Building relationships with our members
At the Center, our mission is to help nonprofits build capacity and sustainability. Our site visits are one way we gain insights into the challenges our member organizations face and how we can tailor our support to help.
Even during the pandemic, we continued our visits—in the virtual realm! Patrick Rabiecki, our Site Visiting Ambassador, enjoys meeting with members and also attends member events when possible.
Check out his meet-ups, and consider inviting Patrick to visit your nonprofit!
Patrick met with Alex Moore from DC Central Kitchen to tour their new facility. As an active Center member for the last decade, DC Central kitchen takes full advantage of Center classes, cohorts and benefits. Their mission is to use food as a tool to strengthen bodies, empower minds, and build communities. The nonprofit provides hands-on culinary job training for individuals facing high barriers to employment, while creating living wage jobs and bringing nutritious, dignified food where it is most needed. Their social ventures include serving scratch-cooked farm-to-school meals in DC schools, delivering fresh, affordable produce to corner stores in neighborhoods without supermarkets, and operating a fast-casual cafe.
Patrick met with Zachary Clark, Executive Director at 826DC. They joined the Center in 2020, after hearing about our Board Match program. 826DC’s mission is to support children with their creative and expository writing skills. They provide tutoring, field trips, after-school workshops, in-school programs, and assistance with student publications. Stop by their storefront, Tivoli’s Astounding Magic Supply Company, where all proceeds go to supporting their writing workshops!
On Friday, April 8th, Patrick attended Solar United Neighbors’ webinar “Allegheny County Solar and EV Charger Co-op Info Session”. This virtual info session walked attendees through the advantages of having solar energy in your home or small business, and how their co-ops can help make it possible for anyone. Attendees were able to ask questions from SUN’s panel of experts, in real time.
In March, Center Membership Associate Patrick had a virtual site visit with Scenic America, which has been a member of the Center since 2018. Its mission is to preserve and enhance the scenic beauty of America through promoting government policies that encourage citizen engagement and limiting visual pollution from billboards and wireless telecommunication towers. Check out their website to learn more about their work!
On Friday, January 28th, Center Membership Associate Patrick attended The Alliance for Health Policy’s virtual event. This was part 3 of a series of webinars that Alliance for Health Policy hosted recently. This one focused on health policy at the state level and provided a round-up of state-level policies enacted during the past few years, focusing on cost containment, complex care, and drug pricing reform.
On Sunday, the 12th of December, Patrick attended Western Presbyterian Church’s virtual Sunday service. They are active Center members and are a congregation devoted to promoting social justice – caring for the poor, disenfranchised communities and being good stewards of the earth. The Church is currently planning for the upcoming Christmas pageant and season.
In September 2021, Patrick visited VHC Medical Brigade’s warehouse to receive a tour and speak with Operations Director, Mary Ellen Gannon. Working in partnership with local service providers and the Honduran government, VHC Medical Brigade works to create healthy and sustainable communities in Honduras. They are currently planning their fall trip to Honduras where they will travel with a group of surgeons to perform various medical procedures for those in need. Having recently joined the Center, VHC Medical Brigade is looking to form new connections that will assist them in their mission.
In June 2021, Patrick met with Justin Fyala from Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC. GMCW originally joined the Center in 1996. Their mission is to inspire equality and inclusion with musical performances and education promoting justice and dignity for all people. Formed in 1981, they are the only LGBTQ+ chorus in the nation’s capital. They seek to redefine the word “Chorus” through fun, engaging performances that include singers, dancers and storytellers. They specifically travel to areas in the country that have little LGBTQ+ representation, in order to provide education and entertainment in a safe space for everyone. Check out past performances on their YouTube page!
In May 2021, Patrick was excited to visit a member in-person—the first non-virtual visit in over a year. He met with Jim Monsma, executive director of City Wildlife, who gave him a tour of their facilities. Founded in 2013, City Wildlife is the only wildlife rescue and rehabilitation located in Washington, DC. They take in injured wild animals and, with help from an onsite veterinarian, care for them until they are ready to be released into the wild. City Wildlife joined the Center in 2020 at the recommendation of one of their Board members. They joined to take advantage of VitalHealth, but are also interested in exploring the Center’s many other benefits, including an Instagram Takeover.
