The mission of the Rye Foundation is to make a life-changing impact on North Carolina children
by providing grants in the areas of Religion, Youth, and Education.
News from the Rye
During my career in philanthropy, I have canvassed and crisscrossed the state of North Carolina in an effort to match great people with great projects.
Yes, I have conducted business meetings in Murphy and Manteo. I have traveled from Hendersonville to Hertford, and from Waynesville to Wilmington. During one unforgettable stretch, I visited Clayton, Calabash, Charlotte, and Caswell Beach. Somehow, my itinerary was changed and I missed out on the picturesque mountain village of Cashiers.
Recently, on the way to a special event at the Oak Valley Golf Club in Davie County, I drove onto Legacy Drive. And it reminded me that each one of us is “leaving a legacy” through our friendships, achievements, and service to others.
Three special individuals have set a high standard for passing along values to the next generation.
1. Celebrating Her 111th Birthday
My friend Carlyle Hayes is thoughtful to invite me to his mother’s birthday party each summer in Winston-Salem. Sina Hayes was born in 1903, several months before the Wright Brothers made their famous flight at the Outer Banks.
Every gathering features a large crowd, great fellowship, and good food. In 2014, attendees gathered around the honoree and serenaded her with a joyful version of “Happy Birthday” on the milestone occasion. For most of us, it was the very first time we had sung the song on someone’s 111th birthday!
I am thankful for the Hayes family and for their love for their matriarch.
2. Making Sandwiches and Molding Lives
You may have read that Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy died on September 8, 2014 at the age of 93. On the day of his death, the company operated 1,800 restaurants in 40 states.
Several years ago, Mr. Cathy called me on the phone to discuss his WinShape Foundation. Later, we met face-to-face when he was 81 years old. I still remember what he said that day: “This is the most exciting year I have ever experienced.”
At his memorial service, very few speakers mentioned his phenomenal business success. Rather, they talked about his 50-year commitment to teaching the 13-year-old boys at his local church in Jonesboro, Georgia. And they talked about his firm belief that every single child deserves a fair chance in life.
3. A Day with Dr. Dobson
Many would say that Dr. James Dobson is the foremost authority on issues of parenting, relationships, and communications. He is known worldwide for his daily broadcast which is carried by 3,000 radio stations, and for his best-selling books like Dare to Discipline and Parenting Isn’t for Cowards.
It was a special honor to receive an invitation to meet Dr. Dobson during his appearance at the Billy Graham Library on February 14, 2015. And it was gratifying – but not surprising – to learn that the title of his latest book is Your Legacy.
All of us who attended the event left with a profound sense of gratitude for this man who has provided information and encouragement to families around the world.
One Final Question
Each of these citizens made a positive impact on their communities, their homes, and their nation. How do you want to be remembered?
Individuals who include the Rye Foundation in their estate planning can experience the joy of giving, and have the knowledge that boys and girls will be nurtured, instructed, and inspired by caring adults. Each of us can learn about “leaving a legacy” from Sina Hayes, Truett Cathy, and Dr. James Dobson.
During the dedication of Sandpiper Cottage at the North Carolina Baptist Assembly, staff director Rick Holbrook shared a fascinating story.
In the 1940s, North Carolina Baptists were approached about the possibility of purchasing the Oak Island property for $110,000. “Being Baptists”, according to Rick, “they formed a committee and then negotiated a lower price.” And that investment of $87,000 has paid tremendous dividends over many decades. Today, the property is insured for $20 million and each year 40,000 guests attend retreats, conferences, and youth camps.
All those interested in Christian stewardship will appreciate a similar return on investment. Here are seven trends to monitor in the important area of faith-based giving.
- Accountability is the number one buzzword in philanthropy. Contributors want to be sure that their gifts are spent wisely. Local churches, area ministries, and national organizations realize the importance of credibility in their decision-making and transparency in their reporting.
- The largest charitable gifts are usually estate gifts. While many are fluent in the language of charitable trusts, over 85 percent of estate gifts involve a simple bequest. Frank Westmoreland, a retiree of Piedmont Airlines, died on May 29, 2013 and left a bequest which totaled nearly $600,000 to the Building Fund of his church, Ardmore Baptist Church in Forsyth County.
- Youth-led initiatives are on the rise. News stories abound of children who request “no gifts” for their birthday parties, and instead ask that attendees make a donation to a specific charitable cause. The next wave of philanthropists is being trained in church mission groups and by civic clubs like Kiwanis and Rotary with a presence on school campuses.
- We live in a high-tech world, but philanthropy is a high-touch endeavor. The most successful leaders I know still write handwritten notes. Technology is great at reaching the masses, but raising money still requires the personal touch and face-to-face interaction. Development officers in colleges and medical centers have set a high standard for identifying, cultivating, and involving prospective supporters.
- Task forces are in and committees are out. Leaders are finding it extremely difficult to recruit individuals to serve in long-term committee assignments. Rather, they form task forces which focus on a single goal and then disband when the task is completed.
- Bob Buford was exactly right about leaving a legacy. In his book Halftime, Buford said that most Americans spend the first half of their lives looking for worldly success. At midlife, many begin to look for significance in terms of leaving a legacy. While his research was primarily focused on men, it is known that female philanthropists share this interest in making a difference.
- If volunteers write the plan, then they will underwrite the plan. Simple translation: volunteers are key to the ongoing success of any organization. A high priority should be placed on their recruitment, training, and development.
In today’s fast-paced society, donors are intent on making an investment, not a donation. And whether the gift is for a prison ministry, children’s home, or medical center, there will definitely be a “return on investment” that cannot be calculated in mere financial terms.