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ConnectVA Spotlight: Amy Godkin, ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation


Tell us about yourself.

My name is Amy Godkin and I am Executive Director of ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation. I have worked in the nonprofit sector for most of my career but was introduced to ASK in 2001 when my son was diagnosed with cancer. I felt that they made such a difference in our lives that I started volunteering for them. After several years, I became their part-time development director and in 2013, I moved into the executive director role.

What is the focus of your work?

ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation is Central Virginia’s most comprehensive provider of services for children with cancer. We make life better for children with cancer by providing financial, educational and emotional support.  With one to two children diagnosed with cancer every week here in our community, the need for support services is great.

Three campers from ASK’s Summer Enrichment Program show off their tie-dye shirts.

Three campers from ASK’s Summer Enrichment Program show off their tie-dye shirts.

What do you find most rewarding about your work?

I love the immediacy of our work.  When we learn that a child or family is in need, we can connect them with a program or resource and make a difference in their lives that same day. As a parent who has gone through this myself, it’s rewarding to have the opportunity to be able to pay it forward and help others who are going through a similar experience.

Each September ASK celebrates the area patients and survivors with its Kourageous Kids portrait exhibit.

Each September ASK celebrates the area patients and survivors with its Kourageous Kids portrait exhibit.

What are some major challenges you have faced and how you handled them?

Sometimes we start a program to address a need and the response is not as great as expected.  Figuring out how to deliver services to families in the middle of a health crisis can be challenging. Sometimes they can’t take time to get the help that they need.

What’s coming next for you and/or for your organization that really excites you?

As survival rates continue to improve and the number of childhood cancer survivors grows, we’re excited to expand our survivorship programs to support this population. Two-thirds of all childhood cancer survivors will have permanent late effects as a result of their treatment. We want to help all of our survivors move forward and thrive after cancer.  We’d like to build on the success of our wellness and education programs and help survivors successfully transition to adulthood.


Teen patients and survivors serve as counselors and support younger patients in the ASK Summer Enrichment Program.

How are you leveraging ConnectVA to achieve your mission?

ConnectVA is a great resource for ASK. It’s the first place we go when we’re looking for qualified nonprofit professionals to join our staff.  It’s also a great resource for advertising our events, looking for training workshops and recruiting volunteers.


ASK’s Child Life Therapist Katie Barber is always ready to clown around.

Anything else you would like to share?

ASK offers some of the most progressive support program in the country for young cancer patients and survivors.  Our preschool is only one of two in the country and our afterschool tutoring program is the only known program of its kind.  We’re extremely proud of the work that we do but there is certainly more to be done.  We rely on the passion and dedication of our community volunteers, partners and donors.


Know someone who should be a ConnectVA Spotlight?  Email us at info@connecta.org for more information!

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Campaign Closeup: The Amazing Praise


In the nonprofit sector, the fall generally marks the kick-off into the fundraising season with charitable events like galas and races, online giving days and of course, end of year campaigns.   For the past five years in the Greater Richmond region this time of year was marked by the Amazing Raise – a 36-hour online giving event in mid-September that featured competitive grant prizes awarded before and after to nonprofits through various challenges, video contests and a 5k race.

Hosted by The Community Foundation (TCF), the annual event produced more than $7M for hundreds of local organizations. In 2015, donations from 21,000 online gifts totaled $1.8M which included $150k or more in prize money to instill fun and competition amongst participants.

In February 2016, the Community Foundation announced the end of the Amazing Raise and the desire to direct future efforts to further support nonprofit capacity building, donor engagement and opportunities to achieve greater community impact.  TCF expressed a hope that local nonprofits would learn from their participation in the Amazing Raise and evolve in their own fundraising efforts.  Through the spring and summer, TCF worked with many organizations to help them figure out “what’s next”.  Although there was some initial disappointment, many nonprofits were inspired to create campaigns of their own.  Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing insight into those campaigns that evolved after the Amazing Raise.

