A citywide campaign to promote volunteerism and mentoring among men of color


The Center for Nonprofit Advancement and Serve DC will partner again to implement Volunteer Generation Fund 2019 and build on the success of last year's VGF 2018. The program supports the initiative My Brother's Keeper DC—Strengthening Our Community, with the goal of increasing the number of volunteer men of color working with nonprofit organizations in the District.

Through a transparent and competitive process, five (5) Washington, DC nonprofit organizations that work with boys and young men of color will be selected to participate in the Volunteer Generation Fund. Selected organizations will receive three forms of assistance:

  • One-on-one technical assistance to improve the organization's volunteer management capacity, ultimately resulting in the creation of a project plan
  • Volunteer management training for staff and their lead volunteers
  • One-time grants of $10,000 to each selected organization for planning, building and launching unique volunteer recruitment campaigns for individuals that meet their predetermined organization short and long-term needs

The application is open to any 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization­—regardless of budget size or scope of programming—based in Washington, DC. (See eligibility details below.)

Participation in the VGF program is an eight (8) month commitment (see Program Session Dates below). Selected organizations will participate in ongoing consulting, training sessions and evaluations. By the end of the fiscal year, they will be responsible for • development of volunteer descriptions • assessment of the number of volunteers hours needed • tracking how many volunteers they are able to recruit and retain • tracking the number of hours of the volunteers and • evaluating the effectiveness of their recruitment campaign.

**Application Deadline has been EXTENDED to
5pm on Wednesday, January 16, 2019**

Apply online or download the Application and submit in person or by mail.

Notifications of awards will be January 31, 2019.

For more information, see below. Or download the Full Application Packet.

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With budget constraints tighter than ever, you may be thinking how can your nonprofit possibly afford to offer paid (or even unpaid) sabbaticals? But in today’s climate, the real question is how can you afford not to?

It’s common knowledge—those who work in the nonprofit sector are at high risk of burnout, especially at the leadership level. These dedicated individuals face impossible budgets, unrealistic expectations, staffing challenges, endless client needs, changing government regulations and a multitude of stressors that eat up each day. Even working incredibly long hours, there is little time left to reflect, innovate, gain fresh perspectives, monitor new trends, prepare for shifting politics and lead proactively into the future.

The sabbatical offers an effective and surprisingly feasible solution. Not only successful in relieving burnout and lowering turnover, sabbaticals can also strengthen capacity, sustainability and impact. And there are ways to make it work with budgets of all sizes.

Proven to be effective

The Durfee Foundation in California, one of a growing list of foundations supporting sabbaticals, has operated their program since 1997, financing more than 100 nonprofit leaders to take paid time off. They recently commissioned A 20-Year retrospective on the Durfee Foundation Sabbatical Program, revealing that “Very few capacity building interventions provide as much bang for the buck as the simple act of offering a sabbatical.”

Steve Park, CEO at Little Lights, sees the benefits after his recent experience. “The sabbatical gave me a chance to recharge and feel more refreshed and creative.” He adds, “My time off also gave the staff, especially our senior staff, an opportunity to step up and take on more responsibility for the organization and have more independence. I believe the organization is stronger as a whole because I was willing to let go and truly unplug”

Another study, written by TSNE’s Deborah Linnell and CompassPoint’s Tim Wolfred, also found that a well-planned sabbatical is productive for the entire leadership of an organization. Researchers surveyed 61 leaders at nonprofits with sabbatical programs. The majority claimed the time away allowed them space to generate new ideas and gain greater confidence in themselves as leaders.

Miriam’s Kitchen has had a program in place since 2010. “When I first approached the board about taking a sabbatical, they were not only receptive to the idea, they felt strongly that the opportunity should be extended to other staff as well,” comments Scott Schenkelberg, CEO, Miriam’s Kitchen. “We’ve found this to be very effective in developing and retaining high performing staff.”

7 top reasons to offer sabbaticals

There are several ways your organization can benefit from a sabbatical program, especially when made available to staff at all levels.

1. Lower turnover and reduce recruitment costs

Studies show that providing sabbatical leave actually breeds loyalty and encourages leaders to stay. It is also an attractive and valued employee benefit that can help with recruitment, and an effective retention tool in keeping high performing staff.

2. Stress test and strengthen organization team

Your team should not be so dependent on any one person that productivity grinds to a halt during an extended vacation or absence. When a staff member is on sabbatical and the rest of the team fills the gap, they learn new skills and tackle new responsibilities. It strengthens the team’s knowledge of what each other does, and makes them a more collaborative and productive group.

3. Cultivate stronger, more informed boards

Involving the board in the planning and implementation of a sabbatical program provides a key learning experience about the executive director’s role, leadership team responsibilities, and how the organization operates. It’s also an opportunity to enhance the collaborative relationship between the board and ED.

