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Awards to spotlight philanthropy

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The Triangle’s “most outstanding” nonprofit organization and corporation will be honored Nov. 16 by the Triangle chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

In a departure from its practice in recent years, the chapter already has announced four finalists in each category and will name the winners in an “Academy Awards-style” luncheon.

The annual event, to be held at the Capital City Club in Raleigh, celebrates charitable giving at a particularly challenging time for nonprofits, says Steve Gruber, director of development for Passage Home in Raleigh, and chair of the chapter’s National Philanthropy Day event.

The region’s rapid growth, he says, has resulted in more transient residents, including professionals who are not natives and not likely to retire in the area.

“This phenomenon challenges giving potential to nonprofits because the charitable inclination to give back to the community is far less prevalent” among those transient residents, he says.

Some nonprofits, particularly those that provide health and human services, have been hit hard by a combination of forces that include a growing population that has increased demand for services; strained government resources; and voter opposition to new taxes, Gruber says.

Corporations can stimulate giving, he says, by sponsoring workplace fundraising campaigns that introduce their employees to giving and to local causes, and by setting an example for other companies.

“A business model that adopts charitable giving as part of its business plan models good community stewardship and offers a forum for individuals to become more involved in charitable giving,” he says.

Most companies in the Triangle are privately held and have greater flexibility than publicly-held firms to increase their giving and target it to local charities, Gruber says.

Compared to previous years, when the chapter made awards in more categories, the awards this year will focus only on nonprofits and corporations.

A key challenge for nonprofits, Gruber says, is to be more businesslike in cultivating business partnerships that advance their missions.

Finalists for “most outstanding nonprofit organization” are the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education, Goodwill Industries of Eastern North Carolina, the North Carolina Symphony and Triangle United Way.

Finalists for “most outstanding corporation” are Cargill Inc., Fred Anderson Toyota, Morris & Associates, and North Carolina’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives & Association of Electric Membership Cooperatives.

For information, call 834.0666, ext. 229 or visit afptriangle.org.

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