Nonprofit news roundup, 05.05.17

CEO change at Triangle United Way

Mack Koonce is retiring as president and CEO of United Way of the Greater Triangle, effective June 30, and will be succeeded by Eric Guckian, former senior adviser on education to former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory.

Guckian will join United Way on May 8 as chief philanthropy and business development officer, and then become president and CEO on July 1.

Koonce started working at United Way as president and CEO in September 2012.

Guckian joins United Way in the wake of a five-year shift in its focus and its spending in the community, with 80 percent of its funding now supporting collaborative partnerships rooted in a “two-generational” approach to try to break the cycle of poverty for vulnerable children and their families.

In a statement announcing the CEO change, United Way says it hired Koonce five years ago to begin to strengthen the organization and its impact in the face of its own “diminishing presence” among corporate partners, and low morale among its staff.

Guckian most recently served as vice president of alliances for Washington, D.C.-based Leadership for Educational Equity.

Before working for McCrory, he was founding executive director of New Leaders in Charlotte after serving as executive director of Teach for America-North Carolina.

As chief philanthropy and business development officer, Guckian will work for two months with United Way’s development staff and community partners, and will design a plan “for what the staff should look like,” says Kevin Trapani, immediate past chair of United Way’s board of directors and now chair of its governance and board development committee, and a member of the board’s executive committee.

Then, as CEO, Guckian might look for a new chief philanthropy and business development officer or possibly restructure the position, Trapani says.

Last fall, Koonce began talking with Trapani and Maureen O’Connor, who at the time was vice chair of the board and now is its chair, about the “natural end of his tenure,” which was “linked to us finding a natural and appropriate successor to him,” Trapani says.

Then, in February, saying it aimed to raise $20 million a year within five to eight years, up from its current level of $12 million, United Way began looking for its third fundraising chief in less than three years.

United Way said at the time it would place greater focus on soliciting “major” gifts of $25,000 or more, and on “principal” gifts of $100,000 or more.

Triggering that search for a chief philanthropy and business development officer was the departure of Allison Warren-Barbour, after just over a year-and-a-half as senior vice president of resource development and engagement, to become president and CEO of United Way of Snohomish County in the state of Washington.

She had succeeded Virginia Parker, who left Triangle United Way after 15 months as senior vice president of resource development and strategic partnerships to become senior vice president and Triangle market manager at Bank of America.

“We were looking for a pretty senior philanthropy person,” Trapani says of the search that began in February for a new fundraising chief. “In the context of Mack’s plans, we wanted to hire someone who could relatively quickly be in a good position to succeed Mack.”

Donations up, donor retention dips, report says

Overall donations to U.S. nonprofits grew three percent in 2016 from 2015, while the retention rate of donors — the share of donors who gave in 2015 and again in 2016 — slipped half-a-percentage point to 45 percent, a new report says.

Gift revenue to nonprofits with under $100,000 in contributed income fell 10.4 percent in 2016 from 2015, while gift revenue to nonprofits with over $500,000 in contributions grew 8.6 percent, says the 2017 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report from the Fundraising Effectiveness Project.

The Project, a collaborative effort of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Urban Institute, is based on data from over 10,800 U.S. nonprofits with 8.9 million donors and over $9.1 billion in contributions.

In 2016, the report says, the average gift totaled $419, up from $400 in 2015.

Smaller share of nonprofits see fundraising growth

Sixty-one percent of nearly 700 U.S. nonprofits surveyed posted higher charitable receipts in 2016, compared to 65 percent that reported higher receipts in 2015, marking the first time since 2013 that a lower share of survey participants reported fundraising growth, a new report says.

Still, says the Winter 2017 Nonprofit Fundraising Study from the Nonprofit Research Collaborative, receipts grew in six types of giving for over half of survey recipients, including 55 percent that reported greater receipts from major gifts; 50 percent reporting more from direct mail; 57 percent more from online giving; 54 percent from special events; 53 percent from foundation grants; and 58 percent from received and new planned gifts.

The median total amount received by bequest ranged from $100,000 to $249,999, while the average median bequest ranged from $25,000 to $100,000.

