Nonprofit news roundup, 04.08.16

Economic ladder harder to climb in North Carolina, report says

North Carolina could face a grim economic future unless communities create opportunities for a growing share of the population whose chances for success are slim, a new report says.

People in every region of North Carolina are less likely than the average American to improve their economic status, says the report from Durham research nonprofit MDC.

The report, “North Carolina’s Economic Imperative: Building an Infrastructure of Opportunity,” examines education, income and workforce data, and includes profiles of efforts to boost mobility in eight communities.

Commissioned by the John M. Belk Endowment in Charlotte, the report also spells out steps communities can take to improve opportunities, particularly for low-income, first-generation and minority students.

Thirty-one percent of North Carolinians who attain no more than a high school degree live in poverty, compared to only five percent of people with a bachelor’s degree who live in poverty, the report says.

Upward mobility in 22 of North Carolina’s 24 regions, known as “commuting zones,” ranks in the bottom fourth nationally, with Charlotte, Raleigh, Fayetteville and Greensboro ranking in the bottom 10 of the 100 largest commuting zones in the U.S., the report says.

While mobility varies based on where people live, it says, only about one-third of children  in families making less than $25,000 a year are able to move into middle- and upper-income levels as adults.

Latinos and African Americans are more likely than whites to live in poverty and not move beyond lower levels of education, leaving them less prepared for high-skill, well-paying jobs, and those gaps increasingly will hurt the state’s economy as those populations grow and account for a bigger share of the overall population, the report says.

A family of one parent and one child, it says, needs an income of $21 an hour to cover basic living expenses in the state, yet only 26 percent of full-time jobs pay median earnings of that amount.

Upward mobility in rural and urban areas of North Carolina alike is poor, the report says, particularly in areas with high levels of income inequality, segregated housing, low-performing schools from kindergarten through 12th grade, and low levels of post-secondary education.

School funding gap grows between rich and poor counties

A persistent gap between North Carolina’s wealthiest and poorest counties in funding for local public schools continues to grow, a new study says.

In 2013-14, the state’s 10 highest-spending counties spent, on average, $57,497 more per classroom than the 10 lowest-spending counties, up $739 from the previous year and up 36 percent from 10 years earlier, says the 2016 Local School Finance Study from the Public School Forum of North Carolina.

Orange County alone spends roughly the same amount on local schools as the combined total spent by the six counties that spend the least, the study says.

While the tax rate in the 10 poorest counties was nearly double that in the 10 wealthiest counties, the Forum says, the revenue the poorest counties generated was substantially lower than the revenue the wealthiest counties generated.

The big gap in funding mainly is the result of varying property wealth across the state that drives the amount of local revenue counties generate to support public schools, the Forum says.

Since the Forum began publishing its annual report on local school over 25 years ago, it says, it has found that wealthier counties can spend more on schools with less of a tax burden, while counties with fewer taxable resources must increase their tax burden to support local schools.

The Forum also has found a widening gap between counties with many taxable resources and those with few taxable resources, resulting in an expanding gap in their school spending patterns.

Under North Carolina’s state constitution and school finance laws, the Forum says, the state is responsible for paying instructional expenses, including personnel, while county governments pay capital expenses for such needs as buildings and maintenance.

“Over time, however, the lines have become blurred, and the local role in funding school operations has increased,” the Forum says in a statement.

In 2013-14, for example, counties spent $3 billion to fund instructional expenses, accounting for 25 percent of federal, state and county spending combined, it says.

Counties provided funding for 994 principals and assistant principals, or 19 percent of the total; 6,567 teachers, or 6.9 percent of the total;  2,196 teacher assistants, or 9.5 percent of the total; and 3,104 professional instructional support personnel, or 20.7 percent of the total.

Keith Poston, president and executive director of the Forum, says changes in state policy have narrowed the gap by providing additional funds for the state’s smallest and poorest counties.

Still, investment in public schools in the state continues to “vary dramatically by zip code,” he says in a statement.

“Young people born into one of the state’s economically thriving counties will have levels of investment in their education not shared elsewhere in the state, an unsustainable model if we expect to grow and prosper as a state,” he says.

Duke Endowment names new president

Rhett Mabry, vice president for child care at The Duke Endowment in Charlotte, has been named president.

He succeeds Gene Cochrane, who will retire in June.

Mabry joined the Endowment in 1992 as associate director of health care and was named director of child care in 1998 and vice president in 2009.

Cochrane, who joined the Endowment in 1980, has served as president since 2005.

He directed the Endowment’s health care program from 1991 to 2002, and its higher education program from 2005 to 2012.

