Nonprofit news roundup, 07.31.15

Early childhood focus of $30 million effort in Forsyth County

Preparing young children in Forsyth County to be ready to succeed in school and life by the time they complete kindergarten is the focus of a 10-year, $30 million initiative of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust in Winston-Salem.

The goal of the effort is for at least 90 percent of all financially disadvantaged children from birth through kindergarten living in the county to reach developmental “milestones” appropriate for their age.

The Trust will invest in strategies to increase community engagement, improve systems that serve families, share knowledge and lessons learned, and build the “capacity” of providers.

It will focus on direct services to children and adult caregivers to improve child and family health, self-regulation, parent-child interaction, and adult care-giving; support children’s oral language and vocabulary development; and build systems and strengthen families.

The Trust also will provide over $1.4 million in grants to the Forsyth Public Library to support seven library branches and two bookmobile units geared to pre-school-aged children; the Winston-Salem Public Schools to install or significantly improve playgrounds at 23 schools, many of them in low-to-moderate income neighborhoods; and First Book to work with 1,000 educators in the county, particularly in financially-disadvantaged areas and provide access to books that are age-appropriate.

The Trust has hired Durham consulting firm MDC to work with its partners in the initiative.

Transitions LifeCare kicks off campaign, names fundraiser

Transitions LifeCare in Raleigh has kicked off the public phase of a campaign raise $6 million to expand its hospice facility.

The nonprofit also has named Kristie Koontz Brackett, former director of leadership giving at Meredith College, as its vice president of development.

The campaign has raised over $4 million since its private phase began in September 2013.

Funds raised in the campaign will support expanding by 10 patient rooms its existing 20-room building, as well as adding family space and additional capacity to manager “higher acuity” patients, including those with memory issues.

In addition to the capital campaign, Bracket will be responsible for a $1.8 million annual campaign to cover benevolent patient care and extended grief services.

Co-chairing the capital campaign committee Dr. William Dunlap, a retired physician and one of three founders of Hospice of Wake County, as Transitions LifeCare formerly was known; Brenda Gibson, a community volunteer; and Thad Woodard, retired president and CEO of the North Carolina Bankers Association.

Steve Young, former medical director at the UNC Geriatric Specialty Clinic, has been named associate medical director.

CompassCenter hires executive director

Cordelia Heaney, executive director of the Office on Women’s Policy for the State of Louisiana, has been named executive director of Compass Center, a Chapel Hill-based nonprofit serves women and families in Orange County and nearby areas.

Hurd new chief advancement officer at Greensboro College

Anne Jones Hurd, director of advancement at Greensboro Day School, has been named vice president and chief advancement officer at Greensboro College.

Winston-Salem Foundation awards $982,000 in scholarships

The Winston-Salem Foundation provided 566 student awards totaling $982,000 from 138 Foundation scholarship funds for the 2014-15 academic year.

N.C. Central gets $306,000 in in-kind support from Microsoft

North Carolina Central University in Durham has been awarded $306,481 in products and services from Microsoft Corp. to provide better technology access and upgrades to Microsoft software and products.

Community Matters raises $32,000

Community Matters in Charlotte, an insurance-industry group that supports selected nonprofit partners, raised over $32,000 at its Second Annual Golf Tournament, up $5,000 from its inaugural event last year.

Proceeds will go to Charlotte Family Housing and Crisis Assistance Ministry for their work to end homelessness.

Victory Junction gets $50,000

Victory Junction, a camp in Randleman for children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses, received $25,000 from SHOP.COM to send 10 children to camp.

Sam Hornish Jr., Richard Petty Motorsports #9 driver, matched the donation.

Center for Inquiry-based learning gets $20,000

Biogen in Research Triangle Park has donated $20,000 to the Center for Inquiry-Based Learning in Durham, a science-education nonprofit that will use the funds to provide a full-day of professional development and nine-week kits for 50 teachers in the Durham Public Schools to use with their students for science, technology, engineering and math education.

Hatchett to speak at Boys & Girls Club event

Glenda Hatchett, a former Juvenile Court Judge and the star of Judge Hatchett, the reality-TV court show, will serve as keynote speaker for the annual gala of the John Avery Boys & Girls Club.

The event will be held September 26 at 7 p.m. at the Durham Convention Center.

Boys & Girls Clubs collecting school supplies

The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs in High Point is partnering with WGHP/FOX 8 on the 2015 “Stuff the Bus” campaign to collect school supplies for children in the Piedmont Triad.

