Category: In the Headlines
From the Charlotte Observer:
So a liberal and a conservative walk into a bar…
By Taylor Batten, Editorial Page Editor
June 4, 2016
Conservative Art Pope and liberal Rick Glazier walk into a bar…
This is no joke. Pope, Glazier and some of North Carolina’s other most prominent liberals and conservatives are breaking bread together, trying to find something that has been elusive in recent years: a shred of common ground. These 35 leaders in business, politics, philanthropy, education, law and other areas are investing their time to test whether bipartisan ideas and civil discourse between Republicans and Democrats really are dead.
It’s called the North Carolina Leadership Forum, and it’s just ramping up. The group met for the first time in March and will gather again on June 17 at Duke University. They hope to convene in Charlotte later this year.
What makes them think this is worth the effort? In an era of Trump and Clinton, Fox News and MSNBC, HB2, gerrymandered districts and legislators who are an ocean apart, it seems hopeless. But it is that deepening gulf in society that makes this effort so urgently needed.
The group will meet four times in the first year, tackling the question of how to enable more North Carolinians to earn enough to support their families. They hope to agree on specific policy proposals, but they know liberals and conservatives may see very different causes of and solutions to that issue.
Just having the conversation, though, and doing so civilly and respectfully, may be a more important and lasting product of this experiment. The group was created as much to foster reasoned conversation as it was to devise policy solutions. Even if members can’t agree on a minimum wage, the thinking goes, they might set an example that others can follow, whether they are legislators, City Council members or just Uncle Fred at the Thanksgiving table.
True listening to the other side, after all, rarely happens anymore. A lot of people consume only the news that reinforces their existing positions. Combine that with a politically divided state and “what you have is political discourse in North Carolina and lots of places that falls short of what we can and should provide,” said John Hood, president of the conservative John William Pope Foundation. “Lots of people are disenchanted.”
The Leadership Forum was born after Hood wrote a column about North Carolinians living in “media cocoons” and the disappearance of civil debate. Democrat Leslie Winner, then head of the progressive Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, read it and met with Hood about changing that. They recruited a bipartisan steering committee, then the group of 35.
Hood emphasizes that the goal is not to find moderate solutions.
“Our point is not we have these extremes and if everyone was more centrist we’d be better off,” Hood told me last week. “We like the fact that we have people way out on the right and left. The goal is not to marginalize them and aim for the common denominator.
“The point is to have a dialogue that is very robust with points of view strongly argued, but respectfully and with no name-calling. … If we can have people argue rather than bicker, make good-faith logical arguments, that’s a very valuable outcome.”
It’s easy to imagine this group having civil conversations around a conference table, only to see the divisiveness persist among elected officials. But with what passes for debate today, I’m glad they’re taking a shot.
The North Carolina Leadership Forum
Anita Brown-Graham, Institute for Emerging Issues
Pete Brunstetter, Novant Health, Inc.
Pearl Burris-Floyd, Gaston Regional Chamber of Commerce
Jack Cecil, Biltmore Farms, LLC
Dan Clodfelter, Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein, LLP
Gene Cochrane, The Duke Endowment
Sharon Decker, Tryon International Equestrian Center
Martin Eakes, Self-Help Credit Union
Dan Gerlach, Golden Leaf Foundation
Rick Glazier, North Carolina Justice Center
Ann Goodnight, SAS
Maurice “Mo” Green, Guilford County Schools
Robin Hayes, Cannon Charitable Trust and Cannon Foundation
Hank Henning, Commissioner of Guilford County
John Hood, John William Pope Foundation
Bob Hunter, North Carolina Court of Appeals
Jeff Jackson, North Carolina Senate
Raquel Lynch, Crisis Assistance Ministry
Esther Manheimer, Mayor of Asheville
Frederick “Fritz” Mayer, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University
Chuck McGrady, North Carolina House of Representatives
MaryBe McMillan, North Carolina AFL-CIO
B.J. Murphy, Mayor of Kinston
Chuck Neely, Williams Mullen
Jim Phillips, Brooks Pierce
Art Pope, John William Pope Foundation
Robert Reives, North Carolina House of Representatives
Tom Ross, Volcker Alliance
Richard Stevens, Smith Anderson Law Firm
William Thierfelder, Belmont Abbey College
Eugene Washington, Duke University Health System
Andy Wells, North Carolina Senate
Brad Wilson, Blue Cross & Blue Shield North Carolina
Stelfanie Williams, Vance-Granville Community College
Leslie Winner, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation
For over ten years, the John William Pope Foundation, led by Chairman and former President Art Pope, has supported a program with the Boy Scouts of America, Occoneechee Council – a group of ten districts in the following North Carolina counties: Chatham, Cumberland, Durham, Franklin, Granville, Harnett, Lee, Moore, Orange, Vance, Wake and Warren. The program, the Pope Eagle Scout Scholars Program, annually chooses a select group of graduating Eagle Scouts to receive a college scholarship. In April, five scholars were selected as the 2016 recipients.
