Ben Carson on the ‘crowning jewel of America’

June 25, 2013

News & Observer columnist Barry Saunders contributes this piece based on his interview with Dr. Ben Carson of Johns Hopkins University. (Dr. Carson will be the headline speaker at a fundraiser to provide partial scholarships to families in need. More info here.) Years ago, a man who worked as a soccer referee called to tell me that Raleigh’s Upper Room Christian Academy was one of the schools whose games he officiated. At the time, the Upper Room Church of God In Christ’s polarizing pastor, Patrick Wooden, was embroiled in one controversy or another and was much in the news. That’s not what the soccer official wanted to talk about, though. Never, the ref gushed, had he encountered children as well-behaved and mannerly as those from Upper Room. I don’t remember his exact quote, but the words “character” and “values” still stand out. Dr. Benjamin Carson, the much-sought-after, world famous neurosurgeon who is retiring this week from medicine for a possible...

Remembering Gov. Jim Holshouser

June 19, 2013

Former Gov. Jim Holshouser — one of only two Republicans elected chief executive in North Carolina in the 20th century — passed away Monday at the age of 78. A report from WRAL-TV outlines the impact of Holshouser's time in office: Holshouser was only 38 when he was elected governor in 1972, becoming the first Republican to lead the state since the 1800s. The Democratic Party controlled the General Assembly at the time, but Holshouser worked with lawmakers to expand public school kindergartens statewide, establish health clinics in rural areas not served by local physicians and expand the state parks system. “James Holshouser was more than a friend and mentor, he was a genuine leader,” Gov. Pat McCrory said in a statement. “His passing is not only a loss for the state of North Carolina but for the countless number of people who were personally touched by his guidance and kindness." Holshouser helped McCrory transition into the Governor's Office after his victory in...

Free-market philanthropy paved the way for Margaret Thatcher

April 11, 2013

Grant-making efforts by Sir Antony Fisher in Great Britain paved the way for Margaret Thatcher's pro-free market reforms, according to Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill at Philanthropy Daily. She writes: Many tributes have been paid to Baroness Thatcher’s intelligence, fortitude, and statesmanship. And, while these encomia are thoroughly deserved, her successes were not hers alone. Thatcher’s success in changing Britain were in part due to changes in public opinion that preceded her election and may be credited, in part, to Sir Antony Fisher, the remarkable philanthropist who set about to change Britain by changing the views of those we would today call opinion-leaders. Fisher did not set out to be a philanthropist. Serving in the Royal Air Force during World War II, he became a firm opponent of totalitarianism. Persuaded by economist F. A. Hayek’s argument that British socialism tended to totalitarianism, Fisher visited Hayek to ask for advice about how best to check British...

Maggie Thatcher’s connection to North Carolina — through Jesse Helms

April 9, 2013

Categories: In The News

Margaret Thatcher's passing yesterday prompted this article in the Raleigh News & Observer focusing on the long friendship between the Iron Lady and North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms: Helms, who represented North Carolina in the U.S. Senate for 30 years, once called [Thatcher] “the greatest prime minister in Great Britain since Winston Churchill.” The former British prime minister, for her part, put Helms up there with the late President Ronald Reagan and herself when it came to upholding a principled, conservative approach to government. The two conservatives first met during President Jimmy Carter’s administration during the 1970s, before Thatcher became prime minister, said John Dodd, president of the Jesse Helms Center in Wingate. Helms befriended Thatcher on that visit, providing office space for her while she was in Washington. He remembered the encounter in his autobiography, calling her an “indomitable woman” and writing: “From the beginning I...

Christensen: Art Pope gives new administration ‘needed muscle’ in Raleigh

March 11, 2013

Categories: In The News

The News & Observer's veteran political reporter Rob Christensen writes that Gov. Pat McCrory's hiring of Art Pope as his budget director was "a shrewd move – and not just because Pope works cheap as a $1-a-year man." Christensen contributed this column on Pope, who is also President and Chairman of the John William Pope Foundation: Many people find it difficult to think dispassionately about Pope because he has become such a polarizing figure – knight of the right to his admirers or a somewhat sinister Daddy-Warbucks-Dick-Cheney-string-puller to his critics. But for McCrory, a rookie governor with little Raleigh experience, having Pope at his side during the early months of his administration has been an asset. Consider that McCrory is spending three hours a day preparing his state budget for delivery to the legislature later this month. With the state still trying to shake off the effects of the deep recession, Pope brings a sharp businessman’s eyes to the...

WRAL: Two foundations fund the battle of ideas in N.C.

WRAL.com's Mark Binker has a lengthy piece discussing nonprofits in North Carolina that contribute ideas to the public policy debate. Binker highlights the Pope Foundation as the principal funding source for right-of-center groups and the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation as the principal source for left-of-center groups. He writes: Roughly a dozen groups make up the core of Raleigh's intellectual industrial complex, with a dozen others playing a larger or smaller role as specific issues arise. Although there are exceptions, the most frequently quoted and cited of these groups break down into two families, each with ties to one of two foundations that helps to fund their activities. The Justice Center, Action NC, Progress North Carolina, Planned Parenthood and many other left-of-center groups can trace some part of their funding back to the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, a Winston-Salem based philanthropy founded as a memorial to the son of a tobacco magnate. A handful of other...

Art Pope praised for creating jobs in low-income towns

February 6, 2013

Categories: In The News

Andrea Harris, president of the N.C. Institute for Minority Economic Development, credits Art Pope (President and Chairman of the Pope Foundation) and Variety Wholesalers Inc. with saving jobs in low-income, rural areas of North Carolina. Harris is quoted in this news story from The Triangle Tribune, an African-American newspaper (emphasis added): Born in Henderson, N.C., Harris witnessed the closing of Roses Store headquarters. Out of a city that holds about 45,000 people, nearly 6,000 lost their jobs in almost six years. Variety Wholesalers, Inc., where Pope is CEO, saved jobs for the residents. Many of the stores are in minority census track and low-income towns. “We need commercial investments in our neighborhoods that don't sell alcohol and drug paraphernalia. Variety Wholesalers does not sell tobacco, alcohol or guns. Over half the employees are women. Over a third of the managers look like me,” Harris said. “When it comes to Art Pope, I see a different person...