4. Groom transitional and future leadership

Whether at the executive or management level, sabbaticals can give aspiring leaders a chance to grow and showcase their skills. Organizations benefit by gaining a higher performing staff—studies show that interim leaders were more effective and responsible when the sabbatical takers returned. Sabbaticals also give nonprofits an opportunity to train and observe potential future leaders.

5. Enhance efficiency across the organization

Sabbaticals require a shuffling of responsibilities that inspires a fresh look at delegation. Often the result is a more efficient use of time and resources. “When you’re used to always doing certain things, you can be reluctant to delegate tasks to other staff—even when you should—because you don’t want to add to their plate,” says Schenkelberg. “After my sabbatical, some tasks did not return to my role, and I was able to be more efficient with my time, focusing my attention where needed most.”

6. Create healthier work habits

The purpose of sabbaticals is to refresh on every level—mentally, physically, emotionally, and readjust our view of what matters most in our lives. This renewed focus on a work-life balance can influence and enhance the culture of the entire organization.

7. Convey a positive message to your communities

Offering a sabbatical program shows your donors, funders and clients that your organization cares about and believes in its staff.

Making it work for your nonprofit

Financing sabbaticals does not have to break the budget. Some different approaches you can take include the following.

  • Acquire funding to support your sabbatical program. There are currently a few foundations, including the Meyer Foundation in Washington, DC, already funding sabbaticals, and the list is growing. You can also ask major donors to support the program, and use funding to cover the cost of overtime hours or interim staff.
  • Offer a sabbatical at half salary and hire an interim encore executive at half salary for the same length of time. A national survey of people ages 44 to 70 found that over half are either in or interested in encore careers that put their experience to work for the greater good.
  • Divide responsibilities among current staff. This option may offer the most benefit to your organization and the lowest financial investment. Miriam’s Kitchen uses this approach and gives those employees assigned additional responsibilities a 5% pay increase during the sabbatical time frame.

Get creative and come up with some other options by forming a team to research and develop a sabbatical policy and ways to fund the program.

Creating a policy

There are no set rules for creating a sabbatical program. Length of time off can vary from a month to six months or longer. Requirements during time off can range from allowing some career-focused pursuits to no work related activity at all. Staff eligibility can also vary. As burnout and stress are not exclusive to executive leaders, many organizations offer sabbatical leave to staff at all levels who meet performance and longevity criteria.

While there are no rules, there are some guidelines available that you can customize to fit your nonprofit. The Durfee Foundation has a Do-It-Yourself Sabbatical Guide with sample policies. Miriam’s Kitchen has also shared their policies in the Center’s Resource Center.

A tool worth implementing

As the stress and challenges of working in the nonprofit sector are unlikely to dissipate, creating a paid sabbatical program is definitely worth serious consideration. Dismissing this benefit on the assumption your nonprofit can’t afford it is a disservice to your organization. There are viable ways to manage the cost, and you’ll find that not only does the value far outweigh the investment, but also the impact can be surprisingly long-term.

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The good news about the 2018 mid-term elections is voter turnout was the highest it’s been for a mid-term in a very long time. In some cases, turnout approached the level of a Presidential election—voter engagement is a wonderful thing! But the campaigns themselves along with other events in the news (the pipe-bomb mailings, the massacre at the synagogue in Pittsburgh) also exposed just how deeply divided we are as a nation.

It is tempting to turn it all off, turn away, and try to just get on with our missions. But now is not the time! In fact, for nonprofits today, advocacy is mission-critical.

In her recent article published in the Nov. 17 issue of Nonprofit Quarterly, Yes, You Can—and Should! Nonprofit Advocacy as a Core Competency Dyana P. Mason wrote, “If any single sector is going to help respond to these critical debates and bring people together, it will be the nonprofit sector.”

For the most part, the nonprofit sector has avoided the erosion of trust that has occurred with many of our institutions, specifically because we are required to be nonpartisan (at least as long as the Johnson Amendment remains in effect). So for now, nonprofit organizations are positioned to remain above the fray.

As Mason states, “In turbulent times such as these, the nonprofit sector can help support and empower the communities they serve, provide backing for common-sense and evidence-based policy solutions, and remind policymakers of the issues facing our communities and country.”

With all our many and varied missions, nonprofits at their core are about making things better. We have played a leading role in many of our society’s most important advancements. And we are uniquely positioned to turn the discussion away from vitriol and toward the process of creating a better future.

So what should we be doing now?

First, stay engaged. Don’t turn away from the important debates of our time. Know the issues and how they relate to your mission. Be able to state your position, in a clear, calm and consistent voice.

Second, be an educator not a proselytizer. Nonprofits are firsthand witnesses to the impacts—good and bad—of public policy. Gather the facts, state them objectively, and share them widely with those you serve, your staff, your supporters, policy-makers and the general public.

