Make your human impact clear

The best way to show the difference your nonprofit makes is to show the human face of your work.

So create stories about the people you serve and work with, including your clients, donors, volunteers and other partners.

Who are your clients? What challenges do they face in life? What are the underlying causes of those problems? How do your programs make their lives better?

Who are you donors? What causes do they care about? Why do they support your organization? What difference does their support make, both to the people you serve and in their own lives?

Who are your volunteers and other partners? Why did they get involved with your nonprofit? What role do they play in your work? What effect does their involvement with you have on their own work?

Stories about the people you serve and work with are a great way of showing other people why your nonprofit matters, why they should get involved, and what difference their support will make in addressing human needs in your community and advancing their own values and causes.

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 toddcohen49@gmail.com.

Research tracks gender differences in giving

Differences in income among women and men shape overall giving by couples, as well as the causes they support, new research says.

An increase in a man’s income, for example, tends to make it more likely a couple will give to religious, youth, international and combined-purpose groups such as United Way, or give larger amounts to those causes, or both, says research from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

An increase in a woman’s income makes it more likely a couple will give, and give a larger amount, to charities that provide for basic human needs, the research says.

The research, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, included a review of interdisciplinary literature on women’s giving and philanthropic behavior.

It also included analysis of data from the Philanthropy Panel Study, Bank of America/U.S. Trust Studies of High Net Worth Philanthropy, and Million Dollar List. Among the findings:

Marital status

* Single women are more likely than single men to give, and to give higher dollar amounts.

* Women who are divorced, separated, never married or widowed are more likely to give and to give higher dollar amounts than their male counterparts and among men overall.

* Single women are more likely than single men to give to nearly every charitable sector, except sports and recreation.

* Married couples tend to give more than single households headed by males or females.

* When men marry, they are more likely to give to charity and to give higher amounts.

Charitable decision-making

* Most married couples decide on charitable giving jointly.

* Households in which the male makes decisions on charitable giving make larger donations than couples in which those decisions are made by the female or jointly.

* For couples with one person making decisions on giving, the decision-making spouse is likely to have had more education, while in couples that make those decisions together, both individuals have high educational attainment.

Volunteering and giving circles

* Women are more likely than men to volunteer, and to volunteer more hours, with single women volunteering at nearly twice the rate of single men.

* Women represent the vast majority of participants in giving circles, more than half of giving circles in the U.S. involve only women, and issues that affect women and girls are the priority for many giving circles.

* Less than 10 percent of all foundation funding supports organizations run by and for women and girls.

Selecting charitable causes

* Women tend to spread their giving across more organizations, while men tend to concentrate their giving.

* Among high net worth individuals — those with $250,000 or more in income, or $1 million or more in assets not including their principal residence, or both — single women are more likely than single men to give, and give more to arts and the environment, while high net worth single men are more likely to give, and give more to combination organizations such as United Way.

* “Female-deciding” households are more likely to give to youth and family, health and international causes, while “male-deciding” households are more likely to give to religion, education and other causes.

* High net worth female-deciding households are more likely to give to youth and family services and religious causes, while male-deciding households are less likely to give to basic-needs organizations, and give lower amounts to those organizations.

* Single women spread out their giving more than do single men, although high net worth single women and men are similar in the concentration of their giving.

* Single women are more likely than single men to make women’s rights a priority, and less likely to make the economy and veterans’ issues a priority.

* Compared to couples that are “joint deciders,” a couple with the husband as sole decider is more likely to make the arts a priority as a social issue, while a couple with the wife as sole decider is more likely to make animal welfare a priority and less likely to make veterans’ issues a priority.

* Compared to joint deciders, a high net worth couple with the husband as sole decider is more likely to make the economy a key issue and less likely to make poverty a key issue, while a couple with the wife as sole decider is more likely to make human rights a priority.

Motivations for giving

* Single women are more likely than single men to cite their political or philosophical beliefs, and serving on a board or volunteering, as motivations for giving.

