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News from the Community: Winter 2018 Nonprofit Highlights

This week we’re sharing news tidbits from around the community!  We want to make it easy for our ConnectVA audience to quickly digest the big headlines affecting and about our local nonprofit community.  Does your nonprofit have news to share?  Send us an email at admin@connectva.org!  Enjoy!

The Community Foundation Shares 2018 Vision in 50th Year

CEO Sherrie Armstrong shares highlights from the past year and previews what to look for in 2018 – the Foundation’s 50th anniversary year. The Community Foundation celebrates the generosity and vision of the many partners who make this important milestone possible. Armstrong says, “It is our honor to help connect people, ideas and resources to improve the quality of life in our region today, and for generations to come.”  Read more about the Community Foundation’s vision here.

Outstanding Women Awards with the YWCA

In mid-January the YWCA of Richmond announced 9 Community Leaders who will be recognized at their 2018 Outstanding Women Awards on April 27th.  All nine women have strong ties to the local nonprofit community and were selected based on “their impact on the Greater Richmond community, their leadership skills, a high level of personal and professional achievement and commitment to the YWCA Richmond’s mission to eliminate racism and empower women,”.  Read more about the 2018 OWA recipients here.

Photo Credit: The Richmond Time’s Dispatch

 

Goochland Free Clinic & Family Serivces Changes Name and Opens New $7M Facility

After almost a year of construction and a $7.1 million-dollar capital campaign, Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services announced the opening of their new facility at 2999 River Road West and organization name change to “Goochland Cares”.  Their “ALL.HERE.NOW” campaign funded the conversion of the current Family Services building into emergency housing and established a $1.5 million endowment to ensure sustainability.

The new 20,000-square-foot facility will house 11 clinic programs, a food pantry, medical and dental care, financial assistance, and domestic violence and sexual assault services.  On their website, the organization says the name change to “GoochlandCares” is the continuation of a history of caring and responding to the needs of the community today and into the future.  Read more about the facility opening and name change on their website.

 

The Capital Region Collaborative and The Valentine Align for Richmond History Makers

This year, the Richmond History Makers Celebration and the Capital Region Collaborative’s (CRC) Community Update are taking place under the same roof on March 13th.  This will allow locals the opportunity to honor and support hometown heroes at the 13th Annual Event, while learning more about regional progress.

The Valentine’s nominating categories for the “History Makers” are aligned with the CRC’s regional priorities to better recognize the region-wide impact of these hometown visionaries and to get to know the faces behind the data.  The History Maker categories include:  Creating Quality Educational Opportunities, Demonstrating Innovative Solutions, Encouraging Regional Collaboration, Championing Social Justice, Promoting Stronger Communities and Advancing Our Quality of Life.  Learn more about the Honorees and purchase tickets here.

Safe Harbor and Bon Secours Open Region’s First Human Trafficking Transition Shelter

Last week Safe Harbor and Bon Secours announced they will open the first transition shelter for human trafficking victims in late February – the latest service addition to Safe Harbor’s human trafficking program. The shelter will provide transitional shelter, counseling and case management in a single location to adult female human trafficking victims in an undisclosed location.

In a recent Richmond Time’s Dispatch article Toni Ardabell, CEO of Bon Secours Virginia and Richmond Health Systems said, “One of the long-term needs of human trafficking survivors is acquiring a new lifestyle.  They need to acquire professional skills so that they can move toward jobs and independence and careers that will give them a steady income and create stability in their lives. In order to achieve and master these necessary skills, most women need resources and care beyond the emergency care they’re getting in the shelter.”  You can read more about the shelter here.

Photo Credit: Richmond Time’s Dispatch

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Nonprofit News: Emerging Nonprofit Leaders 2017-2018 Announced

The Community Foundation serving Richmond and Central Virginia (TCF) is excited to announce the selected participants for the 2017-2018 cohort of Emerging Nonprofit Leaders! 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.

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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.

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News from the Community: RVA Community Fund for Standing Together Launches with Mini Grants for Nonprofits

The Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities is pleased to announce a new resource for Richmond-area nonprofit organizations. Thanks to initial funding from the Robins Foundation and fund management from the Richmond Jewish Foundation, the RVA COMMUNITY FUND FOR STANDING TOGETHER was launched on August 21st, 2017.

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News from the Community: Local Foundation Award Updates

We caught up with the largest local foundations to get an update on their awards so far, this year!  See what initiatives are being funded and check out ConnectVA’s tools and resources for connecting with local grantmakers and information.

