New heart and vascular hospital at Rex

By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — Before Rex Hospital moved in 1980 to its campus on Blue Ridge Road in Raleigh from the building it had occupied since 1937 at St. Mary’s Street and Wade Avenue, it raised $4 million in a capital campaign to develop the new campus.

In the past two years, the Rex Healthcare Foundation has generated $8.6 million in cash and pledges in the quiet phase of capital campaign to raise $10 million to help finance construction of a new Heart and Vascular Hospital.

The $235 million, eight-story, 114-bed facility, set to open in March, will consolidate services now spread among seven locations on the campus.

Now, the Foundation is kicking off the public phase of the campaign, its first since 1980. After focusing on “leadership” gifts of $50,000 or more in the quiet phase and generating donations from about 200 donors, the public phase will focus on smaller gifts, particularly those from individuals and families.

The campaign also has enlisted new donors who previously had not contributed to the annual fund at UNC Rex. In the fiscal year ended June 30, the annual fund raised nearly $2.4 million.

The public phase also aims to net at least $100,000 from the annual Rex Gala on November 12 at the Raleigh Convention Center.

In addition to philanthropic contributions, UNC Rex will use reserves and bonds to finance the new facility.

Chairing the campaign is Tift Mann, a retired cardiologist from Wake Heart and Vascular, now North Carolina Heart and Vascular, a Raleigh-based practice of about three-dozen cardiologists that is the largest in Wake County.

It joined UNC Rex Healthcare in 2011 and serves Wake and eight other counties, mainly south and east of Wake.

UNC Rex Healthcare, formed in 2000 through the merger of Rex and UNC Health Care in Chapel Hill, has seen growing demand for heart and vascular services, says Alan Wolf, manager of media relations at UNC Rex.

Fueling the rising demand, he says, was a spike in referrals after the merger with North Carolina Heart and Vascular, and after UNC Health Care’s affiliation with hospitals in other counties, as well as the region’s booming population and emergence as a destination for retirees and aging boomers.

It also is getting referrals from hospitals not affiliated with the UNC Health Care system. In 2015 alone, 1,804 cardiovascular-related patients were transferred to UNC Rex from hospitals in eight other counties.

Amy Daniels, director of the Rex Healthcare Foundation, says the consolidation of heart and vascular services in the new 306,000-square-foot facility will make it easier for for patients to get the care they need, and for medical staff to provide it.

The new facility also has been designed to foster efficiency and innovation, she says.

Rather than sharing elevators, for example, families and visitors will use public elevators, while hospital caregivers and staff transporting patients will use clinical elevators, including two that can accommodate patients and trauma equipment and teams of up to 20 people.

The hospital will give tracking devices to patients it will use to track their location and analyze efficiency and the flow of patients flow through the facility.

Patients will be able to use the televisions in their rooms and modules assigned by their physicians to learn about their procedures and about topics such as rehabilitation, healthy diet changes and smoking cessation.

And a training facility to be located in conference space known as the Center for Innovation and Learning will include a simulation lab — equipped with devices such as mannequins and computer-generated models — that physicians, vendors and clinicians can use to learn from and teach one another.

The conference space, which will include a demonstration kitchen, also will be used for classes focusing on wellness and prevention, including topics such as healthy eating.

“The goal is to keep people out of the hospital,” Wolf says. “We’re really hoping the facility will be a place where people can come before they get sick to learn how not to get sick.”

HandyCapable struggling to stay open

By Todd Cohen

GREENSBORO, N.C. — HandyCapable Network, a Greensboro nonprofit that puts individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities to work as volunteers refurbishing computers it sells at a discount or recycles, is looking for ways to generate more income to stay open.

Formed in 2006, the nonprofit needs to raise $50,000 by the end of the year to cover operating costs that have grown with the addition of two part-time employees, and the move to larger, more-expensive quarters to accommodate both an increase in the number of its “HandyTech” volunteers to refurbish computers and in its inventory of donated computers.

“We’re in a little bit of a hole,” says Anne Tubaugh, its executive director.

Operating with an annual budget of $250,000 and a staff of three people working full-time and four working part-time, HandyCapable in recent years has drawn about $25,000 a year from cash reserves to cover operating deficits.

It created the reserves, now nearly depleted, with roughly $100,000 it received in 2010 as part of the settlement of a class-action related to a computer product it had purchased.

HandyCapable generates about 85 percent of its budget from foundation grants, mainly for programming, not for operations, and about 10 percent from earned income from the sale of refurbished computers. Individual donations account for the remainder.

