Arts drive tops goal

By Todd Cohen

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Boosted by corporate support and large gifts from individuals, the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County raised just over $1.9 million in its annual drive, exceeding its goal by $4,000.

Corporate gifts for the drive totaled $678,000, up 15 percent from 2002, says George Alexovich, vice president for development and marketing.

The overall drive last year raised $1.95 million but fell $39,500 short of its goal.

This year’s drive included a small-business campaign, chaired by J. Smith, general manager and partner in Flow BMW & MINI, that included 80 firms giving $2,500 or less, and a corporate campaign, chaired by Will Spence, CEO for North and South Carolina Banking for Wachovia, that included 20 employers each giving $2,500 or more.

Five of those big employers – GMAC, Krispy Kreme, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Sara Lee and Wachovia – each gave $20,000 or more.

In addition to corporate gifts from small businesses and larger employers, the drive included 140 workplace campaigns that raised about $720,000.

This year’s drive, which set a more modest goal in the face of the hard-hit economy, also reaped the fruits of an effort launched a year-and-a-half ago to target larger gifts from individuals.

That effort, chaired this year by Peggy Joines, senior vice president and human resources manager for Wachovia Bank, generated $368,000 in gifts of $1,000 or more, up from $312,000 two years ago, with the average gift over $1,000 growing to $1,705 from $1,490 two years ago, Alexovich says.

To help spur bigger gifts, R.J. Reynolds, Sara Lee and other firms each agreed to match donations to bring the total to $1,000 if employees gave minimum amounts set by the companies, and to provide some matching funds for all donations.

Robert Chumbley, the council’s president and CEO, says the recent focus on building the base of individuals making larger gifts is setting the stage for launching within the next year or two an effort to solicit planned gifts and estate gifts.

“There’s no way to develop a sophisticated or developed planned giving program without a core of individual donors that’s large enough and generous enough,” he says.

To help form the planned giving initiative, which likely will become part of the annual drive and be coordinated by a new committee, the council is looking at using a proprietary “investment mechanism” that is designed for “nonprofits undergoing specific capital projects,” Chumbley says.

While the council has no immediate plans for either a capital or endowment drive, he says, it plans to build two theaters, at a site not yet selected, that are expected to cost $14 million, according to preliminary estimates based on space needs and budget constraints.

Wachovia has donated $3 million for the project and promised to help raise another $2 million, and the council plans to generate another $2 million to $4 million by selling either the Sawtooth Building, which it owns, or the Hanes Community Center, which is controlled by a trust of which the council is a beneficiary, or both.

The council could finance the remainder of the project with a conventional loan or by issuing bonds, which it would retire with funds raised in a capital campaign that would not be launched for at least five years, Chumbley says.

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