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The Help Somebody Hall of Fame: Gail Crawford, MAD4YU

The Help Somebody Hall of Fame celebrates and recognizes good people doing good work in our RVA community.  We encourage our readers to nominate nonprofit staff, volunteers, board members and community members.  This month, we’re recognizing Gail Crawford, Founder and President of Making a Difference For You (MAD4YU) – a grass-roots nonprofit organization providing life enrichment services to under-resourced and ‘fringe’ populations.  The name reflects its very purpose:  making a difference for you.  That is – providing the tools for success – using computer literacy and study skills as the catalyst– to equip those who otherwise might not have access.

Read more about why Gail is a part of the Help Somebody Hall of Fame:

How does Gail demonstrate the spirit of the “Help Somebody Hall of Fame”?

Ms. Gail Crawford created a nonprofit – Making a Difference For You (MAD4YU) – that provides life enrichment services to under-resourced Richmond families. When MAD4YU was founded, its primary services were teaching computer literacy to children and seniors, and tutoring for students having difficulty learning.  Gail acquired a multi-room facility with donated computers, in-kind contributions and volunteers and evolved service offerings by responding to other client needs that surfaced.

Most students receive tutoring on Saturday and Sunday. Seniors visit the center to get necessary computer classes. She shares resources with parents and children to help them find organizations that helps meet their additional needs.

The organization also offers tutoring, homework help, communication technologies, PC training, college and job readiness preparation including resume writing and online submission, personal and professional development, adult literacy, health and housing resources and social advocacy.

What is the impact of Gail’s generosity? 

In 2017 alone, the organization provided in excess of $150,000.00 in tutoring services to over 45 clients on a weekly basis, with an annual budget of under $50,000.00. This is based on more than 6,000 hours at an average rate of $30.00 per hour (many tutors charge upwards of $40-60 per hour) for tutoring/training services.

Student’s grades are improving, parents are pleased, seniors are experiencing a rewarding learning curve as they attend our basic computer, internet and email classes and volunteers look forward to truly making a difference in the lives of others.

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 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.

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Emerging Nonprofit Leaders 2018-2019 Announced

The Community Foundation for a greater Richmond is excited to announce the selected participants for the 2018-2019 cohort of Emerging Nonprofit Leaders!

The Emerging Nonprofit Leaders Program is a dynamic nine-month experience for the next generation of nonprofit leaders in the metro Richmond area. In this engaging program, participants can 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.

Now in its twelfth year of operation, the program has demonstrated measurable results, building a cadre of talented leaders for the future of the Greater Richmond community.

Emerging Nonprofit Leaders Cohort 11 at their graduation ceremony in June.

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

  • Experience team building through rigorous and challenging activities in an outdoor setting
  • Develop deep relationships with other nonprofit leaders
  • Participate in a live nonprofit case study
  • Increase awareness of their leadership through a thorough assessment process, including 360-degree feedback and the Birkman Method Assessment
  • Benefit from individual leadership coaching, provided by professionals with experience in leadership development and nonprofit management
  • Network between sessions by engaging in dialogue with the other participants and instructors
  • Interact with five local exemplary Executives-in-Residence in a forum where they share their experiences and perspectives
  • Participate in Small Peer Practice groups led by ENLP Alumni
  • Have access to a supportive online cohort-based e-learning platform.

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 August, a committee made up of ENLP Alumni reviewed applications to ensure that the 12th cohort met above criteria and that the group would be diverse and comprehensive representation of the local nonprofit sector.