* In couples with the wife as sole decision-maker on giving, the household is more likely than joint-deciders to be motivated to give by spontaneously responding to a need, believing their gift makes a difference, and as a result of their political and philosophical beliefs, and less likely to be motivated by religious beliefs.

* In couples with the husband as sole decision-maker on giving, the household is less likely than joint-deciders to be motivated to give by setting an example for future generations, religious beliefs and the personal satisfaction of giving.

* For million-dollar donors’ gifts, individual women tend to mention “scholarship and “student” more than men do, reflecting a focus on the people their philanthropy can affect.

* Women are the only type of donor to have the term “unrestricted” appear in their top keywords.

* As women’s income rises, they become more likely than their male counterparts to give to charity.

Giving to secular and religious causes

* For the top 60 percent of income earners, women are more likely than their male counterparts to give to secular causes, and to give more.

* Millennial, Boomer and older women are more likely than their male counterparts to give in general and to secular causes.

* High net worth single women and single men do not differ significantly in their incidence of giving or the amount they give, either in total giving or in giving to religious or secular causes.

* A married person is more likely to give and to give more than a person who is not married.

* Single females are most likely to give to secular causes, and give more than do single men, married men and married women.

* Among high net worth households, being married does not increase the likelihood of giving, although married couples tend to give higher amounts overall and to secular causes than do single men and women.

* For giving to religious causes, households in which the husband is the sole decision-maker on giving are most likely to give.

* Compared to joint deciders, households in which the wife is the sole decision-maker on giving, and those with separate deciders, give less to to religious causes.

* Female-deciding households and and joint-deciding households are more likely to give to secular causes.

* Compared to joint-deciding households, only households in which men and women make giving decisions separately are statistically more likely to give higher amounts to secular causes.

* When either a wife or husband is a sole decision-maker, the amount of giving for religious purposes is lower than in jointly-deciding households.

Donors’ income and education levels

* A households in which the husband has unearned income from trusts or investments is significantly more likely to give to charity, while a household in which the wife has unearned income has no significant impact on whether the household will give to charity.

* An increase in men’s income tends to increase the likelihood and amount of giving to nearly every charitable subsector, while an increase in women’s income tends to increase the likelihood of giving to education, the environment, and organizations that address basic needs.

* The respective income of a husband or wife does not affect whether high income households give.

* The income of a high net worth husband is related to the amount of giving from the household, both overall and to secular giving.

* Education within a household generally does not affect the incidence or amount of giving for either the general population or high net worth households.

Todd Cohen

Nonprofit news roundup, 09.25.15

Campbell Law School receives $8 million gift

Campbell Law School has received a gift of more than $8 million in cash and property from Raleigh lawyer G. Eugene “Gene” Boyce to establish The G. Eugene Boyce Center of Advocacy at the school’s campus in downtown Raleigh.

The contribution is the biggest ever to the law school and one of the biggest ever to the university.

Wake Forest Baptist gets $5.13 million from four donors

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem has received gifts totaling $5.13 million over the past year from four donors for chairs, professorships and endowed faculty scholars.

The McMichael Family Foundation in Madison, N.C., gave $1.5 million to establish a professorship in oncology

An anonymous donor gave $1.5 million to establish an endowed faculty scholar position in aging and Alzheimer’s disease

James W. Johnston and the Johnston Family Foundation gave $1.13 million to establish a professorship in diabetes and obesity. Johnston, a resident of Mooresville, is president and chief executive officer of Stonemarker Enterprises and formerly was chairman and chief executive officer of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.

And The John Wesley and Anna Hodgin Hanes Foundation in Winston-Salem gave $1 million to establish a professorship in cancer research.

Los Angeles investing $100 million to support homeless

With an estimated 26,000 homeless people, the City of Los Angeles has declared a public emergency, and city officials have proposed spending $100 million on housing and other services to serve the homeless, The New York Times reported.

