Drives in works – Capital campaigns pick up

By Todd Cohen

WINST0N-SALEM, N.C. — Capital campaigns totaling more than $100 million are underway or in the works in Winston-Salem.

“The level of activity over the last two years has picked up dramatically,” says Scott Wierman, president of the Winston-Salem Foundation. “We’ve also found that the size of the campaigns has increased dramatically.”

Wierman coordinates the Winston-Salem Campaign Coordinating Committee, a volunteer group of corporate, foundation and other local leaders that has reviewed and scheduled big campaigns for at least 30 years.

When the committee was formed, he says, a handful of big companies in the region could carry major campaigns. Now, however, nonprofits can’t tie their hopes to only a few companies, he says.

And as the economy shrinks, he says, the committee plays an even more critical role in helping nonprofits sharpen their plans, keeping campaigns from colliding and alerting funders to campaign plans.

The committee, which meets every three months to review campaigns of at least $500,000, scheduled three campaigns for 2001 totaling $11 million.

Of those, a $5 million campaign by the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools to support technology needs has raised $6.5 million, a total expected to grow to $8 million, said Superintendent Donald L. Martin Jr.

The proposed Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem has raised nearly $3 million in its $4 million campaign, said Susan Elster, board chair.

And the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina late this month or early in January will kick off a $2 million campaign for warehouse equipment and technology, said Nan Griswold, executive director.

The committee also has scheduled four campaigns for 2002 totaling $14 million, four for 2003 totaling $17.3 million, three for 2004 totaling $34 million – including a $24 million campaign at Winston-Salem State University — and a $30 million campaign by the Forsyth Medical Center Foundation for 2005.

Wierman says another group has indicated it is considering a drive of roughly $3 million in 2002, adding that he expects other drives totaling another $5 million to $6 million.

Those drives do not include religious congregations or Wake Forest University.

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