New school supplies may be dropped off through August 25 at any Krispy Kreme or Mattress Firm location in the region; at Staples in Greensboro, Kernersville and Clemmons; at 5 Below in Greensboro, Winston-Salem and Burlington; or at Unique Kutz in Summerfield.

Children’s Home Society gets $25,000

Children’s Home Society received $25,000 from Atlantic Tire & Service in the Triangle.

3 Irish Jewels Farm to hold inaugural gala

3 Irish Jewels Farm, an agricultural community that serves adults on the autism spectrum, will host its inaugural “Breakfast Under the Stars” event on October 17 at Toast Café at Waverly Place in Cary from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Aronson heads BJH Foundation board

Andrew Aronson of Greensboro has been named president of the board of directors of BJH Foundation in Greensboro, succeeding Cheryl David, while Craig Madans of Charlotte and Donna Newton, Jerry Pinsker and Susan Robinson of Greensboro have joined the board.

In the past eight years, the foundation awarded over $1.6 million in grants to schools, synagogues and organizations serving older Jewish adults.

Be prepared for a crisis

A crisis at your nonprofit is not the time to improvise what you say to the news media or anyone else.

So create a crisis communications plan to guide you through difficult times.

First, decide who will field questions from the media, and make sure everyone on your staff and board refer all questions to that person.

Then, assign someone to assess the problem and find out how it happened, who it affects, what its impact will be, and what is being done to correct it and ensure it will not happen again.

Based on that assessment, create a statement you can use if you decide to take the initiative and pro-actively inform your board, staff, constituents, donors, partners or the news media about the problem.

The statement should be candid, clear, and as detailed as you can be about what happened and what you are doing about it without violating anyone’s privacy or putting your organization or any individual at legal risk.

When in doubt, run the statement by your lawyer.

You also should use your statement to create talking points you can use to respond to questions from your people inside and outside your organization.

Sticking your head in the sand and pretending no one will notice your crisis and it will go away is a big mistake. Be prepared.

Want professional 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

Building bridges to healthier communities

By Todd Cohen

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Faced with a local “food desert,” the Town of Zebulon this spring opened the Zebulon Farm Fresh Market to boost the local economy and to increase access to food for people in need.

Concerned about local “play deserts,” the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department of the City of Raleigh is working with the Wake County Public School System to develop shared-used agreements that would give residents in neighborhoods with no space for outdoor recreation access to outdoor play areas at Vena Wilburn and Walnut Creek elementary schools.

Both initiatives are among a broad range of efforts by six Wake County municipalities that each is getting $210,000 over three years from the John Rex Endowment in Raleigh to boost healthy eating and active living, particularly among vulnerable families and children.

In a separate national initiative to improve access to healthy food and physical activity,  mainly for children in low-income communities, the New Jersey-based Robert Wood Johnson Foundation invested $34 million over five years in collaborative efforts in 49 U.S. communities, including Nash and Edgecombe counties and Moore and Montgomery counties in North Carolina.

Playing a key role in designing and supporting both funding initiatives has been Active Living By Design, or ALBD, a Chapel Hill-based project of Third Sector New England.

ALBD provides consulting and technical assistance to create healthier communities, with a focus on healthy eating and active living, and works to help community partnerships create environments that promote healthy eating and active living.

Sarah Strunk, executive director at ALBD, says its work is based on the idea that people are likely to make healthier choices not simply as a result of efforts to educate them and shape their behavior, but by also by changing policies, social settings and physical environments that affect health.

Formed in 2002 as a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and housed for 12 years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, ALBD operates with an annual budget of $2.2 million, all of it from grants and contracts, and staff of 11 people.

Much of its work supports foundations directly, helping them develop initiatives to boost active living and healthy eating, typically to reduce child obesity, increase physical activity, reduce incidents of chronic diseases, or improve community safety.

Projects it has worked on represent a total investment of over $100 million in community partnerships, with $35 million of that going to ALBD to provide technical assistance, coaching, consulting, and support of learning by groups that are part of local collaboratives supported by foundations and other funders.

ALBD has worked in 35 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and supported about 200 community partnerships in cities, suburbs and rural area s.

Much of its assistance focuses on helping people advocate for policy change, such as a “complete streets policy” to design or retrofit streets to be safe and accessible to all types of users, or promoting changes in the built environment, such as the creation of playgrounds or greenway systems.

For the John Rex Endowment initiative to improve healthy eating and active living, ALBD identified and assessed local efforts in Wake County, and helped design a grant initiative for the Endowment. It now is providing technical assistance to the six municipalities the Endowment funded in response to a call for proposals for funding for local projects.

