Raleigh nonprofit works to finance affordable housing

By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — In 1986, as part of an overhaul of federal tax law, Congress created a low-income tax credit designed to stimulate financing and development of affordable housing.

A key goal was to shift responsibility for affordable housing to the private sector from the federal government, which was not keeping pace with growing need among low-income Americans for low-cost housing, says Dana Boole, president and CEO of the Raleigh-based Community Affordable Housing Equity Corporation, or CAHEC.

Since taking effect, the tax-credit program has helped produce 3.2 million units of affordable housing in the U.S., including more than 24,900 units developed with financing assembled by CAHEC.

The nonprofit operates with a staff of 40 people and an annual budget of $10 million generated entirely from fees from investors. It syndicates equity from banks and corporate investors to finance affordable housing in 10 states in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic region in exchange for tax credits to offset federal taxable income.

It also uses taxes credits to syndicate equity for projects to stimulate economic development in distressed communities, preserve historic properties, and develop sustainable energy.

CAHEC raised $4 million to transform the former SunTrust tower in downtown Durham into the 21c Museum Hotel, for example, and raised another $4 million to develop a Rooms to Go furniture distribution center in Dunn.

And it raised $50 million for development of four solar-panel projects in Martin and Bertie counties in northeastern North Carolina that generate a total of 26 megawatts of electric power.

Affordable housing is the main focus of CAHEC, which has raised a total of $2.1 billion since it was created, nearly all of it for housing. It raised $5.8 million, for example, for development of the 55-unit Carousel Place community in downtown Raleigh.

The U.S Department of the Treasury allocates tax credits each year to the states at a rate of $2.35 per resident. In 2017, North Carolina received $23.5 million of tax credits.

The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, in turn, distributes the credits each year to developers of roughly 30 projects, based on a competitive process that considers factors such as the share of the development that will serve low-income residents, its proximity to basic services such as grocery stores and health care, and its location, such as in a rural county or economically-distressed community.

But now, Boole says, the production of affordable housing is projected to decline by 15 percent as a result of a tax bill, approved by Congress in December, that lowered the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent.

The lower rate will reduce the return — and the incentive to invest — for equity investors already squeezed by escalating construction costs from rising expenses for labor, land and materials, and by a sharp drop in development grants from local, state and federal government, Boole says.

While equity typically accounts for only about 20 percent of the cost to developers of market-rate housing, with mortgage payments accounting for the remaining 80 percent, he says, developers of affordable housing use tax credits to lower their mortgage debt to as little as 30 percent of their overall costs.

Key incentives for investors are the opportunity to use tax credits and the write-off of tax losses to lower their taxes. But the lower corporate tax rate reduces that incentive.

That lower tax rate will make it even more challenging to develop affordable housing to try to help address the needs of the 11 million U.S. households that pay more than half their monthly income on rent, Boole says.

So CAHEC, along with other equity syndicators throughout the U.S., has been working to raise awareness among members of Congress about the need for affordable housing. The House and Senate both are considering bills to revise the tax credit, including a proposal to increase the availability of the credit by 50 percent over five years.

CAHEC also is working with its partners — investors and developers — to “value-engineer” its projects, Boole says.

“How do you control construction costs from rising — building projects more efficiently, trying to streamline projects, not cutting corners?” he says. “How can we tackle this in a better, smarter way, with the credits we have, to build safe and affordable housing?”

Nonprofit news roundup, 03.09.18

ArtsGreensboro sets $3.5 million goal

ArtsGreensboro has set a goal of raising $3.5 million in its annual campaign for the arts that kicked off  its public phase in January.

Thomas White, executive vice president and broker-in-charge at Ardmore Residential, and Jill White, an attorney at Womble Bond Dickinson and secretary on the board of directors of ArtsGreensboro, have been named 2018 campaign co-chairs.

Volunteers team up to pack meals for kids

Wake Forest Innovation Quarter and Wake Forest University partnered with the Forsyth Backpack Program during the workday on February 28 to pack over 6,400 meals for local children in need.

Workers and students from Innovation Quarter tenants, including Wake Downtown, volunteered their own time to help set up, pack and deliver meals, and clean up.

Asheville funder gives $96,000

The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina in Asheville approved five grants totaling $95,768 to support regional projects that focus on food and farming, and on natural and cultural resources.

High Point University raises $245,000 for United Way

High Point University raised $245,000 in 2017 to support United Way of Greater High Point and its partner agencies.

Down Syndrome Support Network to host event

The Piedmont Down Syndrome Support Network will host the third annual “3-2-1 Deacon Dash for Down Syndrome” on March 24 at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds starting with a fun run at 8 a.m.

DMJ & Co. raises $14,000 for Special Olympics

Greensboro accounting and consulting firm DMJ & Co. raised $14,000 for Special Olympics on February 24 in the Triad Chill for Special Olympics event at Wet n’ Wild Emerald Pointe.