About one in three organizations says the 2016 campaign and election cycle affected its fundraising, with nearly one in four reporting fewer charitable receipts, and about one in 10 reporting more.

Two in three organizations expect fundraising receipts will grow in 2017, and 46 percent worry that economic and political change might affect charitable giving.

Thirty-four percent worry that organizational activity such as leadership, marketing and staffing might affect giving, and 20 percent see challenges in  fundraising processes, such as building major-gifts capacity, acquiring new doors, or using online technologies effectively

Gap in funding to address needs of rural seniors

Older people in the rural U.S. face big challenges, yet philanthropic support for rural projects is disproportionately low, a new report says.

Rural America generally is poorer than urban America and is aging faster, yet many rural communities lack the financial resources to help, and private philanthropy “has generally not taken a concerted interest in rural America or its older residents,” says the report, “New Frontiers for Funding: An Introduction to Grantmaking in Rural Aging,” from Grantmakers in Aging.

Challenges that older people in rural places face, making them increasingly vulnerable, range from mobility and economic security to housing and health care, the report says.

Rural seniors also may lack the technology skills or digital access, or both, that could keep them connected to people and services critical to their well-being.

While the challenges facing older people in rural and urban places throughout the U.S. are similar, the report says, “the physical and social isolation that can occur in a rural setting compounds problems and makes it even more difficult to age in place, safely and well,.”

Roughly 20 percent of Americans, or over 60 million people, lived in a rural place in 2010, down from 60 percent in 1900.

About 10 million people age 65 and older live in rural America, and one of four older Americans lives in a small town or other rural area, the report says.

“During times of migration and change, older people often are the ones who stay behind, which is one reason that rural America is aging more quickly than the rest of the country,” it says.

Yet research shows that grantmaking to rural projects has declined for years and is “disproportionately low,” it says, with only 6.3 percent of large foundation grants benefitting rural communities, and possibly even a smaller share of overall philanthropic investment.

Rural data focus of digital dashboard

Economic, workforce, education and demographic data for Brunswick, Columbus, New Hanover and Pender counties in mostly rural southeastern North Carolina, and Horry County in South Carolina, soon will be available on a new digital dashboard.

Aiming to be a “one-stop, interactive, online portal,” the dashboard was developed with funding from the Brunswick County Chamber Business Development Committee, formerly the Committee of 100, a nonprofit administered by the Brunswick County Chamber of Commerce in Shallotte.

The dashboard features data for Brunswick County, and for the five-county region that includes Brunswick, Columbus, New Hanover and Pender counties in North Carolina and Horry County in South Carolina.

Powering the dashboard will be Headlight Data, the data-visualization service of Avalanche Consulting.

Fishing event reels in $517,000

The ninth annual Reelin’ for Research offshore fishing tournament in Morehead City, an event launched in 2009, raised a record-high $517,000 on April 28 to benefit the Tony Montana Fellowship Fund at UNC Children’s Hospital in Chapel Hill.

Since the event was launched in 2009 by a group of friends in Greensboro celebrating the life of fisherman Tony Montana after he died from cancer in 2005, the event has raised $2.4 million, including $1.4 million raised in the last three years alone.

Of the total raised this year, $100,000 will be awarded to a physician specializing in childhood cancer research, and the remainder will go to an endowment, which now will have received a total of $1.3 million the event and is designed to eventually fund the fellowship in perpetuity.

Women’s Impact Fund giving $400,000

Women’s Impact Fund in Charlotte, at its annual meeting on May 9, will award grants totaling over $400,000 to five area nonprofits, bringing to over $5 million the total funding it has awarded since 2003.

The annual meeting will be held at Foundation For The Carolinas at 220 N. Tryon St. Wells Fargo will be presenting sponsor .

Allegacy to donate $250,000

Allegacy Federal Credit Union in Winston-Salem this year will donate over $250,000 in sponsorships to improve the community, and Allegacy employees will exceed the 7,000 hours they volunteered in 2016.

To mark its 50th anniversary, Allegacy is donating $50,000 to Project Impact, a community initiative to provide additional operating funds to the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools to address gaps in student achievement, and to improve third-grade reading and math proficiency scores, by supporting intensive early intervention among at-risk and lower-performing schools.

