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2021 Winter and Spring Virtual Classes Announced

The Community Foundation Learning Team is excited to announce our 2021 winter and spring “live online” classes.  Organized around the theme Building Operational Excellence, the offerings are meant to help nonprofit staff with practical skill-building tools and access information quickly and affordably.  Along with several favorite instructors, we’re excited to welcome several new instructors this year from the Richmond practitioner community.

We can’t wait to see you in one of our live online classes soon!

How to Register for a Course in the Learning Center

In the Learning Center you’ll find a variety of learning and networking opportunities and online resources for nonprofit staff and board members, throughout the year.  You can manage your learning experience in one place at your convenience, explore upcoming offerings, register for events, access course content and more.

You must be a registered/signed in user of ConnectVA to register for a course in the Learning Center

Here are the MANDATORY STEPS to getting started if you aren’t registered:

1) Register on ConnectVA.org with your name and current email address

2) Create a password and sign in with link sent to your email

3) Update your ConnectVA personal profile

  • open your dashboard (expand lime green button on left)
  • click on “GO TO YOUR PROFILE” and click “Edit” to update (make sure to fill out all information)

4) Proceed to the Learning Center and click “Login” (top right) to activate your Learning Center Account

5) Click on your desired course.

Please note: Do not register for a course on behalf of someone else, please ask them to follow these steps to register themselves.

Questions?  Read our Learning Center FAQs!

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Q&A with Sumi Lanneau on Mindful Actions During Uncertain Times

As the pandemic continues to up-end our lives, our work and our sense of normalcy, nonprofit leaders may be asking themselves, how can I take mindful actions to continue to strengthen team relationships and productivity? Sumi Lanneau, Senior Talent Management Consultant with the Department of Human Resource Management for the Commonwealth will share mindful tools utilizing David Dryer’s model of “building a strategic response for the organization” during an upcoming virtual course with the Community Foundation on November 18th.  During this 2-hour skill building workshop, Sumi will weave in experiences of crucial conversation topics, equity, sustainability during difficult times and hands-on group activities using virtual technology.

So, what is mindfulness and how does this relate to productive nonprofit leadership?  We recently spoke with Sumi to get more insight on the importance and impact mindfulness has on your ability to lead a team.

Why is building the skill of mindfulness important, especially during uncertain times? Mindfulness is important during difficult times to maintain and manage our stress levels, allow focus to be given to what is most important and help with awareness of our thoughts and feelings without judgement. During the pandemic, job uncertainty, social justice issues and now government uncertainty — this is a lot to manage along with our daily routines.

How do your mindful actions relate to your team’s productivity as a nonprofit leader? Mindfulness has a direct impact on the productivity of the team, if a leader is unaware of their tone, body language and mannerisms as a leader — that energy transfers to the team. It’s even more important for a manager to have techniques of mindfulness for themselves to be able to lead effectively; and when stressful situations arise for the team, to practice and teach mindfulness to staff.

Why did you become interested in this topic and how has it helped you? I became interested in this topic because I am an over-analyzer and my mind can get more creative than necessary. With mindfulness techniques, I first acknowledge the feelings and can then decide how to focus on the work process at hand, putting aside the issue distracting me.  Becoming mindful allows you to address the issue, even if temporarily, and put it aside to accomplish what is of highest priority.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to get started in building this skill? The first step to mindfulness is choosing to pay attention to the present moment in a curious and non-judgmental way. This begins with small steps and there is no right or wrong. There are so many distractions and an endless flow of information, but recognizing the need to be intentional is the first step in building this skill.

If you want to learn more, make sure to sign up in the Learning Center for Sumi’s course “Mindful Actions During Uncertain Times” on November 18th from 1pm to 3pm – it’s only $20 and will be offered virtually.

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Have a Junior Board? Share With Us and Join Our Discussion Group

The Community Foundation is convening nonprofit staff and board leaders for local emerging leader/junior/young professional boards in Greater Richmond.  We will convene individuals who oversee their organization’s YP boards to network and share best practices.   We know this is a growing need, as the sector evolves, and nonprofits seek to engage a wide variety of individuals in their mission.

