By Todd Cohen
RALEIGH, N.C. – Donna Chavis, chief operating officer of the Center for Community Action in Lumberton, has been named the first executive director of NCGives.
Chavis, a Robeson County native who served as founding executive director of Native Americans in Philanthropy, an affinity group of the Council on Foundations in Washington, D.C., will begin her new job by Nov. 1.
She says she will be working with the NCGives board to “look at some of the best ways we can move forward in supporting some of the philanthropic impulse in our state.”
NCGives, an initiative supported by a $6 million donor-advised fund created at the Raleigh-based North Carolina Community Foundation by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Mich., aims to support and increase giving among youth, women and communities of color.
Chavis says her own career reflects the role that NCGives aims to play.
A member of the Lumbee tribe who was born in Pembroke and has lived most of her life in Robeson County, Chavis says she always has been involved in charitable work.
“My experience is an example of the wide range of gifts we all have to bring,” she says, “and the potential that is in the state to be able to access and work all of the power of philanthropy.”
Chavis has served on the boards of many nonprofits, including the N.C. Center for Nonprofits, which she chaired, and the N.C. Rural Center, both in Raleigh.
She was the first person outside the Noyes family to join the board of the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation in New York City and, when she was named its chair, became the first Native American to chair the board of a national foundation.
Chavis is vice president of the Robeson County Community Foundation, an affiliate fund of the North Carolina Community Foundation.
Pat Smith, chair of the NCGives Advisory Committee and president of the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina in Asheville, says in a statement that Chavis “understands the invaluable role that giving of time, talent and money plays in the strength of North Carolina communities.”