Connecting nonprofits to corporations — Introducing the CSR-Nonprofit Summit

Written for the Periclean Newsletter, which I redesigned and edited in 2011-2012. This was for the October 2012 issue, while my Periclean Scholars class was planning a long trip to India to shoot a documentary and host a conference.

Jack Dodson for the Periclean Scholars Newsletter

It’s been a few months now since it was official that the Class of 2012 was hosting a conference in Pune, India on January 20 and 21. But the details on things like this change frequently, as we’ve learned recently.

So we thought we’d take this opportunity to talk to you about what we’re actually doing. The CSR-Nonprofit Summit is about connecting the corporate social responsibility side of businesses to nonprofits in India that deal with rural development and women’s empowerment.

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Kenny Freeman: mechanic, musician

by Jack Dodson for The Pilot (Southern Pines, NC)

Summer 2010

The gutted body of a U-Haul van sits built into Kenny Freeman’s porch between his house and his auto repair shop in West End, acting as an unlikely music studio.

Kenny Freeman, the owner of an auto body shop in West End, recently finished work on his first country album, Labor of Love. It’s entirely his own product, too — he plays all the instruments, sings every song, and did the mixing and editing. Freeman hopes one day a Nashville star will pick up his CD and record one of the songs, and he’s just started work on a new album.

With the outside draped in camouflage and the inside boasting thousands of dollars worth of musical recording equipment, it was here that Freeman recorded his first album this spring.

Freeman, 44, spends his nights inside the renovated U-Haul, an air-conditioned makeshift studio with a section added to the original body of the van, his hands dirty from working on cars. Here he wrote and recorded “Labor of Love,” a country album released in April — one he hopes will soon grab the attention of an established Nashville star.

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Bonnaroo 2010 coverage

by Jack Dodson for The Pendulum (Elon University, NC)

Summer 2010

Manchester, Tenn–It was 2 a.m. and a man in a bunny mask was having a dance off against someone in a Gumbi costume. The audience formed a giant circle to watch it happen, but it dissolved into a mosh pit as Dan Deacon, the performer, yelled, “Now everyone.”

The Deacon concert kicked off what was to be an eventful third night at Bonnaroo — one that lasted until the sun was beginning to shine on the 650-acre field packed with tents, performers and vendors. With Deadmau5, GWAR and The Disco Biscuits still in line for sets, the shows went on until 6:30 a.m. Sunday.

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Mantra of Betterment: Elon University

by Jack Dodson for The Pendulum (Elon University, NC)

Fall 2010

In 2002, when Leo Lambert, president of Elon University, wanted the school to change athletics conferences to the NCAA Division I Southern Conference, he decided to visit each president and athletic director in the conference personally, backed by a media package and Elon’s brand-new status as a university.

Lambert’s goal was to convince the Southern Conference members, like Davidson College, Furman University and Wofford College, that Elon could compete with them, even though it was in the Big South then. Elon had recently switched from being an NAIA Division II school in 1999.

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Education & friendship in the Sandhills

by Jack Dodson for The Pilot (Southern Pines, NC)

Summer 2010

Sam Jordan’s Sandhills Community College GED sits on display in his office at the back of his auto body shop. It’s new, acquired in May, when Jordan was 45 years old, and he says he shows it off to everyone who comes in. Jordan says he couldn’t have earned it without his teacher, whom he addresses as “My Professor” – Fred Renner, an 85-year-old man who lives in Pinehurst, who taught him to read and write in English. They spent nearly every day together for the last five or six years as Jordan learned the language.

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Explosions in the Sky: How a Fireworks Show is Made

by Jack Dodson for The Pilot (Southern Pines, NC)

Summer 2010

For Jeff Hale, owner of Lexington-based fireworks -company Hale Artificier, putting on the Robbins Farmers Day fireworks show takes a lot more time than the 15 minutes it’s actually happening.

The explosive event takes more than a day to produce, Hale says, including hours of work after the last shell has lit up the sky.

“It’s a lot more work behind the scenes than people realize,” Hale says. “For a small show like Robbins even, we’re talking a day and a half of work.”

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Helping Hands: Retirees in Community Give Back

by Jack Dodson and Hannah Sharpe for The Pilot (Southern Pines, NC)

Summer 2010

Caroline Eddy, the executive director of the local nonprofit, holds a handful of prayers written by people in dire economic straits that she has kept from years of working at the coalition,.

“I would like special prayer from God to help me financially so I can take care of my kids and bills,” reads one note from 2008.

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