The 2018-2019 Emerging Nonprofit Leader Participants

  • Analise Adams, Program Director, Shalom Farms
  • Kate Ayers, Executive Director, Re-Establish Richmond
  • Raven Bates, Communications Manager & Office Coordinator, Virginia Community Development Corporation
  • Caroline Browell, Marketing & Communications Manager, Make-A-Wish Greater Virginia
  • Nausha Brown-Chavez, Program Manager, The READ Center
  • Sara Buckheit, Post Adoption Program Manager, Children’s Home Society of Virginia
  • Shannon Castleman, Executive Director, Oakwood Arts
  • Yong Chae, Finance Director, Senior Connections
  • Terry Ebright, Food Pantry Manager & Communications Associate, GoochlandCares
  • Catherine Estevez, Assistant Director, Communities in Schools VA
  • Diana Fales, Training Manager/Yardi Specialist, Better Housing Coalition
  • Sakina Jackson, Deputy Director, Child Care Aware of Virginia
  • Robert Larkin, Training Coordinator, Richmond Residential Services, Inc.
  • Erin Lingo, Agency Relations Manager, Feed More
  • Jessica Ramirez, Director of Advocacy & Public Relations, Rx Partnership
  • Tiffany Thomas, Director of Programs, Partnership for the Future
  • Lisa Thompson, Child Development Services Program Manager, ChildSavers
  • Aly Truesdale, Director of Development, Special Olympics Virginia
  • Sherman Urquhart, YouthBuild Program Director, Pathways
  • Stephen Vicoli, Transition Coordinator, The Healing Place, CARITAS
  • Pilar Waters, Program Director, U.S. Referrals, World Pediatric Project
  • Erin Wischer, Operations Manager, Community Foundation for a greater Richmond
  • Alle Witt, Grants Manager & Development Officer, CrossOver Healthcare Ministry
  • Mary Beth Yates, Development Manager, Children’s Museum of Richmond

Congratulations to all who were selected to be a part of Emerging Nonprofit Leaders cohort!

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Help Somebody Hall of Fame: Nancy Rossner, Community Tax Law Project

The Help Somebody Hall of Fame celebrates and recognizes good people doing good work in our RVA community.  We encourage our readers to nominate nonprofit staff, volunteers, board members and community members.  This month, we’re recognizing Nancy Rossner – a staff attorney at the Community Tax Law Project (CTLP).

The CTLP provides free legal help to Virginia’s low wage families and individuals experiencing economic harm because of a tax problem. Their services directly strengthen the financial stability of working families and ensure that all Virginians receive fair and equal treatment in tax disputes.  Nancy’s colleague nominated her for this recognition (but asked to be anonymous) and said, “I am constantly amazed by Nancy’s dedication to her work assisting our clients with their complicated tax issues.  Not only does she handle a very high level of cases at all times, but she does so with such passion, conviction, and an extremely high level of professionalism.

Read more about Nancy’s work and how she’s bettering our community, below.

How does Nancy demonstrate the spirit of the “Help Somebody Hall of Fame”?

Nancy Rossner has been working tirelessly and diligently as a staff attorney at the Community Tax Law Project for over six years. Nancy helps over 200 Virginians annually by providing free legal representation to assist these persons with their tax legal problems. Whether the issue is before the IRS or the Virginia Department of Taxation, Nancy skillfully advocates for each taxpayer until their issue is resolved. Nancy treats all clients with the same zealousness whether their issue is small or involves large denominations.

All her clients are low-income and would not have access to legal representation without Nancy and the Community Tax Law Project. In addition to full legal representation, Nancy also opens her knowledge of the federal and state tax systems to provide brief tax advice to several hundred more Virginians who have tax questions. These questions can range from a simple question such as whether a person has to file their taxes but can also involve more complex questions such as what information a taxpayer includes in their petition to the U.S. Tax Court.

Once again, Nancy applies her expertise and professionalism to each of these brief encounters providing legal tax advice not available elsewhere without a fee. Finally, Nancy conducts a large portion of the educational outreach conducted by the Community Tax Law Project. She provides tax literacy classes to a variety of job readiness and workforce reentry programs. Furthermore, Nancy has presented on low-income taxpayer issues at several regional and national conferences in her field. Always the consummate professional, Nancy addresses these speaking opportunities as another avenue to make the lives of low-income taxpayers better through education on the tax system.

Nancy with CTLP interns doing outreach in the community.

What’s the impact of Nancy’s generosity?                 

Nancy’s impact is difficult to describe without providing examples, as all her cases have their own unique set of facts. One recent case that comes to mind immediately is a case involving a taxpayer named Janine (name changed to protect the client’s identity). Janine was an insurance agent who had recently received a letter from the IRS stating that she owed them a substantial amount of money, which she could not afford. Janine had been working with other members of her family who had become abusive to her, physically, emotionally, and financially. Janine was able to remove herself from the physical and direct emotional danger of her family, but the financial abuse continued to follow her. First, some of the tax issues Janine was facing were because her family members were working under her professional license. Any profits Janine’s family members were earning using her license were being attributed by the IRS to Janine. Once Nancy became involved, Nancy was able to help Janine stop her family from their fraudulent use of her professional license. This required a state agency and their investigative branch to correct the prior fraudulent activity. Nancy also worked within the IRS system to then correct Janine’s income to exclude the amounts fraudulently attributed to Janine by her own family members.

