Terry Foundation gives big below radar

By Todd Cohen

HIGH POINT, N.C. — One of the five largest foundations in the Triad operates quietly, makes big annual contributions to two institutions outside the region, and does not accept unsolicited requests for grants.

“We keep a very low profile,” says Arch K. Schoch IV, president and a member of the board of directors for the R.B. Terry Charitable Foundation in High Point and a partner at law firm Schoch & Schoch.

Created in 1996 by the late Randall B. Terry Jr., who was co-publisher of the High Point Enterprise and died in 2004, the Foundation has roughly $150 million in assets, making it the fifth-largest philanthropic foundation in the Triad, based on assets, according to a survey by The Business Journal in Greensboro.

In 2012, the Foundation made grant totaling $6.5 million.

Terry, a graduate of Woodberry Forest School in Virginia and Duke University in Durham, used his own money to set up the Foundation, which also received funds from his mother’s estate.

His family co-owned the Enterprise with the Rawley family for two generations before the Rawleys sold their share to Kentucky-based Paxton Media, which later purchased the Terry family’s share after Randall Terry’s death.

The bylaws of the Foundation specify that Woodberry Forest School and the College of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University in Raleigh receive annual contributions that are equal to one another, with each contribution representing at least 40 percent of all annual contributions.

Each institution over the years has received a total of roughly $28 million to $30 million, Schoch says.

Terry’s interest in the Vet School dates from its care of one of his Golden Retrievers when he became ill in 1998 and was referred by his veterinarian to the Internal Medicine Service at the N.C. State Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

The Foundation later pledged $20 million to a campaign to build a 100,000-square-foot hospital at the Vet School,, and then pledged another $5 million to match contributions to the campaign for the hospital, which has been named the Randall B. Terry, Jr. Companion Animal Veterinary Medical Center.

And the Foundation pledged $25 million to help jumpstart a $100 million capital campaign at Woodberry Forest that exceeded its goal, Schoch says. While the Foundation does not accept unsolicited requests for funds, he says, it has made contributions to groups in which Terry expressed an interest.

It has given a total of $470,000, for example, to Montpelier, James Madison’s home in Virginia near Woodberry Forest, mainly to support its Center for the Constitution.

It also has given $200,000 to Youth Unlimited, a home for unwed mothers in High Point; $25,000 to Hospice of the Piedmont in High Point; and $10,000 a year for man years to United Animal Coalition, the organization that manages the Guilford County Animal Shelter.

In addition to Schoch, members of the Foundation’s board include Charles Odom, a certified public accountant in High Point who advised Terry; Oscar Fletcher, a professor of poultry health management and former dean at the Vet School; and Sion Boney III, board chair for Woodberry Forest, who succeeded Walter Craige, a long-time friend and investment adviser to Terry who stepped down from the board last year.