The Amazing Praise


On September 13th four local Christian nonprofits held The Amazing Praise – a 48-hour online giving event with a goal of raising $100k. Participants included Boaz & Ruth, Richmond Christian Leadership Initiative (RCLI), Sweet Monday and Youth Life Foundation of Richmond.  The four organizations had individual goals based on their previous success in the Amazing Raise; RCLI – $55k, Youth Life Foundation – $20k, Sweet Monday – $12.5k and Boaz & Ruth – $12.5k.  The online giving event ended up bringing in $55.5k.

We spoke with Tim Holtz, Executive Director of RCLI and organizer of The Amazing Praise to learn more.


Tim Holtz, Executive Director, Richmond Christian Leadership Initiative and lead organizer of the Amazing Praise in its initial year.

Where did the idea of the Amazing Praise come from?

The Community Foundation hosted a session about ‘what to do now that the Amazing Raise is over.’  On my way there, the Amazing Praise language came into my mind as a possible jumping off point for our organization, given its faith focus.  At that session, my biggest take away was a presenter commenting that now (i.e., with the Amazing Raise ended) was the opportunity to move donors from being prize-focused to being mission-focused.  I tried to use the Amazing Praise concept and how our specific organization deployed it, as mission-focused methods for RCLI.

How did you decide who would partner on this initiative?

I met with a key RCLI volunteer to invite his leadership of the Amazing Praise effort for RCLI.  He questioned whether the effort was just for RCLI or for other organizations?  Given RCLI’s approach and outlook in wanting Richmond to reflect God’s heart, the final answer came rather easily . . . yes, let’s see if other organizations might be interested.  In the first year, we wanted organizations that, like RCLI, had significant Amazing Raise involvement in 2015 and were concerned about how to retain/grow their donors.  Secondarily, given the “praise” aspect of our approach, we wanted organizations that were comfortable using this opportunity to simultaneously celebrate the work being done across the region in Jesus’ name.  Given these parameters, I spoke with about 15 organizations.  In the end, three of them determined it was a good fit for them in terms of their calendar, approach, etc.


How did you spread the word for the event?

We pooled our Amazing Raise donor lists, removed the duplicates and then shared in the cost of an over-sized postcard mailing to the donors announcing the new event and our collaboration.  We established a basic website (TheAmazingPraise.org) and then launched a Facebook page—taking one week turns to share praise-worthy highlights of our work.  We also widely distributed a press release and received some website and social media promotions from Entrust Financial Credit Union.  Finally, it was the responsibility of each organization to contact their donors and encourage responses.

What went well and what didn’t?

We worked in collaboration and successfully raised money.  We were also disciplined to all promote and share only one link/URL throughout the event: TheAmazingPraise.org.  This ensured that all (prospective) donors were at least alerted to the existence and participation of the other organizations.  Each organization was able to manage its own messaging and donation process (i.e., no common, intermediary).  The Richmond Times-Dispatch provided media coverage.

What surprised you about the Amazing Praise?

Not exactly a surprise, but it became clear to me that the community-wide 36-hour frenzy created by the Amazing Raise was a key factor in growing the number of donors.  Our four small organizations working on a roughly six-week timeline were not able to independently duplicate that level of excitement.

What did you learn from the event?

We learned that it worked.  Simply with more time to plan for 2017, broader and more creative promotions should increase the success.

What’s next for the Amazing Praise?

We do plan to repeat it in 2017: from 12:00 pm on Tues., September 26 – 12:00 pm on Thurs., September 28th.  Other organizations are welcome to consider participating.  The governing “agreement” is under development and will be available in November by contacting any of the 2016 organizations (RCLI, Sweet Monday, Boaz & Ruth, Youth Life Foundation of Richmond).  Plus, an informational session is scheduled for Thurs., January 12 at 9:00 am, hosted at Boaz & Ruth (3030 Meadowbridge Road, 23222; RSVP is requested).


Did you recently hold a successful fundraising campaign and want to share your insight?  Email us at admin@connectva.org!

Also, check out these learning opportunities for the foundations of Fund Development and Communications!

