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The N.C. Secretary of State’s office had a report out yesterday that found North Carolina residents are continuing a downward trend in their charitable giving.

The office, led by Elaine Marshall, a Democrat, monitors charities in the state and puts out a report each year about the how much of a charity’s incoming revenue goes to services and program and how much covers overhead costs.

In 2013-14, North Carolina charities received $21.4 million, a drop of 33 percent from the $32.2 million in donations that came in the year before. This year was also the lowest amount that’s been donated in the past four years.

It also comes as the effects of the recession continue to linger in North Carolina, and more families and residents are turning to charities for help.

Nearly one in every five families in the state aren’t making enough to cover their basic living expenses as the state’s manufacturing base has been replaced by low-paying jobs in the service and tourism industries, according to a  report published in June 2014 by the N.C. Justice Center’s Budget and Tax Center.

Employment levels have been on a slow climb out of the recession, and last month North Carolina finally saw its employment numbers match the number of jobs there were in the state before the recession began in 2008.

“Clearly, we are seeing that North Carolina households are still under a great deal of economic pressure,” Marshall said, in a written statement. “I thank everyone who is continuing to finds ways to support the non-profits out there that are trying to accomplish good works.”

The figures don’t cover all of charitable giving in the state – only those charities that use professional fundraising services, pay officers of the charity and raise more than $25,000. Educational institutions, churches and other religious groups and groups like volunteer fire departments also don’t have to report their information to Marshall’s office.

You can read the report here, and search to see what individual charities collected, and what went to overhead costs.

 

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Several protests will be held today in response to a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict a Ferguson police officer who shot and killed a teenager last August.

Mike Brown

The shooting death of Mike Brown, who was black, by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who is white, touched off protests and unrest across the nation. N.C. Policy Watch’s Sharon McCloskey has this post , “What you need to know about Ferguson” with links to some of the most in-depth reporting so far on the grand jury’s decision.

The St. Louis prosecutor in charge of the grand jury investigation also took the highly unusual move to release the evidence and transcripts of testimony heard by the grand jury, whose proceedings are, by law, secret.

All of that, including Wilson’s testimony, is compiled here.

You can watch a press conference beginning at 10 a.m. from North Carolina NAACP President William Barber here about the grand jury and tonight’s protests.

The state NAACP will hold an vigil and interfaith event at 6:30 p.m. tonight at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, 1801 Hillsborough St. in Raleigh.

There are several other North Carolina events, all beginning at 6 p.m., scheduled for tonight to protest the grand jury’s decision not to indict Wilson.

Tonight’s protests (with updates) are supposed to be held at:

  • Chapel Hill: corner of Elliot Road and Franklin Street
  • Charlotte - Marshall Park, 3rd and McDowell streets
  • Durham: 501 Foster St.  Blue Coffee, 202 Corcoran St.
  • Greenville: Pitt County Courthouse, W. 34d and Evans streets
  • Greensboro – Governmental Plaza, 110 S. Green St.
  • Pittsboro – 1085 Mitchell Chapel Road, Pittsboro (hosted by Mitchell  Chapel AME Zion Church)
  • Raleigh: Moore Square, Martin and Blount streets
  • Rocky Mount: City Hall, 331 S. Franklin Street

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mccroryThere’s a hard-hitting report out today from the Center for Public Integrity peeling back the layers behind the Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition, a group of primarily Republican governors pushing to allow off-shore drilling in Atlantic waters.

The coalition is chaired by Gov. Pat McCrory, and the Center for Public Integrity report (also published in Time magazine) details how a private firmed backed by oil and energy industry representatives are providing research and information to the group of governors. (Click here to read the entire article.)

From the report:

While the message from the governors that morning [a February meeting with U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell] would have come as no surprise to Jewell, less clear, perhaps, was that the governors were drawing on the research and resources of an energy lobbying firm acting on behalf of an oil industry-funded advocacy group.

Indeed, the background materials handed to the governors for the meeting, right down to those specific “asks,” were provided by Natalie Joubert, vice president for policy at the Houston- and Washington D.C.-based HBW Resources. Joubert helps manage the Consumer Energy Alliance, or CEA, a broad-based industry coalition that HBW Resources has been hired to run. The appeal for regulatory certainty, for example, came with a note to the governors that Shell, a CEA member, “felt some of the rules of exploration changed” after it began drilling operations in the Arctic.

