Non-profit

A.J. Fletcher Foundation

Website:

ajf.org

Location:

RALEIGH, NC

Tax ID:

23-7423031

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $27,636,196
Expenses: $12,374,149
Assets: $135,168,300

The A.J. Fletcher Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports various colleges and educational charities in North Carolina. The organization also funds certain left-of-center advocacy organizations.

While the A.J. Fletcher Foundation claims to mainly support The Fletcher Academy, a private school in North Carolina, and various charities, the organization gives to left-progressive groups like the Common Cause Education Fund and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. [1]

The A.J. Fletcher Foundation is led by Damon Circosta, the Democratic chairman of the North Carolina Board of Elections. [2]

History

The A.J. Fletcher Foundation, originally titled the A.J. Fletcher Educational and Opera Foundation, was founded by businessman and arts advocate Alfred Johnston (A.J.) Fletcher in 1961. Fletcher, a media magnate, made his fortune in the media industry through his founding of the Capitol Broadcasting Company in 1937. [3]

Fletcher originally established the Grassroots Opera Company, later the National Opera Company, in 1948 to make opera more accessible to the public and to provide opportunities to young artists. [4] He later founded the A.J. Fletcher Educational and Opera Foundation to financially support opera companies, symphony orchestras, universities, and scholarship opportunities. In 1986, the foundation’s prosperity grew after the sale of the Southern Life Insurance Company, of which the organization was a major shareholder. In 1988, the foundation was renamed the A.J. Fletcher Foundation and expanded its purview to more broadly fund statewide service, education, and poverty programs. At the same time, the foundation began to offer seed money to new and emerging nonprofits. [5]

Today, the A.J. Fletcher Foundation provides funding to organizations in North Carolina that support the elderly, infirm, or indigent, and to those that promote education, the arts, or the fostering of religious faith. [6] In addition to its grantmaking to charities, the foundation also funds The Fletcher Academy, a Raleigh-based private nonprofit school that works with children who have learning disabilities. [7]

Leadership

James Goodmon is the chairman of the board of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation. [8] Goodmon is the grandson of A.J. Fletcher and worked as the president of the Capitol Broadcasting Company from 1979 to 2017. [9] Goodmon also serves as the chairman of the board of The Fletcher Academy. [10]

His wife, Barbara Goodmon, is president of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation. [11] She also serves as the president of the board of The Fletcher Academy. [12]

Their son, James Goodmon Jr., is president of the Capitol Broadcasting Company. [13] Goodmon Jr. is also a member of the board of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation[14] and is secretary of The Fletcher Academy. [15]

James and Barbara Goodmon’s other son, Michael Goodmon, is senior vice president of the Capitol Broadcasting Company,[16] previously served as director of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation,[17] and is a board member of The Fletcher Academy. [18]

Daniel McGrath is vice president, secretary, and treasurer of the board of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation. [19] McGrath is currently vice president and treasurer of the board of directors of the Capitol Broadcasting Company and previously served as the company’s CFO. [20] McGrath also serves as the vice president, treasurer, and assistant secretary of the board of The Fletcher Academy. [21]

Damon Circosta is the executive director and vice president of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation. [22] Circosta, a member of the Democratic Party, was appointed by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper (D) in 2019 to serve as the chairman of the State Board of Elections. [23] Circosta is also an adjunct instructor at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy. [24]

Political Bias

While A.J. Fletcher was conservative and used the Capitol Broadcasting Company to help propel Republican Jesse Helms, a staunch social conservative and anti-Communist, to the United States Senate, James Goodmon is a self-described pro-business liberal and has used the A.J. Fletcher Foundation to fund left-of-center causes. Goodmon is most interested in public education but has become more active on controversial political and social issues in recent years, including tax cuts and infrastructure funding. [25]

In 2014, Francis De Luca of the Raleigh-based right-leaning think tank Civitas Institute remarked that “[Goodmon] supports liberal organizations,” and that he did not believe “[Goodmon] is a benevolent media owner.” [26]

In a 2013 blogpost for Civitas, De Luca wrote that there is a substantial connection between the Goodmon family-controlled Capitol Broadcasting Company and A.J. Fletcher Foundation, and Blueprint NC, a progressive organizing coalition in North Carolina. De Luca went on to write that the “[A.J.] Fletcher Foundation has been a long time funder of Policy Watch…a project of the North Carolina Justice Center, also a large recipient of [A.J.] Fletcher Foundation grants.” [27] The North Carolina Justice Center is a liberal-leaning think tank active on state issues and is a member of the Economic Analysis and Research Network, an organization associated with the labor union-aligned Economic Policy Institute.