Budget officials estimate the city already spends over $100 million, mainly through law enforcement, to address needs related to homelessness, the Times said.

The city is the first in the U.S. to declare a public emergency in the face of the rise in homelessness.

Triangle Heart Walk set for September 27

The American Heart Association aims to raise $2 million and attract over 20,000 participants at the Triangle Heart Walk on September 27.

The annual event, be to held at PNC Arena on Edwards Mill Road in Raleigh, begins with activities starting at 12:30 p.m. and a walk at 2 p.m.

Chairing the event is Geoff Lang, vice president and general manager of MetLife’s Global Technology Campus in Cary.

Y Learning program to benefit from SAS Championship

The Y Learning program of YMCA of the Triangle will benefit from the 15th annual SAS Championship, which will be held October 5-11 at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary.

In the past 14 years, the event has raised over $3.8 million for local charities.

The beneficiary for the past five years has been Y Learning, a standardized tutorial program for students from kindergarten through eighth grade who struggle to reach school-system benchmarks.

Over 1,600 students in Wake, Chatham, Durham, Johnston, Lee, Orange and Pamlico Counties participate in Y Learning.

Among participating students, 95 percent improve at least one grade level in reading or math.

Barbecue-blugrass event to benefit TROSA

A health center for residents of Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers will benefit from a barbecue-and-bluegrass event on October 11 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the TROSA campus at 1820  James St. in Durham.

The event will feature barbecue from Durham chef Scott Howell  – owner of Nana’s, Nanataco and Bar Virgile – and from The Original Q Shack, Rise Biscuits & Donuts, and Foster’s Market.  Food service supplier Sysco also is a chief sponsor.

CROP Hunger Walk set for October 18

The 34th annual Winston-Salem/Forsyth County CROP Hunger Walk to fight hunger will be held October 18 at 2:30 p.m. at Corpening Plaza in downtown Winston-Salem. 

This year’s goal is to enlist 100 teams and 1,500 walkers and raise over $90,000, up from 70 teams, over 1,000 people and over $80,000 last year.

The CROP Hunger Walk has raised a total of over $1.6 million.

Methodist Home for Children raises $131,000

The Methodist Home for Children in Raleigh raised a record-high $131,000 on September 3 at its 9th annual Epicurean Evening in Wilmington.

The event featured 25 top regional epicureans who served more than 500 guests and competed for culinary awards.

Guilford Adult Health gets $30,000

Guilford Adult Health in Greensboro has been awarded a $30,000 grant from the Guilford County Dental Society to buy new software for its dental clinic, Guilford Dental Access Program, which provides dental and oral care to underserved patients.

ArtsGreensboro gets $40,000

Wells Fargo Foundation has made a $40,000 grant to the 2016 ArtsFund campaign at ArtsGreensboro to establish the Wells Fargo Arts in Education Fund.

The new Fund will support arts programs provided by local arts organizations to students in Guilford County Schools.

The Carousel Center gets $30,500

The Carousel Center has received a $30,500 grant at from The Women’s Impact Network of New Hanover County.

The Center will use the funds to serve more children who have suffered physical or sexual abuse.

The Women’s Impact Center has contributed over $100,000 in local grants in its four-year history. Previous grants supported the Cape Fear Guardian Ad Litem Association, Dreams of Wilmington, and Wilmington Health Access for Teens.

Guilford groups get $21,000

Southeast Volunteer Fire Department in Greensboro received extrication equipment worth $20,969, while VIP for VIP, or Vehicle Injury Prevention for a Very Important Person in Guilford County, received three projectors worth $4,197, all from Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation

The department will use the donated equipment to improve its rescue capabilities for victims in motor vehicle accidents.

VIP will use the donated equipment to educate teens on the consequences of poor driving in schools throughout the community.

The Foundation has given over $14 million in 43 states and Puerto Rico, including over $662,000 in North Carolina.

