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YNPN RVA Spotlight: Communications Committee

The Young Nonprofit Professionals Network RVA (YNPN RVA) is looking for the next crop of young leaders!  Applications are open for the 2020 leadership team and we are recruiting for both board and committee members through September 6th!  Here's a peak into the work of the Communications Committee - one of 3 main committees for YNPN RVA! Committee Members: Victoria Sheridan Executive Administrator, Weinstein JCC Rachel Southard Donor Relations Associate, ICA at VCU  Cassie Cunningham Policy Director, Children’s Home Society of Virginia  Gabrielle Jones (co-chair 2018 & 2019) Digital News Editor, Virginia's home for Public Media (VPM) Stephanie Hathaway (co-chair 2019 & 2020) Regional Manager, Soles4Souls What's the best part about being on the YNPN RVA Communications Committee?

  • Being able to spread the word about the great events that YNPN RVA hosts for nonprofit professionals and individuals pursuing or considering a nonprofit career.
  • The opportunity to build soft-skills in a professional environment.
  • Working alongside hard-working YP’s who show up, take action and quickly accomplish the objectives to successfully communicate events and such to YNPN RVA members.
  • Getting to utilize some skills that you do not use on a daily basis at my job.
Why join a YNPN RVA Committee?
  • To get more involved with YNPN RVA and get a deeper understanding of everything it has to offer.
  • To network at a deeper level with other nonprofit professionals.
  • To give back to the nonprofit community.
  • The ability to meet new people.
  • To create a deeper connection with YNPN RVA members.
Become a part of the 2020 YNPN RVA Communications Committee! Read more →


Nonprofit Advocacy Spotlight: Jon Lugbill, Sports Backers

Here at the Community Foundation, we believe that funders, philanthropists, nonprofits and government agencies do their best work when they do it together.  This is why we’re proud to offer a year of convening and learning about advocacy to further support the great work already being done in RVA. This week, we’re hosting a kick-off panel session around the basics of advocacy – what advocacy is, whether you should consider engaging in advocacy, and how you might get started.  The first subsequent deep dive will be led by Sports Backers’ Jon Lugbill around the topic “How to Grow Your Impact Through Grassroots Advocacy” where he will walk through the steps of creating and running an effective advocacy program that leads to greater social impact and policy change at the local level. In addition to several courses throughout the year, we’re also featuring individuals in various “Nonprofit Advocacy Spotlights” on the blog.  Here’s one.  