From the John William Pope Foundation:
April 28, 2016
RALEIGH, N.C. – The John William Pope Foundation and the Boy Scouts of America Occoneechee Council have announced the 2016 Pope Eagle Scout Scholars. Five high school students were selected from an applicant pool of over 50. Applicants were required to have completed the rank of ‘Eagle Scout’ and be a current or former member of the Occoneechee Council.
Four of the Pope Eagle Scout Scholars will receive a $20,000 scholarship to be applied towards their post-secondary education. They are Nicholas Anderson of Wake Forest (Wake Forest High School), Justin Do of Raleigh (Needham B. Broughton High School), Daniel Kunath of Apex (Saint Thomas More Academy), and Collin Thrash of Cary (Ravenscroft School). A fifth scholar, Vince Friedman of Raleigh (Jesse O. Sanderson High School) was recently selected as a Class of 2020 Morehead-Cain Scholar, so his scholarship will be honorary as the Morehead program covers all college expenses.
“We are very proud of these great young men as representatives of the Scouting program,” said John Akerman, scout executive for the Occoneechee Council. “The achievement of a young man to earn his Eagle Scout Rank is a testimony to his ability to set a very challenging goal at a young age and work diligently to achieve this pinnacle award for Scouting. The young men selected to receive the Pope Eagle Scout Scholarship not only achieved in the Scouting program, but in school and other extra-curricular activities as well.”
The late John William Pope, a Raleigh businessman and philanthropist, established the Pope Eagle Scout Scholarship Program in 2001 to support the studies and development of future free enterprise leaders. The program has continued with an annual $40,000 matching grant from the Pope Foundation.
The Occoneechee Council is the largest Boy Scouts Council in North Carolina and serves over 20,000 scouts each year. They have served as the only partner for the Pope Foundation’s scholarship program since its inception.
Learn more about the Pope Foundation’s support of the Occoneechee Council.
From the John William Pope Foundation and the North Carolina Museum of Art
March 13, 2016
RALEIGH, N.C. — The John William Pope Foundation, named for the founder of the Variety Wholesalers and Roses retail discount chain, has awarded a $500,000 grant to the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh to name one of the museum’s gallery spaces in memory of the late Joyce W. Pope.
The Museum’s Gallery 2, a 2,800-square-foot gallery space that’s hosted exhibitions of work by Edvard Munch and Leonardo da Vinci, will be renamed as the Joyce W. Pope Gallery.
Joyce W. Pope, wife of John William Pope and mother of the Variety Wholesalers CEO, chairman and former state budget director Art Pope, was president of the Pope Foundation from 1986 to 1992. She was also a founding member of the Raleigh Fine Arts Society.
In a news release about the announcement, Art Pope noted that his mother had always been a strong supporter of the arts. “She would be humbled. But I also think she would be delighted to know that many visitors, particularly student visitors, will continue to enjoy fine works of art during their Museum trips in a gallery that bears her name,” he stated.
The first exhibition to be presented in the new Joyce W. Pope Gallery is American Impressionist: Childe Hassam and the Isles of Shoals, which opens March 19.
Money from the unrestricted grant will go toward general operating support for the museum’s exhibitions, concerts, lectures and programming.
Leaders try to find common ground in North Carolina
From the News & Observer, March 9, 2016
BY ROB CHRISTENSEN
It was a simple idea, but a surprising one in this age of political polarization, which now includes innuendo about one’s manhood.
Why not get North Carolinians of all political stripes together to have conversations, to better understand one another’s point of view, and see whether there is any common ground about how to make life better in the state?
