Charlotte Philanthropic Leaders Create Program Focused on Transformation of Nonprofit Community

Support Offered for Innovation, Collaboration, Partnerships, Mergers

October 24, 2009 (Charlotte, N.C.) – Charlotte’s philanthropic community has established a new program dedicated to providing nonprofit agencies with support for strategic transformations, including innovative service models, collaborations, partnerships and mergers. Known as the Community Catalyst Program, the initiative will enable nonprofits to reposition themselves to meet a future characterized by increased demands for services and diminished funding.

A 17-member committee of community leaders has spearheaded the creation of the Community Catalyst Program, supported by technical and administrative assistance from Foundation For The Carolinas. The committee is chaired by Cathy Bessant, president of global corporate banking for Bank of America. Bessant was recruited for this role by Arts and Science Council Board Chair Mary Lou Babb, and United Way of the Central Carolinas Board Chair Carlos Evans. “Cathy’s history of civic leadership and her experience bringing members of the community to the table made her absolutely the right person for this role,” said Mary Lou Babb, the Board Chair of the Arts & Science Council. The committee has worked closely with the local donor and nonprofit communities in developing the initiative.

The Committee is not launching an open campaign or soliciting funds from the public. Instead, a number of leading foundations have been approached for support, and program organizers are confident that the program will be fully funded. The Leon Levine Foundation has stepped forward as the first “angel investor” with a gift of $1 million. This gift is designed to serve as a challenge grant that will require matching gifts of $4 million, bringing the fund’s anticipated total to $5 million. “This is about helping nonprofits become stronger for the future,” said Leon Levine, the noted philanthropist and founder of the Family Dollar chain. “We are delighted to be able to make an investment in the long-term growth and stability of this sector.”

Foundation For The Carolinas has provided technical and staff support for the committee, and will manage the Community Catalyst Program in collaboration with key partners such as the United Way and the Arts and Science Council. Among other services, the Foundation will administer the grant-making portion of the program, including providing support to the Community Catalyst Committee in making funding decisions. The Foundation is absorbing all costs associated with the administration of this fund.

Grant Details
The first round of grant applications, intended for organizations whose strategic plans are already well developed, will be accepted until November 30. Grant application guidelines and procedures will be available on November 2 through the Foundation’s website. Additional grant-making cycles are being scheduled throughout 2010, when the bulk of the funding is expected to be distributed. A series of informational seminars, including sector-specific meetings, will be offered beginning next month and throughout 2010 to enable interested nonprofit leaders to learn more.

Four types of grants will be provided: assessment (determining feasibility), planning (commitment to the project), implementation (execution of the new service model, merger or collaboration) and post-implementation (support for projects successfully implemented within 12 months prior to the grant application). Interested nonprofits should visit the Foundation website at www.fftc.org for more information.

Study Supports Project Approach
Earlier this year, Foundation For The Carolinas retained the services of The Bridgespan Group, a national non profit consulting firm specializing in the nonprofit sector. To assist the work of the Community Catalyst Committee, Bridgespan conducted a comprehensive study of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s nonprofit community with the goal of identifying opportunities for collaboration, consolidation and innovation sharing. The study is believe to be the first of its kind to focus on Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

The study revealed that there are approximately 4,000 nonprofit organizations based in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, with nearly 800 identified as having the potential for innovative service models, collaborations, partnerships and mergers.

About Foundation For The Carolinas
Foundation For The Carolinas is a nonprofit community foundation serving donors and a broad range of charitable purposes in North and South Carolina. With assets of $700 million, the Foundation encourages and makes possible philanthropic giving by individuals of all means to benefit their communities. Visit www.fftc.org.

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Media Contacts:

Foundation For The Carolinas: Leslie McCray, Vice President of Communications, 704.953.4555 (office) or lmccray@fftc.org


About Foundation For The Carolinas
Foundation For The Carolinas is a nonprofit community foundation serving donors and a broad range of charitable purposes in North and South Carolina. With assets of $700 million, the Foundation encourages and makes possible philanthropic giving by individuals of all means to benefit their communities. Visit www.fftc.org.

# # # #

Media Contact
Foundation For The Carolinas: Leslie McCray, Vice President of Communications, 704.973.4555 or lmccray@fftc.org

 

 


Media Contact

Tara Keener
Vice President, Marketing & Communications
704.973.4570
tkeener@fftc.org