Statewide foundation expands

North Carolina Community Foundation adds staff, affiliates.

By Jennifer Whytock

RALEIGH, N.C. [07.01.04] –The North Carolina Community Foundation is adding five affiliates and two staff positions to keep up with its statewide growth.

Assets have increased each year since the foundation was launched 15 years ago, reaching more than $75.5 million in fiscal year ended March 2004, a record-high that was up 26 percent from 2003.

The foundation operates four regional offices and 58 affiliates to make local grants and handle local fundraising.

This spring, the foundation launched affiliates in Green and Martin counties, and plans soon to launch others in Duplin, Hyde, and Tyrell counties, says Elizabeth Fentress, president.

“Before setting up an affiliate, we need to identify leadership and some capital, but resources in many counties are limited,” she says.

Each affiliate raises money in its region and has a board of directors that allocates unrestricted grants in its community.

Since its launch in 1989, the foundation and its affiliates have given $15.4 in grants, including $3.7 million in 2004 in scholarships, donor advised grants and unrestricted grants.

Recent grants have funded general-purpose projects, followed by education, community development, historic preservation and the environment, social services, arts, humanities and health.

The foundation manages funds for each affiliate, provides services, covers all operating costs and helps with grantmaking decisions.

“People in many of these communities can’t sit down and write a $5,000 check, so the affiliates have to get creative with their fundraising,” says Fentress.

The Swain County affiliate, for example, raises money through a yearly play about the region written and performed by people from the community, while the Rocky Mount affiliate recently hosted a wine-tasting event that raised $33,500.

And a Tennessee Walking Horse exhibition at Fulcher’s Red Fox Stables hosted by the Pamilco County affiliate brought together 800 of the county’s 12,000 residents, and raised $8,000, says Jennifer Alcock, the foundation’s eastern field representative.

The foundation has hired Ester Hall, former executive director of Arts Together in Raleigh, as vice president of operations, and Warren Bingham, former vice president of the financial institutions division in Raleigh for Protective Life Insurance Corp. in Birmingham, Ala., as director of major gifts and planned giving, both new positions.

“The job is getting bigger and I can’t go around to all our affiliates now, so I have two new people to help me out,” says Fentress.

The foundation board also has seen some changes, with foundation founder Lewis R. Holding retiring in April 2003 as board chairman.

The board recently named Ron Scheeler, retired managing partner of the Raleigh office of Ernst and Young and a board member for eight years, as chairman, succeeding board member Charles W. Gaddy, who had served as interim chairman.

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