United Way begins drive, retools giving

By Todd Cohen

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Triangle United Way is kicking off its annual fundraising drive and revamping the way it distributes the funds it raises.

Chaired by J.R. Shearin, manager partner for Deloitte, the drive aims to raise $11,245,000 for its general “Community Care Fund,” up from $10.8 million it raised last year.

And instead of allocating funds throughout the Triangle to address six broad priority needs, United Way starting in 2009 will divvy up funds to volunteer groups in Durham, Orange and Wake counties to distribute based on local needs they identify.

A key focus of this year’s drive will be soliciting larger gifts, particularly from “Toqueville” donors giving $10,000 or more, says Craig Chancellor, president and CEO.

Chaired by Mark A. Ascolese, CEO of Ascolese Enterprises in Raleigh, this year’s Toqueville effort aims to raise $1.2 million from 120 donors giving at least $10,000, up from 72 donors at that level last year who gave just over $1 million.

And Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, Capital Broadcasting Co. and Golden Corral will match contributions from donors who agree to increase their annual giving to $10,000 over three to four years.

In a separate effort chaired by John Stallings, president of the Carolinas region for SunTrust Banks, United Way aims to raise $100,000 by recruiting new businesses to run workplace campaigns and make corporate gifts.

Including contributions that donors designate for organizations that are not among its 81 partner agencies, United Way this year aims to raise $19.1 million overall, up from $18 million last year.

The drive will culminate Nov. 11 with the 24th annual Old Reliable Run, a 10K event, with Talecris serving as presenting sponsor.

United Way is reorganizing its allocation process to better reflect and address local needs, says Angie Welsh, senior vice president of resource investment.

Since the 1996 merger of United Ways in the three counties, the regional group has allocated dollars through a formula reflecting population and trends in dollars raised, allocated and retained in each county.

Six community care team each in Durham and Wake counties, and five in Orange, then have distributed their local funds based on requests from agencies serving children, youth, seniors, families, basic needs and health.

The entire process involved 325 to 350 volunteers serving on 17 local allocation teams plus a regional cabinet that divvied up funds among the three counties.

Under the new system, still to be approved by its board, United Way will allocate for up to three regional initiatives, still to be determined, a portion of its community-care funds, and divide the remainder among the three counties.

Starting early in 2008, a regional cabinet consisting of board members, volunteers and agency representatives will decide how to allocate funds among the three counties.

And, based on community profiles they will receive Dec. 5 at a conference at Duke University, a local team in each county will select a handful of local goals and invite local agencies to submit funding proposals using a new web-based system.

The new process will take effect in 2009, allocating funds raised in the annual drive in 2008.

“What we hope to do is to be a better partner, a better county citizen,” Welsh says, “and to allocate money with a comprehensive look at what are all the needs, and what is the role that donors’ gifts play, in each of the counties.”

David Strong, president of Rex HealthCare, will chair the United Way drive in 2008, when Bob Greczyn, president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, will serve as board chair. James H. Speed Jr., president and CEO of North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Co. in Durham, will serve as board chair in 2009.

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