Sports Backers and Advocacy
For the past 26 years, Jon Lugbill has served as the Executive Director of Sports Backers.  Sports Backers develops programs and events designed to inspire people from all corners of our community to live actively.  They achieve this by focusing on a network of collaborative partnerships with other organizations, businesses, local governments and faith-based institutions. Their programs include: Bike Walk RVA - Supporting bike- and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure projects and empowering residents with the tools they need to advocate for safe and comfortable places to bike and walk throughout Richmond. Fitness Warriors - Offering free fitness classes throughout our community every week so that individuals, no matter where they live, can benefit from an active lifestyle. Kids Run RVA - Providing kids the chance to have fun while being physically active on a regular basis by supporting school-based run clubs. Active RVA - A regional collaborative movement that works with businesses, schools and early childhood organizations to get every corner of our community moving. Scholar-Athlete Awards - Celebrating the leadership and drive of scholar-athletes with a formal dinner and awards scholarships to 20 outstanding student athletes, 4 outstanding teams and a comeback athlete of the year. Events and Training Teams - Celebrating Richmond’s active culture by hosting events that showcase the region’s greatest attributes. Sports Backers now owns and produces 13 events each year that include some of the largest and most successful of their kind in the country, including large-scale events like the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k, Dominion Energy Riverrock and the VCU Health Richmond Marathon. We spoke with Jon about what role he and Sports Backers play in local advocacy, and how and why other local nonprofits should consider engaging in it.  Here’s what he had to say.
How do you and your organization engage in advocacy?
Through advocacy, Sports Backers works to drive change in how our community provides safe and accessible active transportation options.  As Executive Director, my role is hiring the right staff to work on advocacy and then working to have funding to support the program. I’m personally involved in legislative advocacy where I talk directly with elected officials to solicit their support for policies and funding for walking and biking infrastructure.  Our Bike Walk RVA program staff leads the grassroots advocacy work directly.  They work to organize the 40,000 people who have agreed to help support biking and walking infrastructure in our region. I’m involved in providing support and encouragement for our program staff and volunteers’ main activities.  I show up for meetings, receptions, gatherings and biking/walking events to show our support for advocacy. I also work closely with our Board of Directors to keep them informed of our advocacy efforts and help them stay engaged.  This way, when we run into opposition for our advocacy work, we have the Board of Directors behind us and not causing us to buckle under political pressure.  
Why should other nonprofits be interested in getting involved in advocacy?
High-performing nonprofits keep the impact of their activities at the forefront of their work. Check out this article by the Stanford Social Innovation Review that shows how real social change happens when organizations go outside of their own walls and find creative ways to enlist the help of others, one main way being advocacy work. It’s amazing how much impact you can make if you don’t care who gets the credit.  The amount of philanthropic giving in our community is limited, but changing government policies or procedures might do more to impact people in our community than programs or services. As nonprofits, should we just keep trying to provide solutions to outdated government policies or procedures?  Through advocacy we can go to the source and change the laws that are causing the unfortunate community outcomes.  And, as subject matter experts in the field, we can provide knowledge and insight that government staff might not have. Nonprofits can directly drive support for their mission and turn people out to support policy change, whereas government tends to follow the lead of their constituents.  
 
What are the rewards of doing advocacy work?
The overall impact of Sports Backers has grown dramatically by leveraging our impact through advocacy work with local governments.  When we first started doing advocacy work around biking and walking infrastructure in 2011, the local governments were only spending $1-2 million per year, including state and federal grants.  Five years later, that number has jumped to $15 million and is climbing quickly.  This was accomplished with an annual Bike Walk RVA program budget of only $350,000 per year.  The return on investment by the community is incredibly leveraged compared to Sports Backers trying to raise the funds to build bike and pedestrian infrastructure with philanthropic funds. Ultimately, the reward is changing the lives of the hundreds of thousands of people that use this infrastructure on a regular basis and live healthier and more productive lives. Read more →


Nonprofit Advocacy Spotlight: Claire Gastanaga, ACLU of Virginia

Claire Gastanaga joined the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Virginia as its Executive Director in June 2012, bringing with her decades of experience as an attorney, lobbyist, nonprofit leader, and fundraiser. Among many honors and awards, in 2010 she was named as one of the 50 Women of Influence in Virginia. Claire worked for the decade before joining the ACLU as a lobbyist for Equality Virginia, the Virginia Coalition for Latino Organizations and the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance. She has been a key player in state government, serving as Chief of Staff and Special Counsel to the Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates and as the first woman Chief Deputy Attorney General of Virginia. The ACLU of Virginia is a private, non-profit organization that promotes civil liberties and civil rights for everyone in the Commonwealth through public education, litigation and advocacy with the goal of securing freedom and equality for all. The ACLU is non-partisan and doesn’t engage in electioneering on behalf of any candidate or candidates at the local, state, or national level.   In addition to the litigation for which the ACLU has been best known, they also educate the public, inform the media, lobby legislators, organize grassroots activists, and disseminate information about constitutional freedoms through membership and volunteers. As the Executive Director, Claire focuses on empowering and mentoring the next generation of advocates with the ACLU of Virginia.  She encourages other nonprofits to consider their role in advocacy because, advocacy not only advances one’s organizational mission, it can lead to organizational sustainability and survival when, “the issues go to the heart of what we do and how we do it - tax laws, reporting and licensing, etc.” Claire says that, “you will be rewarded with greater visibility for your organization, impact enhancement and donor/supporter engagement.” Read more about Nonprofit Advocates, Emily Griffey with Voices for Virginia’s Children, Ross Catrow with RVA Rapid Transit and Justin Doyle with the James River Association. Want to learn more about Justin’s work and how local nonprofits can get involved in advocacy?  Join us the Community Foundation at our “Kickoff Panel Session”, where Justin will be one of several panelists that will share more about this important topic:

