On January 20th, the Center’s Professional Development Book Club met via Zoom to discuss our third book, Deep Work by Cal Newport. We started with an enlightening conversation about the variety of distractions the modern world presents. In line with our reading, we shared thoughts, tips, and examples of how to cut the distractions from our lives and focus on work.

We are looking forward to starting our fourth book! If you are interested in joining our next discussing, please email Patrick Rabiecki.



Deep Work by Cal Newport

Deep Work dives in to how to revolutionize work habits in a world where distractions are prevalent and attention spans are short. Newport presents a rigorous training regimen for readers to follow, as a series of four “rules” for transforming your mind and habits.

Cal Newport is a computer science professor at Georgetown University and a New York Times bestselling author of seven books. Newport is also a regular contributor to the New Yorker, the New York Times, and WIRED.

“The Center’s book club is excited to dive into Cal Newport’s book about staying focused in a world where distractions are around every corner.” Patrick Rabiecki, Member Associate and co-planner of the Book Club.

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Hispanic Heritage month is an annual celebration of the history and culture of U.S. Hispanic communities.

The anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua is on the 15th of September, which is why the month of celebration spans from September 15th to October 15th.

This month, the Center commemorates the diverse experience of Hispanic leaders through the I am the Change series.

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The Davis Center presents its annual Community Service Award to The Parks Main Street because of its dedication to the arts and small businesses in the community. TPMS is part of DC’s Department of Small and Local Business Development, which partners with the Center.

The Davis Center, founded in 1969, provides dance instruction and related arts education to Washington, DC metropolitan area residents of all ages and varied backgrounds. Each year the Davis Center holds an Annual Awards Program for its students to teach them how to receive an award and to give them recognition for their hard work. The awards program was held on Friday, June 18, 2021 at the Bridges Academy.

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Assessing the situation in the Greater Washington area

The Center commissioned research from Brighter Strategies as part of a regional study to determine how to structure support that best serves area needs. The data collected is important to the proprieties and action agendas for all sectors.

The Center’s Sector Rebuilding Campaign was launched in response to the pandemic to support nonprofits in rebuilding the capacity and systems needed to thrive throughout the health and economic crisis and over the next three years. The murder of George Floyd and countless others amplified critical cross sector dialogue, uncovered various race equity deficits and is motivating action from leaders. In response to the need for change, we launched a new Center for Race, Equity, Justice and Inclusion. This critical research will help guide our efforts in both areas.

Hear the results in our debrief and discussion

Join the dialogue! Review, interpret and reflect on the results with our discussion leaders:


Glen O’Gilvie, CAE
Center for Nonprofit Advancement



Elizabeth Scott, PhD
President /CEO
Brighter Strategies



Survey data preview:
  • Nonprofits in the greater Washington region have felt a loss of funding, volunteers and client relations.
  • Over 60% of nonprofits expect to see continued increases in demand for services.
  • 80% see a significant gap in services available to their communities.
  • The impact of Covid-19 is not being felt evenly among nonprofits. Long standing African American/Black led nonprofits were significantly more likely to have to furlough staff than their white led counterparts. This alarming statistic is just one of the disturbing differences found.

Make plans to join us virtually and discuss what the future holds for Greater Washington nonprofits.

Covid-19 and Racial Inequity
in the Greater Washington nonprofit sector
Wednesday, October 21, 9:30am – 10:30am


There is no charge, but registration is required.

Special thanks to the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation
for funding this critical effort.

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To implement informative, relevant, forward-focused training, the Center relies on skilled professionals who specialize in and are committed to supporting the nonprofit sector. During these past few weeks, our faculty has gone above and beyond enabling us to implement a rapid, real-time response to the unprecedented challenges of this crisis. Classes already scheduled were transitioned to webinar format and modified to address current issues, and we presented eight new COVID-19 related programs providing much needed information, tools and guidance.


We’re proud of and very grateful to these outstanding individuals:

Swafia Ames, Brighter Strategies

Sharon Anderson, The Anderson Difference

Flannery Berg, FMA

Sarah Bowman Ratjik, Human Resources, Inc.

