Home / ConnectVA Spotlight:  Angela Patton, Girls For A Change

Archive For: Uncategorized

ConnectVA Spotlight:  Angela Patton, Girls For A Change

Tell us about yourself. My name is Angela Patton. I am the president and chief executive officer of Girls For A Change (GFAC) and the founder of Camp Diva. I have a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from ECPI University and have been in the nonprofit sector for 20 years. I’ve served in various roles and supported diverse communities – marginalized children, the arts, those living with HIV and AIDS and mothers, as a former doula.

Read more →


News from the Community: SisterFund Awards $20,000 to Partnership for the Future

In partnership with The Community Foundation, SisterFund recently announced that its second annual grant to empower African American women and girls will be awarded to Partnership for the Future. The grant of $20,000 will be used to provide training, enrichment and mentoring for 179 high school girls and college women working to attain their college degrees.

Read more →


ConnectVA Spotlight: Mentoring Matters Nonprofit Leaders


mentoring matters

Get to know the nonprofit leaders who will share their professional development and career experiences as it relates to finding and building mentor relationships at YNPN RVA’s Mentoring Matters: Using Mentoring as a Tool for Professional Development on June 24th and Richmond Memorial Health Foundation!

Rose Marie Wiegandt, Program Director Virginia Mentoring Partnership


Tell us a little bit about your organization and your role.

Virginia Mentoring Partnership (VMP) is a non-profit organization founded in 1993. The mission of VMP is to provide training and technical assistance to mentors and mentoring program staff, and to increase the quality and quantity of mentoring for Virginia’s youth. VMP believes that every child in Virginia who needs a mentor should have a mentor. VMP is one of only twenty-nine state network affiliates of MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, and the only in Virginia. Through this affiliation with MENTOR, VMP can develop and deliver resources, promote quality mentoring through national standards, and utilize cutting-edge research and state of the art tools.

How long have you been in your current role and what was your role before? 

I recently joined the VMP team in April 2015 and serve as the Director of Programs. Prior to my transition to VMP I served as the Elementary School Program Director for Communities in Schools of Richmond.

What are the top 3 ways that mentoring has helped your career advance?

My mentors assist me in developing and enhancing my skill-set, provide me honest feedback/coaching, help me see my blind spots and are my thinking partners. My mentors continue to push me to be my best self and at times take career risks that will move me forward in achieving my goals and increase my learning.

Stephanie G. Odera , VCU School of Social Work, Instructor and Field Liaison


 Tell us a little bit about your organization and your role. 

As an instructor and field liaison for VCU School of Social Work, I teach courses that are a co-requisite to or a component of the internship experience. VCU is one of the top eleven schools of social work in the country. Each year, our undergraduate and graduate students complete a quarter of one million hours of service in Virginia communities and public and private agencies through internship experiences.

How long have you been in your current role and what was your role before? 

I’ve been at VCU for almost 5 years. Prior to VCU, I was a school social worker in Richmond Public Schools.


 Why is finding a mentor important to growth personally and professionally?

Mentoring is essential for professional and personal growth because people need to be developed at all stages of their lives and careers. Whether you are just starting out or have 15 years of experiences, a good mentor is going to challenge you to do things you once thought impossible and to move beyond fear of the unknown to better yourself.


 Charleita M. Richardson, President and CEO of Partnership for the Future, Inc

charleita - Copy

 Tell us a little bit about your organization and your role

Charleita M. Richardson is the President and CEO of Partnership for the Future, Inc. She is responsible for the operations and management of this not-for-profit organization, to include positioning the organization as a continued resource of future leaders for the community. Partnership for the Future (PFF) was started in 1994 to provide high-potential high school students from challenging circumstances in the metro-Richmond area with tools and experiences necessary to attain a college degree.

 How long have you been in your current role and what was your role before?

I have been in with the organization nine years and in my current role for eight years.  Prior to accepting the position of President & CEO, I served as the Director of Programs for Partnership for the Future.


 In your opinion, why is finding a mentor important to growth personally and professionally?

Life is about learning and the idea of having a mentor promotes lifelong learning.  It is important to be connected to someone who can listen to your ideas, analyze processes, etc.  If you have a mentor/mentee relationship, you are positioning yourself for even greater successes as you are reaching out to someone who can offer a breadth of knowledge to you.


Chris Hughes, YMCA of Greater Richmond Group Vice President

chris - Copy


Tell us a little bit about your organization and your role.