For the “Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities” initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, ALBD worked with the Foundation to develop the initiative and call for proposals; provided assistance to the 540 grant applicants; led national review teams that selected grant recipients; provided technical assistance to the grantees over four years each; developed a learning network of grantees, including workshops and annual meetings; worked closely with partners that evaluated the program; and developed case studies and “lessons learned” to share with the broader field of funders and other groups that focus on healthy eating and active living,

“We connect people who are interested in making their community better with those who are willing to invest in that work,” says Risa Wilkerson, associate executive director of ALBD, “and also with other resources and other communities who are doing the work, and with other national organizations.”

Strunk says ALBD also serves serves as a “bridge between organizations that have money and those that need money.”

ALBD, which has counted on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for roughly 80 percent of its revenue of $1.5 million to $3 million a year, now is working to diversify its funding base to include other types of funders and nonprofits that contract for its services.

And it is expanding its definition of health to include “all of the factors that influence where people live, work and play,” such as crime and safety, transportation, housing, clinical care, and medical care, Strunk says.

Nonprofit news roundup, 07.24.15

Hitt leaving Community Link for Men’s Shelter

Randall Hitt, chief advancement officer at Community Link in Charlotte, will join the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte on August 5 as director of philanthropy.

Read to retire from Chatham County nonprofit

Dianne Read will be retiring from the Chatham Economic Development Corporation in Pittsboro at the end of February.

Wake Forest offers certificate in faith-based nonprofit leadership

For the second straight year, the School of Divinity at Wake Forest University is offering a certificate program in faith-based nonprofit leadership.

The course will be offered over five weekends from October to March, and participants may opt take some courses the School of Business at Wake Forest offers in nonprofit management.

October 2 is the deadline to register.

Tomorrow Fund awards $128,000 in scholarships

The Tomorrow Fund for Hispanic Students has awarded $188,100 in scholarships to 18 Hispanic and Latino students across North Carolina, including seven new recipients, to attend 10 institutions of higher learning.

Junior Achievement of Central North Carolina gets $30,000

Junior Achievement of Central North Carolina has received a $20,000 grant from the Lincoln Financial Foundation and a $10,000 grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation.

The Lincoln Financial grant will provide funding for 30 classes serving up to 900 students and an intensive job shadowing program for high school students in Guilford County.

The Bank of America grant provide funding for middle school classrooms across the Junior Achievement of Central North Carolina service area.

Junior Achievement of Eastern North Carolina gets $15,000

Junior Achievement of Eastern North Carolina has received a $15,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation to provide financial-literacy, entrepreneurship and workforce -readiness programs to over 500 students in eastern North Carolina.

Corporate and community volunteers will share their personal and professional experiences in 20 classrooms, with each class receiving five to seven lessons. 

The grant also will provide job-shadow opportunities for high school students in the region.

Habitat Greensboro builds two homes

Through the Building on Faith Initiative at Habitat for Humanity of Greater Greensboro, volunteers  from 45 congregations helped build two homes for new Habitat homeowners.

Duke Children’s Hospital to benefit from event

Duke Children’s Hospital and Health Center will benefit from proceeds raised July 30 by Triangle Dairy Queen during its 10th Miracle Treat Day.

During the past nine years, Triangle Dairy Queen has raised over $100,000 for local children.

Duke gets $13 million commitment

Duke University has received a $13 million commitment for its Athletics Department from Steve Brooks, a 1970 alumnus and president and CEO of Phoenix American Insurance Group, and his wife, Eileen.

CASA to receive free video

Blueforest Studios selected CASA, a Raleigh nonprofit that provides housing to people who are homeless, to receive a free video worth over $5,000.

CASA was selected through a competitive application process.

Alzheimer’s Association getting $77,000

Blondes vs. Brunettes Raleigh raised over $77,000 during its fourth season to benefit the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

FaithAction ID program grows

The identification card program offered by FaithAction in Greensboro has added new partners that offer the card, expanded to Alamance County and now serves over 2,500 residents.

New partners include International Civil Rights Museum, Greensboro Children’s Museum, YMCA, Community Theater of Greensboro, Deep Roots Market, Scuppernog Books, Zaytoon’s Restaurant, Nazareth Bakery, Manny’s Cafe, Kiosco Mexican Grill, Chapman Law Firm, Santos Counseling and La Esperanza Tienda.

Other partners include local law enforcement and emergency services; city libraries; municipal credit union; water, housing, and parks and recreation departments; human relations staff; health centers; and schools. 