Private foundation grantmaking up 24.5 percent

Grantmaking by private foundations in the U.S. with assets under $50 million grew 24.5 percent in 2015 from the previous year, new data show.

Responsible for much of the increase were foundations with $1 million to $10 million in assets, a group that granted 51.7 percent more in 2015, likely reflecting growth in assets driven by strong market performance in 2014, says Foundation Source.

The findings, based on actual transactional data of 831 of its clients, also show that private foundations with less than $1 million in assets distributed 11.9 percent of their net average assets from the previous year, compared to the five percent distribution required by law.

Foundations with assets of $1 million to $10 million paid out 8.5 percent, while those with assets between $10 million and $50 million paid out 6.4 percent, Foundation Source says.

Foundations with assets under $50 million represent 98 percent of all private foundations in the U.S., it says.

In 2015, it says, 25 percent of all grantmaking for the year occurred in December, compared to 19 percent a year earlier, Foundation Source says.

Grantmaking to education fell to 25 percent of private-foundation grantmaking from 31 percent a year earlier, while grantmaking to arts, culture and humanities fell to 11 percent from 12 percent

Grantmaking to human services grew to 17 percent of grantmaking by private foundations from 15 percent a year earlier, while grantmaking to public and society benefit causes grew to 15 percent from 12 percent.

Students raise $615,000 for Children’s Hospital at UNC

Carolina For The Kids Foundation raised $614,717 at its 18th annual UNC Dance Marathon April 1-2 to support patients and families of North Carolina Children’s Hospital, the most ever for the event and bringing to over $5.4 million the total the Foundation has raised since the event began in 1999.

The Foundation, the largest student-run philanthropic organization in North Carolina, works year-round to benefit the patients and families served by UNC Children’s, as the hospital is known.

Funds raised at this year’s marathon will support initiatives at the hospital, including the building of an off-site pediatric primary care clinic.

Carolina FTK has pledged $2.5 million toward the project, which will provide care to patients from all 100 counties of North Carolina and parts of southern Virginia.

A temporary clinic site is already in operation.

Meredith gets $95,000 to launch women’s initiative

Meredith College in Raleigh has received a $95,000 grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund to launch an new initiative to support undergraduate research and mentorship for young women.

Meredith will partner with Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy, a single-gender public magnet school located nearby that will select eight of its juniors and seniors to  receive early exposure to academic research in a college setting, while fulfilling internship requirements of their early college program in partnership with Saint Augustine’s University.

Women own growing number of North Carolina businesses

North Carolina is home to an estimated 328,700 businesses owned by women that employ 283,600 people and are expected this year to generate a total of $40.4 billion in sales revenue, a new report says.

The number of businesses in the state owned by women grew 45.8 percent from 2007 to 2016, while the number of their employees has grown 12.1 percent, and their revenue has grown 26.2 percent, says the sixth annual State of Women-Owned Businesses Report.

North Carolina ranks 13th in the U.S. in the rate of growth of businesses owned by women, 30th in the rate of growth in employees, and 30th in the rate of growth in sales revenue.

North Carolina ranks 24th in “combined economic clout” of businesses owned by women, the report says.

Commissioned by American Express OPEN, the report analyzes data from the Survey of Business Owners at the U.S. Census Bureau, and accounts for relative changes in gross domestic product.

Throughout the U.S., the report says, the number of businesses owned by women has grown 45.2 percent from 2007 to an estimated 11.3 million this year, while the number of their employees has grown 18.4 percent to nearly nine million, and their sales revenue has grown 35 percent to an expected $1.62 trillion

In Charlotte, the number of businesses owned by women grew to an estimated 92,500 this year from 45,038 in 2007, and they employ an estimated 70,000 people, up from 41,660 in 2007, and are expected to generate $13.3 billion in revenue this year, up from nearly $6.5 billion in 2007.

In Raleigh, the number of businesses owned by women grew to an estimated 43,400 this year from 28,828 in 2007, and they employ 43,200 people, up from 34,834 in 2007, and are expected to generate nearly $6.3 billion in sales this year, up from $4.4 billion in 2007.

Care Ring raises $24,600 at golf event

Care Ring in Charlotte raised over $24,600 at a gold event on arch 28 at Providence County Club that attracted 137 golfers and over 40 sponsors.

Davidson Hospice to host golf event

Hospice of Davidson County will hold its 9th annual Golf Tournament on April 28 at Sapona Ridge Country Club in Lexington.

Presenting sponsor for the event is BrassCraft of Thomasville. Other sponsors include Kaufman Trailers; RCR Racing; NH Med Services; Lake Front Properties; Best Disposal/TODCO.

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