Upcoming Classes

11/9 –  Social Media Strategies for Nonprofits

11/18 – Cultivating Corporate Partnerships and Sponsors

12/7 – Courting the Media

And here are a few short webinars on #GivingTuesday, which is coming up on November 29th!


10/25 –  #GivingTuesday and Beyond: Your Nine-Week Plan to Score Big

10/25 – Nonprofit 911: The Secret to a Record-Breaking #GivingTuesday

10/27 –  GivingTuesday Before, During and After—Your 9-Week Success Plan!

11/1 –  Online Fundraising Best Practices for Nonprofits


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ConnectVA Spotlight: Lauren Gray, Virginia Oral Health Coalition


Tell us about yourself.

My name is Lauren Gray and I’m the Program and Engagement Manager for Virginia Oral Health Coalition.  I am relatively new to the Coalition (just over 7 months). Prior to that I completed master’s degrees in public health and social work from VCU. I have had very diverse experiences in the public health field, including an internship performing case management at a free health clinic and another working at the state Medicaid agency doing policy research to inform the design of a major waiver program. My main driver is promoting equitable access to quality health care for vulnerable people.


What is the focus of your work?

The Coalition mobilizes people from many sectors to ensure oral health is included as an integral part of overall health. The connection between oral health and the whole body is underappreciated, in large part because dental care is siloed from medical care and can be considered a luxury for some. The Coalition advocates for increased access to oral health care and provides education and technical assistance to help integrate oral health within all patient care settings.


Attendees at the Annual Virginia Oral Health Summit hosted by VOHC


What do you find most rewarding about your work?

Knowing that I am working to address a problem that impacts individuals’ physical health and social well-being is really rewarding. In my previous work, I saw firsthand how desperate people in our community are to access care, and how even cosmetic dental issues can impact a person’s ability to find work or be socially active in their communities. The great thing about working on an issue like oral health is that most conditions are totally preventable – there are real solutions available to us, it’s just a matter of getting folks to collectively act at a system level.


What are some major challenges you have faced? 

The biggest challenge I’ve encountered is communication to raise public awareness and foster collaboration across a wide array of stakeholders. Meaningful engagement requires a lot of finesse and attention to what truly matters to our audience. Sometimes it’s tough to figure out what messaging or framing resonates with people, and I have to be willing to re-think my perception of what the problems and solutions are.

What’s coming next for your organization that really excites you?

At our annual Virginia Oral Health Summit on November 10, the Coalition will be debuting an advocacy tool called the Virginia Oral Health Report Card. The Report Card will grade Virginia’s performance compared to the nation on several key oral health-related indicators; early next year we will facilitate regional convenings where we take a deeper dive into regionally-specific oral health indicators and health equity data.

I am so excited to have the chance to impact this issue not only from a state level, but also to help Virginia’s diverse regions and communities develop their own approaches to bettering oral health, driven by the Report Card data as well as local data sources.


How are you leveraging ConnectVA to achieve your mission?

I hope that the fantastic organizations across the state who interface with ConnectVA will reach out to the Coalition to get involved with the regional outreach we are planning to do, or to become a part of our state-level advocacy work.

Anything else you would like to share?

Oral health problems might not rise to the top of a person’s priority list, especially if those problems have to compete with employment, family, or other health struggles. However, oral health can be addressed through other interventions to improve people’s overall health and quality of life. There are simple habits we can collectively encourage, resources that organizations can connect their clients with, and techniques that health care providers can employ to address the spectrum of their patients’ health needs, including oral health. For the bigger, systemic problems that need to change – we need more advocates to join us, so please reach out to get involved.


Know someone who should be a ConnectVA Spotlight?  Email us at admin@connectva.org for more information.

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News from the Community: TCF Grant Announcement


In early October, The Community Foundation serving Richmond and Central Virginia announced the award of $877,500 to local nonprofits through their community grant making program and over $1M in support through TCF affiliated partners –  the Jenkins Foundation, Medarva Foundation Fund and Sheltering Arms Fund .   The community grants program is supported by unrestricted and field of interest funds created by donors who had the foresight to ensure that TCF would have the flexibility to meet the changing needs of the Greater Richmond region over time.   Twice a year, TCF makes grants that advance our goals of cultural vibrancy, economic prosperity, educational success, and health and wellness.   In addition, there are special funding opportunities that invite proposals at different times of year.  Learn more about the community grant making process here – the next round of competitive grant applications are due November 7th.

