Diaper Bank focuses on families in need

By Todd Cohen

DURHAM, N.C. — Packed into a 10,000-square-foot warehouse in Durham are two million disposable diapers that individuals and diaper companies have donated to the Diaper Bank of North Carolina, a Durham nonprofit that has distributed over one million diapers to agencies serving low-income families since it began operating in June 2013.

A second warehouse houses another million diapers for the nonprofit, which distributes over 100,000 diapers a month to 22 agencies in Durham, Orange and Alamance counties.

It also operates a branch on the campus of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem that distributes 45,000 diapers a month to 18 agencies in eight counties in the Triad, and a branch in Wilmington that distributes 5,000 diapers a month in four counties.

It recently agreed to take over from The Diaper Train, a program of Saint Saviour’s Center in Raleigh, the distribution of 60,000 diapers a month to 12 agencies in Wake County.

In 2017, the Diaper Bank expects to distribute a total of over 2 million diapers to its partner agencies.

And once it builds its current branches into sustainable operations, it will consider adding a branch to address demand in western North Carolina.

“We work through nonprofits that work with families living in poverty,” says Michelle Old, founder and executive director of the Diaper Bank. “It is our goal in every county we serve to have an open source of diapers for residents of that county.”

The critical need for diapers among low-income people is under-appreciated, says Old, a long-time advocate working to protect women from violence, who launched the Diaper Bank in January 2013.

With a child who as an infant had severe diaper rashes, requiring frequent visits to the hospital and 15 to 20 diaper changes a day, she says, she made it her mission to make sure families that could not afford them had access to free diapers.

An estimated one in three families in the U.S. experience the need for diapers. And working families account for 73 percent of families that receive diapers the Diaper Bank distributes to its partner agencies, with each adult holding one to two jobs, according to a 2015 a study for the Diaper Bank by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

“We are dealing mostly with working families and they cannot afford basic needs for their children,” Old says. “And every time, they’ll choose feeding their children over diapers, and make those diapers last longer.”

Operating with an annual budget of $150,000, plus $450,000 worth of in-kind support, the Diaper Bank employs one person working full-time and three working part-time, including Old.

It counts on 250 volunteers a month at its Durham branch, 20 a month at its Triad branch, and 30 to 40 a month at its Wilmington branch.

The Diaper Bank depends on donations from individuals to support its operations, and raises $22,000 at each of two children’s consignment sales it holds April and October.

It gets 30 percent of its diapers from community donations and drives, and the rest from diaper companies. Those include Huggies through the National Diaper Bank Network, and a partnership with Domtar Personal Care, a diaper-maker in Greenville with corporate offices in Research Triangle Park that also provides volunteers.

The Diaper Bank rewraps all the donated diapers and counts on community donations for sizes not included in the bulk donations from diaper companies.

It also distributes feminine-hygiene products, as well as diapers for seniors with incontinence who are living in poverty.

And in a pilot project supported by the Community Care Fund at Duke University, it provides potty-training classes in English and Spanish, as well as transportation to the classes, child care during the classes, and a “potty,” pull-ups and a book to read to children while sitting on the potty.

In partnership with UNC-Greensboro, the Diaper Bank conducts ongoing research and works through its partner agencies to connect diaper recipients with programs and services that can address other needs the families may have.

“We’re not just giving them diapers,” Old says. “We’re connecting them with programs that can help them in multiple ways to become self-sustaining.”

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Nonprofit news roundup, 11.23.16

Northern Hospital Foundation raises $260,000

The Northern Hospital Foundation has raised $260,000 in gifts and pledges in a campaign it kicked off in April with goal for an initial phase of raising $800,000 to renovate 40 patient-care rooms at Northern Hospital in Mt. Airy.

The Hospital will use the funds it has raised so far to complete the first hallway of 13 rooms.

In addition to gifts from individuals ad groups such as Northern Hospital Volunteers, the Foundation has received grants of $100,000 from The Cannon Foundation in Concord and $20,000 from RAI Foundation.

The Foundation expects to complete the first phase of the campaign in the second quarter of 2018.

The overall goal for the campaign, which will have four phases, is $2.5 million.

The next phase will raise funds to renovate guest rooms in the 33-unit Northern Surry Skilled Nursing Facility.

In addition to funds it has raised for the campaign, the Northern Hospital Foundation has received $250,000 from The Duke Endowment for a new cardiopulmonary rehabilitation services.

Old Salem names new president

Franklin Vagnone, founder and president of Twisted Preservation Cultural Consulting in New York City and co-author of The Anarchist’s Guide to Historic House Museums, has been named president of Old Salem Museums & Gardens.

Vagnone, who will start working full-time on March 1, 2017, will succeed Ragan Folan, who has served as president and CEO since February 1, 2012, and is retiring.

Starting immediately, Vagnone will work with Folan and Anthony Slater, chief operating officer at Old Salem, during a transition period.

