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News & Updates

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

Sep
24
2015

Pope Foundation will award $200,000 to arts and human services organizations

From the John William Pope Foundation September 23, 2015 RALEIGH – The John William Pope Foundation has announced a new competitive grant initiative that will award two $100,000 grants to North Carolina nonprofits.  Organizations can apply for the Joy Pope Memorial Grant in the Arts and the Joy Pope Memorial Grant in Human Services until October 30. This is the first competitive grant program the foundation has offered. “Traditionally, the Pope Foundation has given to arts and human services in the Triangle region.  But we know there are innovative approaches to pressing needs outside of our regional scope,” said foundation president John Hood. “Through this competitive grant process we hope to bring awareness to underserved causes and model potential solutions and new ideas.” The grants are one-time gifts and will be issued for projects that will be completed in 2016. Applicants should be IRS compliant non-profits, based in North Carolina. New, former and existing foundation grantees are all welcome to apply. The foundation will accept traditional fall grant applications concurrently.  For more information, including application instructions for all foundation grants, visit www.jwpf.org. “Our goal has always been to benefit the greatest number of people possible through our giving.  As North Carolina grows and continues to create jobs, old challenges will continue,” said foundation chairman Art Pope. “My mother’s legacy provides a wonderful guiding example for our arts and humanitarian grants, so we thought it was appropriate to name the award in her honor.” Joy Pope was the wife of the late entrepreneur and philanthropist John William Pope and the mother of foundation chairman Art Pope.  She was a dedicated patron of arts and human service organizations and served as president of the foundation from 1986-1992.  The John William Pope Foundation works to improve the well being of citizens in North Carolina and the nation through the advancement of individual freedom and personal responsibility. The foundation’s giving has totaled more than $100 million since its founding, primarily directed to organizations in North Carolina. ###
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Sep
9
2015

Library in Vance County installs bilingual Spanish early literacy stations with Pope Foundation support

From the John William Pope Foundation September 9, 2015 RALEIGH — With recent grant support from the John William Pope Foundation, the H. Leslie Memorial Library in Vance County has added new technology to the youth services area to their Henderson, N.C. facility.  The new installation features additional early literacy stations that offer over 70 educational software programs in several curricular areas.  Several of the station’s programs are offered in Spanish, making the bilingual offering beneficial to the entire family. The official press release can be read online at The Daily Dispatch: http://www.hendersondispatch.com/homepage/check-it-out-news-from-the-perry-memorial-library/article_d6f56bee-6b76-52e5-9f65-699bb288b06b.html The Pope Foundation receives its support from the Pope family, owner and operator of the Henderson, North Carolina-based company Variety Wholesalers, Inc. For more information about the Perry Memorial Library, visit their website here.
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Aug
22
2015

Pope Foundation makes emergency grants to Raleigh-area animal shelters

From the John William Pope Foundation August 20, 2015 RALEIGH, N.C. — The Pope Foundation has issued two emergency grants to local animal rescues.  Safe Haven for Cats in Raleigh and the Vance County Animal Shelter in Henderson were each awarded $1,000 to aid with pressing issues. “Both Safe Haven Rescue and Vance County Animal Shelter are doing their respective parts to keep communities clean and safe by providing shelter and care for animals that would otherwise be neglected or endangered.” said Joyce Pope, vice president of the John William Pope Foundation.  “Furthermore, their work to care for and rehabilitate abandoned and abused animals adds important value to our society and underscores how important it is to care for all community members, great and small.” Safe Haven for Cats took 34 cats into their facility after a July animal hoarding case that removed over 150 animals from a Chatham County home. The shelter has run out of space and resources during the summer months when they are typically already crowded.  Vance County Animal Shelter has also been struggling.  Their shelter has not been updated since it was built 40 years ago, and is regularly well over capacity.  This spring they received a five-acre land donation and are working to raise the funds to update their existing space. The Pope Foundation receives its support from the Pope family, owner and operator of the Henderson, North Carolina-based company Variety Wholesalers, Inc.  Art Pope is chairman of the foundation.  For more information, visit www.jwpf.org.   ###
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Jul
24
2015

White Oak School gymnasium effort receives $5,000 grant

From the John William Pope Foundation July 24, 2015 RALEIGH – The John William Pope Foundation recently announced the award of a $5,000 grant to the White Oak School gymnasium revitalization project in Elizabethtown. “Buildings like the White Oak gymnasium are the backbone of many small communities,” said Art Pope, chairman of the John William Pope Foundation. “The Pope Foundation is proud to support a project that the people of Bladen County will find useful and important for years to come.” The Pope Foundation receives its support from the family of Art Pope and from Variety Wholesales, Inc., owner and operator the North Carolina based Roses and Maxway stores. The White Oak school doors were shuttered years ago, and all that remains on the property is a gymnasium built in the 1940s. The property was donated to White Oak Baptist Church about a year ago and the White Oak School Reunion Committee began the process of renovating the building into a community center. The grant from the Pope Foundation will help complete the final work on the building, including the installation of heating and air conditioning systems. Read the original press release at Bladen Journal online: http://bladenjournal.com/news/education/750/white-oak-school-gymnasium-effort-receives-5000-grant  ###
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Jun
4
2015

