Fletcher Foundation heads home

A.J. Fletcher Foundation
A.J. Fletcher Foundation

Ret Boney

RALEIGH, N.C. – After about a decade in the historic Briggs Hardware Building in the heart of downtown Raleigh, the A.J. Fletcher Foundation is moving home.

The foundation recently purchased the home built by namesake Alfred Johnston Fletcher almost a century ago and plans to move its offices into the residence at 909 Glenwood  Avenue around the first of the year.

Fletcher, a businessman and philanthropist who started what now is Capitol Broadcasting Company, among other ventures, built the house around 1920, raised three children there, and lived in the house until his death in 1979.

Owned outside the family since Fletcher’s death, the house now comes back into family hands and will be the “permanent home” for the foundation Fletcher started in 1948 to support a local opera group, says Barbara Goodmon, president of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation.

“It’s almost like it’s meant to be, that we go back to the house he bought, with all that history,” she says.

It also will be a homecoming of sorts for Fletcher’s grandson Jim Goodmon, who is board chair of the foundation and president and CEO of Capitol Broadcasting, and who spent much of his childhood living at 909 Glenwood.

The two-story house, which overlooks Fred Fletcher Park, is in good shape, says Barbara Goodmon, who is married to Jim Goodmon, and should require only minimal updating prior to moving in.

This will be the second preservation project for the foundation, which purchased and fully renovated the historic Briggs Hardware Building on Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh in 1997.

The foundation still owns the Briggs building, which it now leases.

The foundation will be the only occupant of the Fletcher house, but will allow nonprofits to use the house for meetings or fundraisers.

Most importantly, it will provide “plenty of space for the foundation to develop where we’re going,” says Barbara Goodmon.

The foundation has about $70 million in assets and awarded about $2 million in grants in 2009.

While its general direction is unlikely to change, the board will “think through the role the foundation plays in social justice and how we want to go forward,” Goodmon says.

The emphasis will continue to be on affordable housing, an issue Goodmon says is more important now than ever in the wake of the recession.

That will be in addition to the foundation’s ongoing support for the Fletcher Opera Institute at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem and for the Fletcher Academy in Raleigh.

“It’s going to be exciting for the state and for nonprofits and foundations,” Barbara Goodmon says of the foundation’s future. “Hopefully we’re all going to move forward in our goals and continue to help give a voice to those without a voice.”

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