News & Updates
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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, email@example.com, @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.
From the John William Pope Foundation
January 27, 2016
RALEIGH, N.C. – During the annual State of the Arts and Culture presentations on January 13, the United Arts Council of Wake County recognized the John William Pope Foundation as the Individual/Foundation Winner of the 2016 Business Support of the Arts Award. Pope Foundation Chairman Art Pope was on hand to accept the award during the presentation at the North Carolina Museum of Art.
Pope Foundation and NC Theatre staff and board members at the 2016 United Arts Council of Wake County Support of the Arts Awards.
Lisa Grele Berrie, President and CEO at NC Theatre, nominated the foundation for the award. Additional recipients of the 2016 Business Support of the Arts Awards included Golden Corral (Large Business Winner), Jerry’s Artarama (Small Business Winner), and educator Marshall Butler (Sanderson High School Choral Director).
The Raleigh-based 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 past arts support has included grants to Carolina Ballet, NC Theatre, Raleigh Fine Arts Society, the Raleigh Little Theatre, North Carolina Museum of Art, North Carolina Symphony and the North Carolina Opera. From its first grant in 1986 to the present, the Foundation’s giving has totaled more than $100 million, and has been primarily directed to organizations in North Carolina.
From the Cheraw Chronicle (December 9, 2015)
A Roses Express store will open in Cheraw early next year, owner and operator Variety Wholesalers Inc. announced Monday.
The store will be located at 524 Chesterfield Highway near Cheraw High School and plans to hire 30 to 40 employees. Grand opening is set for spring 2016.
“Variety Wholesalers Inc. is proud to be a part of the Cheraw community and is committed to providing customers with quality products at great prices,” Wilson Sawyer, chief operating officer of the Henderson, North Carolina-based discount chain, said in a news release.
Roses operates stores throughout the Southeast, offering family apparel and shoes, accessories, home furnishings and décor, toys, health and beauty products and other household items.
A family-owned business that began in eastern North Carolina in 1922, Variety Wholesalers now operates roughly 400 stores in 16 Southeastern states. Its chairman, Art Pope, is the son of founder John W. Pope, who took over his family’s five “five-and-dime” stores in 1949.
From the John William Pope Foundation
January 12, 2016
RALEIGH, N.C. –The John William Pope Foundation has announced the winner of its first statewide competitive grant, the Joy Pope Memorial Grant in the Arts. The Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra will receive $100,000 for a youth orchestra instrument lending library. The grant is a one-time award. The Pope Foundation received 28 applications for the Memorial Arts Grant, representing communities from across the state.
“The project submitted by the Fayetteville Symphony was unique and an excellent use of one-time funds,” said John Hood, president of the Pope Foundation. “We hope this new initiative by the symphony will inspire other arts organizations as they work to find innovative ways to serve their communities.”
The symphony’s idea for a lending library grew out of the realization that many students weren’t able to practice their instruments and/or didn’t have access to renting one. “Many of the students are eager to participate [in music education], but can’t afford the opportunity,” said Christine Kastner, president and CEO of the Fayetteville Symphony. “This grant will be transformational for the Fayetteville Symphony Youth Orchestra and for music education in Southeastern North Carolina.”
The symphony will lend instruments to families that cannot afford rental fees and will lend instruments that are not readily available in the area, such as the ‘A clarinet.” In return, students will commit to participation in the youth orchestra, which will offer performance opportunities and coaching by the symphony’s professional musicians. Currently 50 students participate in the youth orchestra, representing Robeson, Hoke, Moore, and Lee Counties in addition to Cumberland County.
“We truly appreciate all of the arts organizations who applied for this grant,” said Joyce Pope, vice president of the Pope Foundation. “We know the Fayetteville Symphony will make an impact on many lives for years to come, and we are appreciative of their efforts and work to deploy the instrument library.”
Joy Pope was the wife of the late entrepreneur and philanthropist John William Pope and the mother of current 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 is a Raleigh, North Carolina grant maker whose giving has totaled more than $100 million since its founding in 1986.