Octavia Caldwell, Caldwell Group

Maria Carrasquillo, MJH Consulting

Alfreda Edwards, Edwards Consulting Services

Amir B. Eyal, Mylestone Plans

Lewis Flax, Flax Associates

Javier Goldin, Goldin Group

Mike Gellman, Fiscal Strategies 4 Nonprofits

Carol Hamilton, Grace Social Sector

Britt Hogue, The Collective Good

Barbra Kavanaugh, Brighter Strategies

Sergei Khadjiev, Goldin Group

Emma Kieran, Pilot Peak Consulting

Debbi Lindenberg, Cafritz Foundation

Stefanie Lomax, HR Pro 4 You

Payal Martin, Brighter Strategies

Daniel Mushala, Training Works

Fiona Oliphant, Healing Equity United

Barbara O’Reilly, Windmill Hill Consulting

Larry Robertson, Consultant

Mark Sachs, Mark Sachs & Associates

Will Schermerhorn, AtomStream Communications

Elizabeth Scott, Brighter Strategies

Alex Suchman, Brighter Strategies

Kathlyn Taylor Gaubatz, Consultant

Don Tebbe, Strategic Planning and Succession Planning Consultant

Gretchen Upholt, FMA

Rachel Werner, RBW Strategy

Meico Whitlock, Mindful Techie

Peter Wolk, National Center for Nonprofit Law

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Paul W. Ruppert is an innovative entrepreneur who builds diverse teams that collaborate to create noteworthy projects. As president and founder of Warehouse Industries, Paul oversees the day-to-day operation of a restaurant and retail development company that conceives, builds and operates restaurants, art centers and retail outlets in Washington, DC. Recent projects include Slim’s Diner, Cappy’s Crabs, Crane & Turtle, Upshur Street Books, Petworth Citizen & Reading Room, Hogo and Room 11.


Paul grew up and currently lives in Ward 4. He is a former nonprofit executive and founding Treasurer of the Shaw Main Streets board. Through opening small businesses, he has connected with city agencies since the early 1990’s and is currently the Co-Chair of Councilmember Brandon Todd’s Ward 4 Business Advisory Committee. Recently, he was named a Distinguished Fellow at the Catholic University’s Busch School of Business, and advises students in the area of business development and entrepreneurial projects.

“This section of Georgia Avenue is one of the heartbeats of our city—a city where I have spent several decades working to build community through private enterprise. To be sure, the challenges for small businesses on Georgia Avenue are real. With Walmart at one end of the corridor, Target at the other and the Walter Reed project in the middle, our local independent businesses have to operate at their highest level in order to be successful,” observes Paul. “By supporting existing businesses through the proven Main Street framework, we can do our part to strengthen the business community. This increased vitality will in turn help attract new businesses and contribute to a thriving neighborhood. As the executive director of the UGA Main Street, I am excited to be a part of this challenge.”

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The Center has been awarded a grant from DSLBD to help create the new Upper Georgia Avenue Main Street, as well as provide fiscal and organizational management, leadership and technical assistance. The Center is currently conducting a leadership search to fill the position of Main Street Executive Director for the UGA Main Street. We encourage all who are interested to review the job description and apply by the deadline—5:00pm on Wednesday, January 22, 2020.

For more information, please email Carla Trussell, Interim Executive Director, Upper Georgia Avenue Main Street, or call 202.247.1521.

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Progressive Life Center (PLC) has been awarded the grant to serve as the Administrative Partner for the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) 2020 Community Programming Initiative (CPI) Service Coalition. The Center is partnering with PLC to deliver training and capacity building support to the selected coalition of providers.

This program serves as a bridge between youth, families and the community through outreach, engagement and other supportive services. Learn more about its positive impact and the Center’s new role in this collaborative effort.

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It’s time to get serious about keeping top performers on your team. That is the takeaway message from a new report from Nonprofit HR, a Washington-DC based research and consulting organization.