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News from the Community: TCF Announces Grant Awards

The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia (TCF) awarded over $2 Million to 47 local organizations through their community grant making program along with The Jenkins Foundation, a supporting foundation that focuses its grant program on improving health care in the region. Each year, a portion of The Community Foundation’s grant making is awarded through a competitive process, in which local organizations apply for funding for programs and operations. The process is guided by a framework in which the Foundation identifies nonprofit partners that are effectively, and many times collaboratively, working to lift up Richmond as a place where all of its residents can thrive.

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News from the Community: Updates from the Capital Region Collaborative

On Friday March 10th, The Capital Region Collaborative (CRC) shared important updates to their regional work in a community-wide meeting. A captive audience listened intently as CRC Organizers, elected officials, local nonprofit leaders and even the Mayor of Richmond, Levar Stoney, discussed the “shared vision for our region” and the ways that our community must work together, across sectors, to achieve this goal.

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News from the Community: Nonprofit Social Media Strategy Winners

Last Wednesday was the final nonprofit presentations for the VCU Social Media Institute, which combines undergraduate and graduate students from Virginia Commonwealth University with college students from Iraq in the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program for a one-of-a-kind social media project.

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Over a four-week period, the students developed and implemented social media projects for nonprofit organizations in RVA, including:

RVA Music School and Outreach
Sabot at Stony Point
GReat Aspirations Scholarship Program (GRASP)
Youth Life Foundation of Richmond
Dress for Success Central Virginia
Connor’s Heroes Foundation
Beds for Kids, Inc.
Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy
Virginia Center for Health Innovation
College Behavioral and Emotional Health Initiative (COBE)
VCU College of Humanities and Sciences

ConnectVA had the honor of judging the presentations and selecting the winners, along with Alix Bryan of CBS6 and Nathan Hughes, founding member of the Social Media Club Richmond and Executive Vice President & CFO at Bandazian & Hughes.

We saw many great social media strategies – great campaigns with smart hashtags, video projects, new media being incorporated and ways to help the nonprofits get organized when implementing!

Last week we critiqued the projects and gave an overview of recommendations for social media strategy; we also created this handy ConnectVA Guide to Social Media Best Practices 2015 for the students (and YOU).

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The Finalists

3rd Place: RVA Music School and Outreach

RVA Music School and Outreach is a BRAND NEW nonprofit; when the students started the project with them, all the owner had was a personal Facebook page for promotional purposes!  The students changed the name from Bryan Park Music Studio, defined their target audience, created a website (that’s also responsively designed!), created clever video campaigns to put on YouTube, and set up Instagram and Facebook accounts (that already has 150 followers!).

The students went even further, creating content ideas for the budding nonprofit, guidelines for posting, hashtag campaigns, tracking, evaluation and measurement guidelines, and even a few fundraising ideas!

We were so impressed as judges by the amount they were able to accomplish in 4 weeks!  The students truly gave RVA Music School and Outreach a solid foundation to build their online and social media presence!

Runner Up: Sabot at Stony Point

Sabot at Stoney Point is a nonprofit school in Richmond, Virginia who serves students from preschool to 8th grade and has an Italian-based teaching curriculum – Reggio Emilia.  The nonprofit already had a fairly solid following on Facebook and the teachers write regular blog posts!

The VCU students assisting Sabot at Stoney Point did a fantastic job of providing the nonprofit with a robust Social Media Strategy and campaign ideas!  We were really impressed with how they distinctly defined the audience they were trying to reach and chose specific platforms to prioritize, based on those findings!

One of the most exciting parts of the Social Media Strategy was the content schedule the students created – with ideas of interesting posts and questions for the coordinator to post each day of the week!  Look out for the campaign #SabotStories on Instagram and Twitter!  The students also gave guides for the nonprofit as they redesign their new website, to make it responsive and implement best practices!

The Winner:  GReat Aspirations Scholarship Program (GRASP)

GRASP is a nonprofit that aids and assists high school seniors with funding for post-secondary education. By working with the students from VCU, they hoped to accomplish three main priorities: 1) increase engagement with social media followers 2) increase followers among high school seniors 3) educate the organization internally on the importance of social media.

WOW!  The students did an excellent job of putting together a solid plan for GRASP, including tips for their Facebook page, where they’ve helped put together “How has GRASP helped you?” video campaigns featuring former scholarship recipients, an internal Facebook group open only to advisors around the state to work on coordination, a Twitter account, Instagram, and YouTube account.  Most exciting was seeing the WordPress blog site that the students created for the nonprofit, and an editorial calendar using this awesome new tool called CoSchedule!