Sedransk named director at NISS

Nell Sedransk, acting director at the National Institute of Statistical Sciences in Research Triangle Park, has been named director.

Sedransk, who will be based in NISS’ office in Washington, D.C., has served as acting director since 2014 and before that was associate director, starting in 2005.

She previously was chief of the statistical engineering division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

National Folk Festival attracts over 102,000 people

The National Folk Festival and related events from September 10 through 13 in downtown Greensboro attracted over 102,000 people, according to estimates.

The Festival, which marked its 75th anniversary and was presented by Belk and co-produced by ArtsGreensboro and the National Council for the Traditional Arts, was held f in North Carolina for the first time.

It will be presented again in Greensboro in 2016 and 2017.

Goetz Foundation to hold gala

Noah Z.M. Goetz Foundation will host its 5th Annual Family Building Blocks Gala on November 12 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Brier Creek Country Club in Raleigh.

All funds raised at the gala will support domestic adoption education and grant support services to North Carolinians who previously battled infertility.

The event will feature presentation of the Family Building Blocks Awards, which recognizes couples and organizations that support the Foundation.

This year’s recipients are Archway Foundation, Carolina Conceptions, Freudenberg IT, and Lori and Robert Moscato.

Sponsors of the event include Atlantic Reproductive Medicine Specialists, Carolina Conceptions, and Duke Fertility Center,

Davidson Hospice seeking volunteers

Hospice of Davidson County is seeking volunteers to assist its staff in providing end-of-life care for its home-care and Hinkle Hospice House patients.

The agency will hold training and orientation sessions for new volunteers each evening from October 19 through October 22 in the Administrative Building on its campus at 200 Hospice Way in Lexington. 

Lowes Foods employees team with local nonprofits

Tim Lowe, president of Winston-Salem-based Lowes Foods, and about 150 regional managers, store managers and other home-office employees, partnered with three local nonprofits on September 24 as part of the company’s annual meeting.

Roughy 100 employees assembled 2,500 back-pack items into plastic zipped bags for the School Back Pack Program in Welcome.

Employees worked to refresh the courtyard area for Senior Services in Winston-Salem.

And employees dug up sweet potatoes, prepare the area for new planting, and handled general garden clean up for the Food Bank Garden in Winston-Salem.

Surry Community College gets $15,000

The Gene Haas Foundation gave $15,000 to Surry Community College in Dobson, N.C., to support scholarships for computerized-numeric-control machinist training.

American Heart Association gets $15,000

The American Heart Association has received a $15,000 donation for the 2016 New Bern Heart Ball from Carolina East Health System.

Triad Goodwill to hold customer appreciation day

Goodwill Industries of Central North Carolina, a nonprofit provider of employment services, will host a family-friendly customer appreciation day at its store and the Charles & Betty Younce North Elm Career Center at 3519 North Elm St. in Greensboro on October 3 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Longleaf Collective seeks grant applications

The Longleaf Collective, a young professionals’ giving circle at Triangle Community Foundation, is seeking grant applications for the first time.

It’s inaugural funding effort will focus on the connection between mental health and poverty in the Triangle, particularly for younger adults. At least one proposal will receive $5,000 to $10,000 in seed funding to further study or launch a project.

Applications are due October 16. 

Raise awareness of community needs

To truly engage donors as long-time partners and investors, nonprofits need to shine a spotlight on the issues they address.

That means explaining community problems in a way that is clear, concise and compelling.

What are the underlying causes of the problem? Who does it affect? What are its human, social and environmental costs?

It also is important to help people understand effective solutions to address the problem. What strategies and partnerships are working? What difference are they making?

In addition to raising awareness about the needs you address, you also should work hard to get to know your donors and prospective donors. What issues are near and deaer to their heart? How do they want to be remembered? What family issues do they face?

And help them see how getting involved with your organization will address critical community needs while also advancing the causes they care about.

