Red Cross raises sights

By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — Stung by the stalled economy and funding cuts by Triangle United Way, the Triangle area chapter of the American Red Cross aims to increase its fundraising.

“It’s going to be a challenging year to bring the budget into balance and serve people,” says Barry Porter, who joined the chapter as executive director March 31 after heading the Red Cross chapter in Huntsville, Ala., for 10 years.

Funding from United Way, which accounts for 30 percent of the chapter’s $2.4 million operating budget, was cut nearly 21 percent for the fiscal year that began July 1 after falling 25 percent for the fiscal year just ended.

Over the past two fiscal years, the chapter posted more than $1 million in combined budget deficits, and dipped into reserves to cover expenses.

The chapter, which serves Franklin, Moore and Wake counties and in August is adding Johnston County, also has cut its staff to 29, down nine positions since last October, and expects to cut two more Sept. 1.

Porter says the chapter plans to increase its annual fundraising by $175,000 this year, to $760,000, by generating 100 new donations of $1,000, up from 29 year last year, and by raising more from events.

Those events include a golf tournament in November at Pinehurst No. 2 and the annual Rhapsody in Red ball next March.

And in three to five years, Porter says, the chapter likely will launch a statewide campaign to raise an estimated $2 million to $3 million to cover its responsibilities as the lead Red Cross unit in North Carolina for disaster services.

The chapter also has hired Linda K. Turner, a disaster volunteer who also worked on special events, as its first major gifts officer.

An initial task for Turner is to develop a steering committee to identify and help cultivate prospective donors.

The chapter hopes to net $80,000 each from the golf tournament, which is chaired by Gregg McDougal, a lawyer with Kilpatrick Stockton, and from the ball, which is chaired by Ruth Camp, who is married to board member Steve Camp, assistant general counsel for Wachovia Securities.

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