Heart Association raises $232,000

The American Heart Association raised $232,000 at its Winston-Salem Heart Ball on April 28 to benefit heart disease and stroke research and prevention education.

Mandy, BG, Grant and Keegan Minor were honored as 2017 Faces of Heart, and the Rev. Konnie Robinson was named the 2017 Womble Carlyle Healthy Heart Champion.

Chairing the event was William Whitehurst, Winston-Salem Managing Partner at Womble Carlyle.

Salvation Army raises $140,000

The Salvation Army of Greensboro raised over $140,000 and attracted 500 people at an event on April 20 at Proximity Hotel, exceeding its goals of raising $100,000 and attracting 400 people.

At the event, the organization presented Dennis and Nancy Quaintance of Quaintance-Weaver Restaurants and Hotels with its Signature Advocates award.

Rockingham Community College gets $20,000

Rockingham Community College in Wentworth received a gift of $20,000 from the Gene Haas Foundation for scholarships to be awarded over a two-year period to computer-integrated machining students.

United Way honors Liner, King

Sallye Liner, former president of Forsyth Medical Center, has received the Paul Fulton Tocqueville Leadership Society award from United Way of Forsyth County, and Kelly King, chairman and CEO of BB&T, has been inducted into United Way’s Million Dollar Roundtable.

United Way presents its Leadership Society award each year to a Forsyth County volunteer. The Million Dollar Roundtable, United Way’s highest level of philanthropic giving, includes donors who have invested $1 million or more in the work of United Way over 10 years or less.

Youth grantmakers award $2,460

Youth Grantmakers in Action awarded eight grants totaling $2,460.

Formed in 2005 and a program of The Winston-Salem Foundation, the group of youth ages 15 to 18 from Forsyth County has granted over $21,000 to youth-led community projects since making its first round of grants in 2006.

Scuppernong Books honored for support of arts

Scuppernong Books in downtown’s Greensboro received the 2017 Arts in Business Award presented by ArtsGreensboro in partnership with the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, Greensboro Merchants Association, and North Carolina Entrepreneurship Center at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

The award, presented on May 2 at the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce small business awards luncheon at the Van Dyke Performance Space, each year recognizes a Greensboro small business for leadership and commitment to the arts and its impact on the arts over the past year, as measured by activities, projects, or events in support of any aspect of the arts.

Adults get free dental care

Cary Family Dental, through a team of dentists, staff and volunteers at its Sixth Annual Dentistry from the Heart event, provided roughly $47,000 in free dental care to 165 adults, with eight volunteer dentists performing 76 cleanings, 53 extractions and 36 fillings for adults with valid identification.

Hospice to honor veterans of Korean War

Rowan Hospice & Palliative Care, and Hospice & Palliative CareCenter, which host monthly Veterans Coffee events in 10 central North Carolina cities, will recognize and honor veterans who served and fought in the Korean War at free special event on July 30 at the Embassy Suites in Concord.

Petty fundraiser set for May 10

Richard Petty’s second annual Blue Jeans and Boots fundraising dinner will be held ay 10 at Reverie Place, his home in Randleman, with proceeds to support the mission of the Petty Family Foundation.

Sponsoring the event is Hutchinson Family Office.

Triangle United Way shifting role to catalyst

By Todd Cohen

MORRISVILLE, N.C. — In September, culminating a regional competition known as the Innovate United Challenge, a local organization or group of organizations will win $50,000, along with pro-bono consulting, to launch a collaborative program to reduce childhood hunger in the region.

Sponsored by United Way of the Greater Triangle, the competition is part of a larger effort by United Way to transform its role and impact.

Traditionally seen as an umbrella group that raises money each fall, mainly in workplace campaigns, to support partner agencies providing health and human services, United Way now is focusing on raising awareness about urgent problems related to poverty, and engaging community resources to address their symptoms and causes.

The childhood hunger competition is “indicative of a huge transformation that’s underway,” says Mack Koonce, who joined United Way as CEO two years ago after serving as chief operating officer for Philadelphia-based Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

With its annual fundraising campaign set to begin, United Way is working on a handful of other collaborative efforts to address basic needs and long-term solutions for low-income families and children.