The mission of the YMCA of Greater Richmond is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.  For over 160 years the YMCA has served the greater Richmond community through our commitment to Healthy living, youth development and social responsibility.  The YMCA is not a swim and gym, we are a cause focused on creating healthier communities, growing the next generation of teen leaders and supporting the educational needs of the students in our communities.


How long have you been in your current role and what was your role before?

I’ve served as Group Vice President for 4 months and before I was the Executive Director of the Chester YMCA.


What are the top 3 ways that mentoring has helped your career advance?

My mentor has supported my career by:

  • Identifying professional trainings that align with my current role, prepare me for my next role and fit within my career goals
  • Providing a sounding board when to apply and accept/move the family to the next career opportunity
  • Helping me prioritize my Work life balance – starting a family and how to navigate career goals vs. family goals


 Marianne Williams, Bon Secours Health System Talent Acquisition Manager



Tell us a little bit about your organization and your role.

Bon Secours is a not-for-profit Catholic health system sponsored by Bon Secours Ministries. Headquartered in Marriottsville, Maryland the system has over 23,000 employees and operates in six states primarily on the East Coast. I serve as the Talent Aquisition Manager with Human Resources and I lead a team of Recruiters who screen and source applicants for our job openings across the healthsystem


How long have you been in your current role and what was your role before?

I’ve been in my current role for 2 years and have been with Bon Secours for 5 years. Prior to moving into a management position, I was a Recruiter for multiple service lines such as Women’s & Children’s Services, Critical Care Nursing, Human Resources and Legal.


In your opinion, why is finding a mentor important to growth personally and professionally?

For every goal I have achieved in my life, I can trace back each goal to a mentor or individual who helped achieve it. Some mentors can provide a spark, or simple path of guidance to push you to take that first step in accomplishing a goal. Other mentors are more involved along the way and can be true resource, sounding board and guide in life.




Read more →


ConnectVA Spotlight: Barbara Herzog, Henrico CASA

Get to know Barbara Herzog – Executive Director for Henrico Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and this week’s ConnectVA Spotlight!



Tell us about yourself.

My name is Barbara Herzog, and I’m the Henrico CASA Executive Director.   I became the Executive Director in 2008 after being promoted from Volunteer Coordinator to Program Director in 2004.  Prior to joining the staff, I served as a volunteer Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for seven years.  I have been active in responding to child-related issues for over thirty-five years.  During this time, I worked with high-risk children as a daycare provider for low-income parents, peer counselor, parenting mentor, respite provider, and foster parent.  I have also represented the interests of this vulnerable population by serving on multiple committees and task forces addressing their well-being, including serving on the Governor’s Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect.  A hundred years ago, I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Parsons School of Design.

What is the focus of your work?

Each year, hundreds of children in Henrico County come to the attention of the court system because they have been abused or neglected.  These children need someone to ensure they are not lost in the maze of social workers, attorneys, and judges charged with protecting their welfare.  Henrico CASA provides trained volunteers to advocate for these at-risk children during their involvement in juvenile court.  Our volunteer advocates are empowered to fully investigate each child’s situation and provide the judge a thorough report with recommendations for placement and services.

Our program is able to harvest the power of everyday citizens who use their knowledge, training and common sense to provide powerful advocacy while representing abused and neglected children who remain with their families or are placed in foster care.  Frequently, the CASA is only constant in the child’s life during this tumultuous time.

What do you find most rewarding about your work?

Every nonprofit’s story contains the words we are making a difference.  One of the things I love about working with our CASA volunteers is their amazing ability to make a discernible life-altering difference for every child they serve.  All I have to do is go to court with one of them, and I instantly know it is all worth it – endless meetings, every late night, and another dollar raised to keep our program strong.  While every child we serve does not end up in a fairy tale, the involvement of our volunteers always ensures that they are at the very least safe and in an improved situation.

Tell us about your biggest accomplishment in this position.

I am so proud of our program’s commitment to serving every referred child and ensuring that they are not reabused while assigned to a CASA volunteer.  It has not been, nor will it ever be, easy.  During periods of rapid growth – our staff numbers took time to catch up with the workload, our board had to learn to respond to our needs and truly become a governing board, and somehow we had to recruit enough volunteers, class-after-class.  What I have learned from it all is that every nonprofit needs a hero and sometimes they need three or four.  I am so thankful for those who step up each and every day to help us fulfill our mission.

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

By combining a variety of part-time job responsibilities into one position, we have recently hired a full-time development manager.  I am very excited about the possibilities this position opens for our agency, including growing our funding from individual donors!

How are you leveraging ConnectVA to achieve your mission?

Our program regularly uses the ConnectVA platform, including the Community Calendar to promote our events and training, the Job Posting list to recruit high-caliber staff, and we also make use of the Item/Needed-Available listing to give and receive.