Twenty HandyTech volunteers contribute thousands of hours a year to HandyCapable, which each year provides discounted information-technology services and sells discounted refurbished equipment to dozens of nonprofits in Guilford County.

It also sells discounted computers or donates them to people in need, and sells discounted computers to the general public.

Since 2006, it also has recycled 60 tons of electronic waste.

And since 2010, it has offered free “Computer Build” camps in the summer that this year provided three weeklong sessions of half-a-day each for a total of about two-dozen middle-school students.

To help cover its projected operating deficit of about $10,000 a month on operating expenses of $25,000, HandyCapable in recent weeks has mailed a fundraising appeal to donors and launched an online fundraising campaign that together have generated about $1,500.

It has asked each of the six members of its board of directors to invite to 10 to 12 prospective donors to monthly tours of its 4,500-square-foot facility at 415 North Edgeworth St.

It is seeking foundation grants to build its organizational “capacity,” and talking to other nonprofits that also serve individuals with disabilities about collaborating and working together to seek funding.

It also plans to begin offering its Computer Build camps on weekends during the school year and begin charging a fee.

And it is looking for ways to expand its recycling program to include durable medical equipment and televisions, along with wholesale sales of recycled equipment.

The biggest donors to HandyCapable of computers for refurbishing and recycling are Lincoln Financial Group, Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital and ITG Brands.

Students target support for schools

By Todd Cohen

DURHAM, N.C. — In the fall of 2014, as an 11th-grader at Hillside High School in Durham, Jalen McGee submitted a proposal to the Durham Public Schools for funding and resources to support independent research he wanted to conduct on prosthetic limbs.

When the schools administration replied it lacked funds to sponsor his project, McGee quickly “went to work to plan how I could make sure that every student who comes after me who desires to conduct independent research in high school could have the opportunity to do so.”

McGee and a handful of other students formed The iMpact Education Foundation, a nonprofit that is trying to raise $5,000 to secure tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service and get started.

Now overseen by a board of seven Hillside graduates who all are rising college freshmen, the Foundation aims to raise $200,000 by September 30, 2017, and will focus on providing funds for scholarships, teachers and student projects, and college-readiness workshops.

The Foundation’s board members will spend the next year raising money and recruiting college and high school students to support the fundraising effort. Between them, they will enroll this fall at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C. A&T State University in Greensboro, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, UNC-Charlotte and Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.

The Foundation aims to enlist honor societies at 30 to 40 high schools, for example, to partner on events such as spelling bees and science fairs to raise a total of $70,000.

It hopes to raise another $90,000 through crowdfunding campaigns, by creating iMpact Education Foundation clubs on college campuses that would solicit corporate donations, and by seeking challenge grants from companies that would match other funds the Foundation raises.

And it will try to raise another $40,000 in government and foundation grants.

Efforts to enrich the experience of high school students, including the purchase of resources and materials for student projects, and offering college-readiness workshops, will account for the biggest program at the new Foundation, says McGee, who was inducted into the academic Hall of Fame at Hillside High School and has been awarded Coca Cola, Goodnight and Blacks at Microsoft scholarships totaling $118,000.

“We’ve all gone through North Carolina public schools all our lives,” he says of the Foundation’s seven board members. “We asked what could have made our experience better. We decided to put more project-based learning into schools.”

A big focus, particularly in the face of government cuts in spending for public schools, will be supporting student projects and research, says McGee, who is working this summer handling quality assurance for the website and mobile app for Spiffy, a mobile car-wash company in Durham. He plans to major in electrical and computer engineering, and hopes after college to work for the Defense Advanced Project Research Agency.

“What we remember from each school year were the projects we did,” he says. “They help you retain more information.”

The Foundation also hopes each year to award 10 scholarships of $4,000 each to seniors graduating from North Carolina high schools, and to give $200 each to 100 teachers nominated by their students.

Teachers, McGee says, “are the backbone of our education system.”

UNC-CH newspaper turns to fundraising

By Todd Cohen

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The Daily Tar Heel, the 123-year-old student newspaper at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is adding charitable fundraising to the nonprofit business model it launched in 1989.

Founded in 1893 as a publication of the school’s Athletic Association, the DTH for most of its history was supported by fees from students, who picked the editor in a campus-wide election.

But in 1993, a student referendum the newspaper sponsored ended the student fee and put the selection of the editor in the hands of an independent board created by the board of directors of a nonprofit created at the time to publish the newspaper.

Advertising sales had been generating enough revenue to cover operating costs, and the newspaper “wanted to give student fees back” for other campus organizations to use, while also removing “even the possible appearance of influence” from the university, says Kelly Wolff, general manager and director of the nonprofit, DTH Media Corp.