Cultural Vibrancy

TCF Goal: Community Members have access to and an appreciation for arts and cultural opportunities.

Art180 – $50,000 to support ART 180’s community-based after-school youth development programs.

 Maymont Foundation – $50,000 to provide general operating support for Maymont.

 Richmond Ballet – $40,000 to support the 2016-2017 MINDS IN MOTION program in participating Richmond-area elementary schools, and the expansion of the program to add a team of Teaching Artists and enable more residency programs.

 Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Foundation – $25,000 to provide funding for educational programming for Virginia Museum of Fine Arts visitors in conjunction with the 2017 exhibition, Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China.

Economic Prosperity

TCF Goal: The region’s resources are sustainable and its residents are economically stable and secure.

Children’s Home Society of Virginia – $14,500 to support the purchase of a van for the Possibilities Project.

 Initiatives of Change$25,000 to support The Center for Community Trustbuilding.

 James River Association – $25,000 to implement recreational access, river-based business development, and tourism recommendations of the Regional Rivers Plan.

 Local Initiatives Support Corporation – Virginia Office – $50,000 to support neighborhood revitalization activities in Richmond’s Northside, including the Financial Opportunity Center, a community safety initiative and a corridor revitalization strategy.

 Neighborhood Resource Center – $20,000 to hire a consultant to facilitate both an organizational assessment and strategic planning process to update NRC’s three-year strategic plan.

 Partnership for Housing Affordability – $50,000 to the support the formation of the Maggie Walker Community Land Trust.

 St. Joseph’s Villa – $60,000 to support continued provision of rapid rehousing services in Richmond and the Tri-Cities, placing households in permanent housing with time-limited financial assistance and stabilization services.

Educational Success

TCF Goal: Young people achieve in school, engage in their community and are prepared for the workforce.

Communities in Schools of Chesterfield – $25,000 to establish a comprehensive development program that increases the capacity of the CIS of Chesterfield Board of Directors to sustain and expand CIS programming.

 First Tee Richmond & Chesterfield – $25,000 to provide capacity building support in the area of marketing and fund development.

 Northstar Academy – $50,000 to support the Career Academy for students with disabilities, focused on obtaining employment.

 Peter Paul Development Center – $75,000 to support 250 students in quality after school and summer programming designed to support academic growth and connect students to quality enrichment experiences.

 The Valentine – $22,000 to provide experiential programs to students in Richmond’s underserved schools.

 United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg – $50,000 to support the Richmond Youth Program Quality Intervention (YPQI), which provides training and assessment for youth service providers in the Richmond region.

 Virginia Early Childhood Foundation – $25,000 to support Shared Services Alliance that will centralize key functions of early care providers.

 Virginia Repertory Theatre – $50,000 to support of FIELD, Family Involvement in Early Literacy Development.

Health & Wellness

TCF Goal: Community members are safe and healthy.

Elk Hill Farm – $25,000 to support school-based mental health services for students in Goochland Middle School and 9th grade.

 Greater Richmond Fit4Kids  – $45,000 to support the Wellness Integration and Learning Gardens programs that improve children’s health and wellness through active classrooms, garden lessons, environmental modifications, and policy.

 Hanover Safe Place – $25,000 to expand programming to low-income families living in extended-stay hotels in the Ashland area, that are being evicted due to a change in City ordinance.

 Tricycle Gardens – $14,000 to support increase targeted access to fresh, healthy food and education programs in Richmond.

 United Methodist Urban Ministries of Richmond – $22,000 to support healthy food production, distribution, and community-based programs.

Many other local organizations were currently awarded support through TCF affiliated partners –  the Jenkins Foundation, Medarva Foundation Fund and Sheltering Arms Fund; you can read about their support here.