In order to organize a periodic convening and discussion group, we need updated contact information and are asking that local nonprofits with these junior or young professional boards fill out the survey below to help us frame this opportunity.

Please fill out this short, 9 question survey by April 30th! https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JuniorBoardSurveyCF2019

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Effective Communication at Your Nonprofit and Learning About Your Style

We caught up with George Milton, Principal of Targeted Performance Group, to learn more about the course he’s instructing at the Community Foundation later this month.  George is leading “What’s My Communication Style?” – a day-long nonprofit management training where participants will undergo a personal communication style assessment and then dive-deep into related topics like, delivering a message, conflicts, written communication and more and is a “is a powerful centerpiece for management development and interpersonal skills training.” Here’s some insight he gave us on the course, effectively communicating at your nonprofit and learning more about your personal communication style:

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2018 Course Catalog is Live: What You Need to Know

The wait is over. You may now register for classes scheduled for the early part of 2018. Before you get started, we hope you will read this blog to better understand our philosophy and values, as well as some new elements of our programming. We hope you share our excitement for the year ahead and we look forward to seeing you soon. Continuous Learning In 1998, The Community Foundation was a co-collaborator and co-investor in the creation of Especially for Nonprofits, a program designed to meet the unique professional development needs of our local nonprofit sector. It quickly became an important resource for those working for, or on behalf of, community based organizations. Over the years, the program has evolved – in name, content and format – in response to changing dynamics in our community, as well as input and insight from course participants, nonprofit leaders and education professionals. What remains consistent is our belief that strong, skilled leaders – regardless of position or tenure – are essential in building strong, sustainable organizations and a healthy, thriving community. We will continue to help nonprofit staff, boards and volunteers build knowledge and skills through affordable, high quality learning events. Through diverse programming and partnerships, the sector can bring greater efficiency and effectiveness to its mission-driven work.

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Word Soup: Achieving “impact” starts with how you define it

Perhaps the best way to capture community impact is to measure against the goal(s) of the person, organization or partners who choose to act. They may support or deliver programs intended to expand mental health services, increase access to safe and affordable housing or increase participation in the arts. Results, however, are influenced by other factors such as reliable transportation, job opportunities and child care. With this level of complexity, we strive to view community impact as a coordinated effort in which multiple partners come together to define expectations, integrate services and measure progress with the full set of participant needs in mind...which leads us to the next term.

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Event Recap: Building Strong, Strategic, Sustainable Nonprofits.

Do you know that moment when you have a sense of a concept, but then someone comes along and clarifies it with a spot-on phrase or illustration? You think, “A-ha, if only I had thought of it this way.” Last week, many local nonprofits had that moment while listening to guest speaker Steve Zimmerman, co-author of Nonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability, who shared insights into managing the sustainability of nonprofits.

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YNPN RVA Recommends: Advice for Developing Your Nonprofit Staff

While mission and impact are the heart and soul of a nonprofit, there are many integral parts behind the scenes that make the magic happen. Beyond defining your mission and establishing metrics to measure your impact, it is essential to nurture your people. Yes, your people are your volunteers, donors and supporters, but your people are first and foremost your staff. The hardworking nonprofiteer that is daily putting your mission into action – teaching parents financial literacy, educating teens on healthy lifestyle choices, or providing meals to hungry children. And yet, many organization and nonprofit executives neglect or lack any formal strategic talent development or career progression plan for their staff – and to their loss

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Creating a More Inclusive Environment at Your Nonprofit: An Introduction

In March, The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia gathered alumni of its Emerging Nonprofit Leaders Program (ENLP) and current members of its 10th class at the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia. Jonathan Zur, President and CEO of Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities led the group through a robust discussion and brainstorming session on ways local organizations and leaders can take action to create a culture of inclusion in their nonprofit organizations and across the sector.

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6 Tips for Building Relationships with RVA Media

Media coverage of your nonprofit organization can help increase community awareness, promote upcoming events and engage new donors. It’s important to decide which of your initiatives and programs are newsworthy to limit the number of times you pitch story ideas to a media outlet. If you bombard the media or keep sending irrelevant press releases, then your big announcements won't make any impact.

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