Taking the strategy a step further, the students provided guidance on tracking, measuring, analytics, and fundraising campaigns.  They put together 7 videos and 9 infographics and even a training for internal staff on ways to use social media and best practices.  The CEO, Paula Buckley, and Board Chair were in attendance at the final presentation and could not have been more thrilled!  They commented that the presentation was submitted to the entire board and they will begin implementation immediately!

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All in all, the students were incredibly impressive – they were able to accomplish so much in 4 weeks; it was truly unreal!  Thanks to VCU Social Media Institute for letting us be a part of this fantastic program and the commitment that you have to our nonprofit community!

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News from the Community: Shalom Farms Grows Through OIP

How a local nonprofit took the fast-track to organizational improvement

ConnectVA recently met up with the Executive Director of Shalom Farms, Dominic Barrett, to learn how participating in a 12 week cohort-based assessment process allowed the organization to strengthen its strategic direction.

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The Organizational Improvement Process (OIP), offered by PNE’s Organizational Solutions, allows organizations to receive an in-depth look at infrastructure, operational effectiveness and sustainability, including directional strategies.  Executive Directors and Board members take online assessments, attend workshops, are paired with a consultant and learn from peer organizations during the process.

Here’s what Domenic had to say about Shalom Farms and the OIP:

First, tell us a little about your organization.

Shalom Farms is a nonprofit community farm project that started in 2008 with the overarching goal of increasing food security in the Richmond region, particularly in low-income urban neighborhoods. Our work is concentrated in the East End, Southside and Northside of Richmond City, although our 6-acre farm is located in Goochland.

Our programs center around 1) growing an array of healthy produce to provide to under-served communities 2) providing introductory experiential learning opportunities for children and adults on growing food, overcoming barriers to cooking and eating nutritionally and food-based entrepreneurship, and 3) linking community groups to a wide range of resources and partners, using a strengths-based approach to build individual and community self-sufficiency.

Our work thrives because of our 4,500 volunteers who work on the farm each year to grow and harvest over 75,000 lbs. of organic produce and the partnerships that we build with other organizations with similar missions, like FeedMore, Peter Paul Development Center and CHAT.

From your point of view, what is the OIP?

The OIP, to me, was like going to a Travel Agent to plan an upcoming vacation.

While you can always plan it yourself, it’s much more efficient and effective to have an outsider who understands the process, puts a comprehensive package together for you that is heavily discounted, and sends you on a vacation with 3 of your peers who want to go on the same type of vacation as you, and you get to experience it together.

 

What was the need for Shalom Farms before starting OIP?

All organizations have room for growth, and we recognized that we needed support with capacity building in order to take our organization, the board, and our programming to the next level.

We believed we had 3 real core needs going into the process – 1) strategic planning, 2) a fundraising plan and 3) an understanding of our strengths in leveraging the farm and volunteer opportunities.

We knew that with any real investment, the process would take time and require attention by both me and our Board Members.  After a recommendation from past participant Tricycle Gardens and learning that the other organizations in the cohort were similar in mission, size and need we decided to move forward.

What did you discover during the process?

Going through the assessment process and working with our chosen consultant, we really affirmed the needs that we believed we had going in.  Now, we needed an action plan to move forward and time to break away from our programming for long-term planning.

The OIP consultant was instrumental in providing a recommendation report and a capacity building plan that reflected what we learned – sort of like a road map for our journey.

If you decide to make an investment like this, or a funder recommends going through this process, make sure to make the time for it and be clear about what it is that you want coming out of it.  Be selfish about what’s best for your organization.   You don’t have to know exactly what your organization needs to be successful in the process, but you should know the questions that you want answered and exactly why you are participating.

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What was the impact and what’s next for your organization?

First of all, the relationships that we built, not only within our cohort, but with participating consultants in the region, have been extremely beneficial.  We are now working on a Fund Development Strategy, focusing on individual donors from the priorities highlighted during the process.

Soon we will be unveiling new branding that we developed with Campfire & Co. – check out our new logo and get a preview of changes to come on our Facebook page.

We are solidifying our current programming and working on evaluation, as well as working with the City of Richmond to expand our Produce Prescription Plan into Resource Centers.

The knowledge that we gained from OIP will strategically help us as we begin early stages of farm expansion in 18 to 24 months from now and continue to bring valuable programs and resources to our community for years to come.

 

Are you interested in learning more about participating in Organizational Assessments or the Organizational Improvement Process? Organizational Solutions is looking for its next round of participants – applications due August 17th.  Read more here.

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