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ConnectVA Spotlight: Honesty Liller, The McShin Foundation



Tell us about yourself.

My name is Honesty Liller, and I’m the CEO of The McShin Foundation.  I am a person in long-term recovery from a Substance Use Disorder (SUD) for over nine years.  Since I am in active recovery I am able to help others with SUD’s and guide them in their personal recovery.


What is the focus of your work?

My work is to help those with addictions from drugs and alcohol.  The need I am addressing is to heal families and save lives.  Our community is a better place because individuals choose recovery.

ABOVE: Video from the 12th Annual Recovery Fest and 7th Annual BBQ State Championship

What do you find most rewarding about your work?

The most rewarding part of my job is to see my peers come into McShin and totally change their lives around.  To be able to watch someone grow mentally and spiritually right in front of me is priceless.


What are some major challenges you have faced and how you handled them?

With the disease of addiction comes lots of death, pain, and broken souls.  I stay in my personal recovery and advocate for those with SUD’s because there is a way to recover.  I show up and am present in my life and those lives around me to reduce the public negative outlook on addiction.


What’s coming next for you or for your organization that really excites you?

Every day alive excites me to be honest.  If I had to choose one other thing it would be the McShin Academy.  We have started a recovery school for ages 14-18.  They are being taught by their homebound teacher and we help them with their personal recovery.  These kids are amazing and deserve to know what recovery is all about.  My prevention as a parent is my sustained recovery in my home with my children.


Staff of the McShin Foundation


How are you leveraging ConnectVA to achieve your mission?

We are leveraging ConnectVA in lots of areas for our mission.  To be able to get our events, educational trainings, and information in general out to the public is incredible.  We need to help and educate as many people as we can in our community about addiction and recovery.

Anything else you would like to share?

Addiction is everywhere, it has no boundaries.  Please reach out for help!!


Know someone who should be our ConnectVA Spotlight?  Email us at admin@connectva.org for more information!

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ConnectVA Q&A: Tips for Partnerships from John Toscano


Nonprofit organizations are frequently called upon to work together in partnerships or alliances to meet the community’s needs or to apply jointly for funding. These interactions can range from networking and information sharing, to simple cooperation and coordination of services, to full collaboration where achieving a common goal supersedes individual agency interests.  John Toscano, the President & CEO of Commonwealth Autism, shares a few tips on fostering collaborative partnerships (make sure to sign up for the full day class on 10/12):

Q. What are one or two things to keep in mind when creating a collaborative partnership?

A. There usually exists a pro-partnership bias in our field but little understanding of the investment that’s necessary to make a partnership successful. Are the potential partners clear (with themselves and each other) about both the “why” of entering a partnership and the expected outcomes? Do both parties have an understanding of what constitutes partnership versus just “collaboration”?

Q. What’s the biggest reason for creating partnerships?

A. Good partnerships are Resource Multipliers on behalf of the mission of the organizations.

Q. What’s an example of a great partnership in Richmond?

A. I think about the succession of collaboration to partnership to eventual merger for the Food Bank and Meals on Wheels that developed into FeedMore as an example.

Q. Who is best suited for the upcoming Fostering Collaborative Partnerships class?

A. Though I think it would be beneficial for staff level folks as a future asset, it’s best utilized by mid-manager level and above (including Board members) who are empowered to consider partnerships for their organizations.

Q. What can a participant expect from this class?

A. Participants will examine the pitfalls and best practices of partnership with a focus on practical tools for making partnership work and will assess the strengths and weaknesses of various collaboration models through case study examples and will develop specific tools to support their current or future collaborative activities.


John Toscano serves as the President & CEO of Commonwealth Autism, whose mission is to build the capacity of the autism service provider network through partnership and collaboration.  John will be leading the Fostering Collaborations Class on 10.12.16 – you can register here.

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ConnectVA Spotlight: Wendy Kreuter, Jewish Family Services (JFS)


Tell us about yourself.

My name is Wendy Kreuter, and I joined Jewish Family Services (JFS) as the Chief Executive Officer in September 2016.  I have twenty years of experience in management at Schwarzschild Jewelers and served for thirteen years at The Faison Center as Vice President of Operations and Finance.