Anything else you would like to share?

Have you always wanted to make a difference in the lives of our future – our children?  Our program always needs dedicated volunteers to work as advocates for children, board members, advisors and to help with community events.  Check us out at www.henricocasa.org!








Read more →


From an Expert: Use Program Evaluation for Fundraising Success

evaluation trina

In the nearly twenty years that I’ve been an evaluator, there’s one reason I hear over and over again for why some nonprofits (and other organizations) shy away from program evaluation:

“Oh, we don’t need to do an evaluation. We know we’re doing great things!”

My reply is always the same:

“I’m sure you are doing lots of great things…but can you prove it? And do you know what you need to do to make more great things happen?”

One of the benefits of conducting an evaluation is the positive impact it can have on fundraising success. An evaluation acts as an accountability tool for those who might potentially give money to the organization, showing how and where the organization is most successful.

By creating an understanding of what works and doesn’t work, employees and volunteers for the organization can continually improve the services they offer.

Let’s use this example:
Fictional nonprofit, Water Everywhere raises funds to help communities in developing countries have access to clean water. They do this in a variety of ways, from airlifting crates of water bottles to installing filters on spigots and building wells in these communities.

When Water Everywhere has an evaluation conducted, they learn the effectiveness of each of their initiatives, essentially coming to understand how many people are helped per dollar of funding used.

If Water Everywhere finds that installing wells is the most cost-effective way of helping individuals long-term, they might then choose to focus more of their funding on that particular initiative and adjusting other efforts.

For instance, they may decide to airlift bottled water only in short-term crisis situations or selectively install filters on water spigots in areas prior to building wells. Water Everywhere can further pass on the information they learned during the evaluation process, and how they adapted delivery using that information, to potential donors.

These potential financial supporters not only gain an understanding of exactly how monies are used, but also learn that Water Everywhere can grow and adapt, using their funds for maximum positive impact.



Trina Willard, Principal of the Knowledge Advisory Group, strives to increase the amount of useful information in the world. Their mission is to provide tailored and flexible measurement solutions that improve decision-making, enhance efficiency, and demonstrate effectiveness. They specialize in providing organizations with research and evaluation services which inform planning and future organizational development.

Learn more about how you can become our next expert!

Read more →


ConnectVA Spotlight: Lisa Dalrymple, Partnership for Nonprofit Excellence


Get to know Lisa Dalrymple – the new ConnectVA Program Associate for the Partnership for Nonprofit Excellence!

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Lisa Dalrymple, and I am the new Program Associate for ConnectVA, a program of The Partnership for Nonprofit Excellence. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Communications at Flagler College, in St. Augustine, Florida. I focused on nonprofit public relations, and have held related positions and volunteer roles since. Every skill learned and experience gained has prepared me for the role of a lifetime: connecting nonprofits, individuals, and the business community to opportunities to engage and collaborate.  ConnectVA’s mission to power community ideas, information, and collaboration are values that really speak to me.


What is the focus of your work?

In my first month with The Partnership, I have enjoyed working on a user guide and testing functionality for ConnectVA 2.0, a site redesign which launched this week (more about that below). Along with general maintenance and upkeep of ConnectVA, I assist with communications, such as the Weekly Update newsletter, blog posts, and social media. I’m excited to be part of an expanded team, and look forward to assisting the community with everything ConnectVA has to offer.


Why are you passionate about serving the nonprofit sector in Central Virginia?

Since moving to the greater Richmond area in 2010, I have been inspired by the work of the individuals I’ve met who are committed to giving back to their local communities. I feel a kinship with all of the volunteers, staff, and board members who work hard every day, sometimes with limited resources, to accomplish truly amazing things. I am thrilled to now have the opportunity to work for an organization that has an impact on a grand scale in the region.


What do you find most interesting about the Partnership for Nonprofit Excellence?

The Partnership for Nonprofit Excellence is comprised of four vital programs that help nonprofit organizations achieve their mission. I have enjoyed learning more about the role and scope of HandsOn Greater Richmond, Nonprofit Learning Point, and Organizational Solutions. Staff are truly passionate and committed to collaborating with each other to reach positive outcomes.

I’m also excited to be a part of The Partnership’s marketing efforts, where our goal is to tell a compelling story about the unique mission of The Partnership as a whole.


What’s coming next for ConnectVA that excites you?