What is Advocacy? Learning Session and Panel

February 28, 2019

9:00 am to 11:00 am

The Community Foundation

3409 Moore St.

Richmond, VA 23230

Free – Registration Required

What is nonprofit advocacy? Whether you know the answer, think you know, or have no idea – this free panel session is for you! From educating the public to lobbying on Capitol Hill, advocacy plays a vital role in the nonprofit sector. Come learn more about this topic and related legal, social, and practical guidelines and impact as we “kick off” our advocacy convening and learning for the year. Panelists: Facilitator: Claire Gastanaga, Executive Director, ACLU Virginia Read more →


Nonprofit Advocacy Spotlight: Justin Doyle, James River Association

The James River Association’s (JRA) mission is to be the guardian of the James River, providing a voice for the river and taking action to promote conservation and responsible stewardship for its natural resources. JRA monitors the river, responds to problems, seeks policy changes, and implements on-the-ground projects to restore the river’s health. They protect the River through Watershed Restoration, James Riverkeeper, and River Advocacy programs.  They also help communities benefit from the river by increasing river access, supporting river-related events, and implementing volunteer projects. As the James River Association's Community Conservation Manager, Justin Doyle promotes conservation and responsible stewardship of the James River and its natural resources across the watershed through a variety of programs and projects.  Justin champions the expansion of recreational access to the James River and its tributaries. His advocacy work typically occurs at the local government level, working with other organizations and local governments to provide a voice for the River on important policy issues.  He also manages the James River Association ‘s Community Conservation Program. Justin believes that other local nonprofit organizations should get involved in advocacy to build public awareness of an issue and influence decision-making.  He says that, “the rewards of advocacy work are building awareness of and support for a specific issue or cause. Successful advocacy efforts yield desired policy changes.” [divider_line type="divider_line,divider_linetop,divider_blank,clear" line_type="dashed,dotted,solid,double"] Read more about Nonprofit Advocates, Emily Griffey with Voices for Virginia's Children and Ross Catrow with RVA Rapid Transit. Want to learn more about Justin’s work and how local nonprofits can get involved in advocacy?  Join us the Community Foundation at our “Kickoff Panel Session”, where Justin will be one of several panelists that will share more about this important topic:

What is Advocacy? Learning Session and Panel

February 28, 2019

9:00 am to 11:00 am

The Community Foundation

3409 Moore St.

Richmond, VA 23230

Free - Registration Required

What is nonprofit advocacy? Whether you know the answer, think you know, or have no idea – this free panel session is for you! From educating the public to lobbying on Capitol Hill, advocacy plays a vital role in the nonprofit sector. Come learn more about this topic and related legal, social, and practical guidelines and impact as we "kick off" our advocacy convening and learning for the year. Panelists: Facilitator: Claire Gastanaga, Executive Director, ACLU Virginia Read more →