What’s the focus of your work?

JFS has been serving Richmonders for over 165 years providing exceptional guidance and support to individuals and families of all ages, faiths and income levels.  We take great pride in changing lives through our care support, counseling and adoption services and we are dedicated to building a stronger, healthier and happier Richmond.


What do you find most rewarding about your work?

One of the most rewarding things about JFS is the amazing professionals working with our clients in their homes, our counseling offices and helping build new families.   Everyone at JFS believes deeply in our mission of help and support.

As a new member of the JFS team, I’m looking forward to helping the community understand the services we provide.  There is so much JFS can do to help individuals in their homes and beyond and it is our goal to increase this awareness.

What’s coming next for your organization that really excites you?

We are so excited  to introduce a year- long re-branding initiative that will position JFS strongly for the future, clearly define our  care, counseling and adoption programs, and allow us to increase our services to meet the growing needs in the Richmond community.

How are you leveraging ConnectVA to achieve your mission?

ConnectVA is a great community resource for our organization! JFS utilizes ConnectVA to post our upcoming events and stay up to date on what is happening at other non-profits in the community.  ConnectVA is also where we post job opportunities through the Job Finder tool. It is also a great place to look for professional development opportunities.

BIG Schtick guests enjoying the silent auction

BIG Schtick guests enjoying the silent auction

Anything else you’d like to share?

We are so excited to be planning our fundraising gala, The Big Schtick with the Weinstein JCC.  This year’s event will take place on Saturday, February 25th. Funds raised will allow both organizations to provide financial support to children and families to take advantage of the programs and services they offer. This year’s event promises to be another amazing night of entertainment including hilarious comedy, live and silent auctions, and fabulous food and drink!

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Connect VA Spotlight: Cyndy Weldon-Lassiter, St. Andrew’s School


Tell us about yourself.

My name is Cyndy Weldon-Lassiter and I serve as head of school at St. Andrew’s School in Richmond. I hold an Ed.D. in curriculum and early childhood education and have been in the field of education for 23 years.

What is the focus of your work?

St. Andrew’s is a school for families living at or below 200% of the federal poverty level, and our students attend on a full scholarship. We provide a hands-on and engaging learning environment for students in grades K-5.

What do you find most rewarding about your work?

I have an opportunity to interact with a diverse group of constituents, ranging from students, families and faculty to the board of directors, donors and community partners. The diversity of interactions makes my job exciting and rewarding.

ABOVE: Cyndy talks about the holistic approach that St. Andrew’s takes on developing their students.

What are some major challenges you have faced and how you handled them? 

In my first year, our families shared their concern about the school lacking a lunch program. Although it took a lot of financial support, paperwork and planning, within a two-year period we were serving breakfast and lunch to our students, along with a healthy morning snack. By no means was it easy to change attitudes about food, but with a clear philosophy on the importance of eating fresh, healthy and nutritious meals and snacks, we were able to create an outstanding nutrition program.

What’s coming next for your organization that really excites you?

I am excited about providing more time for student learning. As part of our strategic plan, we are moving to an extended year/extended day model, where the students will have an extra 20 days in August, as well as a full day of school from 7:30AM through 5:30PM. This year we will serve 75% of our student body in the extended day program, and next year we will complete the phasing of that initiative when we serve all of our students. We feel it is an important part of our overall program because it provides not just extra time in school, but extra time with quality learning and enrichment opportunities.

How are you leveraging ConnectVA to achieve your mission?

We utilize ConnectVA in a few ways. It is where we advertise for highly qualified employees because we feel it reaches the greatest pool of candidates. Several of our staff attend conferences and workshops regularly and come back enthusiastically sharing best practice

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Get to Know YNPN RVA + Interest Social


YNPN RVA is hosting an interest social and invite you to join us! Our leadership team will be on hand to introduce themselves and describe the various roles and skill sets that we are looking to add to our group and ways you might get involved with the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network RVA Chapter in 2017.  And of course, this is a social event as well – there will be food and drink available for purchase.