This whole process took many months to accomplish, but Nancy was by Janine’s side through the entire journey. What makes this story even more special is that Janine is a single mother and English is not her native language. I wish I could say that this is the highlight of Nancy’s career as a public service attorney. However, Janine’s case is one of thousands of similar cases that Nancy has worked on over the last six years. The facts of each case are different, but there is a common thread of a person’s life falling to pieces. Sometimes, the turmoil is related to abuse such as was the case with Janine. Other times, homelessness is an immediate concern, when the person has not addressed their tax problems and wages are about to be garnished. Many people do not envision tax problems causing someone’s life to completely derail. However, when you add a tax problem to a life riddled with abuse, illiteracy, mental abuse, substance abuse, and a precarious financial situation, you have the recipe for a life about to be shattered. For literally thousands of low-income taxpayers, Nancy has been there to fix the tax component of their life struggles, providing her clients with at least one less life struggle to deal with.

In addition to her professional attributes, Nancy is also a dedicated mother to her beautiful young daughter and a loving wife to her husband. She is also a proud alumna of the University of Richmond School of Law and continues to mentor several student interns from her law school at the Community Tax Law Project.

Nancy presenting at a national conference for tax professionals.

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 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 →


YNPN RVA Event Recap: Nonprofits@Noon with Elizabeth Bass

Leadership. Service. Community. A commitment to those three themes has motivated Elizabeth Bass, Executive Director at Virginia Mentoring Partnership, throughout her nonprofit career and continues to drive her today. Elizabeth shared the challenges and opportunities she has experienced in her professional and personal life, along with some valuable advice, to a group of young nonprofit professionals at the Virginia Holocaust Museum on Sept. 12, as a part of a series called “Nonprofits@Noon.”

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ConnectVA Spotlight: Ross Catrow, RVA Rapid Transit

Tell us about yourself. My name’s Ross Catrow, and I’m the staff person for RVA Rapid Transit, a local nonprofit focused on advocating, educating, and organizing for a frequent and far-reaching public transportation system in the Richmond region. Before taking a job advocating for better public transit, I ran a local news magazine called RVANews, and, today, run a daily newsletter called Good Morning, RVA.

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Nonprofit Compensation and Benefits Report released for Richmond, Charlottesville region

The Community Foundation for a greater Richmond partnered with the Center of Nonprofit Excellence earlier this year to issue a survey seeking input on compensation and benefits offered by nonprofits in the Charlottesville and Richmond region. The purpose of the survey is to build our collective knowledge and ability to further support and advocate for a healthy sector. After months of data collection and analysis, we are pleased to publish the 2017 Regional Nonprofit Compensation and Benefits Report.

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ConnectVA Spotlight: Scott Kocen, Virginia Voice

Tell us about yourself. My name is Scott Kocen and I’m the Development & Communications Director for Virginia Voice. I graduated from the George Washington University with a B.S. in Political Science and Psychology. I went to Graduate School at Virginia Commonwealth University for Sociology and have been fortunate enough to spend my career raising awareness and support for worthy causes in the political and nonprofit sectors.  I’m a lifelong Richmonder and have the pleasure of seeing the best our community has to offer and how it constantly evolves to showcase service, culture, and inclusion for everyone.

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The Impact of New Tax Laws on the Local Nonprofit Sector

There’s no question that the 2018 tax reform has been a hot topic of conversation, and often, a source of concern for the nonprofit sector.  Organizations have been asking: how can we prepare, what can we anticipate, and how should we adjust our fundraising plan? Over the last several months in Greater Richmond, nonprofits have gathered for workshops, community conversations and discussions to learn from experts and one another about how they can strategically navigate these changes, while continuing their mission-driven work. This July, the Community Foundation surveyed nonprofit leaders to better understand the implications of the new tax laws on the local sector to monitor trends and offer insight.

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Help Somebody Spotlight: Erin Gardner, Connor’s Heroes

At the Community Foundation and ConnectVA, we are so excited to share more stories of individuals in our community doing great work, through the Help Somebody Hall of Fame.  Throughout the year, we are accepting nominations from the community at large and will highlight a compelling submission each month.  Once a quarter, we will select (at random) two people to receive a $1000 grant made in their name to give to a local nonprofit of their choosing. This month we are highlighting Erin Gardner, who is the Program Coordinator at Connor’s Heroes.  The Executive Director of Connor’s Heroes, Celia Tetlow, reached out to us to share more about the great work Erin does in the community.

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