Sisters of Mercy Foundation changing leadership

Sister Paulette Williams, former vice president of the Sisters of Mercy – South Central Community, has been named executive vice president of The Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina Foundation in Belmont, and Cheryl Brownd, senior program officer at the Foundation, has been named program director.

Williams and Brownd both begin their new jobs January 1 with the departure of Michelle Maidt, who is leaving her position as executive director at the end of December.

Williams, whose job will be part-time, previously served as president of the North Carolina Region of the Sisters of Mercy and as principal of Charlotte Catholic High School.

In her new position, she will serve as the Foundation’s spokesperson and will provide mission, governance and fiscal oversight.

Truax joining Environmental Defense Fund

Hawley Truax, environment program officer at the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation in Winston-Salem, will leave the Foundation at the end of the year to become Southeast regional director in Raleigh for Environmental Defense Fund.

Habitat Alamance dedicates three houses

Habitat for Humanity of Alamance County has dedicated three houses just completed in Apple Tree Village in Burlington that were built as part of an agreement among Habitat, the City of Burlington and Alamance County Community Services Agency.

Over 400 volunteers worked alongside the three prospective homeowners and other partner families to build the houses.

Sponsoring one of the houses were Front Street United Methodist Church, Honda R&D America’s, Alamance Caswell Builders Association, Burlington Alamance Realtors Association and First Bank.

Church donates blankets to police for homeless

Members of Mt. Pisgah United Methodist Church are donating 80 handmade blankets and bags containing socks, a hat, a prayer square, toothpaste, toothbrush, a bottle of water, tissue and a comb to Greensboro police officers to give to unsheltered residents.

Church members previously donated 27 handcrafted blankets to the Greensboro Police Department.

Winston-Salem Foundation awards $2.4 million

In 2015, The Winston-Salem Foundation awarded nearly $2.4 million in community grants to nonprofits that served a broad range of needs in Forsyth County.

Funding included $30,500 to support animal welfare; $198,870 for arts and culture; $328,450 for community and economic development; $386,877 for education; $91,000 for the environment; $119,991 for health; $644,923 for human services; $550,966 for the public interest; and $33,875 for recreation.

Urban Ministries raises $60,000

Urban Ministries of Wake County attracted over 500 people and raised over$60,000 at its Stone Soup Supper.

Greensboro United Way gets $25,000

United Way of Greater Greensboro has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation to support its Family Success Center.

Greensboro Housing Coalition gets $12,000

Greensboro Housing Coalition has received a $12,000 grant from Lincoln Financial Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Lincoln Financial Group, for a project that will target problems such as predatory lenders and financial scams that can affect disadvantaged populations.

Power of the Dream honored for Thrift Store

The Power of the Dream received the Employer of the Year Award from Arc of the Triangle for its HANDmeUPs Thrift Store.

Rex Endowment board names new members, officers

Wake County District Court Judge Craig Croom and Matt Leatherman, policy analyst for the Department of State Treasurer, have joined the board of directors of the John Rex Endowment.

The board elected Linda Butler, vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer at Rex Healthcare, its chair, and Walker Wilson, director of health policy for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, its vice chair.

Kidznotes growing in Wake, considers expansion

[Note: This was written for The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation.]

DURHAM, N.C. — Kidznotes, a Durham nonprofit that uses orchestral training to prepare underserved students to succeed in school and life, will continue its expansion into economically-distressed Southeast Raleigh and is considering future growth in other parts of the Triangle, thanks in part to a $25,000 grant from The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation in Durham.

Formed in 2010, Kidznotes will serve 300 students in Durham and 150 in Wake County this school year, up from a total of 330 last year. It plans to add another 35 Raleigh students this year and grow to a total of 1,000 students in the Triangle by 2020.

And it is considering expanding to new areas in the 2017-18 school year.

Kidznotes was inspired by El Sistema, an effort that began in 1975 in the slums of Caracas, Venezuela, and now reaches millions of students throughout the world, including hundreds of thousands of students in Venezuela and 30,000 in 120 communities in the U.S.

The Durham nonprofit partners with public schools in which over 80 percent of students qualify for lunch that is free or at a reduced price.

“Our kids face significant stress at home, in school and in their communities as a result of poverty,” says Katie Wyatt, executive director and co-founder of Kidznotes. “Now, they are on track for good grades, good retention, low suspension rates and low detention rates, and will be at the top of school in high school and beyond.”

Mimi O’Brien, executive director of the Biddle Foundation, says Kidznotes “demonstrates the foundation’s long-held conviction that the arts can be a vehicle for social change. We are enthusiastic about making this empowering opportunity available to more children.” This grant is made as part of the foundation’s celebration of its 60th anniversary.

Making music

Co-founded by Durham philanthropist Lucia Powe, Kidznotes operates with an annual budget of $1 million, and a staff of 10 people working full-time and part-time, plus about 40 teaching artists.

In partnership with five elementary schools each in Durham and Raleigh, and a middle school in Durham, it immerses students in music instruction after school, and on Saturdays it assembles all the students in each community for orchestra or band rehearsals, along with choir rehearsals.