ConnectVA 2.0 is a more user-friendly, interactive, and mobile-optimized version of our resource hub. One of my favorite new features is the Member Directory. ConnectVA users have always been able to search and learn about the nonprofit and civic organizations listed in the Organization Directory, and now you’ll be able to search and connect with individual members as well. We’re truly making ConnectVA more collaborative!





Read more →


From an Expert: 3 Tips for Making Meetings Matter

Making Meetings Matter

The need for running effective meetings transcends practically every organization in every industry.   Your ability to attack a meeting and make it worth your time has to do with your management of: before, during and after.  As a facilitator you can better guide things through: preparation, leadership and follow-up. This is a great one page checklist to help you tackle the three parts of the meeting.



One key to running an efficient and effective (let’s be honest, those two things are synonymous) meeting is to be as prepared as possible before the meeting ever begins.  Creating and distributing agendas, handouts, designating who will take minutes, etc. ahead of time helps keep the meeting on track and on time.  Additionally, being organized and on top of things from the start helps establish the facilitator as the leader and will make the rest of the meeting run more smoothly.  Always, always use an agenda, even if it feels frivolous. You can find a sample agenda here.



While having the right people in the room and sufficiently prepared is important to its success, the ultimate accomplishments of any meeting largely depend on the effectiveness of the leadership.  You should be active in establishing ground rules, guiding productive conversation, and encouraging participation.  Once the facilitator has successfully navigated the team through the agenda, the next important step is to make sure any action items are specifically tasked to ensure they are completed and progress can be tracked. Need tips on facilitation, this handout  has some great advice on powerful questions you can ask to get the most out of your meeting.


3.     FOLLOW-UP

Using the action plan established in the minutes as a guide, the final step in seeing your effective meeting through to fruition is to communicate with the necessary attendees after the meeting is over.  Make sure the people who were given responsibility for any action items are clear on their commitments and then make sure to remind anyone tasked with something of the expected due date ahead of time.

So, meeting participants, show up on time, prepared and ready to openly engage and participate.  Leaders prepare ahead of time and come ready to lead an inclusive, encouraging and structured meeting.  And, don’t forget to write thank you notes.  A little encouragement and appreciation goes a long way!

Click here for a full copy of the “Making Meetings Matter” presentation full of other tips!


From An Expert guest blog post by Sarah Milston of The Spark Mill providing services for people and organizations who design change, focusing on fundraising, strategic planning, retreats, marketing, organizational development as well as team and board development. 

Learn more about how you can become our next expert!

Read more →


Smart Giving: How Can Your Nonprofit Benefit from Pinterest?

How Can Your Nonprofit Benefit from Pinterest?

Today nonprofits have so many social media tools at their fingertips ? it can be quite overwhelming to determine which social media platforms are worth using or which ones will most effectively reach a desired audience. Pinterest is a growing social network medium for nonprofits and companies because of its visual storytelling format that showcases products, news and ideas. It can also serve as a library of sorts, providing a place to store articles and ideas that you would like to explore when you have more time. There are a variety of different ways nonprofits can utilize Pinterest to create a picture driven collection of information in hope of spreading their value and mission.

Pinterest Boards can be created for any and every topic. Check out Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden?s pinterest profile below. This nonprofit has created boards for flower pictures, events, weddings at their venue, Richmond news, gardening ideas, classes offered, etc.

How can your nonprofit use different boards to showcase your mission and values? More examples include animal rescue organizations creating a board for animals waiting to be adopted, art centers creating a board to show recent work, community organizations creating a board with holiday potluck recipes?the possibilities are endless!

Idea Boards: The Pinterest board below is from the HandsOn Greater Richmond profile and serves as a space for the team to collect volunteer appreciation gift ideas. Pinterest boards can be used as a storehouse for lesson plans, gift ideas, recipes, blog post ideas?anything that could be useful to a specific nonprofit organization. Use idea boards for internal purposes or direct clients to a particular board to share ideas and helpful information. The Spark Mill consulting firm has created numerous boards that share tips on how to be more creative, strategic, efficient and more. The whole idea is to showcase information, tutorials and stories. GiveRichmond plans to continue producing ?How To? articles like this one and post them to Pinterest for your future reference. *Important tip: Install the Pin button on your internet browser so that you can immediately pin something you come across on the internet. Several people can be added to the same board to collect ideas in one location.

Product boards can be used to display items available the Pinterest. When an individual ?pins? a picture of a product, the image is seen by all of the individual?s followers ? this rapidly increases the exposure of a particular item as friends ?share? pictures of products with each other. The Richmond Sports Backers have a Pinterest board exclusively for their products, and each picture links to the Sports Backers online store. This way, the user is immediately directed to the online store after clicking the picture and is prompted to purchase the item or view similar products.

