Author: Arjanai Miller

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The Conversation: Equitable Philanthropy

Over the years, equity has become a hot topic amongst nonprofit organizations, but what is equity? No matter what industry or cause an organization supports, equity should be at the forefront and a driving force of how an organization operates.

In this edition of The Conversation, CFGG’s Vice President of Operations and Equity, Michael Humphrey, highlights how CFGG implements equity philanthropy.

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1. What does philanthropy mean to you?

Philanthropy to me is giving, caring, and playing an active role in the well-being of a community. It is defined as the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes. Whether defined by me or by Merrian Webster, at its core philanthropy represents the good that can be attained for a community. The question for me came because I didn’t feel that philanthropy was a realm in which I could dwell as a person of color. My perception of philanthropy was that it was all ‘brick-and-mortar’ fundraising, reserved for very wealthy white people. I saw philanthropy as something that only families with names like Carnegie and Rockefeller, need bother with…and I could not have been more wrong, because I too am a philanthropist. While those wealthy American families utilized their wealth to help communities by building hospitals, colleges and universities, businesses, etc., that bear their names, it was their giving that directly impacted people, and that carries further with me.

It was not until my introduction to the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro that I realized that philanthropy was within my reach, without being either wealthy or white. On the contrary, I am a Black man who isn’t wealthy, but as a native of Greensboro, I desire to witness, nurture, live, and create a better life in Greensboro for myself, my family and all citizens of this great city. I never imagined moving back to Greensboro, after nearly 25 years aways, and to be able to invoke change, and leverage my position as a platform to teach others about philanthropy is beyond my wildest dreams. This is also an opportunity to utilize various tools of philanthropy to not only raise money for important causes such as housing, workforce, and education, but to also see how it can be used to manifest change in public policy and give voice to issues of social justice. Philanthropy to me means greater opportunities for all.

 

2. What is CFGG’s role and responsibility in fostering diversity and equity?

The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro bears the responsibility of servicing a community that is majority-minority, with a population that is approximately 52% ethnic minority and 48% white. So, when it states that CFGG’s vision is a city where people work together to enrich the lives of all, there is an expectation of CFGG to look representative of the community in its staff and Board of Directors, and for CFGG’s work to benefit everyone. We work hard to be an organization with diverse leadership, inclusiveness in our partnerships and with our volunteers, and equitable throughout all our work and various initiatives. The theme and principles of equity are infused throughout all aspects of our work.

We have incorporated a ‘Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement’ which reads:

“Our communities are diverse. They include people of all ages and abilities, creeds and religions, cultures, ethnicities, gender identities, national origins, and socioeconomic backgrounds. To pursue our mission, we will embrace our diversity, create opportunities for equity, commit us to fairness, and promote inclusion of all people.”

 

3. How can CFGG leverage partnerships to have a greater impact?

The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro must use collaborative partnerships to achieve our vision of our city as a welcoming and thriving place where people work together to enrich the lives of all. The operative term in our vision is ‘enrich the lives of all’, not just some, but all! Through our role as fundraisers and granters, we can create financial resources to grant to local non-profits and help to finance the work of other organizations that do more of the programmatic grassroots work. We not only raise funds, but we also serve as convenors, pulling together key community stakeholders including local politicians, business leaders, civic and community leaders, and Greensboro residents, to create opportunities for all residents of Greensboro.

 

4. How does CFGG’s mission and values align with the needs of the community?

The mission of CFGG states: “The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro inspires giving, maximizes opportunities and strengthens communities for every resident.” Greensboro, like many cities across the country, has its great points but faces some challenges as well. With an initiative like Guilford Jobs 2030, we are working to tackle one of those challenges. The challenge is a local workforce not adequately trained to fill skilled roles that are available now, and even more to come. Our goal here is to reach 60% of the local workforce being adequately trained/certified to fill these roles by 2030. There is a local affordable housing shortage that we are addressing with the creation of a housing fund used to fund builders in this type of development. We are also working to nurture and further develop local entrepreneurs, especially considering that most of the employers in Greensboro are entrepreneurs. This entrepreneurial sector must get our continued support.

The CFGG values include: Diverse and inclusive leadership, Strong entrepreneurial spirit, and Access to meaningful opportunities for every resident. I’ve talked a bit about CFGG’s diversity in leadership, and it is fact that diverse groups have proven more creative than groups of people with no diversity. It’s important that Greensboro and CFGG both remain creative and innovative entities. Likewise, a strong entrepreneurial spirit is needed both internally and externally as we go about our work in and around the Triad region. And finally, communities can’t thrive in a disparity-filled have and have-not environment. People generally are not looking for a hand-out, but more-so a hand-up and that is the definition of equity itself. It’s leveling the playing field, so that all can play in this game called life, and its truly organizations like CFGG and so many others that must figure how to invest in Main Street versus Wall Street. Philanthropy to me is about people and what vehicles can be used to enhance the lives of all citizens alike.