Former board of AIDS Care Service creates endowments

The former board of AIDS Care Service, which closed earlier this year, has established two new endowment funds at The Winston-Salem Foundation.

The new Sister Eileen Dennis, AIDS Care Service, HIV/AIDS Fund will support the Foundation’s community grants to health-related nonprofits, with a preference for supporting organizations serving individuals with HIV/AIDS in Forsyth County.

The new Kitty Bowman, AIDS Care Service, LGBTQ+ Fund will support community grants to organizations serving the LGBTQ+ community in Forsyth County.

North Carolina PTA hires New Frame

North Carolina PTA has hired New Frame, a North Carolina-based lobbying and communication firm, to represent the organization in its advocacy work.

ArtsGreensboro gives $16,000 to support artists

ArtsGreensboro has awarded a total of $19,000 grants to 16 artists in Guilford, Alamance and Randolph counties to further their development as professional artists.

United Way honors Triad organizations

Reynolds American, Quality Oil, Hanes Brands, BBT and Texwipes have been awarded the Spirit of North Carolina Award for their support of United Way Forsyth County.

The awards were presented by United Way of North Carolina at its Spirit of North Carolina Award Luncheon in Pinehurst on February 21.

Other Triad organizations that received the award were Guilford County Schools, nominated by United Way of Greater Greensboro and United Way of Greater High Point; Cone Health, nominated by United Way of Alamance County, United Way of Greater Greensboro, and United Way of Rockingham County; Youth Focus, Hunter Elementary School, Jessie Wharton Elementary School and Northwest Middle School, nominated by Greensboro United Way; High Point University, Mickey Truck Bodies and Old  Dominion Freight Line, nominated by High Point United Way; and Insurance Associates and Randolph County Government, nominated by United Way of Randolph County.

Hospice to hold free workshops

Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro on March 15 will kick off a free lunch-and-learn lecture series at the Lusk Center on its campus that will focus on complex care and health issues, including advance-care planning, and navigating the caregiver experience.

Supporting the program, with the one-hour workshops to be held once a month through October, are Beverly and Patrick Wright; Pat and Gordon Soenksen; and the John A. Lusk, III Endowment Fund for Hospice and Palliative Care Education.

Koinonia Foundation to host auction

The Koinonia Foundation of Wake Forest will host the 2018 Koinonia Cares Charity Auction at Wake Forest Baptist Church at 107 E. South Ave. on March 24 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall.

Guilford high schools get CPR equipment

In partnership with the American Heart Association and Guilford County Schools, Piedmont Natural Gas has given CPR equipment to 12 Guilford high schools.

1,200-mile ride to benefit Victory Junction

The 24th anniversary Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America, which works to raise money and awareness for Victory Junction, a camp in Randleman for children with chronic or life-threatening diseases, will end on May 11 at the camp.

Led by Kyle Petty, an NBC Sports racing analyst and former NASCAR driver, the Ride will take 225 participants on a 1,200-mile route from Maine to North Carolina.

Giving declines as United Ways target ‘collective impact ‘

By Todd Cohen

Annual fundraising at the four biggest United Way campaigns in North Carolina has taken a sharp dive during the decade or more they have revamped how they invest donor dollars back into their communities.

Embracing a strategy known as “collective impact,” United Ways in Charlotte, Forsyth County, Greensboro and the Triangle have reduced their funding over time of the health-and-human-services agencies they traditionally supported, and instead have invested a big share of dollars they raise in collaborative efforts to address targeted community needs.

Fundraising by United Way of Central Carolinas in Charlotte declined to $28.5 million in 2016 from $45 million in 2007, while fundraising by United Way of the Greater Triangle fell to $8.8 million in 2016 from $26 million in 2001, according to data from United Way Worldwide. Data from 2016 are the most recently available.

In the Triad, fundraising by United Way of Forsyth County fell to $14.8 million in 2016 from $18.3 million in 2007, while fundraising by United Way of Greater Greensboro fell to $10 million in 2016 from $15 million in 2000.

Fundraising declined in seven of the last 10 years in Greensboro, and in five of the last seven years in the Triangle.

Among the nine local United Ways in North Carolina that raised at least $1 million each in 2016, only United Way of Greater High Point raised more than it did the previous year.

High Point United Way has bucked the collective-impact tide and continues to focus its funding on its traditional partner agencies. Its campaign grew each of the last seven years to just over $5 million in 2016.

Among the top nine United Way campaigns in North Carolina, Forsyth County, High Point and Greensboro raised the most money per capita in 2016 — $39.63 for Forsyth,  $35.03 for High Point, and $25.55 for Greensboro.

That compares to $19.03 per capita in Charlotte; $17.64 for United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County, which raised $4.5 million, down from $6.1 million in 2006, and saw its campaign decline nine of the past 10 years; $8.29 for Catawba County United Way, which raised nearly $1.3 million; $7.53 for United Way of Davidson County, which raised $1.2 million,  down from $2.6 million in 2000; $5.21 for the Triangle; and $4.59 for United Way of the Cape Fear Area in Wilmington, which raised nearly $1.9 million, down from $3.1 million in 2002.