Those efforts include initiatives to serve youth aging out of foster care, improve services for the region’s homeless population, and create customized volunteer opportunities in sync with employers’ business focus.

Chaired by George Habel, executive vice president at Capitol Broadcasting Co., this year’s campaign likely will try to raise more than the $14.2 million it raised last year, when it posted its first increase — 4 percent — since 2006, Koonce says.

Last year’s campaign also raised an additional $5.2 million designated by donors to be distributed to particular programs.

With the funds it raises this year, United Way also expects to invest more in community programs than the $5.8 million it invested last year. In the face of  continuing growth in demand for services, United Way last year invested 10 percent more than the previous year.

Virginia Parker, former associate director of the Wake Tech Foundation who joined United Way this year as senior vice president for resource development and strategic partnerships, says United Way’s focus now is on “year-round engagement.”

Four to six times a year, for example, United Way offers customized volunteer opportunities for each of a growing number of employers such as Nationwide, RTI, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, and Syngenta.

And rather than touting its fundraising during workplace campaigns, Parker says, United Way is “talking about our work, and engaging employees in a community conversation.”

Its work now includes the foster-youth and homelessness efforts, both supported by a Financial Stability Fund for which United Way aims to raise $1.5 million over three years. In its first year, United Way has raised roughly half its goal.

For the foster-youth initiative, five partner agencies each in Wake, Durham, Orange and Johnston counties will coordinate housing, financial-literacy, and education and job-readiness services for a total of 75 individuals ages 17 to 20 who are aging out of the foster-care system. For the Wake effort, launched this year, youth already are receiving services more quickly than in the past, Koonce says.

And for the homelessness effort, United Way and half-a-dozen partner agencies have developed a common web-based tool the agencies are testing to gather “intake” information from clients.

United Way, which operates with an annual budget of $4 million and a staff of 36 employees, supports 160 programs at 82 partners agencies, including 16 it has added through a competitive process open to nonprofits that share United Way’s priorities and can show their impact.

United Way also has reorganized its staff, particularly in the areas of resource development and marketing, “to engage the community in a different way,” Koonce says. “The way to connect donors to enthusiasm is not in the donation but in the work and having them be part of the community,” he says. “This is driving everything we do.”

A key goal for United Way is to “build a network of partners who are working collaboratively to sustain established solutions, build the promising ones, and use the Innovate Challenge to launch new solutions,” Koonce says. “There’s a huge urgency to do more.”

Shifting demographics create challenges, opportunities

By Todd Cohen

[Note: This was written for Triangle Community Foundation. I am working with the Foundation as senior communications adviser.]

RALEIGH, N.C. — Mirroring national and state trends, the Triangle is undergoing sweeping changes in who we are and how we live and work, creating challenges and opportunities for nonprofits that address human needs, for government agencies that provide and plan for basic services, and for businesses that operate in the marketplace.

The population is getting grayer and browner. Families and households are getting smaller, many consisting of a single person, and others encompassing multiple generations. And the labor force is headed for big shortages.

“These demographic changes have implications for how we plan for our communities,” says Mitchell Silver, chief planning and development officer for the city of Raleigh and director of its department of city planning. “It’s better to be prepared than to be in denial.”

‘Silver tsunami’

By 2030, one in five North Carolinians and Americans will be over age 65, and by 2050, life expectancy will be 82.6 years, says Silver, who just completed a two-year term as president of the American Planning Association.

The graying of America, combined with an exodus of young people from rural regions, has led to a declining population in many rural counties, including roughly 25 of North Carolina’s 100 counties, Silver says.

That decline, coupled with the migration of those young people to urban areas, has led to a shrinking tax base and workforce in rural counties, he says.

Whether they live in urban, suburban or rural areas, he says, older Americans who no longer can drive have fewer choices about how to get around and get access to health care and other services they need.

That is particularly true in rural counties because many people do not live as close to health services as they do in urban areas.

“A huge issue as people age is what are they going to do in terms of mobility,” Silver says.

