N.C. Community Foundation expanding in Sandhills

By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — The John W. Roffe and Marjorie A. Roffe Endowment Fund for Moore County distributes nearly $84,000 a year for health care for people in need in the county.

The Montgomery Boy Scout Endowment for Montgomery County provides support for the Central North Carolina Boy Scout Council.

And the Wyatt Jeffrey Upchurch Endowment Fund supports Hospice of Hoke County.

All three endowments are among roughly 1,000 funds set up though the North Carolina Community Foundation in Raleigh.

Formed in 1988, the foundation has $118 million in total assets and operates 59 affiliates throughout the state created to serve 65 individual counties.

With final approval from the statewide foundation’s board, each local affiliate’s board recommends grants to be made from a pool of contributed funds not restricted in their use, while donors recommend grants to be made from funds they create and designate for a particular use.

Annual grants total roughly 5 percent of each affiliate’s assets.

The foundation’s staff provides fundraising and back-office support for its affiliates, manages the investment of funds, and handles record-keeping, compliance with tax regulations, and acknowledgements and reporting to donors.

Now, the foundation has hired a regional services associate to serve its newest region, which includes six counties in the Sandhills.

Mary Anne Howard, the new regional services associate, says the foundation also plans to create a new affiliate in Anson County.

The foundation already has roughly 130 funds totaling nearly $19 million in the six counties, including 30 funds totaling $6.2 million in Harnett County; 12 funds totaling $407,000 in Hoke County; 17 funds totaling just over $2 million in Lee County; 50 funds totaling $4.3 million in Montgomery County; 19 funds totaling $5.45 million in Moore County; and 12 funds totaling $550,000 in Randolph County.

By mid-2008, the year it will celebrate its 20th anniversary, the foundation plans to create an affiliate board in Anson County and begin to generate new funds, says Howard, a former major account representative for Rocky Mount-based Coeco Office Systems.

As regional services associate, based in Raleigh, Howard plans to work through the boards of the foundation’s affiliates in each county to meet with professional advisers such as bankers, lawyers, accountants and estate planners, talking about the foundation’s goals and mission, and the services it provides to donors.

In addition to managing their funds, the foundation helps connect donors with causes they care about, she says.

“One of our main goals is education on philanthropy,” she says. “Everybody has the ability of being a philanthropist.”

Becoming a donor to the foundation requires a minimum gift of $10,000 to create a fund or $25,000 to create a scholarship fund.

“The more money we have,” Howard says, “the more people we can serve.”

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