Too many nonprofits treat fundraising as a business “transaction” with donors. They expect support simply because their cause is worthy. And they expect instant gratification once they ask for support.

Nonprofits that are smart about fundraising will make the long-term investment needed to raise awareness about community needs. They will take time to truly get to know their donors and prospective donors. And they will help donors understand their work and the difference they make.

Fundraising is the end result, not the starting point, of investment in more informed and engaged communication to build long-term relationships with donors by helping them understand community problems and get involved in fixing them.

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 toddcohen49@gmail.com.

United Way aims for ‘collective impact’

By Todd Cohen

CARY, N.C. — From 2004 to 2014, when Laura Zink Marx served as executive director of NJ 2-1-1 Partnership, a subsidiary of United Way of New Jersey, the referral-and-resource hotline for health and human services grew rapidly to serve United Way affiliates, the nonprofit agencies they support, and government agencies in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The Partnership also emerged as a model for the new role United Way increasingly aims to play in local communities as a catalyst, hub and resource for collaboration to address urgent community needs. It used technology and data to coordinate services among agencies, assess callers’ needs and connect them with services to assist them, and began to track the impact of those services.

And it served as a revenue center, growing its staff to 100 employees and its annual operating budget to $5 million.

Now, as president and CEO of United Way of North Carolina, Marx is building on that model to help its members reinvent the way they do business. Those members include 57 local United Ways and two United Funds that serve 83 of the state’s 100 counties and last year raised a total of $100 million.

“Like any business, we’re reimagining what the future holds for us a state organization, and local United Ways are reimagining their role in the communities,” says Marx, who joined the statewide organization last October. “We’re making the shift from allocating dollars to agencies, to building community impact programs that are more inclusive of collaboration with other agencies and making real change happen.”

Operating with nine employees and an annual budget of $900,000, United Way of North Carolina also manages the State Employees Combined Campaign, which in 2014 raised $3.8 million.

Under a separate nonprofit operating with an annual budget of $1 million, up from $400,000 last year, United Way of North Carolina administers the 2-1-1 hotline, which serves all 100 counties in the state through call centers in Asheville and Durham that employ the equivalent of 21 full-time staff.

With $1.7 million in funding from the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust in Chapel Hill, United Way is expanding its 2-1-1 service to Florida, Kentucky and New York, and has developed 211counts.org, a web-based “dashboard” that tracks data from calls and will be used in North Carolina, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan and New York.

Building on the 2-1-1 program Marx headed in New Jersey, United Way of North Carolina also is working to develop partnerships with nonprofit and government agencies that provide health and human services, offering its 2-1-1 service as a “portal” to help those agencies to better serve their clients.

“It’s about providing solutions to the state to help streamline services for residents,” she says. “We’re providing the core infrastructure, and then leveraging that for solutions for government and nonprofits.”

United Way, for example, is partnering with the North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness, which under a federal mandate tied to funding is developing plans to coordinate resources for people facing homelessness.

Through an initiative to be piloted in Onslow County, United Way’s 2-1-1 service will serve as a one-stop shop aggregating data about all public and private agencies serving people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and as a “front door for coordinated assessments” of callers, Marx says.

The system will provide “pre-screening to help divert people who are not homeless,” Marx says, while directing them to resources they do need, such as food pantries.

The 2-1-1 service represents a new model for United Way, moving away from a focus on fundraising to investing in “collective impact,” Marx says.

“It’s about knowing what the factors are in a community that provide barriers to people, to help them take the next step in their lives and move forward,” she says. “If we’re looking at building coalitions and collaborations in the community, and effective long-term change, we can start to collect data that’s specific to United Way initiatives.”

United Way of Forsyth County, for example, is part of a collaborative, neighborhood-based initiative that has helped improve the high-school graduation rate and now aims to help graduates get to college and move beyond the poverty their families have faced for generations, Marx says.