What: Come and hear about leadership opportunities with YNPN RVA

Who: All young and early career nonprofit professionals

When: Tuesday, October 11, 5:30-7pm

Where: Vagabond Tea Room, 700 E. Broad Street (right next to the National, hourly parking available in city lot at 7th and Broad and on adjacent streets)

Register: https://www.connectva.org/cva-event/ynpn-rva-interest-social-at-vagabond/

What is YNPN RVA?

YNPN RVA is the local chapter of the National YNPN, and promotes an efficient, viable, and inclusive nonprofit sector that supports the growth, learning, and development of the young and early-career professionals through professional development, networking, and social opportunities (check out and like our Facebook Page and Subscribe to our e-news event alerts).

 Why Get Involved with YNPN RVA?

We spoke with several of our YNPN RVA leadership team and committees about why they enjoy being a part of the network and what it means to them personally and professionally! Here’s what they had to say:


Caitlin Smith Hanbury, YNPN RVA Chair, VCU College of Humanities and Sciences

Why do you enjoy being in YNPN leadership?The group is a wonderfully diverse set of backgrounds, talents, and skills. Being a part of YNPN leadership means you are situating yourself for having professionally oriented friendships with creative, hard-working, and passionate people who by day do incredible work to support ambitious missions but also have the energy and enthusiasm to come together to find resources and opportunities to share with other non-profit professionals who might not already have those friendships.

Why do you think YNPN RVA is important?

As nonprofit professionals, we are typically great at relationship building and navigating resources for the benefit of our organization. YNPN RVA offers a new space for both of those opportunities to benefit the nonprofit professional while also strengthening the Richmond nonprofit community at large.

Why should a Young Nonprofit Professional want to be a part of a committee or get involved with YNPN RVA?

Becoming a part of any group, but particularly YNPN RVA, means that you have a new resource. That resource is what you make of it–career advice, professional development, getting to know the Richmond nonprofit community, and social opportunities.


Rebecca Butler, YNPN RVA Membership Chair, Family Lifeline

Why do you enjoy being in YNPN leadership?

YNPN Leadership is a fantastic way to get involved in something meaningful beyond you day-to-day work.

Why do you think YNPN RVA is important?

YNPN is the only group specifically focused on the needs and interests of early-career nonprofit professionals. It fills the void of professional guidance and mentorship that is often lacking in most of our work environments.

Why should a Young Nonprofit Professional want to be a part of a committee or get involved with YNPN RVA?

It’s an opportunity to grow your sphere of influence in a safe, supportive niche of like-minded individuals who have similar passions and face similar struggles.



Laura Pilati, YNPN RVA Program Co-Chair, St. Andrew’s School

Why do you enjoy being in YNPN leadership?

Plain and simple, it’s a group of intelligent, like-minded folks who encourage one another and understand the value of working hard and playing hard together.

 Why do you think YNPN RVA is important?

In the nonprofit field we often take care of ourselves last. YNPN RVA not only brings young nonprofit professionals together but celebrates both the successes and the challenges of the nonprofit field, and that’s a community space we really need to be able to self-care.

Why should a Young Nonprofit Professional want to be a part of a committee or get involved with YNPN RVA?

I think that many of us are drawn to the nonprofit field because it feels like a place where one can really make an impact and be creative. But, as a young professional, it’s often challenging to find a place in which to grow and develop solid skills that turn that drive into success. As a small, grassroots group, joining YNPN leadership is an opportunity to test those skills and learn in a non-judgemental, low-pressure environment that encourages creativity.


Elle Street, YNPN RVA Program Committee, Capital Area Health Network

Why do you enjoy being in YNPN leadership?

I get to meet monthly with a group of people that is passionate about young pros in the field and the meetings aren’t so serious that it feels like we’re not hanging out with friends.

Why do you think YNPN RVA is important?

There isn’t another organization that helps specifically build up young professionals in the industry. We are often undervalued.

Why should a Young Nonprofit Professional want to be a part of a committee or get involved with YNPN RVA?

