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.
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. The company employs over 7,000 people at its Henderson, NC headquarters, and throughout its 270+ store locations in the east.
Art’s career has been committed to public service. He served four terms (1989-1992, 1999-2002) in the North Carolina House of Representatives. He was also special counsel to Governor Jim Martin (1985) after working on his campaign. In January 2013, he was appointed as state budget director Governor Pat McCrory and served nearly two years.
His civic service has also extended to numerous boards and commissions. Currently, Art serves on the Board of Directors for the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University and Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation (past board chair of both organizations). 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.
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 earned a BA with honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1978). He received his JD from Duke University (1981). He and his wife Kathy have a blended family of three adult children.