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News & Updates

Check back for regular updates on Art Pope’s presence in the news.

Feb
20
2021

Belks, Close families back big new Charlotte investment group

Categories: In the Headlines
Art Pope is named a board member for New Republic Partners, which is a Charlotte-based investment management and wealth advisory business with backing from the Belk, Close and Bowles families. Business North Carolina, By David Mildenberg, February 16, 2021 Veteran N.C. banker Ralph Strayhorn and money manager Tom Hoops started New Republic Partners, a Charlotte-based investment management and wealth advisory business with backing from the Belk, Close and Bowles families. Board members for the company include Raleigh retail-chain owner Art Pope and former N.C. State Treasurer Janet Cowell. New Republic Partners has $1.35 billion in assets under management, which officials say would make it the sixth-largest Registered Investment Advisory firm in the Carolinas and among the 50 largest in the Southeast. The company also owns Roanoke Rapids-based New Republic Bank and has about 30 employees, about half of them based in Charlotte. The John M. Belk Endowment, the M.C. Belk Pilon family interests and the Springs-Close-Bowles family interests will be clients and shareholders. The combination brings together heirs of two families that for generations controlled the Belk department store chain and Springs textile empire while exerting enormous influence over civic and business affairs in the Carolinas. A private equity group bought Belk for $3 billion in 2015. Springs Industries, once the largest textile employer in South Carolina, combined its business with a Brazilian textile company starting in 2001 and no longer manufactures in the Palmetto State. New Republic Partners plans to offer investment, wealth advisory and credit solutions for individuals, families, endowments,  foundations, and advisors. Investors with $10 million or more are the target market for the firm’s “complete wealth management services,” says Hoops, who is president and chief operating officer. But the business will also market to accredited investors, usually typified as having a net worth of $1 million or more, he said. “This is a very challenging time to be an investor and their portfolios need to look different than they have historically … with more access to the private markets including private equity and private credit,” Hoops says. “The alignment of  our professional team, investors, board members and founding family clients creates a strong foundation for the firm,” adds Strayhorn, who is the CEO. Strayhorn is a former bank CEO who also headed a private consultancy, Cape Point Advisory, that worked with 15 banks during the 2007-09 financial crisis. Hoops is a 35-year veteran of the investment management industry who was a top investment executive at Wells Fargo and predecessor institutions. Most recently, he was a member of the executive committee at Legg Mason Global Asset  Management, where he led global product strategy, M&A and strategic investing. “The investment team at New Republic Partners brings innovative thinking and a high degree of expertise,” says M.C. Belk Pilon, president and board chair of the John M. Belk  Endowment. She will be a member of New Republic’s board along with Sam Bowles, who is joining the business as a managing director. He is the son of former Springs Industries CEO Crandall Bowles and Erskine Bowles, a Charlotte investment banker and a former UNC System president. Pilon is the daughter of the late John and Claudia Belk. John Belk was a former Charlotte mayor who led Belk Store Services for many years, while Claudia Belk was a local district court judge. “We partnered with New Republic Partners because they expanded our capabilities in ways that other asset managers and advisors could not,” Sam Bowles said in a release. New Republic’s staff includes people who have worked for the Belk and Close family offices, overseeing their investments. Having a small commercial bank gives New Republic broader opportunities, Strayhorn says. The company converted a former savings bank started in 1988, which has offices in Roanoke Rapids, Burlington and Rocky Mount, into a state-charted bank that is a subsidiary of New Republic’s holding company. Other parts of the business include the advisory firm and a broker-dealer, New Republic Securities. Source: https://businessnc.com/belks-close-family-back-big-new-charlotte-investment-group/  
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Jan
24
2021

Foundation supports foster parent training

Categories: Philanthropy
The Triangle Business Journal highlighted the John William Pope Foundation’s $10,000 grant to help the Boys & Girls Homes of North Carolina provide foster parent training in Wake County. Triangle Business Journal, Philanthropy & Nonprofits, January 21, 2021  The John William Pope Foundation awarded a $10,000 grant to help the Boys & Girls Homes of North Carolina provide foster parent training in Wake County. “We are truly grateful to receive this grant that will support our foster care program,” said B&GH President and CEO Ricky Creech. “This grant will support our continued growth in this area, enabling us to provide even more children with an environment of care where health, healing and hope are experienced every day. These funds will specifically provide facilities in Wake County to conduct initial and recurring foster parent training and certification along with CPR manikins and training spaces. “Wake County has the second-highest number of children in the North Carolina foster care system,” said B&GH Chief Program Officer Donna Yalch. “This funding will allow us to certify more parents, creating more safe and welcoming homes for children in need of care.” While B&GH has been training parents in Wake County for several years, the challenges of the pandemic have complicated the process, officials said, making this grant even more important. Read more local nonprofit briefs here: https://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/news/2021/01/21/new-year-new-thinking-for-charitable-giving.html  
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Dec
13
2020

Right-leaning think tanks John Locke Foundation, Civitas Institute merging

Categories: Philanthropy
Published by The Salisbury Post – Monday, December 11, 2020 Two think tanks — both nurtured and sustained financially over the years by the family of longtime conservative political donor Art Pope — are merging. The John Locke Foundation and Civitas Institute announced on Thursday that they’ll unite under the Locke Foundation name starting Jan. 1. The John Locke Foundation began in 1990, while Civitas started in 2005. Amy Cooke will remain the Locke Foundation’s CEO and publisher of the Carolina Journal news website and newspaper. Civitas Institute head Donald Bryson will become foundation president and its chief strategy officer. “We have created an unmatched powerhouse for economic opportunity and conservative values in North Carolina and in the Southeast,” Cooke said in a news release. Both groups have received funds routinely from the John William Pope Foundation, of which Art Pope is chairman. Art Pope leads Variety Wholesalers Inc., which operates Roses and Maxway discount retail stores. Pope served in the state legislature and was then-Gov. Pat McCrory’s budget director. Civitas Action, a political education arm of Civitas Institute, will remain in place as a separate sister organization, the release said. Source: https://www.salisburypost.com/2020/12/11/right-leaning-think-tanks-john-locke-foundation-civitas-institute-merging/
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Aug
22
2020