All Kidznotes students learn violin in kindergarten, with kindergarteners and first-graders spending a total of six hours a week after school and Saturdays on the program, and older students spending at least 10 hours a week.

Starting in first or second grade, students join either a band or orchestra, and all students also participate in a choir starting in kindergarten.

“Knowing how to sing makes the best musicians,” says Wyatt, a violist who played with the New World Symphony in Miami for two-and-a-half years, and served as director of education for the North Carolina Symphony. “You have to have an internal sense of pulse and pitch.”

Kidznotes provides instructors for all instruments, and each school provides a music teacher for team-teaching after school, and for orchestra or band instruction one Saturday a month.

Kidznotes also provides all instruments and the curriculum, while the participating schools pay for the music teacher and provide rent-free space, a snack, and a bus after school to take students from their schools to the Kidznotes home base, known as a “nucleo.”

Music to thrive

Students who participate in Kidznotes do better in school and are prepared to succeed in life and work, Wyatt says, because learning an instrument and performing in an orchestra stimulate brain development.

Those activities also lead to increased executive functioning skills; greater academic achievement and language comprehension; improved social skills; advanced character development; more nimble physical coordination; greater self-confidence; and the critical skills of problem-solving, self-discipline and teamwork.

“As you learn new skills and create new sounds and advance on your instrument, your brain improves in the way it works,” Wyatt says. “El Sistema uses the orchestra and assembling a mini-society to create a model of living and of human effort that is really about every single person mastering their part and blending it to create something of great beauty that is bigger than just yourself.”

Partners in music

In addition to public schools, key partners of Kidznotes are other schools, professional arts organizations and parents.

Serving as volunteer mentors to Kidznotes students, for example, are students and teachers from the North Carolina School of  Science and Math, Durham School of the Arts, Durham Academy, and East Chapel Hill High School, among others.

Guest artists from professional organizations like the North Carolina Symphony, North Carolina Opera and Duke Performances, among others, work with Kidznotes students, who also are invited to attend their performances for free.

And parents of Kidznotes students are encouraged to attend all performances. Kidznotes students perform at least six times a year, typically 10 to 12 times, and as many as 25 times for the most advanced students.

Last year, for example, they performed at the Raleigh Convention Center for the annual Spree of the Junior League of Raleigh; at a Sunday morning service at Christ Church in Raleigh; and in the Red Hat Amphitheater for the annual Band Together concert culminating a year-long partnership that raised $1 million, including $850,000 for Kidznotes.

Wyatt also is executive director of El Sistema USA, which in July announced a partnership in which Duke University will incubate an effort to provide professional development opportunities to program directors for organizations like Kidznotes that are members of the national organization.

Music impact

The schools Kidznotes partners with serve some of the Triangle’s most underserved communities. Unemployment in Southeast Raleigh totals 12.2 percent, eight percentage points higher than Wake County overall, for example, while the median income in the region totals $28,370, roughly $35,000 below the Wake County average.

“Children from the neighborhoods we serve confront unfortunate, poverty-based reality even before they arrive at the schoolhouse door,” Wyatt says. “The Kidznotes and El Sistema philosophy is designed systematically to build a wellspring of positivity, joy and healing, and drive, and also a lot of hard work in a highly creative environment to work hand-in-hand with families to overcome the deficits of poverty.”

Nonprofit news roundup, 11.18.16

Growing ‘inequity’ seen in charitable giving

Charities in the U.S. increasingly are counting on bigger donations from smaller numbers of high-income, high-wealth donors, while getting smaller gifts from lower-income and middle-income donors who represent the vast majority of the population, a new report says.

The report, by the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C., calls for “urgent reform of the philanthropy sector to encourage broader giving, protect the health of the independent sector, discourage the warehousing of wealth in private foundations and donor-advised funds, and increase accountability to protect the public interest and the integrity of our tax system.”

From 2003 to 2013, itemized charitable contributions from people making $500,000 or more — roughly the top one percent of income earners in the U.S. — grew 57 percent, while itemized contributions from people making $10 million or more grew 104 percent, says the report, “Gilded Giving: Top-Heavy Philanthropy in a Age of Extreme Inequality.”

The number of grant-making foundations in the U.S. grew to 86,726 in 2014, up 28 percent from 2004, while those foundations’ assets grew 35 percent, the study says.

From 2003 to 2013, it says, itemized charitable deductions from donors making $100,000 or more grew 40 percent, while itemized charitable deductions from donors making less than $100,000 fell 34 percent.

According to one estimate, the report says, low-dollar and mid-range donors to national public charities — donors who traditionally represented the “vast majority of donor files and solicitation lists for most national nonprofits” — fell by as much as 25 percent from 2005 to 2015.

The rate of decline in low-dollar donors is closely correlated to indicators of overall economic security in the U.S., including wages, employment and homeownership, indicating that donor declines are likely closely related to changing economic conditions, the report says.

