Greensboro leader lauded

By Bart Ganzert

For the last 25 years, Carole Bruce has used her free time to help others, by volunteering for United Way, working to improve the lives of the terminally ill and supporting schools she cares about.

For that dedication, Bruce, an attorney with the law firm of Smith Moore, was recently was named volunteer fundraiser of the year by the North Carolina Triad Association of Fundraising Professionals.

At the recent funeral of Stanley Frank, she spoke of the Greensboro civic leader’s commitment and determination, traits that inspire her.

“He was the hardest working person I’ve ever known at 91,” she says in her lilting Alabama accent.  “He carried a dogged determination.”

Bruce was honored to be able to speak for the long-time friend and Greensboro icon who she says is one of her greatest inspirations.

What Bruce learned from his “dogged determination,” and what she has managed to accomplish since first coming to Greensboro in 1968 as a young CPA, has enabled her to be an effective and committed presence in many corners of the Greensboro civic community, she says.

“I love getting up in the morning and getting going. I only do things I’m passionate about,” says Bruce.

Carole W. Bruce

Job: Attorney, Smith Moore, LLP, Greensboro

Education: BS, MBA, Auburn University; JD, Wake Forest University

Birth date: August 24, 1945, Birmingham, Alabama

Recently read: “The World is Flat” by Thomas Friedman

Family: Husband, Richard; two yellow labs and a golden retriever

Hobbies: Passionate about golf

Her passion for community work has grown over the years from an appointment to the Greensboro ABC Board, to volunteering for the United Way shortly after graduating Wake Forest law school in 1980, to working with at least nine foundations and nonprofits, chairing committees for three.

The award from the Triad fundraising group specifically cited her work with the $10 million endowment campaign for Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro, her past efforts with the Greensboro YMCA, and her ongoing work as a Trustee of North Carolina A&T for its $100 million capital campaign.

Bruce has been particularly involved in Greensboro Hospice, overseeing fundraising campaigns for its 10th, 15th, 20th and now its 25th anniversaries.

Her teams have exceeded goals for all campaigns, she says.

The recent campaign is the group’s most ambitious and Bruce hopes the campaign can increase institutional planned giving to hospice and long-term giving support.

She became interested in working with hospice, which she describes as her most passionate and longest volunteer term, after her involvement with the Birmingham Hospice in 1981, during and after her father’s death.

Seeing the work that it did for critically ill patients, she devoted her efforts to Greensboro’s facility.

Bruce is also finishing a three-year term as chair of the Greensboro YMCA board of directors, where she worked to expand facilities and add children’s programs.

“We’ve done fantastic work,” she says, speaking of the team. “It’s not the facilities we build, it’s the kids I’m passionate about.”

As a fundraiser, Bruce says it is critical to let potential donors know how their gifts can affect others.

“The need has to become personal to potential donors,” she says. “Donors must see that they can affect lives and make a difference by giving. It’s not the gift, it’s the purpose that’s important to donors.

One great aspect of community service is that it allows a person to reach outside of a comfort zone, Bruce says.

“Many times people get too involved in their day jobs,” she says. “Volunteering is a way to try new things. You realize you don’t have to be great, but you have to challenge yourself to do things you never thought you could do. You can surprise yourself.”

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