Backtalk: Art Pope Responds to “Arts and Letters”

Categories: In the Headlines
The Indy Week acknowledges their potentially misleading and false claims that were corrected by Art Pope. Posted by The Indy Week: Wednesday, August 19, 2020 Last week, writing about the funding relationship between the Raleigh Fine Arts Society and the John William Pope Foundation, Brian Howe wrote that its chairman, Art Pope, “has a long history of supporting policies that harm marginalized communities: bankrolling the 2010 Republican takeover of the N.C. legislature, HB 2, climate-change-denial campaigns, and more.”  Art Pope wrote to contest these claims:  “The Indy Week corrected false statements made about the Pope Foundation in its August 12 print issue but replaced it with equally false statements about me. First, I did not “bankroll” a “2010 Republican takeover of the N.C. legislature.” During the 2010 legislative elections, Democrats outspent Republicans, I was not the largest donor, and the “takeover” consisted of the Republicans winning 59% of the statewide legislative vote in a fair election in districts drawn by Democrats. Second, I had no involvement with, much less bankrolled, the enactment of H.B. 2. After its adoption, I was publicly critical of both the Charlotte ordinance and of H.B. 2. Multiple media outlets reported my proposal—for the ordinance to be rescinded and H.B. 2 to be repealed. This was the solution eventually enacted by Charlotte, the legislature, and Governor Cooper, respectively. Third, regarding bankrolling “climate-change-denial campaigns,” I do support a vigorous policy debate on environmental and related economic issues. It is unfortunate that in today’s toxic political environment, the pejorative term “climate change denier” is given to any person or organization that questions any aspect of the Green New Deal, which alienates potential allies on specific environmental issues. Finally, I believe that the overall policies that I support, based on the principles of individual liberty, with equal justice and rights for all, protected by a constitutional government, will improve the well being of marginalized communities. To be sure, there is much work to be done and promises to be fulfilled, but I believe we can have civil conversations about the best way to help marginalized communities without attacks. Indy should stick to the facts and let its readers decide for themselves their beliefs and opinions.” The INDY concedes that Pope has publicly criticized HB 2 and that the source for our claim that he “bankrolled” it, Facing South, is partisan. As for our other claims: The New York Times has reported that “Mr. Pope has used a family fortune to endow conservative research groups and donate to tax-exempt organizations that unseated Republican moderates as well as Democrats,” while The New Yorker has reported that “Tax records show that Pope has given money to at least twenty-seven groups … including organizations opposing environmental regulations, tax increases, unions, and campaign-spending limits.” If we find we erred on further review, we’ll issue a correction. We acknowledge that “bankrolled” may have been too broad a term. As for HB 2, we stand corrected.   Source: https://indyweek.com/news/Letters-to-the-Editor/backtalk-art-pope-arts-letters/
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Jun
30
2020

Art Pope elected to join UNC Board of Governors

Categories: In the Headlines
The North State Journal, March 31, 2021 In this Aug. 6, 2014, file photo, outgoing State Budget Director Art Pope smiles in Raleigh, N.C., as he talks with the press after Gov. Pat McCrory announced that Pope would be stepping down from his post. The Senate picked on Thursday, June 25, 2020, longtime conservative donor and former lawmaker Pope to the state public higher education system’s Board of Governors. The 32-15 vote electing Pope to the 24-member body tasked with overseeing the 17-campus University of North Carolina system comes as lawmakers neared the end of their legislative session. (Chris Seward/The News & Observer via AP, File) RALEIGH — A former state lawmaker and budget director was selected on Thursday to join the UNC Board of Governors by the N.C. Senate. The 32-15 vote electing Art Pope to the 24-member body tasked with overseeing the 17-campus University of North Carolina system comes as lawmakers neared the end of their legislative session. “He has been a dedicated public servant to North Carolina,” said Sen. Brent Jackson, a Sampson County Republican. “He will be a valuable asset to our UNC Board of Governors.” Pope will serve on the board for one year starting July 1, replacing former Republican state Sen. Bob Rucho, who resigned from the board in recent days. Sen. Harry Brown (R-Onslow) echoed Jackson’s comments. “His experience as state budget director will be very helpful in understanding the UNC budget and leadership on Board of Governors” said Brown during a committee hearing on the nomination. Pope, a well-known businessman and philanthropist, comes to the board having previously worked as former Gov. Pat McCrory’s state budget director. He’s also been a member of the state House and staunch ally of conservative causes. Some Senate Democrats were furious on social media about the choice, saying it would reinforce the impression that the board is partisan. But no Democrat spoke up against the pick during Thursday night’s floor vote. Pope believes he has a track record of working with others that could help him as he joins the board. “I’ve been able to work very positively with Democrats and independents my entire career,” Pope said, pointing to his time in the legislature. “I think I hopefully can smooth things down and reach out to the other side, which is the real Art Pope versus the left-wing blog character (portrayal of me).” The Associated Press contributed to this report. Source: https://nsjonline.com/article/2020/06/art-pope-elected-to-join-unc-board-of-governors/
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