For the past five years, however, the nonprofit has posted an annual operating deficit ranging from $50,000 to over $100,000 on a budget of roughly $1 million, making up the difference from a reserve fund. And it now faces the need to replace outmoded newsroom technology, and provide scholarships and travel expenses for student staff, she says.

It has formed an alumni association to spearhead an annual fund campaign and host receptions throughout the U.S. And it is preparing for a capital campaign to raise about $300,000 or more.

“We are starting for the first time to ask our alumni to support the parts of our educational mission that are no longer being fully supported by our ad revenue,” Wolff says.

Operating in an office in downtown Chapel Hill — it moved off campus in 2010 — and with a professional staff of four people working full-time and two working part-time, the newspaper employs 80 students in news, advertising, customer service and production jobs. Another 150 students work as volunteers in training.

The student staff produces 14,000 copies of the newspaper five days a week when school is in session. The paper is distributed at 225 sites on and off campus, including Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough, southeast Durham and northern Chatham County.

The newspaper also publishes an online version that attracts 10,500 unique visitors, on average, each school day.

The student editor hires the newsroom staff, each of whom is paid $200 to $700 a month. DTH Media Corp. employs a newsroom adviser who provides a training for the staff and volunteers.

A student advertising manager and staff of 25 handle all ad sales under the direction of a non-student advertising director.

Last fall, DTH Media Corp. began piloting a new business, DTH Media Services, with public-relations students from UNC working with clients to produce brand content.

The new alumni association has developed a list of 2,000 alumni, will distribute an alumni newsletter three times a year, and in February hosted an inaugural homecoming event.

It included two days of workshops and a dinner that attracted 60 alumni and presented its first Distinguished Alumni Award to Edwin M. Yoder Jr., who served in 1955-56 as DTH co-editor and in 1979 won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing at The Washington Star.

The alumni association, Wolff says, will focus on fundraising, networking among alumni for their own professional development, and mentoring students.

Public schools focus of foundation

By Todd Cohen

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Each August, at a “Teacher Store” in partnership with the East Chapel Hill Rotary Club, new teachers, school social workers and roughly half the other teachers in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools can pick up classroom supplies using a $75 voucher.

Teachers also are eligible to receive $1,000 a year for two to three years from 10 endowed chairs, and for recognitions and awards; scholarships to help cover the cost of applying for national certification; and professional-development grants. And first-year teachers receive $100 grants for classroom purposes.

Helping to provide all that support, as well as funding for schools and students, is the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public School Foundation, which hosts the Teacher Store in partnership with East Chapel Hill Rotary Club

Launched in 1984, the Foundation has raised and provided over $5.4 million for local public schools, including funds for 328 teachers who have received money from the endowed chairs, and received awards and also scholarships for certification through the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards.

It also has provided nearly $532,000 for students and schools for college scholarships, summer enrichment and tutoring; over $230,000 in supplies and materials for classroom teachers; and nearly $850,000 for projects at schools.

In the face of declining teacher morale as a result of cuts or threatened cuts in state funding for schools and teacher salaries, the Foundation works to “make sure the teachers feel valued and they know they’re making a difference in children’s lives,” says Lynn Lehmann, the Foundation’s executive director.

The Foundation also focuses on “students with the most need, both financially and academically, to make sure every student is able to be on grade level,” she says.

Operating with an annual budget of $325,000, and a staff of one full-time employee and three part-time employees, the Foundation counts on 45 active volunteers, including the 27 members of its board of directors, plus other volunteers who support three major fundraising events.

Board members, for example, review grant requests and recommend funding; chair events; work with the Foundation’s auditor; prepare financial statements; create communications; and set up focus groups with teachers and principals to identify their needs.

“They work like this is their job,” says Lehmann, a former PTA president who served on the Foundation’s board for 10 years, including a term as president, before joining the staff in 2014 as program manager.

She became executive director last October, succeeding Kim Hoke, who co-founded the Foundation when she was assistant to the superintendent of the city schools.

Each year, the Foundation hosts three big fundraising events, including its Walk for Education, which last fall raised $185,000, including corporate sponsorships, with 85 percent of the funds going back to schools for projects.

It also hosts a 5K for Education each spring that generates about $10,000 and includes six weeks of fitness training for teachers for $25 each provided by Fleet Feet Sports. And it hosts a Teachers First Breakfast and Roses, which receives donated food from the Chapel Hill Restaurant Group — Spanky’s, 411 West, Mez, Page Road Grill and Squid’s — and discounted roses from Whole Foods, and last year raised $95,000, most of it for programs that support teachers.

