set in 2011 that it aims to achieve by 2020.

The total value of those needs is nearly $270 million, an amount that will need to be adjusted as A&T sets priorities and gauges the response of top donors to its “case” for support, says Sigmon, who previously served for three years as vice president of development at the Oklahoma State University Foundation, and before that was associate vice chancellor for university development at North Carolina State University in Raleigh.

“Being on a fast track, we don’t necessarily have the typical cultivation period for a lot of major donors,” he says. “But the opportunity is that we’ve had some very generous alumni and friends already contribute, so we have a base of generous supporters that help by giving and opening doors to other people.”

With a study that Atlanta consulting firm Alexander Haas has conducted for it on the feasibility of a campaign, A&T has begun a year-long effort to talk to roughly 100 of its top donors, friends and volunteers, making its case for their support.

Based on their responses, the school will set a goal for the campaign.

Critical to the campaign will be filling vacant positions, including associate vice chancellor for development; assistant vice chancellor for advancement services; director of stewardship and donors relations; prospect researcher; director of gift planning; director of major gifts; and four major gift officers.

Of those, the school is actively recruiting for the positions of associate vice chancellor and stewardship director, and both alumni-relations jobs.

Sigmon also needs to fill a communications position and a program officer in the office of alumni relations, and possibly an additional position in the area of stewardship and donors relations.

“Major” gifts, or those of $25,000 or more, will be key to the campaign, as will developing “best practices” for the annual fund. Overall giving to the school each year, including to the annual fund, has totaled about $7 million in recent years.

Annual giving is “not only a source annual revenue, but it’s renewable, expandable and flexible, and a breeding ground for future major-gift prospects,” Sigmon says.

Planned gifts, or those that are deferred and involve complex transactions, likely will account for up to 20 percent to 25 percent of the campaign.

Also key will be corporate and foundation support, which in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2014, accounted for nearly half of private support the school received.

And the school’s strategic plan calls for roughly tripling its endowment to $75 million in 2020 from $45 million.

A&T also aims to boost — from eight percent — the share of alumni who contribute to the school. That “participation rate” puts A&T in the top third of the 17 schools in the University of North Carolina system, but behind UNC-Chapel Hill, which at roughly 17 percent has the highest rate, Sigmon says.

With contact information for 48,000 to 50,000 alumni, the school also is working to find “lost” alumni.

And it aims to use social media and email in the campaign, and to get students involved in annual giving before they graduate.

“The university wants to be the preeminent land-grant university, the institution of choice for very-high-achieving students who are inspired by what we do as a land-grant — teaching and learning, civic engagement, and transformative research that helps solve the grand challenges of society,” Sigmon says.

A&T, which was founded in 1891 with federal land-grant funding, was the second land-grant university in the U.S. — after Iowa State University — and the first in North Carolina for people of color.

The goal of the advancement office, Sigmon says, is to “support the long-term vision of the university and serve the community here at A&T by making the university affordable for students, by having high-quality faculty, and by putting those kinds of programs in place that are cornerstones of a land-grant university, and doing that through private philanthropy.”