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Regional effort aims to spur more giving

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Todd Cohen

DURHAM, N.C. — Broadening giving throughout the region is the focus of a new initiative spearheaded by the Triangle Community Foundation and North Carolina Public Radio – WUNC.

The effort, which could last three to five years, will kick off publicly in November with two reports that analyze giving in the Triangleand offer recommendations on how to expand and diversify giving by individuals, families and organizations.

Known as “Triangle Gives Back,” the effort also will include a media campaign to raise awareness about giving, and to connect it with priority needs in the region.

“We want more people and new people involved in giving back to the community, and we want a better community for all,” says Andrea Bazán, president of the Triangle Community Foundation.

Joan Siefert Rose, general manager of North Carolina Public Radio – WUNC, says the effort also aims to “demystify” giving.

“The more we can understand what the needs of the community are, and how everybody can make a difference, the better we all will be,” she says.

Guided by a 22-member steering committed co-chaired by Bazán and Rose, and by an eight-member advisory committee, Triangle Gives Back is supported its first year by a $100,000 unrestricted grant from the Triangle Community Foundation.

The Program on Public Life, a program directed by Ferrell Guillory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is handling research for Triangle Gives Back, and Raleigh communications firm Capstrat is developing a media strategy for the project.

The initial data report will be designed to set a “baseline” with which future reports can be compared to show progress.

Andrew Holton of the Center for Public Life says the data report will includes sections on giving by and to religious congregations; by corporations, corporate foundations and small businesses; by foundations and local government; and by individuals.

Guillory says much of that data may be tough to collect, and that the center over the next few years might conduct a survey to get a fuller  picture of giving.

Triangle Gives Back is focusing on the giving of “time, talent and treasure,” including money and other assets such as deferred gifts, real estate and volunteer time.

It also is focusing on the region’s diverse population, including people of color, women, young people and newcomers to the region.

The effort will include connecting giving with efforts to address social problems, Bazán says.

“We are lucky in the region to have visionaries, growth and investment dollars, both private and public, in some wonderful projects, and I think there is an opportunity for more,” she says. “There also are tremendous disparities that are persisting.”

Triangle Gives Back represents an “opportunity to talk about the Triangle in a realistic way, to highlight the challenges and needs, and not just to the choir,” and to “connect people to address those needs,” she says.

“We believe philanthropy has a role,” she says, “not just in terms of organized philanthropy but philanthropy as a way of life for everyone.”

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