President & CEO's Message
Belonging: (noun) an affinity for a place or situation.
Belonging is the sense that we are part of something bigger and more important than ourselves. Through our missions, nonprofits naturally connect people in communities to causes that improve our lives. Belonging is the language of the nonprofit sector.
The pandemic has challenged our abilities to connect with our co-workers, colleagues, clients, and neighbors and increased our sense of isolation. We have struggled to create community in this new virtual world as our social and psychological well-being is tied to our feelings of being connected, of belonging.
Yet through it all, nonprofits have filled a critical role in helping people connect. While nonprofits still face increased demands, uneven funding, staff turnover, executive transitions, and declining volunteer participation, our services continue to connect neighbor to neighbor. Our services fill basic needs. We provide health care, housing, food, education, childcare, and mental health support. We improve the quality of life through the arts.
We appreciate all those who have continued to support nonprofits as board members, volunteers, and donors. Belonging to, identifying with, and supporting nonprofits in these ways strengthens our community connections. All of us benefit. All of us belong.
Jeanne C. Tedrow
President & CEO
North Carolina Center for Nonprofits
Committing to Equity & Inclusion
During this past year, the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits adopted a statement on equity, diversity, and inclusion, reflecting our ongoing commitment to our Walking the Talk initiative:
“The North Carolina Center for Nonprofits places extraordinary value on seeing equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) embedded within the structure of all organizations and communities across the state. We are committed to transforming North Carolina into a more equitable state and dismantling racism on the four levels on which it operates in society: personal; interpersonal; institutional; structural.
As such, the Center is dedicated to:
- Operationalizing equitable practices and policies both internally among board and staff, and externally when engaging with our Members, funders, and others;
- Ensuring that decision-making is inclusive of all staff and board members and considers the voices and needs of the organizations and communities most affected by systemic barriers and discrimination;
- Being innovative in how we approach our equity, diversity, and inclusion work;
- Continuously learning and reflecting on how to be a better champion of equity for our sector;
- Taking full responsibility for and correcting mistakes we make along the way; and
- Providing support and training to our fellow nonprofits so that we may grow together in equity, diversity, and inclusion.”
Since the Center began Walking the Talk in 2017, we have offered many learning opportunities and resources, and have applied this important work and learning to our own organization. We formed an equity committee of the board and staff to guide our efforts. We have and continue to engage with consultants to help guide us. We have changed and adapted policies and practices – including our personnel policies – to be more inclusive. This is a journey that can be difficult and challenging, yet hopeful.
Because equity and inclusion work is at the core of our mission, we will continue our commitment to learn with and from others in our nonprofit sector, our communities, and across the state to influence and lead.
Making Impact with New Signature Programs
In Fall 2020, 64 nonprofit leaders participated in our inaugural EDI Roundtables for Nonprofit Executives: Practical Strategies for Dismantling Racism within NC Nonprofits. Over the course of five sessions, this cohort of leaders stepped into a vulnerable space to address race equity within their organizations and committed to begin infusing it throughout every function, practice, policy, and organizational culture. As their work continues, so does the sense of community fostered by the Roundtables; they continue to be a cohort for one another while actively changing their organizations for the better.
Throughout two series of the Nonprofit Management Institute, 105 nonprofit executives, managers, and board members learned to assess their organizations' management processes with the benchmarks of the Principles and Practices guide and the application of six of the guide's twelve management frameworks. As a result of this course, many participants found they have been able to advance toward long-term sustainability and have appreciated networking with their peers.
Advocating for Better Nonprofit Laws and Policies
Between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021, federal and state government provided several forms of economic relief for nonprofits that have suffered economic challenges as a result of the ongoing pandemic:
- Inclusion of nonprofits in the second-draw Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. Overall, North Carolina nonprofits have received nearly $1 billion in support from forgivable PPP loans.
- Inclusion of nonprofits in state programs providing economic relief for small businesses.
- Waiver of COVID-related unemployment charges for nonprofits that elect to reimburse for claims instead of paying state unemployment tax.
- Extension of the small, temporary charitable deduction for non-itemizers into 2021.
North Carolina nonprofits also sought several improvements to state laws and policies affecting charitable organizations. The NC General Assembly could enact some of these changes in Fall 2021 or in 2022 on these issues that include: establishing nonprofit sales tax exemption instead of the cumbersome sales tax refund process; charitable solicitation reforms to simplify the annual registration process; modernization of the state nonprofit corporation statute so that it is better aligned with nonprofit best practices; allowance of remote membership meetings for nonprofits; and investment of a significant portion of the state’s federal COVID-19 relief funds into the work of nonprofits.
How do you show appreciation for donors you’ve likely never met for their prior generosity? Or for the visionary leadership of the staff and board who planned and did the fundraising? In a word: stewardship. In the mid-2000s then-president and Center founder Jane Kendall made a compelling case that the Center’s future needed the sustaining support of an endowment – and the campaign efforts were successful. In November 2021, the Center’s board elected to place its endowment into the care of the North Carolina Community Foundation to invest the contributed funds wisely and honor the generosity of donors and hard work of the fundraisers.
Funder Spotlight: Fidelity Charitable Trustee's Initiative
Social sector infrastructure. Capacity building. These words scarcely inspire action, much less donations. Yet the Center believes that nonprofits function best when they have access to tools, best practices, and networks. So we were especially honored to receive a general operating grant in March 2021 from Fidelity Charitable Trustees’ Initiative, whose primary goal is to strengthen national and state intermediaries and networks that provide information, research, and advocacy needed by nonprofits to achieve their intended impact. This generous support will help us develop and test future member services for an online organizational assessment based on Principles & Practices and a program that pairs a nonprofit with an advisor to work on a personalized plan for capacity-building efforts. It is also supporting our infrastructure project to upgrade our website to better serve our members and all North Carolina nonprofits.
Thanks & Appreciation
We are grateful for these foundations, businesses, and individuals who contributed financial support between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.
We appreciate our 2020-21 board of directors and staff for their partnership and commitment to our mission.