Press Release, Vance-Granville Community College, September 10, 2018:
The Pope Foundation has created a new Academic Achievement Scholarship at Vance-Granville Community College in honor of retired Variety Wholesalers, Inc., President Wilson Sawyer of Raleigh.
The scholarship will award $500 per year to a deserving student enrolled at Vance-Granville. Priority will be given to students who are employees of Variety Wholesalers (home store, distribution center or retail stores) and members of the families of those employees. Preference will be given to students who are pursuing a degree in Business Administration.
“Our business roots in the area go back many years and we are proud to call Henderson and Vance County ‘home,’” said James Arthur “Art” Pope, chairman of Variety Wholesalers. “Wilson never lost sight of our customers and our promise to deliver great value and prices. We’re grateful for his friendship and dedication over these many years. We hope this scholarship inspires a new generation of leaders who share Wilson’s commitment to service.”
“There are two reasons I’m excited about this scholarship,” said the honoree, Sawyer. “Number 1, if it helps folks in the company that helped me for many years, that’s a plus. Number 2, I’m a big supporter of the community college program and I think it’s important to encourage folks to start their education here.”
Sawyer knows about the community college experience first-hand, he said. His daughter was a student at Central Carolina Community College in Sanford before transferring to a four-year institution when the family moved to Raleigh. “She excelled in college and I think it’s because of the basis that she got at the community college.” His daughter is now a school teacher, he said.
Following a lifelong career in retail, Sawyer retired as president of Variety Wholesalers in February. He started his career in the Maxway store management program, rising to hold various roles. When Variety Wholesalers acquired Maxway in 1990, Sawyer stayed with the company as president of the Maxway division. After years of leading multiple store brand divisions, he was named president and chief operating officer of Variety Wholesalers Stores in 2003. When Bruce Efird joined Variety Wholesalers Stores as president in 2017, Saywer moved to holding company leadership. He remains on Variety’s board of directors and is assisting the company in an advisory capacity.
“We are excited that the Pope Foundation and Variety Wholesalers have chosen to honor Mr. Sawyer with this new scholarship,” said Eddie Ferguson, director of the VGCC Endowment Fund. “Both have been stalwart supporters of our students and the college through contributions to scholarships and activities such as our golf tournament which also benefit students.”
“I’ve been so impressed with the community support that has come to my attention since becoming Vance-Granville’s interim president,” added Dr. Gordon Burns, who assumed the new role in mid-August while VGCC searches for a permanent president. “This gift from the Pope Foundation will continue to honor Mr. Sawyer and help students each and every year, serving as a reminder of the importance of a community and its institutions getting involved in the education of our citizens. We are so grateful.”
Founded in 1986 and located in Raleigh, the Pope Foundation makes grants to advance individual freedom, personal responsibility and encourage opportunity for all North Carolinians. The Pope Foundation’s lifetime giving totals more than $145 million directed to over 400 nonprofits. The Pope Foundation receives its support from the Pope family, owner and operator of the Henderson-based Variety Wholesalers, Inc.
The new scholarship will add to the more than 9,000 scholarships that have been awarded to students since 1982, funded by interest earned on the Endowment Fund and Scholarship Program. Scholarships have been established by individuals, industries, businesses, civic groups, churches and the college’s faculty and staff to assist deserving students. Tax-deductible donations to the VGCC Endowment Fund have often been used to honor or remember a person, group, business, industry or organization with a lasting gift to education. In the Fall of 2017, Vance-Granville awarded scholarships to 306 students.
For more information, the Office of the Endowment can be reached by calling Endowment Specialist Kay Currin at (252) 738-3409.
From Carolina Journal
April 6, 2017
John Locke Foundation founder and former chairman Art Pope today was elected chairman of the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, one of the nation’s largest conservative grantmaking charitable organizations.
Pope is the owner and chairman of Variety Wholesalers Inc., which owns and operates a chain of discount retail stores with 7,000 employees in 17 states. He’s also chairman of the John William Pope Foundation, a family grantmaking foundation he has led since its creation in 1986. He was a member of the North Carolina General Assembly and, most recently, was the state budget director from 2013-14.
“It is an honor to serve as chairman of the Bradley Foundation, an organization which does so much to strengthen the fabric of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the entire country,” Pope said in a press release. “Dennis Kuester, the outgoing chairman, and Mike Grebe, our previous president, have done such excellent work and have left a fine example for me to follow. I look forward to continuing Dennis’ valuable work.”
The Bradley Foundation’s vision “is for a nation invigorated by the principles and institutions that uphold our unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Its mission is to restore, strengthen and protect the principles and institutions of American exceptionalism. The core principles which guide the Foundation’s grant making include a commitment to free markets; fidelity to the Constitution with its principles of limited government, federalism, separation of powers and individual liberties; commitment to the fundamental institutions of civil society that cultivate individuals capable of self-governance; and dedication to the formation of informed and capable citizens.”
June 14, 2016
Thirteenth annual prizes recognize esteemed leaders for excellence
Milwaukee, WI — The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation will award the thirteenth annual Bradley Prizes in a ceremony on Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. EDT at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ Terrace Theater.
The 2016 Bradley Prize recipients are: political scientist Charles Murray, British historian Andrew Roberts, Emeritus Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, and actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise.
Video tributes to each Bradley Prize recipient will be shown, and nationally syndicated columnist George F. Will will serve as Master of Ceremonies. Entertainment will be provided by the Grammy winning a cappella group Take 6. Each Bradley Prize recipient will deliver remarks. The public can also participate via Twitter by using the handle @BradleyPrizes16.
Pope Foundation Chairman Art Pope will attend the Washington, D.C. event. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Bradley Foundation and a sponsor of the Bradley Prize event.
Founded in 1985, The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation is devoted to strengthening American democratic capitalism and the institutions, principles and values that sustain and nurture it. Its programs support limited, competent government; a dynamic marketplace for economic, intellectual, and cultural activity; and a vigorous defense, at home and abroad, of American ideas and institutions. Recognizing that responsible self-government depends on enlightened citizens and informed public opinion, the Foundation supports scholarly studies and academic achievement.
Source: The Bradley Foundation
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.