Finally, create enthusiasm! Advocacy requires a lot of energy. Especially in the current volatile atmosphere. Build support and excitement by sharing a clear vision of the positive outcomes you are working toward. Help to energize your supporters by reminding them that change can and does happen when we work together.

The midterms are behind us and a new crop of elected officials is preparing to take their seats. They need to be educated and they need to hear from us. The communities we serve look to us for leadership, engagement and information about the issues that matter to them. In the new year to come, the nonprofit community’s opportunity to be a force for positive change in a divided world is in front of us.

As nonprofit advocates in a divided America what is our role? It’s everything.

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Those who attended this year’s sold out event were especially impressed with our featured guest, Soledad O’Brien.


Soledad sat down with Glen O’Gilvie, Center CEO, to talk about diversity, equity and inclusion, sharing insights from her professional experiences as a journalist, anchor and producer. She also took questions from the audience and graciously mingled with participants during the break.

Attendees heard from Phyllis Campbell Newsome Award winners, met EXCEL Award winners, caught up with colleagues and made new connections—all while dining on a delicious lunch in a bright, sunny setting with wall-to-wall windows.

Many shared favorable feedback, including one longtime Annual Celebration veteran, who claimed this year’s event to “be the best one yet.”

If you missed the event, check out the highlights and watch the video of Soledad on our Facebook!



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As President and CEO of National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA), Jo-Ann shares her perspective on leadership

Before becoming head of NLADA, Jo-Ann was the organization’s senior vice president for programs, responsible for oversight of both the civil legal aid and public defense program agendas. From 1994 to 2000, she served as director of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, widely regarded as the nation’s model defender agency.

Jo-Ann is a founder of the American Council of Chief Defenders, a leadership council of the top defender executives from across the United States, and the District of Columbia Appellate Practice Institute. Her extensive experience lecturing includes serving as a member of the visiting faculty for the Trial Advocacy Workshop at Harvard Law School. Jo-Ann received recognition from the White House as a “Champion of Change.”

Tell us about your leadership style and how this contributes to your organization’s success.

Because the quality of justice should not depend on how much money a person has, the mission of the National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) is to promote excellence in the delivery of legal services for people who cannot afford counsel.

My personal experiences stoked the flames of my passion for justice and deeply held belief in respecting the dignity of every person, regardless of their circumstances. As a young child, I learned about my father’s experiences among those who participated in desegregating the U.S. Navy during World War II. My family was raised in rural Connecticut because that is the only place in the state that would hire a young black male (my father) as a public school teacher at that time. Growing up in the first African American family in the town, I was no stranger to biting words or unfair treatment.

At bottom, justice is about treating people fairly and respectfully. As I often say to NLADA staff, it is about “treating people right”. As a standard bearer for equal justice, it is incumbent upon us to model the way, which begins with how we treat each other and extends to our members and the clients and communities that they represent. These principles ground my leadership, and are effectuated on a daily basis through listening, guiding, mentoring and encouraging creative and transformational activities that can substantially expand access to justice.

NLADA embraces leadership development as a key, cost-effective strategy for achieving our mission. We like to say that “leadership is everybody’s business”, and that it entails values, knowledge and skills that can be taught and learned. The civil legal aid initiative has increased federal grant funding for legal services by more than $30 million dollars by helping legal aid leaders expand their funding through training, information and other resources. As a strategic ally of the MacArthur Foundation’s “big bet” to reduce unnecessary incarceration by changing how America uses jails, NLADA works to support chief defenders’ ability to be transformational leaders who are playing key roles in making criminal justice systems more fair and effective.

While we rely upon the expertise of established leadership professionals and the plethora of materials that exist on “leadership”, as we work to support the development of leadership skills among staff and our member community one resource in particular, the Leadership Practices Inventory (“LPI”), continues to resonate with our organization’s core values and is a staple among the resources that we utilize to train social justice leaders.

The LPI helped to shape my early understanding of leadership as a discipline and formed the foundation of an analytical framework that continues to guide me daily. Focusing on the “Five Exemplary Leadership Practices”, inspiring a shared vision, encouraging the heart, enabling others to act and modeling the way, while continually challenging injustice and the status quo, has also served NLADA well. It has helped us to be a high performing, impactful organization as we work to ensure that low income and other vulnerable individuals have access to legal assistance to help them with basic human needs. Creating the first national Vista program for public defense programs; garnering the support of more than 250 corporate leaders to defend the Legal Services Corporation against the threat of elimination; and partnering with established organizations like the American Bar Association or a novel technology startup to increase access to justice are just a few of the many ways in which NLADA’s small but mighty staff team and dedicated national community of leaders are able to get us closer to making real the promise of justice upon which this country was founded. Believing in people, encouraging and supporting our staff, members and partners and providing opportunities for them to be their best selves – to be impactful, transformative leaders – have been essential components of our successful endeavors in expanding access to justice.

What advice would you offer for other nonprofit leaders?