Nonprofit Advocacy Spotlight: Ross Catrow, RVA Rapid Transit

Ross Catrow is the (newly promoted) Executive Director of RVA Rapid Transit.  You may also know Ross from his popular daily email newsletter and podcast Good Morning RVA, where he summarizes and calls out important news from around the region. Formed in 2016, RVA Rapid Transit is a grassroots nonprofit that advocates for frequent and far-reaching transit in the Richmond region through education, organizing and advocacy.   They promote that transit is key to creating a thriving and inter-connected region where citizens can access greater opportunities, such as employment, workforce development, commerce, higher education, nutritious food, routine health care, and much more.  Furthermore, a high-quality regional transit system is not only crucial to increasing human capital; it’s key to attracting economic development and investment opportunities, a talented workforce, and is associated with increased property values. Ross sets the advocacy agenda for the organization, which includes advocating for specific, community-supported public transportation improvements as well as regional transportation-related policies, like the ones set out in the Greater RVA Transit Vision Plan. When asked why a nonprofit should get involved in advocacy, Ross says, “advocating for better policy makes the work we all do easier, more efficient, and have a larger impact. If nothing else, learning about the policy and issues related to your area of work can make your organization more effective.”  He also goes on to say that advocacy gives you, “a chance to build power in your constituency and build relationships between your constituency and decision makers around that important policy”. [divider_line type="divider_line,divider_linetop,divider_blank,clear" line_type="dashed,dotted,solid,double"] Read more about local nonprofit advocate Emily Griffey with Voices for Virginia's Children. Want to learn more about Ross’ work and how local nonprofits can get involved in advocacy?  Join us the Community Foundation at our “Kickoff Panel Session”, where he will be one of several panelists that will share more about this important topic:  

What is Advocacy? Learning Session and Panel

February 28, 2019

9:00 am to 11:00 am

The Community Foundation

3409 Moore St.

Richmond, VA 23230

Free - Registration Required

What is nonprofit advocacy? Whether you know the answer, think you know, or have no idea – this free panel session is for you! From educating the public to lobbying on Capitol Hill, advocacy plays a vital role in the nonprofit sector. Come learn more about this topic and related legal, social, and practical guidelines and impact as we "kick off" our advocacy convening and learning for the year. Panelists: Facilitator: Claire Gastanaga, Executive Director, ACLU Virginia Read more →


Nonprofit Advocacy Spotlight: Emily Griffey, Voices for Virginia’s Children

Emily Griffey is the Policy Director at Voices for Virginia’s Children. Founded in 1994, Voices for Virginia’s Children is the commonwealth’s only independent, multi-issue child policy and advocacy organization. They are home to the KIDS COUNT data center for Virginia, which includes more than 200 state- and locality-level indicators on child well-being over time.  Using this data and independent policy research, they determine unmet needs and threats to child well-being, recommend sound policy solutions, provide objective input to policymakers, and educate and mobilize leaders and concerned citizens to support policy initiatives. Emily leads the policy team to develop a nonpartisan and cross-cutting state-level policy agenda for children’s issues. She advocates with the Virginia General Assembly for the most vulnerable children— those experiencing economic hardship, children in foster care, children with mental health challenges and babies and preschool-aged children. Emily says that she, “loves getting program staff involved in shaping their policy agenda and advocating for the implementation,” because, “hearing from the professionals applying policy changes helps create better policy solutions. Often these professionals can share the stories of the children they have served to help put a face on the impact of policy.” Nonprofit advocacy work can be very rewarding, according to Emily.  “Children can’t vote and often don’t even get asked to weigh in on policy changes-- that’s why they need others to speak up on their behalf. Knowing that you have advocated to help marginalized children have more opportunities feels great at the end of the day.” [divider_line type="divider_line,divider_linetop,divider_blank,clear" line_type="dashed,dotted,solid,double"] Read more about local nonprofit advocate Ross Catrow, Executive Director of RVA Rapid Transit. Want to learn more about Emily’s work and how local nonprofits can get involved in advocacy?  Join us the Community Foundation at our “Kickoff Panel Session”, where Emily will be one of several panelists that will share more about this important topic:  