“If these trends continue,” it says, “we will witness the rise of ‘top-heavy’ philanthropy dominated by a small number of very wealthy donors.”

The report calls for changes in the rules governing philanthropy, including increasing the minimum annual five percent distribution payout for private foundations; excluding foundation overhead from the payout percentage; linking the excise tax on foundations to payout distribution amounts; and establishing a “two-tier tax benefit structure” for charitable gifts, with incentives that encourage direct donations to public charities focused on “urgent social and community needs.”

It also recommends “exploring a lifetime cap of tax-deductible charitable giving to ensure that those who possess some of the largest fortunes in the United States cannot use such deductions to entirely circumvent tax obligations.”

Participation gap seen in nonprofit services

Nonprofits are not getting enough people to participate in their programs, the participation gap is getting bigger and, to fill it, nonprofits need to a do a better job marketing their programs, a new study says.

Seventy percent of 85 nonprofit leaders surveyed by The Bridgespan Group reported shortfalls in program participation, and half said the shortfall had increased over the past five years.

“Our research points to the need for U.S. and international nonprofits to recognize that innovative social programs don’t sell themselves,” Taz Hussein, a Bridgespan partner who led the study, says in a statement. “Getting a new idea adopted, even when it has proven effective, is often very difficult.”

The study, the focus of “Selling Social Change,” an article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, calls for nonprofits to “recognize the limits of designing primarily for effectiveness and design for ‘spreadability;'” to “go beyond identifying a broad group of potential beneficiaries and focus first on a subgroup most likely participate;” and to “develop and resource a sales and marketing capability from the outset, right alongside budgeting for program delivery.”

Donor advised funds post record-high grants, assets

Grants from donor advised funds and those funds’ assets available for grantmaking climbed to record highs in 2015, a new report says.

Grants grew 16.9 percent to $14.52 billion, continuing a double-digit “payout” rate of 20.7 percent for the 10th straight year, compared to the mandatory five percent minimum payout for private foundations, says the “2016 Donor-Advised Fund Report” from National Philanthropic Trust in Jenkintown, Pa.

Assets grew 11.9 percent to $78.64 billion, continuing double-digit growth every year since 2010, the report says.

It is based mainly on data from Form 990s filed with the Internal Revenue Service by 1,1016 charities that sponsor donor advised funds, including national charities, community foundations and other sponsoring charities.

Contributions to donor advised funds grew 11.4 percent to $22.26 billion, an all-time high, the report says.

The number of donor advised fund accounts in the U.S. grew 11.1 percent to 269,180, while the average donor advised fund account grew 8.8 percent to a record-high $235,727.

Younger women seen having more charitable influence

Women ages 25 to 47 — known as “Generation X” and “Millennials” — have more influence in charitable giving than their counterparts four decades ago before the “Baby Boom” generation, or those born from 1946 through 1964, a new report says.

Among GenX and Millennial married couples who give large amounts, women have more influence on decisions about giving than their pre-Boomer counterparts, says “Women Give 2016,” a report from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

For GenX and Millennial married couples whose giving decisions were influenced by women, estimated giving is higher than that of their pre-Boomer counterparts, the report says.

And for GenX and Millennial married couples whose giving decisions are made by men only, it says, estimated giving is lower than that of their pre-Boomer counterparts.

While estimated giving by GenX and Millennial single women is comparable to that of pre-Boomer single women, estimated giving by GenX and Millennial single men and married couples is lower than their pre-Boomer counterparts.

Giving to orchestras exceeds earned income

Contributed income accounted for 43 percent of total income at U.S. orchestras in 2014, while earned income accounted for 40 percent and investment income accounted for 17 percent, a new report says.

Audiences at orchestras fell 10.5 percent between 2010 and 2014, says “Orchestra Facts: 2006-2014,” a report commissioned by the League of American Orchestras and prepared by the National Center for Arts Research at Southern Methodist University.

In 2013, for the first time, single-ticket revenue and group sales exceeded subscription revenue, the report says.

Still, it says, while single-ticket revenue and income from group sales grew six percent, that growth did not fully compensate for a drop of 13 percent in subscription sales.

Orchestra trustees and other individual donors contributed nearly half of contributed funds to orchestras in 2014, and roughly 75 percent of gifts made by individuals who were not trustees were under $250.

In 2014, foundations provided 13 percent of contributed income to orchestras that were members of the League, while corporations provided 10 percent and government sources provided seven percent.

In 2014, the U.S. was home to 1,224 orchestras that contributed $1.8 billion to the national economy, with two in three orchestras operating with annual expense budgets under $300,000.

Statewide Habitat effort focuses on hurricane relief

Habitat for Humanity of North Carolina is recruiting the 78 Habitat ReStores in the state to  try to raise up to $100,000 to help pay for rebuilding 93 Habitat homes in Fayetteville damaged in October by flooding from Hurricane Matthew.

Our Towns Habitat for Humanity ReStores are donating 20 percent of sale proceeds to the effort.