Teaching and enabling others are critical components of leadership, and to be life-long teachers, we must commit to being life-long learners who embrace change. There are three aspects of this that are particularly important in our current environment.

First, in this technologically driven information age, it is more important than ever to look beyond our own communities and areas of expertise to embrace a broader, multi-disciplinary approach to our work. Technology has exponentially expanded our ability to access information and acquire knowledge. With it has come increased expectations regarding areas of mastery in defining nonprofit success, and often increased complexity in the substantive arenas upon which our missions focus. “Evidence-based” and “research-informed” practices are becoming the rule, and often the evidence or research on a particular issue of relevance will be generated in governmental or for-profit, i.e., outside of the nonprofit context. Learning and leading from a perspective that values these practices and that includes seeking knowledge and expertise that may fall outside of the nonprofit sector is becoming more critical.

Second, focusing individually and organizationally on cultural competence and skills that foster equity and inclusiveness, have always been the right things to do. In the increasingly globally-connected world, they are now becoming a business imperative, as well as a moral one.

Finally, ensuring that our efforts are carried out in organizations that effectively support a multi-generational workforce and that proactively work to develop the next generation of social justice leaders will go a long way to addressing items one and two, above. Moreover, the nonprofit sector has a key role to play in creating the peaceful, prosperous world to which we all aspire. Our outcomes will depend upon our ability to coach and train a new generation of leaders, providing them with access to knowledge gained from seasoned leaders and past history, while encouraging them to forge new and different paths to a better future.

What does this award mean for you and your organization?

The EXCEL award would support NLADA’s commitment to leadership development in the equal justice community. It would permit NLADA to more readily access the Center for Nonprofit Advancement’s (“the Center”) wealth of information and tools as a member organization, which in turn would provide new resources to pass on as we train and convene more than 3000 equal justice leaders annually. It would help NLADA encourage leaders to explore and locate leadership coaches as one way of strengthening their effectiveness. Importantly, the NLADA Board of Directors passed a resolution calling on legal aid and public defense leaders to encourage staff to take the Harvard Implicit Bias test, and to provide training that promotes diversity, equity and inclusion. The resources accompanying the award would support our continuing efforts to identify professional trainers and provide additional experience with them as we “model the way” in this challenging, but important area.

The EXCEL Award would also introduce NLADA to the Center’s extensive membership and help us expand cross-disciplinary partnerships. Society does not always look favorably upon lawyers. When people understand what the NLADA community of lawyers does, and their role in providing representation to the most vulnerable among us, they have a very different, positive reaction.

At NLADA, part of our collective vision is for everyone to understand how civil legal aid and public defense make society better. We are working to build bridges across sectors including educating nonprofit leaders to understand that advocates in the legal community who are on the frontline of justice every day share many of their social objectives, and that partnering with NLADA can maximize and leverage scarce resources. For example, it can be helpful for nonprofits that focus on homelessness to know that civil legal aid advocates often have the ability to leverage the law to keep people in their homes. If healthy communities or access to medical treatment is a nonprofit’s focus then it is worth knowing that Medical Legal Partnerships (MLPs), which are collaborations between attorneys and physicians and other healthcare professionals, are demonstrating that sometimes, the right prescription for a medical condition is a legal one. In other words, it often takes legal skills to get a landlord or employer, for example, to address issues that may have created or exacerbated a health problem. For those focused on issues of racial, gender or ethnic equality, it can be useful to know how public defense leaders and practitioners are addressing inequity in juvenile and criminal justice systems or how they are working to dismantle what is often called the “school to prison pipeline”.

Thus, in addition to supporting our work through organizational and professional development, the ability to reach the Center’s broad nonprofit constituency would provide new, invaluable opportunities to introduce NLADA’s national community of advocates to nonprofit leaders in many different disciplines. Indeed, the selection process itself already is opening up dialogues that have the potential to lead to more expansive collaborations as we work to expand justice, opportunity and equality. If that happens, we have all already won!

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As President of the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), Sarah Kambou shares her perspective on leadership

For nearly 15 years, Sarah has been at the helm of this global research institute that focuses on realizing women’s empowerment and gender equality to alleviate poverty worldwide. Under her leadership, ICRW has developed its presence in Asia and East Africa and expanded its footprint around the globe.

Sarah has served as an advisor to multilaterals, leading corporations and governments seeking to integrate gender into policies, programs and services that will advance the status of women and girls worldwide. In December 2012, President Barack Obama appointed Sarah to the President’s Global Development Council, where she served as an advisor to the Administration until January 2017. Also, in 2012, President Bill Clinton tapped Sarah to serve as an Advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative. In 2010, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appointed Sarah to represent ICRW on the U.S. Commission to UNESCO.

Tell us about your leadership style and how this contributes to your organization’s success.