The 2019 Talent Retention Practices Survey chronicles staff retention strategies and practices in over 350 nonprofit organizations from across the US (and some from Canada). Respondents were evenly distributed across the spectrum from small employers (fewer than 10) to large (more than 500 employees), and across budget sizes, from less than $1 million to more than $40 million. The report is one of the first (if not the first) to identify and quantify the challenges around employee retention in nonprofits.

The Center recently published an article in its 2019 Nonprofit Agenda about the cost and downside of employee turnover. As a supplement to that article, here are some steps that key leaders in your organization can take to keep your top performers from leaving. 

What CEOs need to know and do

Know where your organization stands when it comes to retention: What’s your turnover rate, particularly among your high performers and first-year employees? Where are your turnover hot spots? What’s driving those hot spots? And more important, what can you do about them?

  • Recognize that whether you’re aware of it or not, your nonprofit has a reputation as an employer. If you don’t have a listing on Glass Door or one of the other employee rating sites, that won’t last long. Word on the street is rapidly being replaced by word on the web. And it’s not just prospective employees who are checking out those sites—it’s prospective donors as well.
  • Recognize that the three main drivers of employee retention—culture, leadership and career quality—are things under your direct control. What changes do you need to make to your leadership style or organizational culture to improve employee retention? How can you enhance your employees’ career quality?
  • Consider implementing “skip level” conversations. These are periodic conversations with front-line employees about how you can make your nonprofit a great place to work and what staff need specifically to stay with your organization.
  • Use programs like TINYpulse to gather direct, unfiltered information about how your employees are feeling about your organization and their jobs, and what’s enhancing or hindering their performance.
What nonprofit boards need to know and do

While your chief executive is your board’s only employee, the board is responsible for the stewardship of the entire organization. That means making sure that your organization’s culture and practices foster the development of the organization’s human and reputational assets. Implementing that is the executive’s responsibility, but holding the CEO accountable is the board’s job. Ensuring your nonprofit is a stellar place to work starts with your board members.

What HR managers need to know and do

An organization’s HR professionals should be keenly aware of turnover rates and what’s influencing employee retention. CEOs are responsible for a multitude of things, and employee retention, while terribly important, is just one of those things. Here’s what HR staff can do to elevate the importance of employee retention and get the resources and leadership attention needed to do something about it:

  • Gather good data about the factors that are influencing your organization’s retention rates. Continue using the retention strategies outlined in the article, including exit interviews, but consider incorporating retention or “stay” interviews if you’re not doing that already.
  • Make a compelling case to your CEO to help address the areas for improvement. Is it culture? Leadership practices? Or career quality? Help your CEO understand the ROI and the fact that strategies for improving employee retention are usually free or cheap. And those that cost have a big payoff.
  • Help the CEO understand that creating a great place to work can be one of his/her enduring leadership legacies.

It doesn’t matter if your nonprofit’s mission is to inspire, support, educate or transform, it’s your people who are the power behind that mission. Are you doing all you can do to prove to them that they have invested their career and their life energies in the right organization, the right mission, and the right leader?

Contributing author: Don Tebbe, Leadership Succession Consultant, Author and National Speaker, Center Faculty

To learn more, see “It’s time to get serious about employee retention” in the 2019 Nonprofit Agenda.

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After an extensive evaluation process, the EXCEL Award selection committee completed the difficult task of narrowing the field to five finalists. They visited each of these organizations and then made their final selections.
Congratulations to our three winners and two honorable mentions!

We invite you to read their thoughts on leadership and what it means to be recognized with this award.

2019 EXCEL Award Winners


Steve Glaude
CNHED (Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development)




Hugo Mogollon
Community Foodworks




Bridgette Stumpf
NVRDC (Network for Victim Recovery of DC)



2019 EXCEL Award Honorable Mentions


Harold Pettigrew
WACIF (Washington Area Community Investment Fund)




Clark Seipt
CCH (Community Coalition for Haiti)


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