The Foundation supports each of the school system’s 11 elementary schools, four middle schools and four high schools — plus the school at UNC Hospitals for young people being  treated there — in raising money for the Walk to fund a project each school chooses.

It also provides grants for out-of-school learning and enrichment for low-income or low-achieving students  and student scholarships for higher education.

The Foundation also receives support from individuals, including one who last year donated $55,000, and from the Stroud Roses Foundation and other philanthropies.

But generating funds through its annual appeal remains a challenge, Lehmann says, and the Foundation has hired Executive Service Corps of the Triangle to help it develop a strategic plan that could set the stage for fundraising or campaign to build its operating endowment, which now totals $108,000.  The Foundation also operates 32 endowments totaling $1.5 million that support endowed chairs and other programs.

“Teacher value and student success are the challenges of the district,” Lehmann says, “and the things we try to address with our enrichment grants.”

Donor cultivation yields $10 million gift for UNC Lineberger

By Todd Cohen

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — In October, the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center in Chapel Hill announced a $10 million gift commitment — its biggest gift ever — to fund early-stage cancer research.

The form of the gift represents the holy grail of fundraising: It is unrestricted, giving Lineberger’s leaders discretion to apply the dollars to areas of research they believe are most promising.

Ken and Cheryl Williams of Burlington, who are making the gift, are the kind of donors who fundraising professionals dream about, says Eli Jordfald, director of major gifts at Lineberger, who says the gift is the largest she has helped secure in her 30-year career in fundraising.

“Not only have they made this gift,” she says. “They want to help us solicit other gifts and be right there with us.”

Long-time supporters of athletics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and and of the Educational Foundation, the sports booster and scholarship organization at UNC better known as The Rams Club, the couple first got involved with the Cancer Center in October 2010.

Cheryl Williams, whose mother had died from breast cancer at age 52, volunteered that year to help raise money for Tickled Pink, a month-long fundraising effort the couple supported with a small gift.

Ken Williams, who holds master’s and doctoral degrees from what is now the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC and is a retired senior vice president at Durham-based Quintiles, the world’s largest provider of biopharmaceutical development and commercial outsourcing services, also has a personal connection with cancer: His father died from mesothelioma and, last year, the couple brought his 94-year-old mother to Lineberger after she was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

In 2011, the couple joined Lineberger’s board of visitors, a group of 135 couples who serve as ambassadors for the Center throughout the state. And in 2013, they joined the board’s development committee, which provides volunteer input and support for the Center’s fundraising efforts.

“They been very engaged in development conversations and development initiatives,” Jordfald says.

The Williamses also have been involved in early planning during the silent phase of a comprehensive fundraising campaign at UNC that is expected to set a goal totaling billions of dollars.

Since joining the board, Jordfald says, the Williamses have worked closely with many people at Lineberger, including Debbie Dibbert, its former executive director of external affairs.

Last April, Jordfald invited the couple to lunch at the Carolina Club at the George Watts Hill Alumni Center at UNC for what they understood “was going to be a gift conversation,” she says. Also at the lunch was Martin Baucom, who had been named executive director of development and communications to succeed Dibbert after she became chief of staff for UNC Chancellor Carol Folt.

“We talked about some of the really big and bold plans for the Cancer Center and the importance of philanthropy and how critical it would be to have board members step up and support these important initiatives,” Jordfald says.

The Williamses said during the two-hour lunch that they were “starting to think seriously about their gift,” Jordfald says, and indicated they were “thinking about a significant gift” that would be earmarked for unrestricted research.

Then, in July, standing in the lobby of the Center at the close of a 90-minute tour, the couple said “they were very close to finalizing a gift” and indicated “it was going to be a multi-million-dollar gift.”

They also asked how large a gift would be needed to name the lobby for their son Tony, who had died tragically two years ago.

“When they heard the figure of $10 million,” Jordfald says, “Cheryl said it would be so wonderful to be able to name the lobby for Tony.”

Final details of the gift were worked out, and papers signed, at two lunches at a restaurant in Burlington, and the gift was announced in October.

Key to the gift, Jordfald says, were the active role the Williamses played on the board of visitors and development committee; their engagement with and support of staff leaders and faculty; and their substantive knowledge about the Center’s work and vision, and desire to participate in advancing it; and conversations they had with Folt and David Routh, UNC’s vice chancellor for university advancement.

Equally critical was “listening carefully to what their goals were,” she says. “They wanted to establish a legacy. They wanted to find answers to complicated cancers.”

The Williamses “are truly a development person’s dream,” Jordfald says. “They are rainmakers.”