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?”

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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.

Championing entrepreneurship in North Carolina

By Todd Cohen

DURHAM, N.C. — In 2006, Durham transit-technology maker TransLoc was in the first group of startups to receive seed funding of up to $50,000 each from the NC IDEA Foundation, created in 2005 by MCNC, which endowed the new organization with nearly $40 million the communications network had generated in income from its investment in other companies.

In January, TransLoc was acquired by a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ford as part of its push to develop self-driving vehicles.

“The nation’s greatest untapped resource is the entrepreneurial potential of the masses,” says Thom Ruhe, CEO and president of Durham-based NC IDEA. Yet, despite “so many ideas of high potential, full promise is never seen by humanity because they don’t get a critical infusion of capital and assistance to prove the potential of the idea.”

NC IDEA, which began as a program of MCNC and in 2015 became an independent private foundation, works to unleash entrepreneurial potential throughout North Carolina by providing direct support to entrepreneurs and to local organizations that focus on supporting them. Unlike most if not all other similar groups in the U.S., NC IDEA charges no fees and takes no equity stake in the companies it supports.

NC IDEA operates with a staff of five full-time employees and an annual budget of $2.5 million through income generated from its endowment from MCNC that now has grown to roughly $50 million.

Since it began providing seed funding, NC IDEA has awarded a total of $5.8 million to 126 companies that have created 1,100 jobs and raised over $160 million in private investment and $58 million in government grants.

It also offers an “accelerator” program that has provided a 10-week curriculum to 130 startup companies that have created 650 jobs and raised over $20 million in private investment and $5 million in government grants.

And it offers a program that has provided mentoring to 17 female entrepreneurs whose companies have created 65 jobs and raised $12 million in private investment and $2 million in government grants.

NC IDEA also provides a six-week curriculum, followed by 12 months of mentoring, for  entrepreneurs looking to grow companies that have been in business for five to seven years but have become stalled and may not yet be profitable.

And it coordinates a network of organizations in communities throughout the state that focus on supporting local entrepreneurs, and coordinates peer-to-peer assistance and the sharing of best practices among those support groups.

For individual entrepreneurs it supports, and for local groups that support them, NC IDEA has developed a separate network of investors and veteran entrepreneurs that provide financial capital and entrepreneurial expertise.

Those partners understand the type of support entrepreneurs need based on the phase their organizations have reached in their “life cycle,” says Ruhe, who spent 20 years as an entrepreneur and another seven years at the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, including two years as vice president for entrepreneurship.

In addition to the challenges all entrepreneurs face, research shows that female entrepreneurs are significantly underrepresented in venture capital, and also that they face biases in private equity, says Ruhe, who joined NC IDEA two years ago.

So one of NC IDEA’s programs works to “help women overcome that bias, mainly through intensive mentoring by people who have been successful in private equity and who are aware of and vigilant of the pitfalls that women face,” he says.

Overall, NC IDEA recognizes that all entrepreneurs in the state face challenges that are greater “than we currently have the capacity to serve,” and so the Foundation is developing a 10-year plan to “help more people of greater need,” he says.

“There are a large group of significantly underserved individuals with high entrepreneurial potential, notably in our rural communities,” he says. “There are 80 rural counties in the state of North Carolina where there’s very little programming available” for entrepreneurs. “But great ideas are not geographically bound, or ethnically bound or gender-bound. They can come from anyone, anywhere.”

As a nonprofit, Ruhe says, NC IDEA is perfectly positioned to take the risks that are essential for entrepreneurs to succeed.

“Nonprofits should be risk-takers, but there are a far too many foundations that are comfortable and put money only into things that are very familiar, very predictable,” he says. “We have the luxury of taking chances and failing from time to time.”

Nonprofit news roundup, 02.23.18

Diversity linked to more engaged nonprofit boards

Members of nonprofit boards with a bigger share of women tend to participate more in fundraising and advocacy, and to be more involved in the board’s work, a new study says.

Boards with a bigger share of members age 39 and younger are more committd and involved, and engage more in oversight and governance, says the study, The Impact of Diversity: Understanding How Nonprofit Board Diversity Affects Philanthropy, Leadership and Board Engagement.

The study, conducted by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University in partnership with Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates, and BoardSource, also finds that:

* Boards of nonprofits founded before 1900 are less diverse than those of newer, smaller organizations.

* A significantly higher share of members of boards of older organizations meet with potential donors, ask  others for money, and contribute financial gifts.

* The diversity of a nonprofit’s board is related to the subsector in which the nonprofit operates. Boards of nonprofits that focus on education, for example, tend to higher shares of African-American members.