Grantmaking

In 2001, the A.J. Fletcher Foundation made a $10 million grant to the University of North Carolina School of the Arts to establish the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute to train future operatic artists. [28] The institute’s fellowship program covers full tuition and fees, and includes a cost of living stipend. [29]

The A.J. Fletcher Foundation is the main financial sponsor of The Fletcher Academy. The foundation donated $1,070,000 to the school in 2018. [30]

In 2018, the A.J. Fletcher Foundation gave $100,000 to the Common Cause Education Fund to support a HBCU education project. [31] The Common Cause Education Fund is a 501(c)(3) partner organization of Common Cause, a left-progressive advocacy group that focuses on campaign finance law and redistricting.

In 2018, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, a public interest law group modeled after the controversial Southern Poverty Law Center, received $75,000 for general operations from the A.J. Fletcher Foundation. [32] The Southern Coalition for Social Justice opposes voter identification laws[33] and supports removing law enforcement officers from schools. [34]

The A.J. Fletcher Foundation donated $10,000 in 2018 to the Justice Love Foundation,[35] a Raleigh-based social justice group that primarily engages in liberal philanthropic activism. [36]

The A.J. Fletcher Foundation donated $50,000 in 2018 to the NC Institute for Minority and Economic Development,[37] a Durham-based gender and racial justice group that works with ethnic-minority-owned businesses. [38]

