The theme of "Generously Speaking" is generosity. The concept is to share some of CapDev's conversations with philanthropic leaders so that listeners can be a "fly on the wall" and benefit from discussions of great generosity in action in our region. Join members of the CapDev team as we host a wide array of leaders. You will hear directly from leading philanthropists, foundation executives, corporate leaders and others who share their experience, insights, and ideas on the nature of generosity and philanthropic giving.
A philanthropic leader shares her journey and thoughts on leadership in a time of pandemic and social unrest
Allan and Clare interview Mary Thomas, COO, The Spartanburg County Foundation
The Spartanburg County Foundation:
The Spartanburg County Foundation was established in 1943 by Walter Scott Montgomery and seven key business leaders who saw community philanthropy as a way to address issues in the area. As the oldest community foundation in South Carolina, the Foundation recognizes a rich history of innovation, philanthropy, engagement, and community impact. Over the past 75 years, the Foundation and its donors have granted more than $161 million to nonprofits serving the needs of Spartanburg County and beyond. Today, the Foundation manages more than $200 million in assets and nearly 1,000 charitable funds that will sustain positive change in Spartanburg County.
Mary L. Thomas has over 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. She currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer of The Spartanburg County Foundation where she is responsible for the day to day operations of the organization and leads its mission, vision, and strategies while translating the Foundation's goals into the overall program of work. Prior to joining the Foundation in 1998, Ms. Thomas was the Executive Director of The Bethlehem Center, a ministry that serves families in the Highland community of Spartanburg, SC for 11 years.
Ms. Thomas is a graduate of Winthrop University, and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in French and Communications. She was an exchange student to France through Lenoir-Rhyne College in 1983 and is a former French teacher in Spartanburg District 7 schools.
Ms. Thomas is a very active leader in the Spartanburg community and has held extensive leadership roles with a host of organizations throughout the area and beyond. She currently serves on the Apella Board of the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, Converse College Board of Visitors, the Northside Development Group Board of Directors, and the BMW Community Advisory Panel. Her past board service includes: The Southeastern Council of Foundations, The Rotary Club of Spartanburg, CF Leads, Women in Philanthropy, AFL Advisory Board, the Mary Black Health System Women's and Children's Advisory Board, the Mary Black Health System Board of Trustees, and SC ETV Advisory Board. She is also a former Commissioner for The South Carolina State Housing and Finance Authority. Ms. Thomas is a graduate of Leadership Spartanburg, Furman University Diversity Leadership Institute, and Spartanburg Regional Fellows. She is a Past Chair of The SC Grantmakers, the Spartanburg County Consensus Project, and Spartanburg Communities in Schools.
Ms. Thomas's many honors include but are not limited to: being named Top Three Distinguished Grantmakers by the Council on Foundations in 2014 and, in 2006, being the first African American to win the Council on Foundation's Robert W. Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking established by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund of New York. She took her prize money of $10,000 coupled with numerous gifts from the Spartanburg community to establish the Mary L. Thomas Award for Civic Leadership and Community Change. This award is managed by The Spartanburg County Foundation, and a deserving leader is recognized annually for his/her leadership on critical issues in the Spartanburg community. Other honors include Junior League Sustainer of the Year, the James E. Whitmire Meritorious Award, the Sunrise Civitan Good Citizen Award, the Mary McCloud Bethune Trailblazer Award (presented by the National Council of Negro Women), the 1998 Piedmont Area Girl Scouts Woman of Achievement, and a 1997 YMCA Black Achiever. She was ordained as a minister in 1986 by the Rocky River Baptist Association and is the second female to have that distinction in the Association. She is a member of Cornerstone Baptist Church where she serves as an Elder and Ministry Advisor. Ms. Thomas is the daughter of Mrs. Louise Thomas and Fred Thomas of Spartanburg, SC and is the eldest of three children. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, decorating, cooking, and sports.
Thoughts and advice from a philanthropic leader in a time of pandemic transitions
Allan and Clare interview Tom Lawrence, President, The Leon Levine Foundation
1.Very effective leadership (staff and board)
2.Impact measurable, trends, how do you consider success
3.Sustainability comfortable with long-term operations
1.Continue to focus on your mission (with a solid contingency plan)
2.Board engagement (staff and board aligned), use board connections
3.Finding the good, focus on the wins
4.Be aware of nonprofits' staff's mental health
The Leon Levine Foundation:
Created in 1980 by Leon Levine (Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Family Dollar Stores, Inc.), The Leon Levine Foundation's mission is to improve the human condition by creating permanent, measurable, and life-changing impact throughout the Carolinas. Based in Charlotte, N.C., the foundation invests in nonprofits with strong leadership, a track record of success, and a focus on sustainability in the areas of healthcare, education, Jewish values, and human services.
Tom Lawrence is the President and a member of the Board of Directors of The Leon Levine Foundation. In 2002, Tom joined the Levine Family Office as Chief Financial Officer to oversee the personal finances, tax compliance and investment portfolio management for the family and its Foundation. He previously worked in the Family Wealth Planning division of Arthur Andersen in Charlotte and with the general services group of McGladrey & Pullen in Richmond, Virginia. Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Tom is a graduate of the University of Richmond. He and his wife, Gina, have two children.
A conversation with the Senior Vice President, Wells Fargo Corporate Philanthropy and Community Relations for our Wells Fargo region in a time of pandemic
*Following our conversation, Juan shared a brief on how Wells Fargo is responding to COVID-19 in support of their customers, team members and communities, which you can read here.