* Boards of nonprofits with annual revenues of $5 million ore more are more likely to participate in advocacy.

Saffer new executive director at Executive Service Corps

Anne Saffer, director of consultant development for Executive Service Corps of the Triangle, has been named executive director, succeeding Trudy Smith, who served for nearly 12 years.

Schline to head Carolinas Credit Union League

Dan Schline, senior vice president of the Carolinas Credit Union League, has been named  president and CEO, effective July 1, on the retirement of John Radebaugh, who has held the position since 2003.

School of the Arts gets $3 million from estate

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem has received a gift of $3 million from the estate of an anonymous donor to support merit-based scholarships in the School of Music.

Kidznotes raises $117,000

Kidznotes in Durham raises over $110,000 for young musicians at an event February 17 at The Umstead.

JDRF to honor Mary Gay and Don Brady

The Piedmont Triad Chapter of JDRF will honor Mary Gay and Don Brady, founder and chairman of Brady Services, at the 2018 Hope Gala on February 24 at Koury Convention Center in Greensboro.

A live auction at the event will include bidding on an “Ultimate Kitchen Makeover” with an estimated value of $50,000.

Now in its 18th year and alternating between Greensboro and Winston-Salem, the event  in its first 17 years raised roughly $14.5 million to fund type 1 diabetes research, including at least $1 million in six of the last seven years.

Partnership focuses on minority middle-school males

Two Saturdays of every month, about 110 middle-school boys participate at a program at N.C. A&T State University offered through a partnership between the school and the Verizon Foundation through the foundation’s national program that focuses on providing tech education and skill-building skills to minority, middle-school male students in partnership Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions On February 10, A&T and Verizon partnered with science, technology, engineering and mathematics professionals to provide real-world career experiences during the “Preparing Tomorrow’s Innovators Today” conference on the university’s campus.

Winston-Salem State raises $21,000 in state employee campaign

Faculty, staff and administration at Winston-Salem State University donating $20,743 during the annual State Employees Combined Campaign, with 18 percent of full-time employees participating.

Eastern Music Festival gets $20,000

Eastern Music Festival received $20,000 in scholarship funding from the Louis DeJoy and Aldona Z. Wos Family Foundation to provide scholarship assistance for up to 12North Carolina musicians ages 14 to 23 studying at Eastern Music Festival this summer.

Salvation Army gets $10,000, food to fight hunger

The Salvation Army of High Point has received a $10,000 donation from the Rotary Club of High Point through its 2nd annual “Designs to Fight Hunger” campaign to support the Salvation Army’s food pantry, plus 1,550 donated food items the Club purchased for $2,100.

Athenian House set to open

Athenian Press & Workshops, a Wilmington nonprofit that works to provide a safe space for women and femme-identified writers, artists and creators, has established its official location, known at Athenian House, at 2231 Wrightsville Ave.

Athenian will celebrate its grand opening on March 25.

When fully operational, the main floor of Athenian House will serve as a bookstore and lounge.

All books, artwork and literary merchandise it sells or features will be created and authored by women and femme-identifying artists.

Academic resources such as computers and books will be available for clients seeking free resources.

Public art light installation in Winston-Salem

The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County is partnering with the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center and Clean Air Carolina to sponsor a multi-story public art light installation in downtown Winston-Salem through March 24.

Best viewing of the display, “Particle Falls,”  which will use the west wall of the Stevens Center as a projection screen, is in the evening from the corner of West 4th Street and Spruce Street.

Family Service to host oyster roast

Family Service of the Piedmont in James town will host its 24th annual High Point Oyster Roast on March 2 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Presented by the Lenny Peters Foundation and Bethany Medical Center, and co-chaired by Frosty Culp and Caren York, the event will be held at a private home. To purchase tickets, visit http://www.OysterRoast.info.

The 2017 Oyster Roast attracted 550 people generated $202,000 in net proceeds to support High Point programs of Family Service of the Piedmont.

NCCJ accepting nominations for award

March 12 at 5 p.m. is the deadline for submitting nominations to the National Conference for Community and Justice of the Piedmont Triad in Greensboro for its 2018 Brotherhood/Sisterhood Citation Award.

NCCJ will present the award at its 52nd Annual Brotherhood/Sisterhood Citation Award Dinner on November 7 at the Koury Convention Center.

Raffaldini heads Bookmarks board

Barbara Raffaldini, a partner in the law firm of Pachter, Gregory & Raffaldini, has been named president of the board of Bookmarks in Winston-Salem.