The 93 homes represent over half the 154 houses the Fayetteville Habitat affiliate has built over the past 30 years. Only 27 of the homes had flood insurance.

Community Matters gives $175,000

Community Matters gave a total of $175,000 to Charlotte Family Housing and Crisis Assistance Ministry, its charity partners for 2014-16, bringing its three-year contribution to the two charities to $550,000.

Combined with its donations to Safe Alliance in 2012-13, Community Matters now has contributed $925,000 to charity since its was formed five years ago.

Grant supports program for adolescent boys

Children’s Home Society of North Carolina received a grant of $56,980 from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust in Winston-Salem that will support continued access by adolescent men in Forsyth County to the Wise Guys male responsibility program.

The national program is taught to boys ages 11 to 17 in schools and community-based sites.

Wise Guys works to promote healthy concepts of masculinity and responsible behavior while educating young men about wise choices on sexual relations.

Wise Guys has grown from serving 500 boys in Greensboro in 1996 to 5,400 boys in 14 counties last year.

High Point University gets $10 million

High Point University has received a $10 million gift from an anonymous donor that will support a new undergraduate sciences school and building.

Construction on the facility will begin next summer.

Guilford College gets $30,000

The Hillsdale Fund in Greensboro has awarded Guilford College a $30,000 grant to support start-up funds for a major in sustainable food systems the School will launch in spring 2017.

New Hanover funder gives $30,000

New Hanover County Community Foundation, an affiliate of the North Carolina Community Foundation, awarded $30,000 from the Riegelwood Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund to Wesley United Methodist Church to assist victims of Hurricane Matthew in the Riegelwood community.

Winston-Salem State gets $26,000

Winston-Salem State University received $26,000 from AT&T to support a fund that helps students who need financial assistance continue their education.

The gift will allow the school to award need-based scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $1,500 each to about 20 students.

In the last three years, first-year retention of students at Winston-Salem State has increased to 80 percent from 71 percent, marking the biggest increase in the 16-campus University of North Carolina System.

Food drive to benefit hurricane relief

UNC and UNC Rex, including co-workers at UNC Wayne Memorial and UNC Lenoir Memorial Hospitals in Goldsboro and Kinston, teamed with the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina to host a food drive to benefit people affected by Hurricane Matthew.

The drive filled over 17 bins of 27 cubic feet each with essential items and non-perishable food weighing over 10,245 pounds, or the equivalent of 8,627 meals.

The effort also raised $1,250 that was matched to total $2,500.

Event to benefit heart research

Hand for Hearts, a Greensboro charity that raises money to benefit research on congenital heart defects, will host its third annual “Casino Night” on February 25 at 7 p.m. at Greensboro Country Club.

The event, which last year raised $100,000, this year will benefit The Children’s Heart Foundation.

Shook joins Hospice of Davidson County

DeeDee Shook, former human resources and accounting manager at Talon of NC in Winston-Salem, has been named director of human resources for Hospice of Davidson County.

Singleton joins Forsyth United Way

Aaron Singleton, former director of news and media relations at Winston-Salem State University, has joined United Way of Forsyth County as director of communications.

Bank employees assemble bikes

Triad employees of eight Carolina Bank locations and eight First Bank locations were scheduled on November 16 to assemble 16 bikes to benefit the Angel Tree Program of The Salvation Army.

The bikes will be distributed among the First Bank and Carolina Bank branches across the Triad for inclusion in their respective Salvation Army donation boxes.

Farmers Market gets grant

Greensboro Farmers Market received a grant from Cone Health Foundation to participate in the Orange Card Program of Guilford Community Care Network, allowing 5,460 participants enrolled in the program to have access to fresh foods.

The network is a nonprofit program of community supporters that coordinates health care services for low-income or uninsured individuals in Guilford County.

Orange Card beneficiaries will get $15 in tokens each week to shop at the Market for fresh produce, breads, dairy products, eggs, meat, poultry, and seafood.

Duke Energy employees package food

Employees and retirees of Duke Energy’s 11 operations centers in the Triad were scheduled on November 17 to sort and repackage thousands of pounds of donated food at Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina and prepare it for distribution to local food pantries.

Since late October, the operations centers have hosted food drives for local food banks.

Syngenta employees assemble snack packs

About 30 employees of the customer marketing department of Syngenta in Greensboro assembled 850 trail-mix snack packs that were delivered to the Salvation Army’s Center of Hope.

Before the packaging effort, the employees routed The Salvation Army Royce and Jane Reynolds Center for Worship and Service and Boys & Girls Club.

United Way of Greater Greensboro and The Volunteer Center coordinated the project, which had a goal of assembling 750 packs.

Truliant giving $21,000

Truliant Federal Credit Union in Winston-Salem is awarding a total of $21,000 in to 23 nonprofits in Alamance, Randolph, Mecklenburg, Cleveland, Gaston, Guilford and Forsyth County in North Carolina; in Greenville, S.C.; and in Wytheville and Radford in Virginia.

