News & Updates
Check back for regular updates on Art Pope’s presence in the news.
The Daily Dispatch, based out of Henderson, N.C., yesterday reported on the Pope Foundation’s $35,000 in grants to food pantries in Vance County. The grants were part of a larger $185,000 given by the Pope Foundation in October to humanitarian charities.
LifeLine Outreach Inc., a nonprofit based in Vance County that alleviates homelessness
and assists women and children in crisis. (Photo credit: Daily Dispatch)
The Dispatch reported:
Local non-profits and faith-based organizations took a hit when the federal government closed for 16 days.
The John William Pope Foundation made its yearly donations to Vance County charities a few months early this year to help offset the impact of the shutdown.
“We heard on the ground that the federal government shutdown was having an effect on these charities doing this humanitarian work and what we decided to do was to expedite our end of the year funding to cover the shortfall caused by the shutdown,” said David Riggs of the Pope Foundation.
The foundation is a private family foundation focused on humanitarian charities in Wake and Vance counties.
The foundation donated $5,000 to Area Christians Together in Service, $10,000 to Life Line Outreach Inc. and $20,000 to the United Way of Vance County.
Twanna Jones, executive director of ACTS, said her organization has not received a Pope Foundation grant in the past.
“They heard about the great work that we were doing in the Vance County community,” Jones said.
ACTS provides a daily soup kitchen on weekdays, a food pantry, backpack buddies, and Meals on Wheels for the disabled and elderly.
Jones has plans to expand her operation with a mobile feeding program that supplies meals to all areas of need.
She said the grant money would help with the expansion as well as day-to-day operations.
“My goal is to have a seven-day a week soup kitchen that feeds twice a day,” Jones said.
For the first time this year, ACTS will serve lunch on Thanksgiving Day from 10 a.m. to noon.
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Responding to false statements recently made in a syndicated column, Pope Foundation Executive Vice President David Riggs corrected the record in this letter to the editor in The News & Observer:
The Aug. 20 Other Opinion piece “The massacre of the N.C. model” by Bloomberg’s Al Hunt contained false statements about Art Pope and the John William Pope Foundation.
Hunt wrote, “Pope has given to the Republican Party through his political action committee, foundations and personal contributions.” This is unequivocally false. Art Pope is a proud Republican, but he does not have his own political action committee. His personal contributions to the Republican Party do not come close to $1 million, even over his lifetime.
The Pope Foundation, a charitable organization, has never contributed anything to the Republican Party. By reprinting Hunt’s false statement that the Pope Foundation contributed to the Republican Party, you falsely accused the foundation of a major violation of the IRS Code and campaign finance laws.
The Pope Foundation has given millions of dollars to charities, including humanitarian, arts, education and public policy nonprofits. Humanitarian charity helps those in immediate need, treating the symptoms of poverty. The Pope Foundation’s support for public policy groups and those empowering individuals has the long-term goal of curing the underlying causes of poverty.
Publishing the false and defamatory statement that the Pope Foundation gives to the Republican Party was a disservice both to your readers and to the charities supported by the Pope Foundation.
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, JOHN WILLIAM POPE FOUNDATION
In response to a June 15 editorial in the Raleigh News & Observer, Art Pope contributed this letter to the editor:
Contrary to The News & Observer’s over-the-top editorial, “Democracy undone,” on June 15, democracy worked in regard to ending a program to give public dollars to political campaigns.
As state budget director, I was asked in a joint conversation with a legislator and a liberal lobbyist for Common Cause about an amendment to the budget bill to use a fee on attorneys to finance judicial political campaigns. As have all state budget directors, under Republican and Democratic governors, I supported the governor’s budget and explained that the North Carolina courts have held using compulsory attorney fees for political campaigns to be unconstitutional, since such a law “compels political speech and violates their guarantees of free speech in the United States and North Carolina Constitutions.” (El-Khouri et al. v. State of North Carolina et al.)
The News & Observer called this routine event “scary,” repeating almost verbatim an attack by Chris Kromm, of the Institute for Southern Studies. What Common Cause and Kromm have in common is that they are members of the left-wing Blueprint NC coalition. Blueprint NC and its progressive allies have no interest in a reasoned debate and instead have launched a campaign to “eviscerate” and “cripple” elected Republican leaders, including using – in their words – relentless earned media efforts: operatives with relationships to statewide media; private investigators and investigative reporting; and an op-ed program.
Enter The News & Observer as the “statewide media” carrying out Blueprint NC’s attacks. The News & Observer tried to further justify its attack on me because, heaven forbid, I am also a donor to Republicans and conservative organizations. This attack is particularly hypocritical, given that Blueprint NC and its major members receive millions of dollars from the liberal Reynolds Foundation, run by former Democratic state Sen. Leslie Winner, with numerous Democratic Party donors and activists on its board.
Their attack also conveniently left out my longtime record as a former legislator for bipartisan judicial reform by ending the election of judges entirely and replacing it with appointment by the governor and confirmation by the legislature, when there was Democratic legislative majority.
The News & Observer repeating unfounded attacks by Blueprint NC members to eviscerate our elected government and shut down those they disagree with, is truly democracy undone.
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The News & Observer‘s veteran political reporter Rob Christensen writes that Gov. Pat McCrory’s hiring of Art Pope as his budget director was “a shrewd move – and not just because Pope works cheap as a $1-a-year man.”
Christensen contributed this column on Pope, who is also President and Chairman of the John William Pope Foundation:
Many people find it difficult to think dispassionately about Pope because he has become such a polarizing figure – knight of the right to his admirers or a somewhat sinister Daddy-Warbucks-Dick-Cheney-string-puller to his critics.
But for McCrory, a rookie governor with little Raleigh experience, having Pope at his side during the early months of his administration has been an asset.
Consider that McCrory is spending three hours a day preparing his state budget for delivery to the legislature later this month.
With the state still trying to shake off the effects of the deep recession, Pope brings a sharp businessman’s eyes to the state budget. Pope, as head of the regional retail chain Variety Wholesalers, is accustomed to competing with retail giants such as Wal-Mart and K-Mart.
Pope is also knowledgeable about state government, having served in the legislature and the administration of Gov. Jim Martin, and been a GOP candidate for lieutenant governor. He’s also a longtime state policy wonk, who has bankrolled free market think tanks and conservative groups in Raleigh.