John CarlsonQ. How does Foundation and Investment Accounting support Carolina’s mission?
A. The Foundation and Investment Accounting unit provides extensive accounting, administrative and investment support and services to the University and UNC-Chapel Hill-affiliated foundations and associated entities. Specifically, our unit reconciles the contribution and market values for over 4,000 individual endowments that are invested in the UNC-Chapel Hill Foundation Investment Fund, Inc. These endowments benefit schools and departments across campus and provide annual distributions to fund professorships, scholarships, and help fund departmental and university-wide initiatives.  Our team also prepares the financial statements for the UNC-Chapel Hill Foundation Inc., and its component unit, Chapel Hill Real Estate Holdings.  These entities provide funding and resources to aid, support, and promote teaching, research and service in the various educational, scientific, scholarly, professional, artistic and creative endeavors of Carolina.

Q.  What’s a typical day like in your job?
A. A typical day in my job includes responding to campus inquiries regarding investments and foundation activities, addressing both short-term operational issues and long-term continuous improvement projects, and managing the day-to-day activities of the unit. I collaborate with my team, various Finance departments and administrators, the Office of University Development, the Office of University Counsel and the UNC Management Company on accounting and reporting issues to develop efficient and effective foundation and investment processes and procedures.

Q. What is your personal history with Carolina?
A. My family moved to Chapel Hill when I was five years old and I’ve been a Tar Heel ever since. I grew up inspired by Dean Smith and the teams he coached and the example of excellence, humility and integrity he embodied. I graduated from Carolina in 1992 with a degree in Economics and started working here in 2001. The University’s mission of providing world-class teaching, cutting-edge research and commitment to public service continues to motivate and inspire me. I’m proud to be a part of the Carolina family and thrilled to raise my daughter as a Tar Heel also.

Q. What do you like most about your work?
A. I love playing a role in helping the University carry out its mission of teaching, research and public service and working with such intelligent, dedicated and supportive colleagues at Carolina. I believe the Finance Department has encouraged and embraced a diverse and multi-cultural work environment which promotes a highly efficient and productive team. Although I’ve been here almost 17 years, the work continues to challenge and motivate me to learn about new aspects of the University, as well as foundation and investment reporting.

Q. What is something people don’t know about you?
A. I just celebrated my 50th birthday with family and friends at a Carolina Mudcats game. The Mudcats are a minor league baseball team in Zebulon, NC and an affiliate of my favorite Major League Baseball team, the Milwaukee Brewers. It was a perfect way to celebrate my 50th and the Mudcats were kind enough to win 5-1!

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