And as a result of the “Baby Bust” that followed the “Baby Boom” — the surge in births from 1946 through 1964 — there are “not enough workers to take care of Boomers as they age,” Silver says. “It’s a ‘silver tsunami.’ Most of us aren’t prepared for what’s coming.”

Senior housing

Seniors also are looking for different types of housing, Silver says.

They want master bedrooms on the ground floor, fewer steps to climb, and easier access to their home if they use a wheelchair.

“Currently the market doesn’t provide for that type of housing in large quantity,” he says.

Emil Malizia, a professor of city and regional planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and director of its Institute for Economic Development, says many older people have fewer options for where to live.

So while a number of pricey “congregate care retirement communities” have been developed in the Triangle, their cost is beyond the means of many elderly people, who likely will need to stay in their homes.

College towns like Durham and Chapel Hill also have become retirement destinations, mainly because they are home to university medical centers that provide good medical care,  and they offer relatively inexpensive entertainment, Malizia says.

Mobile services

Mack Koonce, president and CEO of United Way of the Greater Triangle, says a big challenge for nonprofits will be to “learn to take services” to older constituents.

That will require both “mobile” services and “place-based” services, he says.

Meals on Wheels in Durham, Orange and Wake counties, for example, received a funding increase this year from United Way that was bigger than the average increase for United Way agencies overall, Koonce says.

“Over the next couple of years, we and other organizations are going to expand our support for mobile services,” he says.

Wave of volunteers

The aging of the population, Koonce says, will create a big wave of volunteers and people looking for second careers who nonprofits “need to continue to engage.”

So nonprofits should look for ways to connect with people who are retired or semi-retired, he says.

“That’s a huge resource we all need to tap into,” he says.

It also will be important for nonprofits to engage the increasingly diverse mix of constituents — reflecting such differences as age, ethnicity and gender — in helping to identify needs and develop strategies to address them, he says.

Household shifts

The size of families and households is getting smaller, with fewer people getting married, particularly those age 25 to 34, Silver says, and the birth rate overall is declining, dropping dramatically among whites.

Hispanics are not having as many children as their parents did, he says, although they still are having more children, while the birth rate for blacks is roughly flat.

Because fewer people are getting married, and the number of widowers is growing, most households in the U.S. by 2025 will consist of one person only, Silver says.

The number of multi-generational households also is increasing, and many seniors who cannot care for themselves, or afford to, are moving in with their children, while many students during the recession moved home after college because they could not find jobs.

Affordable housing

Silver says many local governments are not prepared to deal with the implications of the surge in single-person households.

Individuals looking for a home increasingly are looking for a small home, and they increasingly prefer to rent rather than to own, he says.

Yet new development in most communities typically consists of single-family subdivisions.

“What type of housing do you build for a single person?,” Silver says. “It’s a function of market demand.”

In Raleigh, for example, 72 percent of all residential permits the city issued in the last 12 months were for multi-family housing, he says.

“And that’s without public intervention,” he says. “That was just the market looking at where the market was.”

Urban development

Malizia says the region’s “very significant need” for affordable housing and transportation is a long-standing problem that is “certainly being exacerbated by having older households that are less affluent and less mobile.”

The “most obvious way of dealing with it is to identify strategies to increase urban development,” he says.

But that approach, known as “density,” has not worked in the region, he says.

“Most people have negative associations with density,” he says.

‘Vibrant centers’

The key to create vital places to live, Malizia says, is to generate activity and provide access.

“The more you put into the center, the more vibrant it becomes,” he says. “People who live in it or near it recognize that more is better.”

Sprawl development, however, “means onward and outward, and whatever benefits the new development generates are enjoyed by the new residents who occupy that area, but it doesn’t benefit the neighbors.”

A new subdivision simply generates more traffic and congestion for residents of adjacent subdivisions, and those existing residents see the new growth as a negative, he says.

“So more is not better,” he says. “As we have suburbanized, we have generated negative attitudes towards development because new development doesn’t not necessarily benefit existing residents.”

The key, he says, is not to avoid dense development but to do it right by creating “vibrant centers” that are cost-effective and benefit everyone by providing and making accessible to them all the services and activities they they need to live, work and play.

“People hate density in the U.S. because we’ve done it badly,” he says.