ICRW is a global research institute, with a staff of about 100 people and maintaining offices in Washington DC, India, Kenya and Uganda. When times are good, my dominant leadership style tends to be participatory. I work with a very talented team of researchers, advocates and operational experts. Everyone brings capabilities, experiences and competencies to the table. Through a participatory leadership style, I am able to acknowledge the caliber of staff working at ICRW, engage them as co-creators and leverage our human capital to the greatest extent possible.

With my senior thought leaders, I seek to create an enabling environment that allows them to be their most creative and productive. I’m pretty much along for the ride — because they are awesome. My most common question to them is how can I be of help to you?

Given the size and global nature of our organization, I have less direct interaction with the mid-level and entry level bench. When I travel to our regional offices, I offer lots of one-on-one time – kind of an open mic for staff to come in and talk about things on their mind. I realized recently that because DC is my home office, I don’t create that same opportunity for staff based here. I started up Salads with Sarah, an informal chat over lunch, and that has been well received. I enjoy hearing their take on issues, getting a bead on the institutional pulse, answering questions, and talking about issues like career pathways.

With the Board, I seek to inspire excitement and commitment by communicating to Board members the unique value of the work of ICRW and the enormous impact we achieve together as a team. Yet another leadership style given who they are and their role at ICRW.

When there is an emergency or turbulence in the operating environment, I find that I assess the situation and deploy the leadership style that best suits that situation and the team I’m working with. In an emergency, it’s vital to form and coordinate an experienced team to analyze information, outline critical pathways, mobilize resources and act once a decision has been taken. Respectful tone, but participatory leadership is out of place in this kind of situation. Once fully briefed, I move into ‘telling’ mode – outline the plan, roles and responsibilities, let’s go.

So you can see, I don’t believe I have just one leadership style. While participatory leadership is my dominant style, I am actually very comfortable with several styles that I can draw upon to best address situations facing staff and the organization.

What advice would you offer for other nonprofit leaders?

  • Find what works best for you to center yourself every day. I get up early and, over my first cup of tea, I’ll quiet my mind for half an hour. It helps prepare me for the day.
  • If you haven’t yet, seek out other non-profit leaders who have levels of responsibility similar to your own, and create a safe space for you all to informally share experiences, successes and challenges, words of wisdom, whatever. You’ll find that you’ll garner the support you need to stay fresh, energized, focused and productive.
  • Take in some daily inspiration. I happen to like HBR’s Management Tips of the Day. There are days when the tip is a complete non-sequitur and of little direct help – and then there are days when the tip is so on point I wonder if the folks at HBR are clairvoyant.
  • Work/life balance is vitally important. We all know that, but we may not actually practice that principle for ourselves. I wish I had sage advice to offer – I know I’m doing better at work/life balance when I manage to get to the gym two times a week. Mind you, my goal is three times a week but that seems a bridge too far most weeks.

What does this award mean for you and your organization?

Like so many non-profits, ICRW is weathering tumultuous times. We believe deeply in the organization’s mission, and are passionate about the research we do to improve the well-being of women, girls and marginalized people living in the US and around the world. We work hard to deliver excellence. Naturally, there are moments when we must take a deep breath to deal with challenges in fundraising and policy arenas, when we are juggling external factors common in non-profit operations.

The EXCEL Award, an award bestowed by peers in the non-profit sector, is a mark of distinction. Such public recognition acknowledges our efforts as an institution and assures us – as well as our donors and partners — that we are on the right path, doing good work. We are honored to be among the finalists, and will celebrate each of the Awardees.

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As Executive Director for DC SCORES, Bethany Henderson shares her perspective on leadership

A nationally recognized social entrepreneur, Bethany assumed her leadership role with DC SCORES in 2014. An Echoing Green Fellow and a White House Fellow, Bethany’s career has spanned the social, for-profit and government sectors. While in the White House, Bethany coordinated the 2013 Youth Jobs+ initiative and participated in developing My Brother’s Keeper, a public-private partnership focused on helping boys and young men of color get and stay on track, cradle to career.

In 2008, Bethany founded City Hall Fellows, an award-winning, nonpartisan, post-college, local government service corps, raising more than $4M to launch and build the organization during the recession. City Hall Fellows uses service-learning principles to prepare young people to take active civic leadership roles in their own hometowns.

Tell us about your leadership style and how this contributes to your organization’s success.

I believe in the wisdom of a well-known African proverb: “if you want to go far, go together.” My leadership style is shared leadership. To me, shared leadership means empowering all members of a team by giving each an opportunity to assume leadership and ownership over their area(s) of expertise. It does not mean I abdicate responsibility for setting a clear organizational direction or strategy or for making difficult decisions. Nor does it mean that I have created a work environment of a bunch of individuals running around doing their own thing.

Rather, my style involves intentionally empowering both our organizational departments as a whole and every member of our team to operate to their maximum potential and capacity, both individually and together.

