Juan Nelson comes full circle to help others find jobs

March 12, 2013

Our new Achiever Spotlight tells the story of Juan Nelson, who works as a case manager for StepUp Ministry's Life Skills program. Once employed and struggling with a drug addiction, today Juan helps others find jobs: It took five businessmen at a church in Charlotte, North Carolina, to set Juan Nelson on the path to new life. That was no easy task: Juan had just arrived in the Queen City seeking recovery from a nagging drug addiction. His criminal record scared away potential employers. But after he joined a ministry geared toward renewal through spiritual means, his life began to change. “The men in my church imparted a lot of principles,” Juan said. “Instead of telling me how to do it, they literally put their arms around me and showed me how to do it, how to change.” The process was slow and required a solid dose of humility up front, but soon Juan was hired in a supervisory role to help clean Harris Teeter stores. “It taught me how to work for someone else...

Pope Foundation Announces 2013 Class of Eagle Scout Scholars

February 19, 2013

RALEIGH, N.C. FEB. 19, 2013 — The John William Pope Foundation, one of the top-giving philanthropies in North Carolina, is proud to announce the 2013 class of Pope Family Eagle Scout scholars. The scholarships, valued at $20,000 for each student, will help four young men pursue careers in the military, small business, and music industry. The mission of the Pope Family Eagle Scout Scholarship is to further the course of study for devoted Eagle Scouts who want to become leaders in the free-enterprise system. The Pope family and the Pope Foundation have invested over $1 million in these promising young men and in the Occoneechee Council. “Helping these Eagle Scouts become the greatest leaders of tomorrow — that’s our goal,” said John Akerman, CEO of the Occoneechee Council, the scouting council that administers the scholarship. “We’re excited to see where life takes this newest class of young men.” The Pope Foundation funds two scholarships, valued at $40,000,...

Have philanthropists lost sight of the poor?

February 15, 2013

Have conservatives, preoccupied with the worthy goal of limiting the size of government, lost sight of an equally important goal: strengthening civil society by directly helping low-income individuals? William Schambra explores that question in this piece re-printed in Philanthropy Daily: Conservatives ... argue for a smaller federal government. They do so because it would sustain not only a more vigorous marketplace but also a more robust civil society. Civil society, not government, is the best instrument to meet the needs of low-income people, in this view. For poverty all too often results from the breakdown of the critical civic institutions like family, neighborhood, and voluntary associations that shelter and nurture the most vulnerable among us. When big government begins to assume that function, conservatives argue, it only further erodes civil society, while doing a woefully inadequate job as a substitute. But if this argument is valid, then conservative...

Fulfilling dreams for special-needs children

February 12, 2013

Categories: Humanitarian

Our new Grantee Profile focuses on the Helping Horse Therapeutic Riding Program, a nonprofit that provides equestrian therapy to special-needs children in Wake County and the surrounding area: For many developmentally challenged youngsters, a miracle is waiting on a 13-acre farm north of Raleigh: a horse. Time on horseback can be life changing for special-needs children. Some children speak their first words while riding. Directing a powerful animal like a horse boosts confidence, improves coordination, and teaches valuable skills — skills that can set kids on a path to new life. Such dreams come true every week at Helping Horse, a therapeutic riding program that helps children grow and develop through recreational activities with horses. Founded in 1989, Helping Horse serves an average of 30 riders each week. The program is run entirely by volunteers — up to 75 a week — and has no paid staff. In 1997, the program moved to its current location on the White Farm...

Serving the homeless in Wake County

January 29, 2013

Categories: Humanitarian

Our new Grantee Profile focuses on the Raleigh Rescue Mission, a nonprofit serving the homeless in North Carolina's capital city: Robert came to the Raleigh Rescue Mission with a long list of medical problems: prostate cancer, lupus, a knee injury, and a hernia. At the time, he had been living on the streets of downtown Raleigh for five years, destitute and alone. “It was cold nights. It was rainy days,” Robert said when describing his homeless life. “I couldn’t do anything but go between the soup kitchen and the shelter. I couldn’t find a job.” Without the Raleigh Rescue Mission, Robert admits that he would be dead today. “I am really grateful for being here,” he said. “I really am. The Mission has given me a second chance at life, and I really need it.” Another client, Melissa, says that the Mission saved her life. Her drug addiction had taken control of her, but after she got help, she’s been back in school to become job ready. “All of my...

One man’s decision to leave corporate America to feed the hungry

January 15, 2013

Categories: Humanitarian

Our new Achiever Spotlight tells the story of Lynn Daniell, executive director of the Raleigh Rescue Mission: Every popular super hero has an alter ego. Batman has Bruce Wayne. Superman has Clark Kent. Spiderman has Peter Parker. Lynn Daniell — executive director of the Raleigh Rescue Mission, a nonprofit serving the homeless in North Carolina’s capital city — has an alter ego, too. Throughout the year, Lynn changes his clean-cut appearance to dress up as Howard, a homeless man with long hair, bent teeth, and grubby clothes. He speaks at schools, churches, and other events. No one in the crowd realizes who Howard really is; they simply think he’s an impoverished man there to tell what it’s like to lack the basic necessities of life, comforts that most of us take for granted. When Lynn walks into the room dressed up as Howard, the usual reaction is dead silence. “Some people feel sorry for me,” Lynn said. “Others are scared to death.” Lynn uses his...

Durham Rescue Mission’s thrift store celebrates grand opening

January 9, 2013

Categories: Humanitarian

The Durham Rescue Mission opened its brand-new thrift store on Tuesday. The News & Observer reports: Two years ago, John Rush, 55, was estranged from his family and stuck in what he calls a “seven-year storm” of his own making. Bobby Taylor, also 55, said he “had no hope and didn’t know where to turn.” Then the two men found the Durham Rescue Mission. And today, each is settled, sober and employed by the place that helped them get clean. Taylor and Rush work for the nonprofit’s new thrift store, which opened Tuesday at 3900 Durham Chapel Hill Blvd. in Durham. Rush transports donated furniture to the nonprofit’s three thrift stores, and Taylor is a store supervisor. Ernie Mills, Durham Rescue Mission co-founder and CEO, said the nonprofit tries to employ participants in its programs whenever possible. Of the 34 people the new store plans to employ, store manager Rich Carr estimates that 75 percent came from Durham Rescue Mission’s Victory Program,...