Want more tips on social media for your nonprofit?  Come to ConnectVA’s Social Media for Nonprofits Conference on 3/19 @ WCVE/Community Ideas Station – featuring Heather Mansfield of Nonprofit Tech for Good!


GiveRichmond/GiveSouthsideVA is a program of The Community Foundation Serving Richmond & Central Virginia (TCF). As strategic partners with ConnectVA, TCF and GiveRichmond/GiveSouthsdeVA encourage smart giving by identifying trends and success stories in local philanthropy through their Smart Giving blog series. If you have ideas about topics you would like to have covered, please comment below!

Read more →


Discover Data: Tips for Community Assessments

Sara Link, Director of the Greater Richmond Age Wave Coalition, shares advice on developing community data measures and establishing baselines to prepare for an initial community assessment, as well as more information about the coalition, and how you can get involved. You can find the Greater Richmond Regional Age Wave Readiness Plan in the community resources section of the ConnectVA Community Vital Signs page.

Developing Community Data Measures

In order to assess successes and challenges in our communities, it is important to measure and monitor efforts across a regional to statewide network.  This can be done by utilizing indicators and data that define quality of life and by establishing baseline measures, as an initial community assessment.  These indicators can represent broad, system wide change data or project based outcomes.

Here are a few best practices that the Greater Richmond Age Wave Coalition established while developing a standard system of measurement to help quantify/qualify strengths, gaps and regional challenges ? also known as their ?Regional Scorecard? to track and monitor the community.

Best Practices for Developing Baseline Measures

1. Utilize free to low cost data

2.  Ensure data comes from a reputable source

3.  Data is collected/updated annually and/or with regular frequency

4.  Ability to track/evaluate within a specific service area

5.  Data exists at the lowest possible level (by county, if possible)

6.  Avoid using ranking data or formulaic data that is hard to interpret

It is important to note that certain data points/indicators selected for a ?scorecard? will not directly be influenced (changed) by a coalition and/or broader community effort; however, a core objective should be to select indicators/data points that your efforts can help move or influence over time.

What is the Greater Richmond Age Wave Coalition?

The Greater Richmond Age Wave Planning effort is a coalition of public and private organizations, businesses, academic institutions, and citizens working together to ensure our local region is engaged, connected, prepared and aware of our changing population ?Age Wave?- and how it will transform our society- as both a regional opportunity and challenge. 

This coalition has been in place since 2009 and is led by the Age Wave Leadership Committee, over 30 members, and supported by a broader network of community partners and local governments in four project based Work Groups. This initiative is staffed and managed through a joint partnership between VCU Department of Gerontology and Senior Connections, The Capital Area Agency on Aging.  

Today, the number of aging baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) is already beginning to outnumber the cohort of school-aged children for the first time in history.  With one out of four adults aging into retirement,  65 and over,  we will being to experience increasing demands for innovation, better health care choices, supportive services enhancing quality of life and lifestyle options that promote independence, safety and healthy aging.

What?s coming up for GRAWC and how can someone get involved?

Active Aging week begins next week – Monday, September 22nd through Friday September 26th.  Led by the International Council on Active Aging, Active Aging Week is an annual health promotion event managed by Age Wave coalition partners that include: The Arthritis Foundation, VCU Department of Gerontology, and Senior Connections, The Capital Area Agency on Aging Active Aging Week. Collectively we are celebrating older adults in our communities and encouraging participation in over 50 activities, with local partners, that include workshops, forums, classes and trainings. This weeklong celebration is our regional opportunity to strengthen positives images of healthy aging and active lifestyles in our communities that reinforce connections to local resources

 Kickoff event Ramping Up Workplace Activity presented by Sports Backers, features a workshop for businesses and organizations to engage in Active RVA either through a stairwell initiative and/or a certified ?active? business. Farmer Brown?s Mobile Market, LLC will also be on site to bring us local and fresh foods. This event is open to the public and will take place at Senior Connections, The Capital Area Agency on Aging on Monday, September 22nd at 10:00am.

 The Closing Celebration is an Open House and featuring regional Age Wave progress and keynote speaker: Commissioner James Rothrock, Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services. Exhibits will be on display including: Virginia Livable Communities and Elders are our Superheroes with William Fox Elementary students. This is a free event and open to the public. It will be held on Friday, September 26 at Health South Rehabilitation Hospital from 3:00pm to 5:00pm.

Click here for more information on Active Aging Week and if you have a community resource that should be included in the ConnectVA Community Vital Signs page – please email admin@connectva.org.

Read more →