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Great Nonprofit Awards Spotlight Part 2

Get to know a few of the finalists for YNPN RVA’s Great Nonprofit Awards, coming up on 11.7.18!  People and organizations will be recognized in 3 categories:

  • Rising Star: A nonprofit professional with fewer than five years of career experience making significant contributions to the RVA nonprofit sector.
  • Great Nonprofit Boss: A nonprofit manager who has gone above and beyond to promote a great work environment for their staff.
  • Outstanding Organization: A great nonprofit organization that fosters a nurturing and empowering environment for young nonprofit professionals.

The many nominations were scored by a panel of young nonprofit professionals from the YNPN RVA Leadership Team.  The winner in each category will be announced at the November 7thevent.

Find tickets here http://bit.ly/YNPNGNAs


Linda Whitaker, Vice President of Administration and Human Resources, ChildSavers, Finalist in the GREAT NONPROFIT BOSS category

What keeps you in the nonprofit sector? I have worked for non-profit organizations most of my career.  I started out in Hospital Administration at Community Hospital of Roanoke Valley.  I worked for several years for a large corporation and during that time I realized how much I missed working for a non-profit.   I am very relational and enjoy helping people.  I am also very passionate about working for an organization with a mission to serve others.

“ChildSavers guides our community’s children through life’s critical moments with trauma informed mental health and child development services. That mission statement is the core of all we do.   As the Vice President of Administration and Human Resources my consumers are the employees.  Our employees are very mission driven and the work they do is difficult.   In today’s world, many children experience trauma and without the appropriate care and therapy these children can’t move beyond the trauma.  We provide trauma informed care because we want to give children the opportunity to succeed in school and in life.

I don’t work one on one with the children and their families; however, I do have the opportunity to work closely with each employee.   My goal is to ensure our employees have great benefits and compensation, but also the opportunity to achieve their career and life goals. When employees feel cared for and empowered to succeed, they are more effective in reaching the hurting children and helping them recover from the trauma they have endured. I am thankful for the role I play in fulfilling the mission of ChildSavers, and I believe we are making a difference in the lives our agency touches.

What advice would I give to other nonprofit supervisors? I would tell supervisors in the nonprofit arena to never stop growing and learning.  Always treat your employees with respect, honesty, dignity and patience.  Always be a team player and never ask an employee to do something you wouldn’t do.  Give your employees every opportunity to advance in their career and provide the support and leadership they need to fulfill their dreams. Remember, a rising tide lifts all boats.

Always be mindful that your words and actions have a huge impact on people.   In times where discipline may be necessary, always remember to focus on the strengths of the individual and give them the necessary tools to grow and make better decisions. Redirecting employees toward more positive outcomes can strengthen community and raise productivity far more than reprimand.  I love this quote by Theodore Roosevelt… “Remember nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”

What was a pivotal moment in your career? My husband and I moved to Richmond in September 2002.   I enrolled in the School of Professional Studies at University of Richmond and started my first class immediately.   I attended classes four nights a week for several years while working a full time job.  I graduated in May, 2007 summa cum laude and was promoted as the Vice President of Administration and Human Resources at ChildSavers in 2011.  I have continued to grow and advance my human resource knowledge and expertise.  My responsibilities have changed tremendously during the last several years.  I love working at ChildSavers and will be forever grateful for the opportunities afforded me.

Erica Babcock, Marketing & Communications Officer, Better Housing Coalition, Finalist in the RISING STAR category

What do you love about the RVA nonprofit community? The energy and the passion that I see in the people I’ve met, and the willingness to share knowledge and support one another.

What motivates you? My son. I think about his future and what his world will be like, and that motivates me to do everything I can to fight for what’s right and promote social good.

Looking back, what was a great career decision you made? Working for Better Housing Coalition! I work with an incredible team who has believed in me and supported my professional growth from day one.