The result was the first of a series of meetings last week at Duke University involving conservatives such as Raleigh businessman Art Pope, former state GOP Chairman Robin Hayes and former gubernatorial candidate Chuck Neely, and liberals such as MaryBe McMillan of the state AFL-CIO, former Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter, and former state Rep. Rick Glazier, head of the North Carolina Justice Center.
It all started when John Hood, president of the conservative John Pope Foundation, wrote a column about a year ago about how liberals and conservatives rarely talk to each other and usually get their information from different sources. He encouraged people to not just read information that reinforced their views, but to read material that would help them understand different viewpoints.
What is needed, Hood said, is a more constructive dialogue.
That column prompted Leslie Winner, executive director of the liberal Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation and a former state senator, to call Hood to talk about it.
“One of the main lessons of being in the General Assembly in the 1990s was to really listen to people who disagreed with me,” Winner said. “There was always a kernel of truth to the people who disagreed with me.”
“We agreed to do something about it together,” Winner said.
Hood, Winner and Fritz Mayer, associate dean of Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy, began planning a way to bring a political cross-section of North Carolina leaders together in an informal setting to talk about the state’s problems.
Invitations to join the group – called The North Carolina Leadership Forum – were sent out under the names of some prominent North Carolinians, including former governors Jim Hunt, a Democrat, and Jim Martin, a Republican, Duke University President Richard Brodhead, Ann Goodnight of SAS and Pope.
And so about 30 people met last Thursday and Friday at the Durham campus. Among the listed participants were business leaders such as Brad Wilson of Blue Cross & Blue Shield and Goodnight, and political leaders such as state Sen. Andy Wells, former state Sen. Pete Brunstetter and state Sen. Jeff Jackson.
The group plans to meet four times during the year. The subject is both simple and difficult, Winner said. What can be done so that more North Carolinians can earn enough to support their families? It doesn’t have to be a government program, Winner said. The group may come up with ideas for businesses, churches or nonprofits.
People can leave disagreeing about the solutions, Hood and Winner said. The goal is to have a constructive discussion and come up with ideas that everybody can get behind.
During the first meeting, the participants spent time getting to know each other and, with the help of a professional facilitator, tossing out ideas about how to improve the ability of residents to provide for their families. In the next meeting, the group will hear from policy experts.
Some ideas, such as raising the state minumum wage, Hood said, drew sharply different reactions from the participants.
But they judged the first meeting a success. “It was an A plus,” Mayer said. It was also, Mayer said, probably the first statewide effort of its kind in the country.
And in a year when much of the nation’s politics has turned toxic, it is a breath of fresh air.
Rob Christensen: 919-829-4532, firstname.lastname@example.org, @oldpolhack
Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/article64793782.html#storylink=cpy
From the John William Pope Foundation
March 1, 2016
RALEIGH, N.C. — At a press conference in Hendersonville, the John William Pope Foundation announced the winner of its first statewide competitive grant, the Joy Pope Memorial Grant in Human Services. The Dandelion Eatery, a project of Safelight Family Services (formerly Mainstay Women’s Shelter) received a one-time gift of $100,000 to expand its commercial teaching kitchen. Opened in 2013, Dandelion Eatery provides jobs training for domestic violence victims while operating as a restaurant open to the public.
The Pope Foundation traveled to Hendersonville to award Safelight the $100,000 Joy Pope Grant in Human Services for their nonprofit restaurant, Dandelion Eatery.
“Ultimately, we were highly impressed with the innovative nature of the Dandelion Eatery project,” said Foundation Vice President Joyce Pope. “They saw a way to break the cycle of abuse by empowering their clients to be self-sufficient, and that goal has positive lifelong effects for individuals, families, and communities.”
Tanya Blackford, Director of Safelight, thanked the Pope Foundation for this gift. “We are grateful to have the Pope Foundation partner with us to expand the Dandelion program. This generous investment will allow us to offer job training internships to even more clients. Completing this program is essential to a victim’s long-term success in re-entering the workforce and being able to provide for her family.”
The Joy Pope Memorial Grant in Human Services was part of a pair of competitive grants offered by the Pope Foundation last fall. Over 60 applications were submitted for the prize named in honor of Joy Pope, wife of entrepreneur and philanthropist John William Pope. She was a dedicated patron of arts and human service organizations and served as president of the Foundation from 1986-1992. Her son, Art Pope, now serves as the foundation’s chairman which is based in Raleigh and has given more than $100 million since its founding.
To learn more about Dandelion, visit their website or see their menu on Facebook visit.