Among the nine United Ways in the state that raise over $1 million year, High Point is one of the only United Ways — and the largest — that has continued its traditional strategy of providing operating and program support to its partner agencies that provide health and human services.

United Way of the Greater Triangle, in comparison, now gives 80 percent of its funding to collaborative efforts involving two or more agencies that address needs its defines, with the remaining 20 percent going to traditional partner agencies that apply for funding to address basic human needs.

In addition to funding focused on basic needs, United Ways in Forsyth County, Greensboro and Charlotte all provide funding to defined focus areas.

Nonprofit news roundup, 03.02.18

Blue Cross investing $50 million in community health

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is giving  $50 million to address community-health needs in the state.

The funding includes $10 million each to address the opioid epidemic and for early childhood development, and $15 million each to address social determinants of health and for primary care.

Blue Cross is funding the investments with $40 million in tax savings generated through changes in Tax Cuts and Job Act approved by Congress in December, and the remainder with its own funds.

TROSA, a residential program in Durham that provides vocational training, education and continuing care for substance-abusers, is getting $1 million to expand to the Triad to address the opioid epidemic throughout the state and improve access to its services for individuals in Western North Carolina.

Blue Cross also is giving $1 million to Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina in Raleigh for early childhood development; $2 million to InterAct in Raleigh to help fund its new Family Justice center to provide one-stop service delivery for victims of domestic violence or sexual violence, or both; $1.2 million to continue the Physician Assistant Studies program in the Department of Allied Health Science at the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and $1 million to Duke Health Community programs that focus on community health improvement and access to care.

It also is giving $390,000 to a partnership with the School of Government at UNC-Chapel Hill to develop community-based solutions to the opioid epidemic in up to 10 communities over the next two years.

Applications from communities are due in April, and communities will be selected in May.

Blue Cross says it will announce the remaining investments in coming months.

V Foundation gives $25 million

The V Foundation for Cancer Research in Cary awarded $25 million for cancer research in 2017, bringing to over $200 million the total amount the Foundation has awarded since it was founded in 1993.

Duke Law gets $10 million gift

The law school at Duke University has received a $10 million gift from alumnus Carl Bolch Jr. ,and his wife, Susan Bass Bolch, to endow the new Carl and Susan Bolch Judicial Institute, which will focus on bettering the human condition through studying and promoting the rule of law.

Bolch, a member of the Duke Law Class of 1967, is chairman of Atlanta-based RaceTrac Petroleum Inc., a family-run operator of more than 750 gas stations and convenience stores.

Wells Fargo gives $2.2 million in Triad

Wells Fargo on 2017 provided over $2.2 million in grants to nonprofits and schools in the Triad, and its team members in the region logged over 21,000 volunteer hours.

Throughout the U.S., Wells Fargo awarded $286.5 million in grants to 14,500 nonprofits.

Hartley to head Communities in Schools

Pam Hartley, vice president for play experiences at Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh, has been named president and CEO of Communities in Schools of North Carolina, effective April 9.

Dompier to head Life Plan Trust

Rhoda E. Dompier, former executive director of Life Plan Trust in Apex, has been named president and CEO of Life Experiences.

Dompier, who begins work March 12, succeeds Mary Madenspacher, who is retiring after working with Life Experiences since 1995.

NC Early Childhood Foundation awarded $110,000

The NC Early Childhood Foundation has received a one-year grant of $85,000 from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation and a gift of $25,000 from the Goodnight Educational Fund.

Next Generation Academy getting $100,000

Next Generation Academy, a charter school that will open in Greensboro this fall, has received $70,000 for its startup and a pledge of another $30,000 in June from Richard Fowler, president of Sunstates Management.

Children’s agencies get donated items

Donated clothing, equipment, furniture and children’s toys filling a bus, two vans and most of a box  truck were delivered on February 22 to the Baby Basics Closet of YWCA of High Point, and to Helping Hands Ministry, for distribution to their clients.

United Way of Greater High Point assisted in delivery of the items, which were left over from the WeeRuns Consignment Sale this month that was hosted in the High Point Community Center.

Salvation Army honors FOX8

FOX8 in High Point received the “Spirit of Giving” award on February 8 at the annual Divisional Advisory Organizations School of Excellence Conference of the Salvation Army North & South Carolina.

For over 30 years, FOX8 WGHP has supported The Salvation Army through annual Triad- wide campaigns, including Gifts for Kids, Triad Holiday Food Drive, Stuff the Bus, and A Cleaner World’s Give a Kid a Coat.

Event raises $22,000 for Rescue Ranch

The inaugural Rescue Ranch luncheon in Statesville on February 27 attracted 270 members of the Iredell and NASCAR communities and raised $21,930 for the nonprofit animal welfare organization.