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Red Cross in High Point launches major-gifts drive.

By Todd Cohen

HIGH POINT, N.C. [03.22.04] — The High Point-Thomasville chapter of the American Red Cross has set its sights on reaching more donors through a major-gifts drive, special events and a new planned-giving program.

“Our board recognized that for the strength of the chapter, to deliver life-saving services the community expects, we needed to elevate our fundraising activities for the immediate term, as well as the long term,” says Jim Ledbetter, executive director.

The 87-year-old chapter, which served more than 41,000 individuals last year and has an annual budget of $575,000, last August hired its first full-time development officer.

On February 27, it kicked off a three-week “Heroes” drive to raise $63,000 by enlisting 63 donors to give $1,000 each.

The drive, chaired by Doug Burrow, vice president of sales and marketing at Wayne Trademark Printing & Packaging, consists of “pyramid” fundraising modeled on a strategy developed at a Georgia chapter, says Carolyn Smith, associate development officer.

Burrow, whose father and brother both served on the chapter’s board of directors, is naming seven committee co-chairs, each of whom is recruiting three committee members to enlist three donors each.

The chapter also hopes to net $25,000 from its first Red White and Blue Gala May 15 in the ballroom of the International Home Furnishings Building.

And it hopes to net another $25,000, up from $23,500 last year, from its 6th annual Tour de Furniture bike-a-thon on Aug. 7 that begins at Oak Hollow Mall.

The chapter, which covers 40 percent of its budget through United Way support, 25 percent through fees and 35 through contributions and special events, also will begin soliciting planned gifts through wills and estate planning, says Smith, who previously was the Cincinnati-based regional director for five Midwestern states for the American Diabetes Association.

That effort will include launching a new Red Cross “Giving Society” at a luncheon for major donors May 31 at the chapter’s headquarters at 815 Phillips Ave.

In October, the chapter launched CrossGram, an electronic newsletter that includes articles on planned giving. And in December, it launched a print newsletter that focuses on fundraising, including planned giving.

The electronic newsletter has won a second-place award for Internet communications in annual awards sponsored by the association of North Carolina’s 50 Red Cross chapters.

Co-chairs for the Heroes drive, with one still to be named, are Gary Gore, senior vice president, Bank of America; Vickie Holder, general manager for administrative operations and community relations, Thomasville Furniture Industries; Bert Lance-Stone, mayor of Archdale; Tommy C. Langley Jr., managing director-investments, Wachovia Securities; Martin Schlaeppi, partner, Dixom Odom; and Ginger Swaim, assistant vice president, High Point Bank & Trust.

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