Accessible and affordable

Because planning has become so “participatory,” with government making decisions that increasingly reflect public input, Malizia says, “we empower people who hate development and growth to be major players in the planning process.”

Many people who participate in that public process tend to live in neighborhoods that are “organized and run by affluent, educated people,” he says. “They know how politics works. You have a formidable opposition for any project they don’t like, and it’s hard to find a project they like.”

Still, he says, “compact, mixed-use, urban-type development that’s located near bus lines turns out to make a lot more sense from a tax-revenue, government-expenditure standpoint than more suburban low-density sprawl.”

So as “local governments become more and more financially challenged,”  development should be designed to provide “more accessible, more affordable housing,” he says.

“Transit-oriented vibrant centers,” he says, “concentrate development, allow more open space, and represent an economically and fiscally sound land-use strategy.”

Based on their age and other factors, people typically have preferences for where they want to live, Malizia says.

“Shouldn’t we try to provide services or assistance,” he says, “in a way that allows people to stay in their neighborhoods?”

‘Browning of America’

By 2043, the U.S. will have no majority race, Silver says.

In Raleigh, where 53 percent of the population currently is white, the majority of the population by the 2020s likely will consist of minorities, he says.

Malizia says that while the “browning” of the population cuts across lines of age, income and education, the Triangle’s construction and service industries have attracted a lot of Latino immigrants to the region and kept them here.

‘Cultural competence’

Koonce says the region’s increasingly diverse population will place demands on nonprofits for greater “cultural competence.”

Agencies that provide social services will need to be more sensitive to the diversity and different backgrounds of constituents, better understanding the family structures and other issues important to different cultural groups, particularly immigrants, he says.

So nonprofits will need to train their staffs to be “competent in dealing with those different cultures,” he says.

In making decisions about which organizations to fund, particularly in the areas of education and youth services, he says, one factor United Way considers is excellence in the organization’s cultural competence.

Labor force

With the Baby Bust generation following in the wake of the Baby Boom generation, Silver says, experts are predicting a shortage in the labor force.

That is a trend in many countries, he says, with the median age increasing.

Options for addressing the looming workforce shortage include people working longer, an increase in immigration to fill jobs, and handling more manufacturing and service jobs through automation, Silver says.

“I believe immigration will play a major role,” he says.


“Smart cities know their sense of urgency 10 years before it’s urgent, and in Raleigh and the Triangle, we’re trying to be smart,” Silver says.

“I believe planners, nonprofits and policymakers need to understand emerging trends the way stockbrokers watch the market,” he says. “I want to know what’s coming so I can share it with elected officials, the public and business so we can be prepared.”

Community solutions to homelessness urged

By Todd Cohen

[Note: I am working with Triangle Community Foundation as senior communications adviser.]

MORRISVILLE, N.C. — While homelessness can seem beyond any solution, efforts to reduce it are working.

Actually ending homelessness, however, will take truly collaborative community efforts that require patience and hard work, and are well designed, driven by incentives and shared goals, and tracked with useful metrics that show the impact of those efforts.

That was the message of four experts who work on homelessness issues and served on a panel at the April meeting of the Triangle Donors Forum.

Hosted by Triangle Community Foundation and United Way of the Greater Triangle at United Way’s offices in Morrisville, the Forum offered a window into local efforts to fight homelessness by adapting to changes in the funding environment and in perspectives about the causes of the problem and effective strategies to address it.

Roots of homelessness

Characterizing homelessness as “one of the most complex societal problems,” Denise Neunaber, executive director of the North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness, told the Donors Forum the keys to ending the problem all are rooted in access — to affordable housing, to services and to income.

In the early 1980s, she said, homelessness was treated as an “emergency situation”  and a problem that eventually would “go away.”

Declines in the development of affordable housing and in wages, however, along with changes in the mental health system and other social forces, have resulted in the spread of homelessness, she said.

Yet the system created to fight homelessness, rooted in the belief it was a temporary crisis, has “taken on a life of its own,” she said.

Shifting strategies

The system that emerged to serve homeless people operated below the “safety net” to “catch people when the safety net doesn’t work,” Neunaber said.