The Mini Grants program, which has awarded over $200,000 in eight years, considers proposals to support operating, programming or capacity-building needs for projects that focus on financial education, basic needs, arts and culture, or youth programming.

Ten nonprofits get $40,000 each

GSK in partnership with Triangle Community Foundation awarded $40,000 each to 10 local nonprofits.

Elon University gets two gifts

John R. Hill, a graduate of Elon University and a member of its board of trustees, and his wife, Lesley, of Severna Park, Md., have given the school an estate gift that will provide it with funding in the future, and have made a commitment to give $100,000 to support construction of Richard W. Sankey Hall, a new facility that will provide space for the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business.

Local refugees focus of Carrboro nonprofit

By Todd Cohen

CARRBORO, N.C. — Orange County is home to an estimated 1,300 refugees, mainly from Burma and Thailand, and more recently from Syria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with about 15 new refugees arriving every month.

For those refugees, coping with their new community can be tough.

They typically have fled from horrific conditions ranging from government persecution and civil war to genocide and ethnic cleansing, says Madison Hayes, executive director of Refugee Community Partnership in Carrboro, a nonprofit that works to provide them with support and connect them to information and resources.

Refugees often do not speak English, lack documentation of their previous education or work, are not familiar with U.S. social systems, and are disconnected from community resources, she says.

The result, she says, is “chronic isolation” that typically results in or reinforces persistent poverty, mental-health problems and exclusion from opportunities, particularly access to higher education, jobs, health and human services, health care, and insurance.

The Refugee Community Partnership was founded in 2011 by Asif Khan, then an undergraduate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who worked at the Human Rights Center, a local nonprofit that served “marginalized communities,” mainly Latinos and refugees in Carrboro and Chapel Hill, Hayes says.

In 2011, the Partnership merged with the Center, and this fall Khan enrolled in medical school at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Operating with an annual budget of $30,000, a half-time executive director, interpreters who work under contract, and over 70 volunteers, the Partnership offers a range of programs for refugee families, students and women.

In its main program, teams of two volunteers each visit 42 families in their homes each week, working collaboratively with the families to find solutions to challenges they identify, such as learning English, finding better housing or navigating the community.

A second program matches about 30 undergraduate students at UNC-Chapel Hill one-on-one with a total of 42 students at Chapel Hill High School and East Chapel Hill High School.

The UNC students serve as academic mentors, helping with tutoring, homework, studying for exams, and charting a path to graduation and college. The students in each high school also meet once a week in a club with volunteer facilitators from the Partnership to practice collective decision-making, critical thinking and self-advocacy.

Through a collaboration with Durham nonprofit Farmer Foodshare, the Partnership is the recipient of fresh local produce donated by farmers and consumers at a “Donation Station” at the Carrboro Farmers’ Market. The Partnership then provides that food to over 130 individual refugees a week.

In the first nine months, it received 8,000 pounds of donated fresh produce for the refugees it serves.

The Partnership also supports two groups of about six women each, with one that meets once a week and the other once a month ind homes of its members on a rotating basis.

The groups talk about issues such as domestic violence and mental health that refugee women often are reluctant to discuss or may not understand, and about how to find services and resources to address those issues, Hayes says.

To help them overcome fear they may have about public or crowded spaces, the Partnership also hosts a community outing every three months for refugee families to destinations such as the Carrboro Farmers’ Market or the UNC-Chapel Hill campus

It hosts about three workshops a year on topics such as the Department of Motor Vehicles, road laws, driving, mental health, college readiness and tax preparation.

It plans within the next year to double — to 100 and 140, respectively — the number of families it serves and the number of volunteers who work with them.

It also plans to make the position of executive director full-time, add a full-time position for a program coordinator, and triple its annual budget.

And it plans within six months to launch a new program to plug refugee entrepreneurs into a collaborative network it has developed among local service providers, businesses, experts, policymakers and other organizations that can help them start new businesses.

“A number of women in our program are housekeepers at UNC, the graveyard shift, and don’t make enough to make ends meet, but back in their home country they were restaurant owners, culinary professionals,” says Hayes, who also works as project director at The Food Mint, a consulting firm in Chapel Hill.

She says the Partnership looks for creative solutions that use existing resources to address challenges refugees face.

While the languages of refugees from Burma and Thailand are oral, for example, local agencies often promote their services by posting printed flyers in community locations. So the Partnership works with over 10 agencies to make voice recordings in the language of refugees of the information on those flyers, and then plays the recordings for the families it visits.

“Our work is not to duplicate what already exists,” Hayes says, “but to connect refugees with resources in ways that are culturally sensitive and socially strengthening.”

Nonprofit news roundup, 11.11.16

Heart & Stroke Walk raises $649,000

The 2016 Winston-Salem Heart & Stroke Walk of the American Heart Association on November 5 attracted over 7,000 participants Bailey Park at Wake Forest Innovation Quarter exceeding past attendance records by over 2,500, and raised over $649,000 for heart disease and stroke research and prevention education, the most ever for the event.

