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Who donates to Blueprint?

As The Charlotte Observer reports Friday, Blueprint’s main donor – the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation – is upset at the organization’s strategy memo. The foundation gave Blueprint $425,000 in 2011, according to its most recent IRS filing.

Who else contributes to Blueprint?

Donors to nonprofit organizations are not part of the public file that goes to the IRS. But Blueprint included the information with its filing with the state as a charitable organization.

Leaked memo may jeopardize group's funding

A group that sent out a memo with tips on how to attack Gov. Pat McCrory and other Republican leaders exercised “bad judgment” that could jeopardize its funding, the director of a foundation that finances the group said Friday.

Leslie Winner, executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, said she was “surprised and disappointed” by the actions of Blueprint North Carolina. “(Z. Smith Reynolds) believes in robust debate on issues of public importance, (it) does not support attacking people,” said Winner, a former Democratic state senator. “We were disappointed to learn that Blueprint is advocating this strategy…

Eight lawmakers headed to Singapore

Eight legislators and a handful of state education officials are headed to Singapore in about a week to see what that country does right in math and science education.

The trip will be the second delegation to Singapore in the ten years that the Public School Forum of North Carolina and UNC’s Center for International Understanding have been sending lawmakers and policy shapers to look at other country’s schools, Mark Johnson reports.

The last three trips: Ireland, China and, now, Singapore, have all focused on nations where education and economic development are closely aligned, said John Dornan, the forum’s president.

"Out of nine countries we’ve not seen anybody do what Singapore has done," Dornan said.

Students in Singapore consistently score among the best students in the world in math and science.

The lawmakers headed overseas are Reps. Marvin Lucas of Cumberland county; Tricia Cotham of Charlotte; Tim Moore of Cleveland County; Earline Parmon of Winston-Salem and Sens. Debbie Clary of Cleveland County; John Snow of Cherokee County; Bob Atwater of Chatham County and Ed Jones of Halifax County.

State school board Chairman Bill Harrison and Scott Rawls, president of the N.C. Community College System also are going.

The trip is being funded primarily by a grant from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund with additional money from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, GlaxoSmithKline and SAS. A Glaxo official is joining the trip.

Truax heads to Z. Smith Reynolds

Hawley Truax is heading to the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

The senior policy adviser to Gov. Mike Easley will now be working for the Winston-Salem-based nonprofit, which focuses on social justice, environmental and community projects.

Former Democratic labor commissioner candidate Mary Fant Donnan also works at the foundation.

Truax was one of two Easley advisers who got in trouble in 2007 for helping a longtime Easley ally arrange a private consulting business.

With Easley's second term drawing to a close, many of his top advisers are leaving for other jobs.

Former budget adviser Dan Gerlach now heads the Golden LEAF Foundation

Lambeth ready to reform campaign finance

Tom Lambeth remembers the bad-old days of campaign finance.

As chief of staff to Rep. Richardson Preyer in the 1970s, he recalls the days before post-Watergate reforms when lobbyists would hand cash-filled envelopes to Congressmen.

During his tenure as head of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation in Winston-Salem, he helped direct grant money and host conferences on campaign finance that indirectly led to the public financing of judicial campaigns and some Council of State races.

Now he's getting ready for an even bigger reform.

Gov.-elect Beverly Perdue has said she will appoint Lambeth to run an endowment that would providing public financing for gubernatorial candidates who pledge to run positive campaigns.

Lambeth, 73, says he spoke with Perdue about the endowment earlier this year and most recently about six weeks ago. He knows her from their work together on the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center and as a legislator.

More after the jump.

Donnan: More labor for commissioner

Mary Fant Donnan thinks the labor commissioner should work more.

A former policy and research director under Labor Commissioner Harry Payne, she told Dome that Commissioner Cherie Berry could be doing more for workers around the state.

"I think it's important to have a change," she said. "I think the current commissioner is not taking the leadership role and opportunity to speak out on these important issues that we've got to look into how we can move into the 21st century." 

She said that she would focus on improving training on workplace safety and health regulations. She also said she would work collaboratively with other branches of state government.

Donnan currently works as a program officer for the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation in Winston-Salem, working on community economic development.

She faces former Labor Commissioner John Brooks, Ty Richardson and Robin Anderson in the Democratic primary.

Luger named UNC counsel

The UNC system has a new top lawyer: Laura Bernstein Luger, who has been an attorney with Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice of Durham.

Luger was announced today as vice president for legal affairs and general counsel of the University of North Carolina system. She starts the job Feb. 1 at an annual salary of $225,000, Jane Stancill reports.

Luger succeeds Leslie Winner, who resigned from the post last month to become executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

UNC President Erskine Bowles made the announcement at a meeting of the UNC Board of Governors in Winston-Salem. He described Luger as a seasoned negotiator, mediator, and litigator.

Vagt to oversee Heinz Endowments

Former Davidson College President Robert F. Vagt will become president of The Heinz Endowments in Pittsburgh in mid-January, the foundation announced today.

Vagt, 60, will lead the distribution of more than $80 million annually from the foundation, which began in 1941 as the Howard Heinz Endowment, reports Jane Stancill.

A $1.6 billion philanthropy, the foundation's money comes from the fortune of the ketchup company founder H.J. Heinz.

Vagt was president of Davidson from 1997 until earlier this year, when he was succeeded by Thomas Ross. Ross left the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation to accept the Davidson presidency.

The switch in roles for the two men was noted by Vagt, who joked in the Davidson news release, "I guess I'm just a Tom Ross wanna-be!"

UNC loses Winner

Leslie Winner will head the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

UNC President Erskine Bowles announced today that the foundation had "stolen" the vice president and general counsel for the UNC system, Jane Stancill reports.

The news prompted a standing ovation from the UNC Board of Governors, which was in the middle of a presentation about university curriculum. Winner said she was excited about her new role.

"I am really, really thrilled to have this opportunity to serve North Carolina," she said.

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