Foundation Leaders Address Effects of Pandemic: Rhett Mabry

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Allan and Clare interview Rhett Mabry, President of The Duke Endowment:

Episode Notes:

  • Advice: be patient, safe, focus on basic needs of recipients
  • Focus on healthcare grantee needs
  • Help is on the way (stimulus, and private support); Duke Endowment’s first-ever specially called meeting to provide support in NC and SC in response to the coronavirus crisis
  • Response – Recovery – Rebuilding: have usually focused on 2nd two phases, but this time more focus on needs in the 1st phase – Response (hurricane metaphor); like to use intermediaries to get resources where needed
  • Board engagement: nonprofit leaders need to reach out to their board leaders for their thoughts and perspectives in this time
  • Brene Brown on 60 Minutes: humans need each other, need to stay connected
  • Duke Endowment is hearing from grantees; Spring is busy time for grantmaking recommendations in each of their 4 focus areas – now scheduling zoom calls with grantees to check-in on possible changes in their priorities and flexibility in spending current resources
  • Areas identified by Mr. Duke in 1924 are still relevant today: education, healthcare, churches, children; “challenges and opportunities are still there”
  • Education: all 4 colleges The Duke Endowment supports have gone all online
  • Healthcare: effect on hospitals can be counter-intuitive due to foregoing elective surgeries at this time and its negative on revenue due to shifting their service mix to focus on virus relief, “creating a cash challenge” especially for rural hospitals
  • Churches: also mostly online, and many rural churches are not equipped yet for online giving
  • Children: nurse home visitors are moving to telemedicine for consults; crisis could lead to Medicaid funding improvements in reimbursements
  • An epidemiologist in NY Times wrote about re. past pandemics changing life going forward – there could opportunity for improvements from this; “I’m optimistic that we will learn from this.” – such as working on an after-action review with the NC/SC institutes of medicine to analyze and better prepare
  • Generosity: Mary Semans – “She was a saint.” Shared example of a pre-med student who Mary inspired to become an actor and sent to London for theater training, and he now has a Tony from his work on Broadway.

PS: At the end of our podcast we promised to bring you the latest news from The Duke Endowment’s first-ever called board meeting this week, so here is the headline and a link to the press release, demonstrating their generosity for Carolinians at this time:

The Duke Endowment Awards $2.5 Million in COVID-19 Relief for the Carolinas

Grants Focus on Statewide Response Efforts Aimed at Addressing Critical Needs

Click here to read the press release.

Rhett Mabry:

A native of Greensboro, N.C., Mabry joined the Endowment in 1992 as Associate Director of Health Care. He became Director of Child Care in 1998, was named Vice President of the Endowment in 2009, and became President in 2016. Mabry holds a Master of Health Administration from Duke University and a bachelor’s degree from UNC Chapel Hill. Before joining the Endowment, he was a manager at Ernst & Young and HCA West Paces Ferry Hospital. He has served on the North Carolina Governor’s Early Childhood Advisory Council and the board of the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research. He is a past board chair of the Southeastern Council of Foundations, and serves as an Observer to the Duke University Board of Trustees.

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