The 2-1-1 service can contribute to the effort by guiding callers — such as mothers who make repeated requests for emergency assistance to pay their electric utility bills — to other services they might need to help their families become more financially independent.

In addition to 2-1-1, keys to United Way’s emerging strategy are to use technology more effectively, share “best practices” and success stories at individual United Ways, shift the perception of United Way’s work to “investing” from fundraising, and advocate for public policies that strengthen charities.

To better engage young adults, United Way needs to find ways to more effectively use YouTube videos and social media, Marx says.

United Way of Alamance County, for example, used MobileCause, a cloud-based fundraising application that lets people in the same room use their cell phones to pledge contributions so each person can instantly see total giving from everyone in the room. United Way of North Carolina then shared that “best practice” with its members throughout the state.

For smaller United Ways, Marx says, “it’s really hard to understand how it relates to what you do.” A goal of United Way of North Carolina is to “interpret big ideas and make them manageable, whatever size you are,” she says.

While United Ways traditionally have been successful at “being independent and siloed,” she says, shifting patterns in where people live and work, and how they commute, have made it important for local United Ways to share information and resources with one another, and to help people understand the common and connected role they play.

In western North Carolina, a handful of local United Ways now plan to share back-office operations such as processing donation pledges and handling payroll and other finance functions.

And United Way of North Carolina is sharing with its members the story of United Way of Onslow County, which reduced the county’s rate of childhood homelessness by more than 25 percent in two years.

United Ways also are looking for ways to engage donors in the work their dollars support so they can see the difference their investment makes.

As a “leadership” donor who gives $1,000 a year through payroll deduction to United Way of the Greater Triangle, Marx is invited to monthly events that feature discussions on topics such as the need for food for hungry people or for the mentoring of girls. She then can get involved by participating in an event to build food kits or by serving as a mentor.

And in the face of a proposal in the North Carolina Senate to cap charitable deductions, United Way of North Carolina is working to mobilize local United Ways to share their concerns about the possible impact the proposal would have on charitable giving.

United Way’s strategy is to keep looking for new ways to be part of collaborative efforts to address community needs, Marx says.

“The door’s open until it’s closed,” she says. “Let’s keep thinking about ways we can bring value to the work that we do.”

Nonprofit news roundup, 09.18.15

High Point United Way sets $4.9 million goal

United Way of Greater High Point has set a goal of $4.925 million for it annual fundraising drive, up $15,000 from last year, when it exceeded its goal by $2,100.

Chaired by Randy Parker, president of Guilford Technical Community College, the campaign kicked off September 15 with United Way’s sixth annual day-long “CAN-Paign” food drive.

For the food drive, volunteers from Bank of America and United Way staff visited over 50 companies to try to fill three tractor-trailers from Old Dominion Freight Line. 

At the end of the day, 13 local food pantries unloaded the food into their own trucks.  Participating pantries included C.O.A.T.; Helping Hands Ministries’ Hope Church; Macedonia Family Resource Center; Open Door Ministries; Piedmont Health Services; The Salvation Army of High Point; Triad Food Pantry; Burns Hill Community Pantry; Student Food Pantry at Guilford Technical Community College; Triad Health Project; Community Resources Food Pantry at Ward Street  Mission; and West End Ministries.

Pope Foundation to award two $100,000 grants

The John William Pope Foundation in Raleigh, launching its first competitive grants program, will award two $100,000 grants to North Carolina nonprofits to support innovative approaches to pressing needs.

October 30 is the deadline for submitting applications for the Joy Pope Memorial Grant in the Arts and the Joy Pope Memorial Grant in Human Services.

At the same time, the foundation is accepting applications for its traditional fall grants cycle to support arts and human services in the Triangle.

New leadership at Cannon Foundation

Venetia Skahen, program officer at The Cannon Foundation in Concord and former executive director of the Community Free Clinic in Concord, has been named the Foundation’s executive director.

She succeeds R. Frank Davis who died August 24 after a short illness.