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, with 835 team members, raised $109,171, becoming became the first organization in Forsyth County to raise over $100,000 for the event. The Conrad Emmerich of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center raised $17,100, the most for an individual.

Sponsors included Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Gentiva Home Health and MedCost.

Triangle Family Services gets $200,000

Triangle Family Services in Raleigh was named a “2016 Neighborhood Builder” by Bank America and will get $200,000 along with support for leadership development, connection to a network of peer groups across the U.S., and the “opportunity to access capital in order to expand” its impact.

SAFEchild raises $170,000

SAFEchild in Raleigh attracted over 600 guests and raised over $170,000, including a $25,000 challenge gift from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Carolina, to support its programs and services aimed at ending child abuse and neglect in Wake County at its 17th annual luncheon October 27 at the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley.

YMCA CEO leaving for new job

Curt Hazelbaker, president and CEO of YMCA of Northwest North Carolina since January 2008, has been named president and CEO of YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas and will begin his new job in in January 2017.

The YMCA board of directors plans to appoint an interim CEO before Hazelbaker’s departure and will conduct a nationwide search for his successor.

YMCA of Northwest North Carolina, with an annual operating budget of $35.5 million, includes 16 YMCA branches, YMCA Camp Hanes, YMCA Childcare Services and the YMCA Sports branch.

Waste Industries gives nearly $1 million

Waste Industries in Raleigh projects that by the end of 2016 it will have given $1 million throughout the U.S. since it created its charitable giving program in 2014.

SAVE getting $75,000

The Raleigh-based National Association of Students Against Violence Everywhere, or SAVE, is getting a $75,000 grant from The Allstate Foundation that will provide $1,000 to chapters at each of 19 elementary, middle and high schools in North Carolina and to one in South Carolina.

The chapters also will get educational materials, training for school and community activities, ongoing support and technical assistance for youth-safety efforts, and opportunities to partner with local Allstate agents to advance the issue.

Boys & Girls Club raises $50,000

The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Durham raised nearly $50,000 at its Annual Great Futures Gala on November 5 to support Club programming.

EnergyUnited Foundation gives $10,000 for hurricane relief

EnergyUnited Foundation in Statesville gave $10,000 to the American Red Cross to provide support for needy individuals, families and nonprofits affected by Hurricane Matthew.

Nearly 70,000 EnergyUnited members opted to “round up” their electric bills each month as part an effort to provide that support.

3,000 women screened for heart disease, stroke

A collaborative effort by Novant Health, the Office of Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines and the Go Red For Women initiative of the American Heart Association has screened 3,024 women across the Triad for heart disease and stroke during the first three quarters of the year.

The effort aims to screen 4,000 women this year.

Homelessness effort extended in Guilford County

Leaders of local housing and homeless services groups are extending beyond the original end date of December 2016 the participation by Guilford County in a national effort by 70 communities to end chronic and veteran homelessness.

As of October, the 70 participating communities had housed a total of over 60,000 homeless Americans since January 2015.

Five of those communities have ended veteran homelessness, and two have ended chronic homelessness, with many more expected to reach those goals in 2017.

Guilford County has housed 253 veterans and 87 chronically homeless individuals as part of that national total.

Event to benefit Food Bank, Community of Hope

The Golden State Foods Foundation host an inaugural Feeding Hunger: A “No Lunch” Lunch event to benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina and Community of Hope on November 17 from noon to 1 p.m. at its distribution facility at 1400 North Greenfield Parkway in Garner.

High Point Salvation Army aims to rasie $160,000

The Salvation Army of High Point is kicking off its 2016 Red Kettle Campaign, which aims this year to raise $160,000 to support its social-services programs.

Novant Health donates books

Novant Health donated over 200 copies of a book to second-grade classrooms in the Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools to help students learn math.

Event to benefit Wildlife Federation

The North Carolina Wildlife Federation will host a fundraising event on November 19  from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the Urban Garden at 1 Bank of America Center at 150 N College St. in Charlotte.

Team Rubicon volunteers pitch on on hurricane relief

Volunteers of Team Rubicon, a veteran-led, global disaster response organization, contributed over 4,000 labor hours in North Carolina in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, conducting damage assessments of 90 properties and helped 32 families through mucking and gutting, debris removal, and chainsaw operations.

The group estimates it has saved the state over $110,000 in disaster recovery expenses.

Syngenta employees pack meals

About 30 marketing employees at Syngenta were scheduled on November 10 to create trail-mix snack packs to benefit the Salvation Army Center of Hope.

The Volunteer Center of Greensboro and United Way of Greater Greensboro co-facilitated the project.

Fayetteville Habitat gets $10,000

NewsON is giving $10,000 to Fayetteville Area Habitat for Humanity to assist in rebuilding communities affected by Hurricane Matthew.

Ford joins Chowan funder

Robert Christian “Chris” Ford of Edenton, a veterinarian and owner of Chowan Animal Hospital, has joined the advisory board of the Chowan Community Funds Foundation, an affiliate of the North Carolina Community Foundation.