MPA held their inaugural ArtSprings! Virtual Benefit on April 29, 2021, celebrating MPA and the Gift of McLean Artist Emilie Benes Brzezinski’s Work. Patrick attended the event on behalf of the Center and enjoyed the range of musical guest performers. Nationally recognized media personality Amy Goodman emceed the event, which featured an array of musical performers, including Voices of Classic Soul with Joe Coleman, Joe Blunt, Theo Peoples, The Dave Kline Band, with special guest Senator Tim Kaine, and members of Strathmore Music Center’s Artist in Residence program.
In March 2021, Patrick took a trip to the barnyard to sit down with Kristin Bramell, the Director of Philanthropy for Go2 Foundation for Lung Cancer. They work to provide the knowledge and tools needed for anyone at risk for, currently living with, or having survived lung cancer. They also work on the advocacy side to improve access to healthcare for patients. Patrick and Kristin discussed various ways to use their Center membership to help promote and strengthen their mission. These include joining the Center’s cohorts, as well as taking advantage of the Center’s Instagram Takeover feature.
In December 2020, Patrick travelled back to a time when dinosaurs walked the earth for his sit down with Gretchen Van der Veer and Ann Miles from Fair Chance. Their mission is to provide children and families a pathway out of poverty by strengthening the sustainability and performance of community-based nonprofits who serve this need. They do this in several ways, including a partnership program that provides free management assistance to build leadership skills and strengthen organizational systems and programs. They have been members of the Center for nearly 10 years. We are looking forward to engaging in new ways with Fair Chance in the future!
Patrick met with Mimi Stein from Humane Animal Care, a nonprofit that focuses on the ethical treatment of farm animals who are raised to become our food. They work with farms all over the world to make sure that the animals are treated properly and raised cruelty-free. Mimi and Patrick discussed the difficulties she faces running an organization with a mission that most people don’t want to hear about. The Center was able to work with Mimi to host an Instagram takeover of the Center’s account, to help raise awareness for their cause and how people can help by shopping Certified Humane.
Patrick sat down with Ashwin Verghese from the International Campaign for Tibet. This member organization is the largest Tibet support group in the world. They advocate here in America, on behalf of the people of Tibet in their peaceful struggle to preserve their human rights and establish democracy. Having just joined the Center in March 2020, they have only scratched the surface of their Center membership and are looking forward to exploring more.
Continuing his 2-fold mission to explore the (virtual) world while also getting to know our members, Patrick and Center team member Aziza braved the wilds of the jungle to sit down with Monica Gray to discuss her organization. With a mission to dismantle the barriers that women and girls of color face in America, YWCA provides invaluable resources for the DC area. Through their advocacy for racial justice, youth development, and career education programs, YWCA is a true leader in the fight for justice for all.
Patrick took a breezy, tropical shores trip to sit down with Kate Akalonu, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Everyone Home DC. They are a nonprofit based in DC, that works to both prevent homelessness for at-risk individuals, as well as help those currently experiencing homelessness. Due to the pandemic, Everyone Home DC found themselves having to rethink their fundraising approach. In response they launched “The September Challenge”. This month-long, very successful series of online fundraising events took place during September. Challenges ranged from Zumba and cooking to Bingo, trivia, and more!
Before the pandemic, Patrick had the opportunity to visit the office this member organization. He sat down with two of their staff members for an engaging discussion on their mission, feedback about their Center membership, and ways the Center can help them going forward. Americans for Peace Now was founded in 1981 to help spread awareness in America for its sister organization, Shalom Achshav. It has since developed into America’s most prominent organization of Jewish Americans, working to achieve a sustainable peace plan to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The Center is looking forward to helping them promote their mission through our wide network of nonprofit contacts.