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Staff report
The Blanche & Julian Robertson Family Foundation broke its own giving records last week when its board of directors approved 71 grant applications and, with several other continuing grants, OK’d the distribution of close to $2.5 million.
Rowan-Salisbury Schools proved to be the big winner in this year’s grant cycle. School projects and programs received close to $1 million.
“This was a year in which we felt we could make significant investments,” said James F. Hurley, board chairman for the foundation.
“Julian said that he wanted the money to be used, so we approved a record number of grants. Our decisions were made after good discussion and debate. It was a very satisfying meeting.”
The foundation has awarded grants totaling $16.7 million over its 10 years of operation. Some 120 different agencies, organizations and institutions have received funding.
This year, the board approved 71 of 106 grant applications for a precedent-shattering $2,269,400.
The foundation also reaffirmed several continuing grants worth an additional $180,000, bringing the total of approved grants to $2,449,400 ónearly 10 percent of the foundation’s assets.
The percentage is double the rate required for distribution by Internal Revenue Service regulations.
The foundation board once again showed its strong commitment to the success and the growth of the school system and expressed its continuing support of Superintendent Dr. Judy Grissom and her administrative team.
The foundation was chartered in the fall of 1997 with an initial gift of $15 million by Salisbury native Julian H. Robertson, Jr., now of New York. He named the charitable organization in memory of his parents, Blanche S. and Julian H. Robertson, Sr., longtime residents of Salisbury.
Over the past decade, Mr. Robertson has increased the foundation’s assets by an additional $21 million. The foundation has a current operating investment base of $25.9 million.
Major grants this year include:
– Rowan-Salisbury Schools, $210,000, for costs associated with installing the IMPACT electronic instructional program in eight elementary schools (Bostian, China Grove, Koontz, Millbridge, Mount Ulla, North Rowan, Overton and Rockwell).
– North Rowan High School, $181,000, to upgrade and renovate its track;
– Salisbury High School, $119,000, to build a girls softball field;
– Town of Granite Quarry, $100,000, for construction of Granite Lake Park;
– Livingstone College, $100,000, for general operating support;
– Rowan Vocational Opportunities and Rufty-Holmes Senior Center, $100,000 each, in support of capital campaigns to enlarge their buildings and expand services.
The foundation also renewed funding of its Continuing Support Grant Program. It includes five organizations which receive continuing support on an annual basis: Community Care Clinic, $25,000; Communities-In-Schools, $25,000; Habitat for Humanity, $20,000; Rowan Helping Ministries, $50,000; and the United Way Day of Caring program, $30,000.
In addition to Hurley, the chairman, Robertson Foundation officers include James G. Whitton, vice-chairman and assistant secretary; and Margaret H. Kluttz, secretary.
Other board members are Catrelia S. Hunter, Clay Lindsay, Jr., Scott Maddox, Lillian Morgan, and Fred Stanback, Jr. of Salisbury; Alex Robertson and Spencer Robertson of New York City; and Wyndham Robertson of Chapel Hill. David Setzer is executive director.

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