The Tax-Cut Payoff in Carolina

  Wall Street Journal Columnist Stephen Moore: Even with lower rates, tax revenues have increased 6% this year, and the state has a $400 million budget surplus. Published June 3, 2015  - Source: Wall Street Journal Four years ago North Carolina’s unemployment rate was above 10% and the state still bore the effects of its battering in the recession. Many rural towns faced jobless rates of more than 20%. But in 2013 a combination of the biggest tax-rate reductions in the state’s history and a gutsy but controversial unemployment-insurance reform supercharged the state’s economy and has even helped finance budget surpluses. As Wells Fargo’s Economics Group recently put it: “North Carolina’s economy has shifted into high gear. Hiring has picked up across nearly every industry.” The tax cut slashed the state’s top personal income-tax rate to 5.75%, near the regional average, from 7.75%, which had been the highest in the South. The corporate tax rate was cut to 5% from 6.9%. The estate tax was eliminated. Next came the novel tough-love unemployment-insurance reforms. The state became the first in the nation to reject “free” federal payments for extended unemployment benefits and reduce the weeks of benefits to 20 from 26. The maximum weekly dollar amount of payments, $535, which had been among the highest in the nation, was trimmed to a maximum of $350 a week. As a result, tens of thousands of Carolinians left the unemployment rolls. In an interview at the governor’s mansion, Gov. Pat McCrory tells me that when he took office in January 2013 he looked at the data and knew “we couldn’t stay on the course we were on. We had the highest unemployment benefits and yet at the same time businesses were routinely complaining they couldn’t find workers until benefits ran out. We heard a lot of stories of workers waiting until benefits ran out before going back to work.” In sum, the state was paying people not to work. While these measures were passing the legislature, the state capital boiled over with rancorous political rallies, called Moral Mondays, designed to block the “cruel” GOP agenda. Rev. William Barber II, one of the protest organizers, lambasted Republicans for making the Tar Heel State a “crucible of extremism and injustice.” The national media piled on with claims that the Republican agenda cut taxes for the rich while slashing benefits for the poor. Then a funny thing happened. After a few months, the unemployment rate started to decline rapidly and job growth climbed. Not just a little. Nearly 200,000 jobs have been added since 2013 and the unemployment rate has fallen to 5.5% from 7.9%. There is a debate about how many of North Carolina’s unemployed got jobs and how many dropped out of the workforce or moved to another state. But the job market is vastly improved and people didn’t go hungry in the streets. On the Tax Foundation index of business conditions, North Carolina has been catapulted to 16th from a dismal 44th since 2013. The most recent news will make many other governors jealous. The state didn’t take the extra federal benefits—which require repayments later to the feds—and it cut the weekly benefits. So the state government has been able to pay back $2.8 billion in unemployment-insurance money owed to the feds, and it now has a trust-fund surplus. This means it will be able to provide employers with at least $500 million in cuts from the state and federal unemployment tax on payroll over 18 months. This comes at a time when other states are having to raise payroll taxes to pay off the loans for the rich benefits they doled out in the recession and its aftermath. The lesson: Handouts from the feds are never free. An even bigger surprise—even to supporters—is the tax cut’s impact on revenue. Even with lower rates, tax revenues are up about 6% this year according to the state budget office. On May 6, Gov. McCrory announced that the state has a budget surplus of $400 million while many other states are scrambling to fill gaps. This is the opposite of what has happened in Kansas, where jobs have been created but revenues have fallen since the top personal income-tax rate was cut from 6.45% in 2012 to 4.6% today and the income tax for small business owners who file as individuals has been eliminated. North Carolina’s former budget director, Art Pope, says one difference between the two states is that “we cut spending too. Kansas didn’t.” The story gets better. Because North Carolina built in a trigger mechanism that applies excess revenues to corporate-rate cuts, the business tax has fallen to 5% from 6.9%, and next year it drops to 4%. You won’t hear much about this in national news media, where the preferred story line is that tax cuts don’t work because they were followed by budget deficits in Kansas. In North Carolina, policies to reduce taxes and stop paying people for not working have created jobs and surpluses. Mr. Pope says: “I wish people criticizing Kansas would look at what’s happened here.” Mr. Moore is a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation.  
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