**Side-note: Allan Burrows and Juan Austin served together on board of the NC Center for Nonprofits.
In his role with Wells Fargo, Juan provides leadership to: all Corporate Philanthropy and Employee Involvement activities in North Carolina, (Exception: Greater Charlotte Region) South Carolina, District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. Austin's primary focus is delivering strategic and brand/reputation building corporate philanthropy. Areas of emphasis include consulting, strategic analysis, training, budgeting, forecasting and proposal review & approvals. Since joining Wachovia in 1986, Austin has gained experience in several areas of the bank including Auto Dealer Finance, Retail, Business Banking, Community Lending & Investment, Commercial Banking and Wealth Management.
Juan is a native of Greensboro, NC, where he now lives with his wife; they have two adult children. He has been with the company since 1986, and holds a B.S. in Wealth & Trust Management from Campbell University, as well as Corporate Social Responsibility Certification from Boston College.
He is a current Board Member of the following: NC Community Foundation; Campbell University Business School Advisory Council; Mount Zion Baptist Church, Chair Finance Committee; and a past Board Member of: NC A&T State University Board of Visitors; NC Business Committee for Education; NC Center for Nonprofits; NC Public School Forum; Liberty Street Community Development Corporation; Youth Focus, Inc., Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Greensboro, Reading Connections, Inc.; N.C. Community Development Inc. - Initiative Capital
A talk with the executive president of The Duke Endowment, in a time of spreading pandemic
Allan and Clare interview Rhett Mabry, President of The Duke Endowment:
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.
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.
A talk with the executive director of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, in a time of spreading pandemic
Allan and Clare interview Damon Circosta, Executive Director and Vice President, A.J. Fletcher Foundation.
Damon has been the Executive Director of AJF since 2012 where he has spearheaded several initiatives that help non-profits thrive. Damon comes to work every day heartened by all of the good things happening in the non-profit sector and AJF's unique role as funders, partners, counselors and helpers in these endeavors.
His favorite quote, originally attributed to an 18th Century French Philosopher, but made known to Damon in a book about surfing sums up how he feels about his job:
"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both."
A native of Arizona, Damon has lived in California, Hawaii and (for a few weeks each year) on the shores of Walloon Lake, Michigan. Previously, Damon led the North Carolina Center for Voter Education, an organization dedicated to improving the electoral process. He currently serves as the chair of the North Carolina State Board of Elections as well as a professor of the practice at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. He is a graduate of the University of Arizona School of Law. If you ask him, he will tell you way too much about his paleo diet and "fringe" sports pursuits like surfing, ultimate frisbee, climbing and pickleball. He vehemently opposes Daylight Savings Time.
Advice and thoughts from TogetherSC, Allies for Good, South Carolina's statewide network of nonprofit leaders, in a time of spreading pandemic
Allan and Clare interview Madeleine McGee, President of TogetherSC:
Madeleine has served South Carolina's nonprofit community for more than 30 years. She's led start-ups like the downtown revitalization program in Georgetown, SC, as well as established nonprofits like Coastal Community Foundation of SC that she ran for 10 years.
A fierce believer in the power of collaborative partnerships and a committed community advocate, Madeleine has also provided consulting services and worked for both local and state governments.
Since her appointment as president of Together SC in 2011, Madeleine has helped build South Carolina's network of "Allies for Good" to effectively serve more than 800 member organizations and the state's entire nonprofit sector.
Fueled by her lifelong passion for the work of South Carolina's nonprofit community, she works closely with Together SC's board of directors to provide services that strengthen the sector and the communities they serve.
Madeleine received her bachelor's degree and MBA from the University of Virginia. She's helped build Habitat houses and is a Big Sister with the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program. Madeleine is a native Charlestonian, a SC Liberty Fellow and served on the Town Council for Sullivan's Island, where she resides with her husband, Bunky Wichmann, three amazing children, and two Boykin Spaniels.
Advice and thoughts from the NC Center for Nonprofits in a time of spreading pandemic.
Allan and Clare interview Jeanne Tedrow, President & CEO of the NC Center for Nonprofits:
Jeanne Canina Tedrow became president & CEO of the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits on August 1, 2018. Prior to joining the NC Center, she co-founded the Passage Home Community Development Corporation in 1991. Through her 25 years of continuous leadership there, Passage Home grew from an organization helping a couple of families a year to one that serves over a thousand individuals leveraging $3.8 million of housing and support services annually in Wake County. She has served on boards and committees past and present the NC Martin Luther King Resource Center and Celebration Committee, Southeast Raleigh Assembly, NC Community Development Initiative, Solidarity Capital Group, NC Housing Finance Agency Housing Partnership, Justice Theater Project, Affordable Housing Task Force, and Garner Road Redevelopment Committee, more recently the Raleigh Area Land Trust (RALT) and National Council of Nonprofits.
She's been recognized with the Neighborhood Hero Award, "Pro Ecclesia Et Pontifices" bestowed and blessed by the Pope in the 2000 Jubilee Year, Triangle Business Leader Woman Extraordinaire Award, NC Black Women's Empowerment Award for Community Partnerships, Triangle Business Journal 2017 Women in Business Award, and was named a 2015 Goodmon Fellow.
She has completed the National Development Council and UNC School of Government's community development programs, NCSU Executive Coaching certification program, Grinnell Leadership Program, and Harvard Business School Executive Education. She earned a BA in urban and community development from the University of Massachusetts, and MA in public policy from Duke University as a Z. Smith Reynolds Fellow.
Raised in Boston, Jeanne has participated in a mission trip to Guatemala and has traveled to the Caribbean and Europe including Italy, England, Scotland, Copenhagen and Sweden. As part of a ZSR sabbatical, she traveled with her family throughout Italy and to the small village in Calabria from which her grandparents migrated. She has been married for 41 years and has two adult children and been godmother and mentor to a few. She enjoys walks on the beach, with her dog, playing golf, reading and writing and sometimes yard and garden work.