Jackie Washington, Community Engagement Liaison and Center Director of the Six Points Innovation Center (6PIC), Storefront For Community Design, Finalist in the RISING STAR category

What do you love about the RVA nonprofit community? I love the fact that I can truly be myself and there is a familial atmosphere between partners that I work closely with.

What motivates you? Richmond’s history, youth and their families are the reason that I go to work every day and try my best to hold space for their voice and values. I truly believe there is no distinction between the destiny of the families that I work with and myself in that everyone deserves and has the ability to thrive.

Looking back, what was a great career decision you made? Interning at Storefront For Community Design was hands down the best career decision I’ve made. I’m glad they chose to hire me! It’s such a great nonprofit to work for because I have the ability to dream, create and meet so many amazing people.


Nadine Marsh-Carter, CEO, Children’s Home Society of Virginia, Finalist in the GREAT NONPROFIT BOSS and Outstanding Organization category

What are you doing to create a great work environment for young professionals?  I am a firm believer that strong nonprofits are a cornerstone of a thriving community. So, an investment in our young professionals is really an investment in Richmond’s future.   Therefore, I work to have a great work environment for young professionals by creating opportunities for our organization’s more experienced leadership to work with less experienced managers so that we may address opportunities – and challenges- together.  I have found that when we exchange our ideas, insight and experiences, we come up with the most strategic solutions and we learn from one another. I also seek out and support ways for young professionals to participate in professional development opportunities whenever possible.

What are trends or shifts that you see in the local sector? A trend in Richmond nonprofits is the great embrace of the importance – and effectiveness – of collaborations.  This has been a critical trend that is strengthening and expanding the service capacity of organizations in every nonprofit sector – from human services to the arts. The embrace of working together to solve problems and implement more creative solutions is resulting in a new level of strategic energy in our community.  I believe that this also means that the energy and creative thinking that young professionals “bring to the table” is even more critical and valuable than ever before!

What’s your leadership style? I would describe my leadership style as supportive, open and empowering. It’s important to lead with a demonstrated confidence in the ability of my co-workers.  So   I encourage the members of my team to work independently while I serve as resource who is available whenever needed. My leadership philosophy is that we are all valued members of a team. I genuinely appreciate the perspectives that every member of our team brings to the table.  I would never ask a member of my team to tackle a task that I am not fully prepared to handle myself.  I lead by demonstrating a high work ethic, by providing guidance, and by being willing to admit when I make a mistake, because we can all learn from shared experiences. Finally, I believe in the energy that comes from loving- and when appropriate- having fun at work.   So, my leadership style includes creating a space where we can laugh together in the workplace… there are few ways to better strengthen a team’s spirit!

Blue Sky Fund, David Kunnen, Executive Director, Finalist in the Outstanding Organization category

What is the focus of your work?  Blue Sky Fund is on a mission to provide transformational opportunities for urban youth through outdoor education. Our three core programs – Explorers, Outdoor Adventure Clubs, and Outdoor Leadership Institute – provide opportunities to improve access for children in Richmond Public Schools to engaging, experiential education and enrichment opportunities that take advantage of all of the amazing outdoor assets we have in our region. If we can help increase students’ academic achievement and help develop their resilience, we are making progress towards our goals. Our region wins awards and has magazine articles written that encourage people from across the world to come here to live, work, and play, yet there are large numbers of our neighbors who don’t traditionally take advantage of all parts of our city. That’s not equitable, and we want to help change that. Only two of the elementary schools we work in are currently fully accredited by the Virginia Department of Education, and we want to do our part to help RPS meet their 2023 accreditation and strategic plan goals.

What would someone be surprised to know about your organization?  We serve over 2,200 children each year. We are still a relatively young organization compared to some of our peers, and our reach often surprises people. Although we have ‘Fund’ in our name, we are not wealth managers or angel investors.

See the first Finalist Spotlight.  Click here to see a full list of all finalist and nominees and make sure to get your ticket to the event coming up on 11.7.18!

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