Shared leadership is not something I simply talk about, or even just model, it is an ethos baked into the way we operate. For example, our team (staff and Board) together developed, and now utilize, a structured strategic decision making tool to inform significant decisions. That tool expressly requires input from all staff with specific, relevant knowledge, regardless of that staffer’s job title, tenure or “level.”

Likewise, we’ve built a teamwork culture that not only values all people speaking up and managing up, down and across, but also that empowers them too. I’ve instituted the practice that all new staff members go to “managing up and across” training and new supervisors go to “managing staff” training (we’re partial to The Management Center’s trainings).

All staff members are trained in the leadership compass, which creates a common language for communication that makes it easier for them to both express their needs in the workplace and meet others’ needs in ways that keep any feeling of personal attacks or affronts out of it. In fact, we all (me included!) display our compass points on our office doors or desk nameplates.

Another example is that we have an open calendar policy – every single person who works at DC SCORES, from the intern to me, can see everyone else’s calendars. We aggressively and consistently document notes from team meetings, Board committee meetings, project meetings, and more in a Google Drive structure that allows all relevant staff and Board members 24/7 access to materials and institutional knowledge they need, while still allowing senior management to control access to specific documents or document collections for privacy reasons.

Another example is that staff is invited (and actively encouraged) to attend the first half hour of every Board meeting and have dinner with the Board. At each Board meeting, different staff members stay to share their work directly with the Board.

Finally, while I often sit in on various department and event planning meetings, my public role in those environments (and at our major events) is as team member not project leader. The project or event leaders publicly lead the department meetings or events.

I could go on, but these examples at least give you a flavor of how I operationalize shared leadership. This contributes to DC SCORES’ success in myriad ways. First, it keeps me out of micro-managing situations where other staff have far more expertise than I do, while ensuring that staff come to me when issues that impact our organizational, financial, or governance strategy arise. This ensures organizational activities move forward efficiently without bureaucratic bottlenecks, while at the same time ensuring we keep our strategic focus.

Second, it allows us to do much more with fewer people than would be possible if staff felt compelled to go through laborious hierarchical decision-making processes for routine activities.

Third, it has empowered staff to experiment within their areas of expertise – resulting in important new initiatives for us like the “Our Words Our City” poetry series (featuring our most talented spoken-word artists), and far more efficient and effective site-management protocols that leverage technology and data (instead of just informal “boots on the ground” observations) to improve program quality.

Finally, it has allowed staff to be comfortable speaking with Board members directly, and vice-versa, without me in the middle. This has resulted in Board members feeling more connected to the organization, staff feeling more valued, and a greater comprehension by both Board and staff of what the other group does on behalf of DC SCORES.

What advice would you offer for other nonprofit leaders?

Effective, efficient, usable infrastructure really matters. Solid infrastructure coupled with clear north stars for which staff are held accountable keeps the team mission-focused, provides early warning signals about potential challenges, increases efficiency, facilitates being a learning organization, and smoothes personnel transitions by retaining institutional knowledge. However, at the end of the day, it’s all about the people. Without passionate, dedicated, curious, committed people at all levels of a nonprofit – people who wholeheartedly buy into the cause, who feel part of the team, who feel ownership over the impact – even the best systems will fail.

I urge nonprofit leaders to spend as much time on your people as on systems and fundraising. To me, spending time on people means being very intentional about building the right team when hiring; empowering staff to be successful leaders in their own specialties/functions; supporting staff when they stumble; keeping abreast of individual staffer’s strengths, growth opportunities, and career goals; openly taking responsibility for your own mistakes or missteps and setting a public example for how to handle them; and meaningfully engaging staff in constructively tackling organizational challenges.

What does this award mean for you and your organization?

As DC SCORES approaches our 25th anniversary next year, this award would be incredible public validation and affirmation (not just for me, but for our entire team) of years of hard work to turn around an organization that means so much to many, and to set it up for success for the next 25 years.

Six weeks into my tenure, at the beginning of a new fiscal year, DC SCORES experienced the unanticipated loss of a significant funder (due to the funder’s unannounced shift in focus away from children). This was not a problem I created, nor was a turnaround that I had been hired to do. After much deliberation, I decided to take a chance on leading DC SCORES through that crisis and, after much deliberation, the Board decided to take a chance on me doing so successfully.

Four years — and countless difficult decisions and long days later — I’m very proud that DC SCORES not only survived, but is thriving with stronger infrastructure, better financial controls, a highly-engaged governing and fundraising Board, much-improved fundraising capacity and success, and as high-quality programming as ever. In that time we’ve also grown substantially and, as importantly, sustainably – serving nearly 70% more children/year (nearly 3,000 total) at 40% more sites (65 total), and launching multiple new program streams (including Jr. SCORES for K-2 students; a rec center soccer league co-run with DPR; and enhanced spoken word and soccer programming for uniquely talented children).