But that system became a kind of “sticky net.”

“We created a system where you need to get services while you’re there,” she said, creating few exits for people in temporary housing who needed ongoing assistance.

But that system should be a “trampoline,” she said, to stabilize their housing while they get other support, including assistance with rent and in securing jobs or disability benefits, or services such as mental health programs or case management.

“People fall out of housing into our system and we try to bounce them back into housing and services,” she said.

Ultimately, she said, getting people out of homelessness requires permanent housing.

“Instead of investing just in services and a temporary place for individuals and families to stay,” she said, “we’re taking it to the next level, investing in housing, in rental assistance and security deposits, to see how quickly we can get people out of the system.”

Homelessness and poverty

Perceptions about what it means to be homeless also have changed, Neunaber said.

For many years, advocates equated fighting homelessness with fighting poverty, believing they had to address the poverty of homeless individuals and families by helping them “get better jobs and make better decisions, ” she said, “and make them better people.”

But over the years, advocates have recognized that “maybe ending homelessness is not the same as ending poverty,” she said. “Maybe ending homelessness is a piece of getting to the next step of ending poverty. We may not be able to end poverty for these individuals and families, but I know we can end  homelessness.”

Neunaber said local partnerships to end homelessness had helped reduce the number of chronically homeless individuals and families in communities across North Carolina, including a declines of 35 percent in Durham, 58 percent in Winston-Salem and and 82 percent in Buncombe County.

‘Rapid Rehousing’

Strategies for serving the homeless more recently have evolved to a “Housing First” model that includes a “Rapid Rehousing” approach focusing on first getting homeless people housed and then providing the services they need to get back on their feet and build stable lives.

“It shortens the time they’re homeless,” Terry Allebaugh, executive director of Housing for New Hope in Durham, told the Donors Forum.

Beth Bordeaux, executive director of PLM Families Together in Raleigh, told the Donors Forum that the Rapid Rehousing strategy also provides an incentive for families not to prolong their stays in emergency housing but rather to begin to prepare themselves to move into longer-term housing.

“First we get them stable,” she said. “If your life is in chaos, the first thing you want is to reduce your stress.”

Allebaugh and Bordeaux both said Rapid Rehousing has helped their agencies house more people for less money.

Last year, for example, PLM Families Together moved 57 families into permanent housing, and this year expects to move 70 families into permanent housing.

And in partnership with three core agencies that provide support services and temporary housing , Housing for New Hope housed 173 households in permanent housing over the two-and-a-half-year period ended August 2012, with 89 percent of those households remaining housed.

Community solutions

Advocates at the Donors Forum said the most effective approaches to fighting homelessness involve community-based partnerships that address the problem from the perspective of the systems that serve homeless people.

Those systems range from job-training and financial-literacy services to those serving people with mental illness or substance abuse problems, or both, and people after they are discharged from military service or prison.

“You can’t end homelessness in a silo,” Bordeaux said.

Bernadette Pelissier, a member of the Orange County Board of Commissioners and of the Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness, told the Donors Forum that homelessness is a byproduct of national policies on a range of issues such as poverty and mental health, and that efforts to address homelessness are supported by multiple funding streams.

So partnerships to fight homelessness should approach the problem from a “systems” perspective.

In Orange County, she said, that approach has produced promising partnerships.

The local Partnership to End Homelessness, for example, has enlisted partners such as an assistant district attorney whose efforts helped establish a local “outreach court.”

That court, which has engaged students at the School of Law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, along with other partners, encouraged homeless people who have been arrested for misdemeanors to take advantage of local services, particularly mental health services.

And a local jobs program works to encourage local businesses to hire people released from prison who may be at risk of homelessness. That effort represents a collaboration between local partners such as the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership and Chamber of Commerce, and is administered by a new nonprofit led by students at UNC-Chapel Hill.

“We’re engaging the community,” Pelissier said, “not just providers” of services.

Critical to local collaborative programs, she said, is the ability to track and measure their impact.

Focus on collaboration

The session underscored the growing focus of Triangle Community Foundation and United Way to work more collaboratively to address urgent needs in the region.