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The Conversation: Women in Philanthropy

Over the years, society’s view of what philanthropy is and who can be a philanthropist has drastically changed.

 

Research has shown that women play a central role in the charitable giving space. There has been a shift in our culture whereas women are making more independent financial decisions. As a result, there has been a rise in the role women play in philanthropy. From donating to giving circles to holding leadership roles within charitable organizations, the presence of women in philanthropy is increasing.

 

In this edition of The Conversation, CFGG’s Director of ETWI and Guilford Apprenticeship Partners, Ann Flynt, provides insight into her journey and experience being a woman working in philanthropy.

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How does your career at CFGG help and/or influence your passion and goal in life?

 

All my life, I have felt the need to help people, but also wanted to excel in the business world.  I began my career as a commercial underwriter for a large insurance company right out of college, but then life happened — I got married and quickly became the mother of 2 children. I was lucky to be able to stay home and take care of my 2 children for 7 years while my husband worked to support the family. When I decided to re-enter the workforce, I switched from my business focus to becoming an educator. The daughter of a college professor who spent her entire life around college campuses, becoming an educator was in my blood — there were a number of family members who were educators.

 

I began my career as a teacher assistant, and I worked my way up from a teacher assistant to a teacher, to assistant principal, to finally principal, earning additional college degrees and credentials along the way. But being the CEO of a school was not all that I thought it would be. So, I went looking for something new that would not only challenge me but also use my business and education knowledge and background. I was lucky enough to find that perfect position here at CFGG when I was hired as the Four County Youth Apprenticeship Coordinator with the Eastern Triad Workforce Initiative. I could not believe how lucky I was to not only find the perfect position, but also the best mentor and boss in Donna Newton who was the Director of Workforce Initiatives at CFGG. In my new role, I would be working with students, parents, educators, business-people, and community members. It was the perfect fit — a balance of education and workforce — with a focus on apprenticeships.

 

Apprenticeships are the gold standard of the workforce, and how blessed was I to have the opportunity to help develop Guilford Apprenticeship Partners (GAP) youth apprenticeship program. Helping young people find their career pathway and giving them the opportunity to earn a college degree with no debt, while also building a career for themselves — how powerful and rewarding! The work that GAP does is life-changing and truly inspirational as I get to see young people find their calling while also blossoming into adulthood! Additionally, I get to use both my business and education background.

 

How do you overcome the challenges you face?

 

I believe with hard work, faith, and determination you can overcome and survive any challenge you face. My family is a source of strength to me when I have had to deal with difficult situations, and I know that they will always be there cheering me on, telling me that I can do it! I am so thankful to have such a supportive family— Family means everything to me!!

 

What is a quote that empowers/inspires you?

 

This quote from Winston Churchill truly inspires me:

Success is not final

Failure is not fatal

It is the courage to continue that counts.

 

What advice would you like to give to other women?

 

I would like to encourage women to support each other, encourage each other, and band together to continue to make our community stronger and stronger each day!

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Dr. George C. Simkins Jr.’s Lasting Impact

After my husband and I moved to Greensboro in 1985, I soon learned of the fight for civil rights that took place right here in my newly adopted town. One person, in particular, was Dr. George C. Simkins, Jr., who was a community leader and civil rights activist. Born in Greensboro in 1924, Dr. Simkins was a well-known and respected dentist. In 1955, he and several other black men were arrested for trespassing after they played nine holes at the all-white, municipal Gillespie Golf Course. The men appealed their convictions all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled against them in a 5-to-4 vote. Rather than integrate Gillespie, the city closed the course, reopening seven years later with Dr. Simkins the first to tee off.

Most notably, Dr. Simkins was involved in a court action to desegregate Moses Cone and Wesley Long Community Hospitals. You can find a permanent reminder near Cone Hospital where a plaque describes the role Dr. Simkins played in this landmark case.

In 2010, Dr. Simkins’ friends and family chose the Community Foundation as a home for The George C. Simkins, Jr. Scholarship. To date, almost $200,000 in scholarships have been awarded to high school students of color. This scholarship is a permanent reminder that there was once a brave, dedicated African American who was committed to equality and would surely be proud to see that his legacy is being honored in this way.

Connie Leeper, Donor Services Manager

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January is National Mentoring Month

There was a study done decades ago that discovered that children who thrived after traumatic events had one thing in common:  An adult who was a constant positive presence in their lives.  Upon hearing this, one of our more prominent nonprofit leaders remarked,” Where is my adult?  I need that too!”  We all need that “Adult” in our lives we can turn to for guidance and support.  One of the tenets of the Guilford Nonprofit Consortium is that good training for nonprofits must be supported by opportunities for individual coaching and mentoring.  While the Consortium offers forty different “classroom style” training events each year, much of the benefit of that training are the hundreds of hours of mentoring, coaching, and support that is built into every event.