It also would be meaningful external affirmation of DC SCORES’ commitment to be not just an impactful, but a sustainable, trustworthy long-term presence in the neighborhoods we serve and in kids’ lives. Our waitlist continues to grow, even as we add new sites to our roster. This award will validate for prospective funders that DC SCORES is an investment worthy of their resources – which we hope will ultimately allow us to serve more kids who need us.

Finally, but no less importantly, this award will be a morale boost to our 200+ community-based coaches. Approximately 80% of our coaches are schoolteachers or school administrative or support staff doing second shift with us. While we do pay and train our coaches, they don’t coach for the money. They coach because they care about kids, because they care about their school community, and because they believe DC SCORES’ unique model significantly improves both individual child outcomes and, at the same time, significantly strengthens the entire school community. As I publicly tell coaches at every opportunity, they are the real heroes, they are the real change-makers here, not me, and my job is to make sure our coaches have all the tools, infrastructure and resources they need to focus on the kids without distraction. Knowing that the Center and other “outsiders” recognize the intentional efforts we make at DC SCORES to put coaches and kids first will feel uplifting to our coaches, reinforcing that “outsiders” value my commitment to them and their commitment to DC’s most vulnerable kids.

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As Executive Director of The Veterans Consortium (TVC), Edmund “Ed” Glabus shares his perspective on leadership

During Ed’s tenure, TVC has been inducted into the Catalogue for Philanthropy as “One of the Best” charities, has been recognized as “Best in America” with the annual Seal of Approval by America’s Most Cost-Effective Charities, and has been awarded an Equal Justice Works grant to fund a two-year project meeting the legal needs of veterans impacted by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

Bringing over two decades of senior leadership experience to his role, Ed works with TVC’s Board of Directors, mission partners, headquarters staff and a nationwide volunteer corps of more than 2,500 attorneys and related pro bono professionals, building the capacity and capabilities of TVC to meet the needs of veterans and their families, caregivers, and survivors.

Tell us about your leadership style and how this contributes to your organization’s success.

As a veteran, I can sum up my leadership style as “leadership by example.” To me, this means

  • don’t ask your team to do anything you wouldn’t do yourself
  • always model the behavior you’d like to see in others, and
  • find out what the team really needs to be successful in their jobs

I think that this leadership style, plus providing professional development opportunities for our team, empowers our staff to provide more clients quality pro bono legal services—the best way for us to succeed.

What advice would you offer for other nonprofit leaders?

I would recommend that nonprofit leaders not be afraid to ask for advice and help. Although it’s not efficient to do everything by committee, “none of us is as smart as all of us,” and the solution to some very difficult challenges can come from the most surprising sources in our professional and personal networks.

What does this award mean for you and your organization?

Being selected as a finalist for the Center for Nonprofit Advancement’s EXCEL award provides an excellent opportunity to sing the praises of our stakeholders, our board, our staff, and especially our volunteer attorneys, paralegals, and related pro bono professionals. In addition to recognizing our team’s successes, winning the EXCEL award would provide even more validation of our operations and results. I believe it would be a mark of our program’s quality as we conduct outreach to veterans and their loved ones, mission partners and new volunteers.

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September 22 – 28

Arlington Community Foundation will host their Annual Community Cup Golf Classic on October 29, 2018 according to Inside NoVA. Funds raised during the event will support grant and scholarship programs.

Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (A-SPAN) Board Chair, Michael Garcia, penned a Letter to the Editor in ARLNow calling for an expansion in behavioral health services.

The Center for Nonprofit Advancement announces the winners of the Phyllis Campbell Newsome Public Policy Leadership Award, one each from Washington, DC, Virginia, Prince George’s County and Montgomery County.

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s latest report on Amazon’s move to capture public sector spending was covered by EdSurge in its article “When School Districts Buy From Amazon, Are They Getting the Best Deal? Maybe Not.”

National Low Income Housing Coalition President and CEO, Diane Yentel, commented on newly proposed federal legislation aimed at addressing the housing crisis in Curbed and The Atlantic.

National Peace Corps Association President and CEO, Glenn Blumhorst, discussed this year’s Harris Wofford Global Citizen Award recipient in NPR.

The White House Historical Association’s official 2018 White House Christmas Ornament is now available. The ornament honors President Harry S. Truman and the significant changes he made to the White House and the Presidential Seal. All ornament sales support the mission of the non-profit, non-partisan association to protect, preserve and provide public access to the history of the White House.

September 15 – 21

A Wider Circle announced they will honor Congressman G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) with the 2018 Commitment to Change Award during their annual Community Ball on September 27 according to PR Newswire.

Beacon House, Hope for Henry and Junior League of Washington are among the nonprofits selected by Compass for their 2018-19 Greater Washington Classic Project Roster.

Bright Beginnings is partnering with the Washington Capitals’ Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation and KaBOOM! to build a playground at one of their centers according to the Washington Capitals.