To realize that they are not alone in the struggle to be a major player in the industry. Together we are a voice that’s heard.


Holly Gordon, YNPN RVA Communication Committee, HandsOn Greater Richmond

Why do you enjoy being in YNPN leadership?

The ability to help shape this group to be what we want and need and to support the sector I love.

Why do you think YNPN RVA is important?

I wish there had been something like this when I was starting my career. The nonprofit sector is large and robust, especially for the size city we’re in. There is a wealth of talent and opportunity to learn from and support each other to make Richmond a fantastic place to be.

Why should a Young Nonprofit Professional want to be a part of a committee or get involved with YNPN RVA?

To be a part of a community—these are my people. Sometimes you just need people to talk shop with. It’s affordable, easy, useful, and fun. I’ve developed many professional and personal relationships because of it.

Make sure to register for the upcoming YNPN RVA Interest Social at Vagabond on 10/11.  See you there!


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Nonprofit News: Emerging Nonprofit Leaders 2016-2017 Announced


The Community Foundation serving Richmond and Central Virginia (TCF) is excited to announce the selected participants for the 2016-2017 cohort of Emerging Nonprofit Leaders.  Earlier this summer, TCF announced the merge with the capacity building programs of the Partnership for Nonprofit Excellence through a strategic restructuring of the two organizations, which includes the Emerging Nonprofit Leaders Program.  Sherrie Brach Armstrong, President & CEO of The Community Foundation praised the program, saying, “our local nonprofit sector depends on a strong, well-supported network of leaders to create a better future and lasting results for our community. The Emerging Nonprofit Leaders Program creates connections among individuals who have a desire to create positive change and further empowers them to grow in their careers. We congratulate the Class of 2017 and look forward to the many ways they will help shape our region in the years to come.”

What is the Emerging Nonprofit Leaders Program (ENLP)?

Now in its 10th year, the Emerging Nonprofit Leaders Program is a dynamic eight-month experience for the next generation of nonprofit leaders in the metro Richmond area. In this engaging program, participants have the opportunity to foster a deeper understanding of their leadership capacity, advance their understanding and practice of leading in the nonprofit sector, and strengthen their network of nonprofit colleagues.

The program has demonstrated measurable results, building a cadre of talented leaders for the future of the Greater Richmond community.

Susan Wilkes, who has been the lead faculty for ENLP over the past 10 years said, “On October 18th, twenty-two rising stars in the nonprofit sector will gather for the launch of ENLP 10!  I’m thrilled with the leadership potential in the new cohort and with the impact a decade of this powerful program is having.  Having spoken nationally about the program, I’m proud of the uniqueness of our focus on emerging leaders and the distinctive nature of leading in the nonprofit sector.  Very few days go by that I don’t hear or read about something awesome one of our nearly 200 alumni are doing to make our community stronger and more vibrant.”

In addition to participating in engaging sessions on topics including strategic leadership, organizational change, collaboration, and coaching others, participants:

  • Experience team building through a rigorous and challenging outdoor course setting
  • Increase awareness of their leadership through a thorough assessment process
  • Benefit from individual leadership coaching, provided by professionals with experience in leadership development and nonprofit management
  • Interact with five local exemplary Executives-in-Residence in a forum where they share their experiences and perspectives

ENLP Class 9 in June 2016 after Graduation. Photo Credit: Kim Lee Photography

Selection Process

Nonprofit applicants were selected based on their potential to make a significant future contribution to the nonprofit community through assuming higher and increased levels of leadership, show substantive history of involvement in the nonprofit sector through employment, volunteerism, or board service and demonstrate a commitment to ongoing professional development, continuing education, and lifelong learning.

In early September, a committee comprised of local nonprofit leaders, past ENLP Alumni and Community Foundation Staff thoroughly reviewed applications to ensure that the 10th cohort met above criteria and that the group would be a diverse and comprehensive representation of the local nonprofit sector.

The 2016-2017 Emerging Nonprofit Leader Participants

Congrats ENLP class of 2016-2017!

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