The Executive Leadership Academy is a year-long leadership development program that allows participants to attend training at the Center for Creative Leadership.  After a battery of online assessments, participants meet for day-long seminars on developing their own leadership skills. Supporting the training is a program that gives each nonprofit leader an individual coach to work with during the training to implement what they’ve learned.  Participants are also placed in small “Peer Coaching” groups where they learn how to coach and support each other in their development.  Many of these Peer Groups continue to meet years after the Academy is over.

In 2020, Triad Coaching Connection, an organization of local professionals in leadership and organizational development, partnered with the Consortium to provide 24 nonprofits with individualized coaching to help them navigate the early days of the pandemic and economic crisis. These professionals volunteered their skills and support to help local nonprofits keep the doors open in those early dark days.

One of the most valued Consortium programs is our Executive Director Roundtable Series.  This is a “closed door” meeting for the Executive Directors of nonprofits where they can safely and confidentially discuss the challenges they face in their day-to-day work.  Topics may include human resources issues, relationships between Directors and their Boards, financial management, and fundraising.  There may be no topic at all!  During the pandemic, many roundtables were just opportunities to check in with each other and offer mutual support.

The staff of the Consortium spend much of their time mentoring and supporting nonprofit professionals.  The Consortium Director met with 289 individuals from 136 different organizations in 2021.  They may have heard from Board Chairs asking, “How can I get this Board member to participate in meetings?”  From Executive Directors they heard, “How do I lead my organization through Strategic planning?” The young nonprofit professional asked, “Can you help me develop the skills I need to build my career?”  The most common request for help came from the committed community member who asked, “How do I start a nonprofit?  Should I?”

There is the old adage “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”  This is the heart of the work of the Guilford Nonprofit Consortium.  We do indeed train people, but more importantly, we help build the relationships that make training work.  We help find that “Adult” that our nonprofits need to thrive.

Could you be an “Adult” for one of our local nonprofits?  Organizations that rescue animals, mentor youth, develop our economy, provide the Arts, feed the hungry, ensure affordable, safe housing, and many other causes need your support.  One of the best ways to share your talents is by serving on a nonprofit board.  The Consortium can help you find that nonprofit that needs your help and shares your values.  We will even offer you training on how to be an effective board member.

January is National Mentoring Month.  We usually associate mentoring with providing young people with personal, academic, or professional support.  This is important, but our nonprofit community needs those same supports.  Consider being an “Adult” for a nonprofit by offering your skills in accounting, human resources, events planning, fundraising, or any of the myriad of ways that you can help.  The Consortium can help you find that “right fit.” Contact us at guilfordnonprofits@gmail.com  and start building those relationships.

Steve Hayes, Director Guilford Nonprofit Consortium

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We’ve Moved!

The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro is excited to announce that we have moved to 301 North Elm!

Our tenure at Foundation Place has helped us to grow tremendously. From helping with the creation of new nonprofits like Guilford Education Alliance to leading major projects like the Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts, CFGG has always had one goal: to make a lasting impact.

We are looking forward to continuing our journey of impactful growth and inspiration at our new home. As community connectors, being in the heart of Downtown Greensboro allows for better opportunities of collaboration, innovation, creativity, and change. While we will miss the rich history of our previous location, we are excited about our new larger, contemporary space.

We are honored and grateful for all the support and well wishes we have received during this transition. Due to COVID, we were unable to host a formal “office warming”. However, we have created a fun and special video to showcase our wonderful new space. Stick around until the end for some funny moments created by some of our wonderful staff members!

 

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Give Your IRA a Vacation

Last year Congress gave your IRA a much-needed vacation. No one had to make a required minimum distribution (RMD) from their IRAs. You may be one of those who enjoyed giving your required minimum distribution a year-long break. Everyone loves a vacation, so why not give your RMD another year off?

 

Make a Required Minimum Distribution Work for You

Last year as part of special legislation, Congress said there would be no RMDs in 2020. This year, the RMD is back for everyone 72 years and older. Some of our donors do not like taking money from their IRA. They have saved for years, and they would prefer to let it grow. Worse yet, when you take the RMD, you pay income tax on that distribution.

 

The IRA Charitable Rollover Is an Annual Vacation for Your IRA

While you still must distribute money from your IRA if you are 72 or older, you can do it in a tax-advantaged way. If you are required to make a required minimum distribution, you can contact your IRA administrator and ask them to make the distribution directly to our one of our endowments or initiatives. When you do:

  • You do not pay income tax on the distribution (but you also receive no income tax deduction)
  • You receive gift acknowledgment for the full amount of the distribution
  • You satisfy your RMD up to $100,000
  • If you and your spouse have your own IRA, both of you can use the IRA charitable rollover

Contact Phelps Sprinkle (psprinkle@cfgg.org) or Julie Ann Cooper (jcooper@cfgg.org) if you have any questions. Let’s create lasting impact in our community.

This information is not intended as tax, legal or financial advice. Gift results may vary. Consult your personal financial advisor for information specific to your situation.