Davis had announced he would retire at the end of the year, and a search for a successor was underway.

Davis joined the Foundation in 1998 and was named executive director in 2000.

A former high school English teacher, he had worked for three decades as an admissions and chief development officer at Berry College, his alma mater, and at Brevard College, University of Alabama at Huntsville, Mercer University, and Wingate University.

Skahen joined Foundation in 2012.

Meredith names leadership-giving director

Linda Carter, former associate vice chancellor for alumni engagement at the University of Missouri at Saint Louis, has joined Meredith College in Raleigh as director of leadership giving.

Carter previously was executive director of the Alumni Association and director of alumni relations at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and before that  director of development for the School of Nursing at UNCG.

Event raises $25,000 to fight poverty

Passage Home and the J.D. Lewis Multi-Purpose Center in Raleigh raised $25,000 at an event on September 3 for a campaign to help break the cycle of poverty in Southeast Raleigh.

Funds raised at the event, hosted by Raleigh Wine & Design, bring to $110,000 the total raised in the campaign, which began in early 2015 and has a goal of $250,000.

Initiative Capital gets $1 million

Initiative Capital, the lending and investment arm of the North Carolina Community Development Initiative in Raleigh, received a $1 million grant from the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund of the U.S. Treasury Department.

Initiative Capital, which provides gap funding, permanent financing and flexible credit for community assets such as affordable housing, community facilities and commercial spaces, will use the grant to expand its affordable housing and asset-preservation lending across the state.

Wake Salvation Army aims to raise $300,000

The Salvation Army of Wake County wants to raise $300,000 in a campaign that ends October 30 and marks its first effort to field volunteers to recruit support through personal meetings with individuals.

Chairing the campaign is Richard Campbell, president of Carolina Broadcasting and Publishing.

The Salvation Army traditionally has raised money through its annual year-end bell-ringer campaign, and through direct-mail appeals.

Ennis-Flint employees raise $11,000

Nearly 60 employees of Ennis-Flint in Thomasville pledged $11,000 to the American Traffic Safety Services Foundation in Fredericksburg, Va., up from $10,500 last  year.

The Foundation will use the funds to help advance programs that address work-zone death and injury; provide scholarships for family members of fallen roadway workers; and maintain the National Work Zone Memorial, which Memorial, which lists nearly 1,400 roadway workers killed in work zones.

Art Institute names career-services director; CEO joins Arts Council board

Heidi Nolta, a member of the career-services leadership team at Art Institute campuses in Chicago and Schaumburg, Ill., has joined The Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham, a campus of South University, as director of career services.

Chris Mesecar, president and CEO of The Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham, has joined the board of trustees of the Durham Arts Council.

Heart Association names development director

MeShall Hills, public communications specialist at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University in Greenville, will join the American Heart Association as director of development for the Rocky Mount-Greenville region, effective September 21.

Junior Achievement elects officers

Clayton Dorn of UPS has been elected chairman of the board of directors of Junior Achievement of Eastern North Carolina, and Randy Brodd of Dixon Hughes Goodman has been named chair-elect.

Make-A-Wish gets $56,000

Sensus, a Raleigh-based provider of public-service infrastructure solutions, raised  $56,000 for Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina at its third annual Charity Golf Classic at the Lonnie Poole Golf Course at North Carolina State University.

The event has raised over $124,000 since 2013.

Volunteers pitch into paint, repair houses

A veteran, an elderly widow, a disabled man, and a retired Cone Mills employee were among the recipients of the fifth annual Paint the Town event led by Community Housing Solutions in Greensboro.

On September 16, over 30 volunteers from Lincoln Financial Group provided exterior painting and landscaping repairs on two homes in the Woodmere Park neighborhood of northeast Greensboro.

And on September 19, over 110 volunteers — from Bank of America, United Guaranty, Lincoln Financial Group, First Baptist Church, United Healthcare, St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, Mt. Zion Baptist Church, and Wells Fargo — worked at eight more Woodmere Park homes.

