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RJR reviews giving

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By Todd Cohen

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — As it prepares to lay off 2,600 workers, including 1,700 in the Triad, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. is reviewing its corporate philanthropy, which is getting new leadership.

Vivian Turner, director of community affairs, will retire Nov. 14.

Stephen Strawsburg, corporate vice president for public issues, will take on the added job of president of the company’s foundation, and also will oversee corporate giving.

The $35 million-asset R.J. Reynolds Foundation, which last year suspended new grantmaking in the face of the slumping stock market but distributed $3 million in previous commitments, is making new grants again this year.

It also continues to provide scholarships for employees’ children and to match employee contributions to arts and education charities, dollar for dollar, up to $12,500.

The foundation this year cut support to the United Way of Forsyth County to $550,000 from $625,000 last year, and to the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County to $100,000 from $125,000.

The foundation has announced it will suspend its matching program next year, and as a result expects employees to contribute more this year than the $700,000 it had budgeted, Turner says.

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