References

  1. “The Story of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation.” A.J. Fletcher Foundation. Accessed September 7, 2020. https://ajf.org/history-of-the-foundation/ ^
  2. “About NCSBE.” North Carolina State Board of Elections. Accessed September 7, 2020. https://www.ncsbe.gov/about-ncsbe ^
  3. “A.J. Fletcher (1887-1979).” Capitol Broadcasting Company. Accessed September 7, 2020. https://www.capitolbroadcasting.com/history/the-people/a-j-fletcher/ ^
  4. “About Fletcher Opera.” University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Accessed September 7, 2020. https://www.uncsa.edu/music/graduate/fletcher-opera-institute/about.aspx ^
  5. “The Story of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation.” A.J. Fletcher Foundation. Accessed September 7, 2020. https://ajf.org/history-of-the-foundation/ ^
  6. “Our History.” The Fletcher Academy. Accessed September 7, 2020. https://tfaraleigh.org/our-history ^
  7. “The Fletcher Academy.” A.J. Fletcher Foundation. Accessed September 7, 2020. https://ajf.org/fletcher-academy/ ^
  8. “James ‘Jim’ Goodmon.” A.J. Fletcher Foundation. Accessed September 7, 2020. https://ajf.org/jim-goodmon-bio/ ^
  9. “Jim Goodmon.” Capitol Broadcasting Company. Accessed September 7, 2020. https://history.capitolbroadcasting.com/people/founders-and-leaders/jim-goodmon/ ^
  10. “Board of Directors.” The Fletcher Academy. Accessed September 7, 2020. https://tfaraleigh.org/board-of-directors ^
  11. “Barbard Goodmon.” A.J. Fletcher Foundation. Accessed September 7, 2020. https://ajf.org/barbara-goodmon-bio/ ^
  12. “Board of Directors.” The Fletcher Academy. Accessed September 7, 2020. https://tfaraleigh.org/board-of-directors ^
  13. “Jimmy Goodmon.” Capitol Broadcasting Company. Accessed September 7, 2020. https://history.capitolbroadcasting.com/people/founders-and-leaders/jimmy-goodmon/ ^
  14. “James ‘Jimmy’ Goodmon Jr.” A.J. Fletcher Foundation. Accessed September 7, 2020. https://ajf.org/jimmy-goodmon-bio/ ^
  15. “Board of Directors.” The Fletcher Academy. Accessed September 7, 2020. https://tfaraleigh.org/board-of-directors ^
  16. “About Us.” Capitol Broadcasting Company. Accessed September 7, 2020. https://www.capitolbroadcasting.com/about-us/ ^
  17. Internal Revenue Service. Form 990. A.J. Fletcher Foundation. 2018. https://pdf.guidestar.org/PDF_Images/2018/237/423/2018-237423031-17182514-9.pdf?_ga=2.133001166.1368623323.1599424032-658054072.1598817496 ^
  18. “Board of Directors.” The Fletcher Academy. Accessed September 7, 2020. https://tfaraleigh.org/board-of-directors ^
  19. “Daniel McGrath.” A.J. Fletcher Foundation. Accessed September 7, 2020. https://ajf.org/daniel-mcgrath-bio/ ^
  20. “About Us.” Capitol Broadcasting Company. Accessed September 7, 2020.https://www.capitolbroadcasting.com/about-us/ ^
  21. “Board of Directors.” The Fletcher Academy. Accessed September 7, 2020. https://tfaraleigh.org/board-of-directors ^
  22. “Damon Circosta.” A.J. Fletcher Foundation. Accessed September 7, 2020. https://ajf.org/damon-circosta-bio/ ^
  23. “About NCSBE.” North Carolina State Board of Elections. Accessed September 7, 2020. https://www.ncsbe.gov/about-ncsbe ^
  24. “Damon James Circosta.” Sanford School of Public Policy. Accessed September 7, 2020. https://sanford.duke.edu/people/faculty/circosta-damon-james ^
  25. Burritt, Chris. “Broadening His Band.” Business North Carolina. December 15, 2014. Accessed September 7, 2020. https://businessnc.com/broadening-his-band/ ^
  26. Burritt, Chris. “Broadening His Band.” Business North Carolina. December 15, 2014. Accessed September 7, 2020. https://businessnc.com/broadening-his-band/ ^
  27. De Luca, Francis. “Missing Connection: WRAL and Blueprint NC, $1.7 million in support.” Civitas Institute. February 26, 2013. Accessed September 7, 2020. https://www.nccivitas.org/2013/missing-connection-wral-blueprint-nc/ ^
  28. [1] “About Fletcher Opera.” University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Accessed September 7, 2020. https://www.uncsa.edu/music/graduate/fletcher-opera-institute/about.aspx ^
  29. [1] “About Fletcher Opera.” University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Accessed September 7, 2020. https://www.uncsa.edu/music/graduate/fletcher-opera-institute/about.aspx ^
  30. Internal Revenue Service. Form 990. A.J. Fletcher Foundation. 2018. https://pdf.guidestar.org/PDF_Images/2018/237/423/2018-237423031-17182514-9.pdf?_ga=2.133001166.1368623323.1599424032-658054072.1598817496 ^
  31. Internal Revenue Service. Form 990. A.J. Fletcher Foundation. 2018. https://pdf.guidestar.org/PDF_Images/2018/237/423/2018-237423031-17182514-9.pdf?_ga=2.133001166.1368623323.1599424032-658054072.1598817496 ^
  32. Internal Revenue Service. Form 990. A.J. Fletcher Foundation. 2018. https://pdf.guidestar.org/PDF_Images/2018/237/423/2018-237423031-17182514-9.pdf?_ga=2.133001166.1368623323.1599424032-658054072.1598817496 ^
  33. Gira Grant, Melissa. “The Unfinished Business of Women’s Suffrage. The New Republic. August 10, 2020. Accessed September 7, 2020. https://newrepublic.com/article/158828/19th-amendment-women-suffrage-felony-vote-disenfranchisement ^
  34. Schofield, Rob. “Students, civil rights groups: It’s time to remove law enforcement officers from our schools.” NC Policy Watch. September 2, 2020. Accessed September 7, 2020. http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2020/09/02/students-civil-rights-groups-its-time-to-remove-law-enforcement-officers-from-our-schools/ ^
  35. Internal Revenue Service. Form 990. A.J. Fletcher Foundation. 2018. https://pdf.guidestar.org/PDF_Images/2018/237/423/2018-237423031-17182514-9.pdf?_ga=2.133001166.1368623323.1599424032-658054072.1598817496 ^
  36. “The Justice Love Foundation.” Justice Love Foundation. Accessed September 7, 2020. https://justicelovefoundation.org/about-the-justice-love-foundation-opening-doors-to-opportunity/ ^
  37. Internal Revenue Service. Form 990. A.J. Fletcher Foundation. 2018. https://pdf.guidestar.org/PDF_Images/2018/237/423/2018-237423031-17182514-9.pdf?_ga=2.133001166.1368623323.1599424032-658054072.1598817496 ^
  38. “About Us.” NC Institute for Minority and Economic Development. Accessed September 7, 2020. https://theinstitutenc.org/about-us/ ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: January 1, 1975

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Dec Form 990 $27,636,196 $12,374,149 $135,168,300 $31,162 Y $0 $0 $21,913,158 $164,896 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $44,413,622 $18,796,754 $118,579,343 $29,457 Y $0 $0 $45,961,606 $159,654 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $31,702,965 $10,857,283 $112,224,315 $24,027 Y $0 $0 $29,563,736 $151,043 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $38,370,319 $14,174,287 $110,397,886 $29,862 Y $0 $0 $30,645,267 $146,804 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $30,953,442 $3,892,476 $124,234,781 $2,394,883 Y $0 $0 $28,296,681 $134,983 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $16,860,405 $10,028,316 $94,533,138 $3,917,031 Y $0 $10,041 $16,297,604 $75,606 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $19,119,766 $9,432,711 $88,487,083 $6,847,718 Y $0 $332 $15,904,576 $0 PDF
    2010 Dec Form 990 $14,714,106 $8,408,221 $83,863,673 $4,701,786 Y $0 $5,545 $16,472,259 $60,754 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    A.J. Fletcher Foundation

    909 GLENWOOD AVE
    RALEIGH, NC 27605-1511