The card provides a valid form of identification, access to community services and opportunities, and special discounts or benefits to residents who otherwise may not have access to government-issued forms of identification.

O’Connor joins SECU Family House board

Maureen K. O’Connor, executive vice president of diversified businesses for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, and president of Mosaic Health Solutions, a subsidiary that makes strategic investments in health care companies, has joined the board of directors for SECU Family House at UNC Hospitals.

Health Underwriters Association honored

The North Carolina Association of Health Underwriters has received the Blue Ribbon of Excellence Award from the National Association of Health Underwriters. The award recognizing excelling chapters.

North Carolina is home to seven local chapters of the association, and each chapter, along with the state association, have received Silver or Gold certifications to qualify for the award.

Auction to benefit Hirsch Wellness Network

The seventh annual “Art Lives Here” silent auction to benefit the Hirsch Wellness Network will be held October 9 in the gallery on the Revolution Mill campus.

The event will include an exhibition and auction featuring donated works by 100 local artists in a wide range of media.

Benevolence Farm receives $15,000

Benevolence Farm received a $15,000 grant from The Hayden-Harman Foundation in Burlington for general operating support.

School of the Arts receives flute archives

The UNC School of the Arts in Winston-Salem has received the archives of Louise Moyse, the late flutest, pianist and composer.

The Louis Moyse Flute Archives, a gift from Janet W. Moyse, Moyse’s widow, consists of his original compositions, editions and arrangements of music for flute and chamber ensembles, as well as recordings, photos, letters and other memorabilia.

National Folk Festival gets sponsor

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina will sponsor the Lawn Stage at the 2015 National Folk Festival in Greensboro.

Be smart in working with the news media

If you want the news media to run your news, be strategic in submitting and pitching your news releases.

First, make sure your news release focuses on your news and why it matters, not on your organization and what your leaders say about your news.

Second, make sure you send your news release to the right person at each new outlet. Go to the group’s website; look for the staff listing; find the city, local or metro editor at a newspaper, or the assignment editor at a television or radio station; write down that person’s email address and phone number; and send the news release to that person.

If the staff listing on the website does not include the names and titles of the people you are looking for, find the main number, or the number for news, then call and ask for the name, email address and phone number of the person with the appropriate job title. Then send the news release to that person.

Once you have sent the news release, follow up with a phone call to make sure the appropriate person received the news release. And be prepared to make a pitch — in just a few short sentences — about why your news matters.

If the news organization runs your news, you should follow up with a thank-you note.

And create a spread sheet with the names of the news outlets, contacts and their contact information to use the next time you want to send out a news release.

The news media can be a great way to get your news to the audiences you want to reach.

So be smart and strategic in the way you work with news organizations.

Want professional 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

Alamance partnership serves homeless

By Todd Cohen

BURLINGTON, N.C. — Individuals and families in Alamance County at risk of homelessness are getting affordable housing, rental assistance and support services, thanks to a partnership among Allied Churches of Alamance County, United Way of Alamance County, and DeBoer & Gabriel Properties in Burlington.

Allied Churches, which operates a 102-bed emergency shelter that provides stays of 30 days to 90 days for homeless men, women and children, also subsidizes rent for eligible homeless people through a federally funded “Rapid Re-Housing Program.”

That program aims to provide safe, stable housing and case management for clients after they leave the shelter, including case management and, for the first four months, a rent subsidy.

To expand that program, DeBoer & Gabriel Properties has agreed to keep monthly rent stable and not increase it for as long as Rapid ReHousing clients have a lease.

Allied Churches will provide federal funding for four months to cover the fair market rent for each client until they establish themselves as tenants. After that, the clients are responsible for those costs.

And United Way will provide up to $20,000 a year to help cover the gap between the federal Rapid ReHousing dollars and the monthly rent.

Forty-eight percent of renters in Alamance County were not able to afford the fair-market rent for a two-bedroom housing unit, according to 2013 data from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

“We recognize that there is not enough available affordable housing, particularly near the jobs where people are working,” says Heidi Norwick, United Way president. “Without a public transportation system currently in our community, that’s even more important.”

To provide people in need with an affordable way to get to work or school or to appointments for health and human services, United Way recently announced it would give $100,000 to support the new public bus system the City of Burlington expects to launch in the spring of 2016.

A key goal of the new housing partnership is to help people living in emergency housing get “started and settled,” Norwick says. “After that, they are the tenants, and they will also take classes on financial counseling and how to be a good tenant.”

Allied Churches will provide those classes, she says, and United Way will provide its rent subsidies “as long as the tenant remains in good standing.”