What is Advocacy? Learning Session and Panel
February 28, 2019
9:00 am to 11:00 am
The Community Foundation
3409 Moore St.
Richmond, VA 23230
Free - Registration Required
What is nonprofit advocacy? Whether you know the answer, think you know, or have no idea – this free panel session is for you! From educating the public to lobbying on Capitol Hill, advocacy plays a vital role in the nonprofit sector. Come learn more about this topic and related legal, social, and practical guidelines and impact as we "kick off" our advocacy convening and learning for the year. Panelists: Facilitator: Claire Gastanaga, Executive Director, ACLU Virginia Read more →


Help Somebody Hall of Fame Spotlight: Lisa Hardy, Postpartum Support Virginia

The Help Somebody Hall of Fame celebrates and recognizes good people doing good work in RVA.  We encourage our readers to nominate nonprofit staff, volunteers, board members and community members who are making a positive difference locally.  This month, we are recognizing Lisa Hardy, RN, who is a volunteer with Postpartum Support Virginia – a nonprofit whose mission is to help new mothers and their families overcome postpartum depression and other perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Adrienne Griffen, the Founder & Executive Director of Postpartum Support Virginia shared that, “Lisa is the most thoughtful, energetic, enthusiastic, and selfless of volunteers. She gives freely of her off-duty time to be sure that moms she knows are struggling get connected with resources. She provides hope and help for new mothers and families, ensuring that moms and babies get off to a good start in life.” https://youtu.be/KqnnsEOYka8 Lisa leads a support group for women experiencing postpartum depression and related perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs). PMADs are the number one complication of pregnancy and childbirth, affecting at least 1 in 5 new mothers. Lisa knows firsthand about PMADs as she survived postpartum depression and anxiety when her son was born 18 years ago. Lisa’s experience led her to a career in nursing (she is a nurse at Bon Secours St. Francis Medical Center, delivering babies and helping women become new mothers) and eventually to find Postpartum Support Virginia to learn more about PMADs. Lisa single-handedly has changed the way St. Francis addresses PMADs. In the last two years, Lisa has started a twice-monthly support group for women experiencing PMADs, taught other nurses how to discuss these illnesses with new mothers and how to screen for them, and provided training sessions to obstetricians and pediatricians so they can also screen new mothers.  The St. Francis support group has met every two weeks without fail for 18 months, providing direct support to 25 new mothers. [caption id="attachment_93985" align="aligncenter" width="611"] The photo was taken at AWOHNN in June of 2018. AWOHNN is the national conference for women’s health where Lisa did a presentation for what St Francis Medical Center is doing with support groups for moms with perinatal mood disorders.[/caption] Medical professionals who once were fearful of discussing mental health issues with their maternity patients now have the education, skills, and resources to address these important issues head-on. Doctors who told Lisa that this couldn’t be done now fully support these important initiatives. Lisa gives freely and generously of her time, following up with new mothers who are struggling with anxiety or depression, supporting them in person as well as via phone, text, and email. Lisa has taken her personal experience with postpartum depression and anxiety to create a system of support for new moms and families. Lisa’s generosity of time and talent has resulted in tangible impact, locally and across Virginia.  Now, all women who deliver babies at Bon Secours St Francis Medical Center (approximately 1,800 each year) are screened for postpartum depression and related illnesses prior to discharge from the hospital.  Treating postpartum depression saves money. The cost of not treating these issues is $22,000 per mother/infant pair, so screening and treating these illnesses saves Lisa’s hospital almost $9 million a year.  Other hospitals in the Bon Secours Health System are following Lisa’s lead by implementing support groups and screening women, including St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond and Mary Immaculate Hospital in Newport News. About the Help Somebody Hall of Fame The Help Somebody Hall of Fame is a platform to express gratitude for a person in the community who acts selflessly to improve the lives of others.  We want to share these stories in hope of inspiring more people in Greater Richmond to act with generosity.  There will be random drawing each quarter from those who are honored, and two honorees will select a nonprofit of their choice to receive $1000.  Read more about how to nominate someone here. Read more →


