Art Pope, Chairman
Art Pope (www.artpope.com) is chairman of the John William Pope Foundation, a private grant-maker supported by the Variety Wholesalers, Inc. and the Pope family. The Pope Foundation was founded in 1986 at the direction of Art’s father, John William Pope with the intent to make positive contributions for a freer and more prosperous North Carolina.
To date, the foundation has given over $145 million in grants to support public policy, education, arts, and humanitarian efforts. The Foundation’s philanthropic vision is rooted in meeting real human needs, in the short-term through humanitarian aid, and in the long-term through liberty-oriented organizations.
Pope is also chairman of Variety Wholesalers, Inc., a private family-held business that owns and operates a general merchandise retail chain that includes Roses and Maxway stores, among others. The company employs over 7,000 people at its Henderson, N.C. headquarters and throughout its 270+ store locations in the east.
Additionally, Art’s career has been committed to public service. In the North Carolina House of Representatives, Art served four terms (1989-1992, 1999-2002). He also served as special counsel to Governor Jim Martin of North Carolina in 1985 after working on his campaign. Art is an activist in the Republican Party, having served at every level from precinct chairman to chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party State Convention and delegate to the Republican National Convention (1992, 1996, 2008, and 2012). In January 2013, he was appointed as state budget director Governor Pat McCrory and served nearly two years in the role.
His services have also extended to numerous nonprofit and government boards and commissions. Currently, Art serves on the Board of Directors for the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University and is chairman of the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. In the past, Art has served on the boards of Americans for Prosperity, the John Locke Foundation, Atlas Economic Research Foundation, the Jesse Helms Center at Wingate College, the Boy Scouts of America Occoneechee Council, the Institute of Political Leadership, the North Carolina FreeEnterprise Foundation, the North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law, and the Golden LEAF Foundation.
He was inducted into the Wallace Carl Riddick Society at N.C. State University in 2004 for his contributions to the school. In 2009, Art Pope received the Thomas Roe Award from the State Policy Network for his innovation and leadership in promoting free markets and less intrusive government at the state and local level.
Art lives in Raleigh, North Carolina and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, B.A. with honors (1978) and received his J.D. from Duke University (1981). He and his wife Kathy have a blended family of three adult children.