“We have to do it together, think collaboratively,” Lori O’Keefe, president of Triangle Community Foundation, told the Donors Forum. “We don’t have to be the experts. We look for resources and partners.”

Mack Koonce, president and CEO of United Way, told the Donors Forum that collaborative thinking “is important to all our social issues.”

United Way, he said, is “going to work closely with other foundations and individuals to work collaboratively on the donor side and on the service delivery side.”

He said United Way plans to raise “designated dollars to do the next systemic change” in the area of financial stability for families, an effort he said would “keep this going” through “collaboration, the use of data, and scaling what works.”

New CEO says impact key at Triangle United Way

By Todd Cohen

MORRISVILLE, N.C — When Mack Koonce worked as its chief operating officer, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America shifted the focus of its brand from the mentoring programs it provides to the impact they have “keeping children on the path to educational success and reducing juvenile delinquency.”

Key to that shift was finding ways to measure that impact and help donors and other investors understand it, he says.

United Way of the Greater Triangle faces a similar challenge in trying to shift the focus of its brand from the dollars it raises to the impact those dollars have in addressing urgent community needs, a shift that will require engaging donors and helping them see that impact, says Koonce, who joined United Way last month as CEO.

“That is the bottom line for this business,” he says, “not what we do, but what do we achieve, not how do we spend the money, but what do we accomplish with it.”

A native of Raeford who received an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in business administration from UNC-Chapel Hill, Koonce worked in the corporate world for 30 years in California, New York and Texas before moving to the nonprofit sector and his job at Philadelphia-based Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

After jobs in finance and planning at Texfi Industries and American Airlines, he held sales, marketing and general management jobs at American Express, and then served as executive vice president for sales and marketing at Wyndham Hotels, where he was an equity partner.

When the company went public and was sold in 2002, he joined Big Brothers Big Sisters, commuting to Philadelphia from Chapel Hill, where he and his wife have lived since 2003.

Like United Way Worldwide, Big Brothers Big Sisters is a federation of affiliates, with the national organization providing the overall brand, advocacy, marketing and support for affiliates.

Big Brothers Big Sisters, which includes 350 affiliates, operates with an annual budget of $270 million, including $35 million for the national office.

Koonce says United Way of the Greater Triangle is “uniquely positioned to mobilize resources, both volunteers and philanthropy, to address local communities’ social issues.”

United Way, which kicked off its annual fundraising campaign last month, will be looking at how to make a bigger impact on addressing the priority needs of financial stability, education and health, he says.

United Way, which did not set a goal last year but raised $16.5 million, also did not set a goal this year but aims to raise roughly the the total it raised last year.

“There’s a lot of competition in raising money, so you have to make your case, establish your relevance,” he says. “For this organization, and for nonprofits in general, the idea of measuring your impact and knowing the outcomes of the resources you’re investing is not easy.”

It also will be important to determine how broad or narrow an agenda United Way can take on, as well as the scale of the resources and people it can mobilize, he says.

A critical goal will be to “engage business leaders, community leaders, nonprofit leaders in a vision of what we can do together,” he says.

That will be an ongoing process, as will “convening the different sectors and working collaboratively on these issues,” he says. “There’s an important role that’s about community leadership and is bigger than just the funds you raise and the volunteers who you help mobilize.”

In the first half of 2013, United Way will launch a community-wide effort to develop a vision and new strategic plan to help United Way make a greater impact.

“It’s what donors are demanding of nonprofits, accountability for not just how you spend the money but what do you accomplish,” he says. “It’s market forces that are driving these changes, and I’m going to help accelerate that.”

Triangle United Way taps new CEO

MORRISVILLE, N.C. — Mack Koonce, former chief operating officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, has been named CEO of United Way of the Greater Triangle.

Koonce, who begins his new job Sept. 4, succeeds Craig Chancellor, who is retiring after 37 years as a United Way professional and after 10 years as CEO of United Way of the Greater Triangle.

Koonce, a North Carolina native who lives in Chapel Hill, formerly was executive vice president of sales and marketing at Wyndham Hotels.

In Chancellor’s 10 years as CEO, United Way of the Greater Triangle has raised over $170 million for agencies and programs in the region.

Todd Cohen