National Breast Cancer Coalition President, Frances M. Visco, penned a New York Times Letter to the Editor about medical industry accountability to breast cancer patients.

Sitar Arts Center announced that Essence Newhoff will serve as Senior Director of Development according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Prior to the role, Newhoff served as the Deputy Chief Development Officer at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Western Presbyterian Church’s food donation partnership with Miriam’s Kitchen was highlighted on WTOP.

September 8 – 14

DC Primary Care Association was featured in The Washington Post for their work in advocating for and providing prenatal care services to low-income pregnant women in Washington, D.C.

disAbility Resource Center celebrated their 25th anniversary during their Rock the Block Party according to Fredericksburg.com

Hope for Henry will hold its 15th Anniversary Extravaganza at City Winery in Washington, DC on Saturday, October 20 beginning at 6:30pm.

Nonprofit Village is opening a new Incubation Center in Rockville, Maryland providing affordable capacity building, professional support services and opportunities for collaboration—all within a shared workspace.

The Veterans Consortium will host its 2018 Pro Bono Mission Partner Awards Reception & Fireside Chat at 6:00pm on Wednesday, October 3 at Union Station in Washington, DC.

Volunteer Prince William awarded Shelley Tibbs the 2018 Coalition for Human Services Labor of Love Award.


September 1 – 7

Arlington Community Foundation’s new president and CEO, Jennifer Owens was highlighted in The Chronicle of Philanthropy

The Center for Nonprofit Advancement is offering its popular Nonprofit Financial Boot Camp on September 20-21, 2018.

Miriam’s Kitchen and George Washington University’s campus garden partnership was featured in The Washington Post.

The Nonprofit Risk Management Center (NRMC) has scheduled its Risk Summit for October 1-2, 2018. This two-day conference is ideal for nonprofit leaders who want to broaden their perspectives on risk management, learn practical strategies for identifying and managing risk, and bring risk resources and know-how back to their mission-driven organizations.

Charity Navigator has awarded St. Ann’s Center for Children, Youth and Families its second consecutive four-star rating.

As part of its #CallTextLive campaign during September’s National Suicide Prevention Month, PRS will enter teams in the AFSP Loudoun and Fairfax Walks and the NAMI NoVA Walk, and encourages all to participate.

From September 4-7, the Student Press Law Center implemented its Back to School Tips program, posting an article each day with links to key legal issues and topics to help student journalists and their advisers at the high school and college levels get their academic year off to a strong start.

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Dictionary.com tells us that to advocate is to “speak or write in favor of; recommend publicly; support or urge by argument.” Sometimes, it can be all too easy to get caught up in that argument approach—especially in today’s political climate. To be a truly effective advocate, you’ll find winning support for your cause is far more successful than winning arguments.

As the old saying goes: When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. Here are three ways to approach your advocacy challenges from a different angle:

1. Do something nice, and don’t expect anything in return. Some of the most effective advocacy initiatives begin not with the statement “we need your help”, but with the question “how can we help you?”

Plan to visit with the elected officials and other influencers most important to your organization. Start the conversation by telling them you’re not there to ask for money or anything else. You want to know how you can be a resource for them. Ask what challenges they are facing in providing constituent services, or what information they’d like to share with the people you serve. Offer to be a point of contact for their constituents.

Invite them to your organization to meet your staff and talk about what they are working on. People in those positions are constantly bombarded by those who want something from them. Find a way to be of help (in a way that is consistent with your mission and values) without asking for a quid pro quo, and you will have made a friend forever!

2. Get a bigger boat. The more voices there are to carry your message, the further it will go.

Think about who you’ve invited to spread the word about your issue. Look beyond your most natural allies (such as your staff, volunteers, and those you serve).

The most effective spokespeople are often those who don’t benefit directly from your success. Human service providers can advocate for the arts. Artists can advocate for public safety. Educators can speak about the importance of public transportation, etc. Your message can carry added weight when delivered by an unlikely messenger.

Reach out to organizations and audiences that are less obvious choices and invite their participation. Offer to help them in return. You may end up finding new allies and a newly amplified message.

3. Tell me why I should care. When you believe strongly in a cause or an issue, it’s easy to assume that everyone else understands why it’s important.

It’s a mistake to think that the person or audience you are trying to influence cares about the same things you do. Always take the time to know your audience and be prepared to explain your issue in the context of why it should matter to them. How many of their constituents will be impacted?

If it’s something with a very narrow focus, be able to demonstrate how it fits into a bigger picture or connects to another issue they can relate to. Above all, avoid creating the impression they should only care because you do. Don’t just tug at their heart strings—stand in their shoes.

Do you have a story to share about how you approached an advocacy challenge from a different perspective? We’d love to hear it. Email our Advocacy Network Program Director, Betty Dean, at bettyd@www.nonprofitadvancement.org.


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