McCrory, a former Duke Energy executive, does not come off looking very good, with a mention of his spokesman contacting the private industry-backed firm to ask how to answer a reporter’s questions about the group led by McCrory.

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As has already been reported, the Charter Day School group of public charter schools run by a private company has turned over much of the salary information.

Both the Wilmington Star-News and ProPublica, a national investigative journalism non-profit, have reports out about what was missing from the disclosures.

Roger Bacon Academies, the company owned by conservative charter school founder Baker Mitchell Jr., has received millions in public funds as part of the company’s exclusive contracts to run four Wilmington-area charter schools — Charter Day School in Leland, Columbus Charter School in Whiteville, South Brunswick High School in Southport and Douglass Academy in Wilmington.

The State Board of Education, as part of an effort to increase transparency in charter schools, had asked for detailed salary information from all 148 charter schools operating in the state, including those who have contracts with education management companies. The quartet of schools run by Roger Bacon Academies were the only schools to not respond to the state’s request. The schools provided the information after it was put on a financial noncompliance status earlier this month.

The Wilmington paper reported this week that the salaries of Charter Day School administrators seem to lag their traditional public school counterparts, but note that details about bonuses or other financial benefits were not disclosed to the N.C. Department of Instruction.

Nor was salary information about Mitchell’s son, who works at the schools as an information technology director, provided, according to this report from ProPublica. The group published an extensive article looking into the North Carolina charter schools earlier this fall.

From ProPublica:

Nick Mitchell, Baker Mitchell’s son, is on the payroll of Roger Bacon Academy, his father’s for-profit management company, according to both his LinkedIn profile and the schools’ own organizational charts. The younger Mitchell is the only management firm employee listed on the schools’ organizational charts whose salary is not on the list turned over to regulators.

The North Carolina State Board of Education last week took Mitchell’s charter schools off financial probation after finally receiving the salary list. After ProPublica flagged the missing salary to the state board, an agency attorney, Katie Cornetto, said the state has “asked the school to clarify” and is awaiting a response.

And what does the non-profit board of directors that employs Roger Bacon Academies have to say? Apparently not much, at least to ProPublica.

From the article:

We also requested comment from Baker Mitchell and John Ferrante, the chair of the nonprofit board that oversees the schools. In an email reply ending with a smiley-face emoticon, Ferrante declined to answer ProPublica’s question about the missing salary.

You can read the entire exchange here.

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Stephen White, victim in Greensboro attack. Source: qnotes

Stephen White, victim in Greensboro attack. Source: qnotes

The man found in a Greensboro hotel beaten and with burns on over 50 percent of his body has died from his injuries.

Stephen Patrick White, 46, died Saturday from the burns and injuries he sustained Nov. 9, when police believe Garry Gupton, 26, attacked White in a hotel room, according to QNotes, a Charlotte-based LGBT news publication.

White, an Army veteran, had been in critical condition at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, with burns over 50 percent of his body. Parts of both of his arms had been amputated following the Nov. 9 attack, according to the Associated Press.

White and Gupton were seen leaving Chemistry Nightclub, a gay club in Greensboro, hours before police and firefighters were called out to a hotel where White was found Nov. 9 with serious burns over 50 percent of his body.

Garry Gupton, suspect in attack. Source: Qnotes

Garry Gupton, suspect in attack. Source: Qnotes

Gupton, who works for the city of Greensboro’s water department, was arrested by police at the scene, and is expected to face a murder charge following White’s death Saturday.

Greensboro police do not believe the attack was a hate crime. Several national outlets had erroneously reported last week that Gupton went to the club that night intending to find someone to harm.

Greensboro police have refuted that, and said they don’t know why Gupton attacked White.

“He (Gupton) never verbalized to us that he intended to kill somebody,” said Susan Danielsen, a Greensboro police spokeswoman told N.C. Policy Watch Thursday. “There’s absolutely no evidence to indicate that this is a hate crime.”

The AP also spoke with Alex Teal, White’s longtime partner, who said White was injured in 2005 when he was working as a security contractor in Iraq. White had been in the Army in the 1980s, and also worked for U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Federal Air Marshal Service.