by Mary Morgan
My pinecone emblazoned business card defines me as the “Philanthropy Counsel” for the North Carolina Community Foundation (NCCF) where I have worked for more than seven years now. I love my job as Philanthropy Counsel; it has to be the best lawyer job in the world! What? You’ve never heard of a Philanthropy Counsel before? Well, that might be because, as far as we know, we invented the job title right here at NCCF headquarters in Raleigh!
When people ask, and they inevitably do, what a Philanthropy Counsel does, I like to explain my role this way: I serve as the in-house counsel for legal issues directly related to our charitable purpose of “charitable giving and granting” -- in other words, all of the feel-good legal issues. (By my own definition, “feel-good legal issues” naturally exclude lease law, employment law, copyright/trademark law and most definitely, securities law.) I have the opportunity to work on a wide array of interesting and challenging legal issues that at the end of the day are all somehow related to philanthropy or the charitable good. Not many lawyers are as lucky!
Just as there is more to NCCF’s charitable mission than enabling charitable giving and granting, there is more to why I love my job here. NCCF was founded 25 years ago in order to enable all North Carolinians, regardless of income, a means to work together and improve and sustain their own communities through collective generosity. Core to this mission is spreading philanthropy into the state’s rural and under-served counties. You see, NCCF is comprised of 60 local affiliate foundations that serve 67 counties scattered from one end of the state to the other. Though NCCF operates in larger counties such as New Hanover, Wake and those in the Catawba Valley region, 55 of the 67 counties it serves are considered “rural.”
And while all community foundations do good things, I am particularly proud to be part of NCCF because I deeply believe in its unique approach to philanthropy. Maybe it is because I grew up in Harnett County or maybe it is because both of my parents grew up on small North Carolina farms (Harnett County and Sampson County) that I appreciate the fact that NCCF operates in areas other than just big, prospering towns and cities. You see, I know that generosity is not limited by the prosperity of the town or city in which one lives. Nor does generosity emanate only from prosperous people. NCCF affiliates in all areas of the state, both rural and urban, can develop funds and support issues that strengthen their local communities because of the leadership and administrative services, (including legal services!) provided by NCCF.
I am honored to serve as NCCF’s Philanthropy Counsel and available to assist you at any time.
For more information on what I do or to discuss the job title “Philanthropy Counsel,” please email me.