ConnectVA Spotlight: Hal Waller, Head of School, Riverside School

Tell us about yourself. I am Hal Waller, the Head of School at Riverside School. I was previously the Head of the Lower School at Veritas, and prior to that, the Chair of the English Department and Executive Director of the Foundation at Maggie Walker Governor’s School. https://youtu.be/ijGpJMb7c4s What is the focus of your work? Riverside is a private, K-8 school for dyslexic students. We provide a specialized curriculum featuring one-on-one instruction that unlocks the potential of our students and allows them to return to mainstream education. What do you find most rewarding about your work? This may sound corny but seeing the smiles on the faces of our students each day is a tremendous reward. Many of our students come to us in crisis mode, having fallen behind their peers simply because they learn in a different way, and school is the last place they want to be. The turnaround that we, and their parents, see upon the student’s arrival at Riverside, is evident and often immediate. What are some major challenges you have faced and how you handled them? In the world of dyslexic education, Riverside is well-known and admired, but in the general Richmond community, I have found that not many people know of us. I don’t want Riverside to be a “hidden gem” anymore, so outreach and educating the public about our great program are definitely goals I am working toward.   What would someone be surprised to know about your organization? Most private schools aim to retain their students, but our goal is to get them back to mainstream education as quickly as possible. The average time a student spends at Riverside is three years. We draw students from public and private schools in over 10 jurisdictions in Central Virginia. Do you have any interesting initiatives or programs on the horizon? Winter is a busy season for prospective families, and we have an Admissions Open House coming up on February 14 from 9 – 11 a.m. If anyone reading this knows a student who is struggling to read and that you think may have a language-based learning difference, join us to learn more about Riverside School and our programs. Get info here. Is your organization involved in any exciting collaborations or partnerships? Riverside’s teacher training program has served many educators in Central Virginia, equipping them with the systematic and proven approach we use to teach reading. We just completed our first training session for educators at a local juvenile correctional facility. The correlation between students with reading difficulties and those who get into trouble is unsurprisingly high. I would love to see this partnership continue and expand so that more kids who need this specialized education receive it. How are you leveraging ConnectVA and the Community Foundation to achieve your mission? First of all, thank you very much for this opportunity to share some information about our school. We are very appreciative of the Community Foundation’s past support of Riverside’s programs through grants, and we certainly hope to continue that partnership. We have also found ConnectVA to be an excellent source of qualified applicants when we are hiring. Anything else you would like to share?  Yes! Thanks to a partnership with our next-door neighbor St. Michael’s Church, we are leasing a building from the former campus of St. Michael’s School. We are so thankful and enthusiastic about this expansion into Ticer Hall, as it has allowed us to increase our enrollment to 80 students, the highest number in our 45-year history! It is truly an exciting time to be here at Riverside School, and I am grateful for every day with our amazing faculty and students. Read more →


Help Somebody Spotlight: Beth Ayn Stansfield, Founder, Stay Strong Virginia

The Help Somebody Hall of Fame celebrates and recognizes good people doing good work in RVA.  We encourage our readers to nominate nonprofit staff, volunteers, board members and community members who are making a positive difference. In December, we are recognizing Beth Ayn Stansfield, who is the founder of Stay Strong Virginia – a nonprofit whose mission is to expand and enhance the existing services to those impacted by an eating disorder in the State of Virginia by raising awareness, education and providing direct support with respect and empathy. Read more →


ConnectVA Spotlight: Cory Richardson-Lauve, Virginia Home for Boys and Girls

Tell us about yourself. Hi! I’m Cory Richardson-Lauve, and I’ve worked at the Virginia Home for Boys and Girls for fifteen years. Currently, I serve as the Vice President of Programs. Over the years I’ve been responsible for training, program evaluation, and human resources. Prior to that I worked as a case manager, staff supervisor, and in a direct care role with our youth in VHBG’s group homes. I also have experience as a classroom teacher. I graduated from the University of Virginia in 1996 with an undergraduate degree in English and master’s in Teaching. Read more →