A sponsor for each house provides funding and volunteers to complete projects for homeowners who may be physically or financially unable to make repairs themselves.

Sherwin-Williams Paint donated All paint and necessary supplies for this year’s event.

White House honors Tomorrow Fund

The Tomorrow Fund for Hispanic Students, a North Carolina scholarship fund, has been recognized as a “Bright Spot in Hispanic Education” by The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

The Tomorrow Fund will be included in a national online catalog featuring 230 programs that invest in key education priorities for Hispanics.

Since it began awarding scholarships in 2010, the Tomorrow Fund has awarded ver $670,000, including $128,000 this past June to 18 students across North Carolina. Students must have graduated from a North Carolina high school and attend a North Carolina post-secondary institution.

Musical event to benefit FaithAction

FaithAction, a Greensboro group that provides services to immigrants, will benefit from “A Place for Us,” a musical show that will be held September 24 at the Community Theater of Greensboro at 520 S. Elm Street.

FaithAction this year aims to serve 4,000 new immigrants, addressing needs ranging food, housing and health-care to legal assistance, English and computer classes, employment readiness, and a FaithAction ID card.

It also plans to provide over 50 trainings and presentations about immigration and diversity to schools, social service agencies and faith communications, as well as bi-monthly “Stranger to Neighbor” events.

High Point Regional employees donate food

Employees at High Point Regional collected over 7,000 items of food during a three-week United Way food drive.

High Point Regional held the drive in the wake of a talk to more than 100 members of its management team by Carl Vierling, executive director of the Greater High Point Food Alliance.

Vierling told the group the levels of hunger and lack of food in High Point and Greensboro are among highest in the U.S.

Veterans Leadership Council gets $10,000

Waste Industries in Raleigh donated $10,000 to the Veterans Leadership Council of North Carolina – Cares for its project to build a Veterans Life Center.

Leadership North Carolina names 55 leaders to new class

Leadership North Carolina has accepted 55 civic and community leaders from across the state have been accepted to its 2015-16 class.

Anti-abortion activist to speak in Greensboro

Anti-abortion activist Abby Johnson will be the keynote speaker at the annual benefit dinner for Greensboro Pregnancy Care Center on October 2 at the Grandover Resort.

Johnson, founder of And Then There Were None and author of Unplanned, quit her job as director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan, Tex., to join a pro-life group after watching an abortion.

Charities need to stop abusing language

Clear communication is essential for charities to succeed, yet they increasingly are using philanthropic jargon and doubletalk, and in the process putting their own survival at risk.

Charities are businesses. Their job is to improve lives. Their success is measured by the difference they make for the people and places they serve, and by their financial bottom line.

To best serve the people who receive their services, raise the money they need, run effective programs, operate efficiently, and find and keep smart employees, board members and volunteers, charities need to speak and write clearly.

They need to be able to tell their story so it is easy to understand the need they address, the people they serve, the way they work, their impact, and why people should care, get involved and support them.

Charities should speak plainly and make their words matter. They should embrace the fact that they are businesses with both social and financial bottom lines, and must survive in a fiercely competitive charitable marketplace.

But instead of using words that make their work easy to understand, and show people why they should get involved, charities abuse language, fogging their communications with jargon, technical words and acronyms.

And many charities, while wanting to avoid being seen as corporate, disengaged or bureaucratic, are quick to parrot the language of business, academia and government.

The job of charities is to make life better for the people and places they serve. They are businesses that provide direct services — to people and places in need, to donors, to volunteers, and to partner agencies.

To fix complex and interconnected social and global problems, charities need to say what they mean and do what they say.

And they need to stop pretending they operate in a refined atmosphere above the messy and often dysfunctional marketplace in which they must do business and compete.

To succeed, they must learn to communicate clearly with all their customers.

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 toddcohen49@gmail.com.