Museum helping more at-risk students learn through art

[Note: This was written for The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation.]

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — More underserved children in Asheville, Buncombe County and three rural counties in Western North Carolina will have access to arts education and activities through a $25,000 grant to the Asheville Art Museum to build partnerships with local schools and parks-and-recreation centers.

The funds, from The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation in Durham, will help the Museum provide nearly 10,000 hours of visual-arts programming to 950 students in kindergarten through fifth grade in McDowell, Henderson and Madison counties.

During the course of a year, the Museum will offer to 1,200 pre-school children and their caregivers in Asheville and Buncombe County a weekly program it has piloted on a monthly basis since 2012.

“The arts are an essential component in developing critical thinking skills that lead to success, yet over the past 20 years there has been a steady decline in funding for the arts,” says Pamela L. Myers, the Museum’s executive director. “We partner with schools throughout the region to ensure that the diverse population of students have full access to art and education, and to programs that allow for students with different learning styles to excel in the arts and in their academic studies.”

Mimi O’Brien, executive director of the Biddle Foundation, says the Museum’s expansion of its programs will provide new opportunities for underserved students and preschoolers to thrive.

“The arts are a powerful, inspiring tool that helps children and adults alike learn, grow and connect with the people and places in their lives,” she says.

The Foundation made the grant as part of the celebration of its 60th anniversary.

Arts and education

Established by artists in 1948, the Asheville Art Museum is the only accredited visual arts institution serving all 24 counties in Western North Carolina, a region of over 1.2 million residents and some of the most underserved and low-wealth school districts in the state.

For school districts in the region, particularly in the face of increasingly tight budgets for education, access to educational innovation and auxiliary services such as arts education is limited.

“They are places in which teachers and school administrators struggle to provide enrichment to the diversity of their students,” Myers says.

To help fill that gap, the Museum serves as the arts education partner of schools.

‘Literacy Through Art’

In 1994, the Museum launched its Literacy Through Art program, a partnership with school districts to boost student literacy by integrating the arts with learning. Yet with the steady decline in public support for enrichment programs beyond the traditional curriculum of reading, writing and math, the Museum has been providing a growing share of resources for the program.

With the involvement of principals and classroom teachers, the Museum provides nine lessons of 60 minutes each in participating schools. Leading the classroom lessons, which meet state goals and objectives in language arts and visual arts, are artist-educators.

The 10th and final lesson includes a visit to the Museum — with some schools providing transportation — for a gallery tour and hands-on studio activity.

And by collaborating with the artist-educators, participating classroom teachers can build their skills to incorporate art into their classroom activities.

An evaluation of the program by a researcher at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching suggested that students benefit academically from the program because it addresses multiple learning styles to build visual and language art skills.

In McDowell, Henderson and Madison counties, which will get the program as a result of the Biddle Foundation grant, the poverty rate is above 17.2 percent. And the percentage of students who get lunch that is free or at a reduced price totals over 63 percent in Madison and McDowell counties, and 54 percent in Henderson County.

Without the Museum program, and in the wake of budget cuts and limited resources for many school districts, visual arts would not be part of the curriculum for most students in those counties. Madison County, which was part of the program when it was launched in 1994, has not participated since 2004 because of budget cuts.

‘Tot Time’

Four years ago, the Museum began piloting its Tot Time program, which features guided art activities for pre-school children and their caregivers. Offered once a month at the Museum, each session focuses on a different topic or theme.

The program uses a range of art activities to improve motor skills, language development and visual learning, while fostering interest in the arts and providing socialization for preschoolers and their caregivers.

Now, through the Biddle Foundation grant, the Museum will conduct five Tot Time programs a month for a year for a total of 60 visits to public libraries and parks-and-recreation centers that will reach 1,200 pre-school children and their caregivers from diverse and disadvantaged populations in Asheville and Buncombe County. One location will be Stephens-Lee recreation center, located in one of the city’s historically African-American communities.

Museum expansion

To better serve underserved, rural and low-wealth students throughout Western North Carolina through outreach activities, on-site programs and teacher-training opportunities, the Museum is in the midst of a capital campaign to raise $24 million to renovate and expand its facilities, including doubling its education spaces.

With funds from the campaign, which already has raised $18.5 million, the Museum will have over twice the amount of studio classroom space, divided into two classrooms and accommodating larger class sizes and school groups, as well as multiple programs for different audiences at the same time.

By expanding its Literacy Through Art and Tot Time programs during the renovation and expansion of its facilities, the Museum can “learn from the diversity of our communities what our partnerships should look like going forward for the next generation,” Myers says.

A key question is “how can the Museum best serve this diversity of communities,” she says. “The Museum doesn’t have to be a one-size-fits-all solution.”

The arts “spread everyone’s wings and open up a universe of inspiration, innovation and creativity that can affect every aspect of one’s life,” she says. “They provide a whole other way of opening up dialogue and discourse among people and individuals who interact with the creativity found in the arts.”