By Todd Cohen
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Chapel Hill-based Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina is kicking off the public phase of a campaign to raise $5 million to fund new facilities in Durham and Fayetteville, step up its pro-choice advocacy and expand its programs to prevent teen pregnancy.
Co-chaired by Mary Mountcastle, a senior associate at Self Help in Durham, and community volunteer Betsy Hackney, the campaign already has raised nearly $4 million in its quiet phase.
That total includes a gift of $1.5 million from the D. Michael Warner Foundation at the Triangle Community Foundation, the largest gift ever to Planned Parenthood and the largest ever made by the family foundation of Betty Craven and Michael Warner of Chapel Hill.
“It’s a transformative gift for our organization,” says Joyce Mitchell-Antoine, chief development officer for Planned Parenthood.
After the campaign ends in December 2008, Planned Parenthood will begin gearing up for an endowment drive that could begin in the second half of 2009 to raise another $1.25 million to provide ongoing support for programs and for abortion services for women with low incomes, Mitchell-Antoine says.
With an annual budget of $3.5 million and a staff of nearly 50 people, Planned Parenthood operates health centers in Chapel Hill and Durham and provides medical and contraceptive services to 15,000 women and men a year.
To better serve its predominantly uninsured and underinsured client base in Durham, Planned Parenthood in December 2005 moved its health center there to rented space in a medical complex near Durham Regional Hospital from a converted bungalow it owned near downtown and sold this year for $165,000.
In August 2003, Planned Parenthood began efforts to provide services in Cumberland County, which the agency says has the highest teen pregnancy rate and second-highest abortion rate among the state’s seven largest metro areas.
A community organizer the agency hired now has trained six groups of peer educators in the community, which is the only one among the state’s largest metro areas that does not have a Planned Parenthood health center.
Tina Sherman, a development coordinator the agency hired two years ago, has been working to develop a donor base in Fayetteville for Planned Parenthood, which recently completed its purchase of a site where it plans to open a new health center in October or November 2008.
For its advocacy work, Planned Parenthood aims by fall 2008 to increase to 25,000 the core of 18,000 activists it has recruited in recent years, and to expand its system for sending email alerts to mobilize those activists around pro-choice issues.
Funds from the campaign, with Raleigh-based Capital Development Services serving as counsel, also will be used to expand Planned Parenthood’s teen pregnancy prevention programs to Fayetteville, where the agency this year added a community educator and has doubled the number of young people it reaches.
The agency also is targeting its education programs for areas such as rural Northampton County, with high rates of teen pregnancy, and Alamance and Chatham counties, with large numbers of Latinas at high risk of teen pregnancy.