Monday, October 27, 2008

Board Challenges Report

The Urban Institute published Boards of Midsize Nonprofits: Their Needs and Challenges earlier this year. The report focuses on governance among midsize nonprofits, while most other policy reports and best practice guidelines seem to have large organizations in mind. This document helps identify problem areas and suggests strategies that board members, staff, and supporters can use to strengthen nonprofit governance operations.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Lifecycles Forum Wrap-Up

On September 25th, the College of Community and Public Affairs hosted a forum on nonprofit orgnaization lifecycles, co-sponsored by the Southern Tier AIDS Program, The Community Foundation for South Central New York and the Hoyt Foundation. The forum was attended by approximately 75 local nonprofit leaders, University faculty and students and was covered by local media.

Keynote speaker Susan Chambré , who has studied the emergence and development of AIDS organizations in New York City, shared case studies of two organizations. She highlighted several factors that contributed to the survival of new organizations she studied, including the ability to make the transition from temporary start-up funds (often from foundations) to more reliable ongoing sources of funding, such as government support. She noted that organizations need to be clear about the distinct challenges they face at start-up if they are to be successful and that new organizations have a short "honeymoon" period during which initial funders are likely to provide support to organizations. Successful organizations need to plan for what happens after that honeymoon period ends.

Karen Wright, Executive Director of Stillwater RTF shared the story of her organization, which has been in operation for about ten years. She discussed a variety of challenges her organization has faced and overcome, including establishing a unique identity, and manging through leadership transitions. She described the opportunities that were created by the separation of Stillwater from the organization that created it, the Children's Home of the Wyoming Conference.

The session ended with a funder's panel, in which participants emphasized funders' obligations to organizations at different phases of their lifecycle. Each funder discussed his/her organization's willingness to support technical or consultation assistance to create capacity at different stages in the lifecycle. They noted that support was not open-ended and that funders' unique priorities determine the extent to which they are able to provide support to any organization. All acknowledged that understanding an organization's stage of development was critical to effective grantmaking.

We at the College of Community and Public Affairs were delighted to be able to host the forum and look forward to future opportunities to collaborate with researchers and practitioners to present knowledge we can use to improve our organizations and community life in South Cental New York.

Video from the forum and the slides used by our keynote presenter will be provided on the website of the Center for Applied Community Research and Development shortly (http:\\

David Campbell

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

990 Update

The recent program meeting featured a discussion about a program focused on the 990. The Form 990 instructions are now finalized. On August 19, 2008, the IRS issued its Release of Instructions for the new Form 990, so there is clearer direction for nonprofits to begin to review their accounting and recordkeeping procedures and their governance practices to make next year's filing go well. For more information, visit the National Council for Nonprofit Association's website.

September 23 Group Meeting Minutes

South Central New York Nonprofit
Executive Directors Group
24 Cherry Street
Johnson City, New York 13790
Full Group Meting
September 23, 2008
1. Introductions: The meeting started about 8:30 am and was attended by 20 directors. Each member introduced themselves.
2. What we have done so far: Andrew discussed what we have accomplished over the past several months and the challenges ahead. He invited everyone to get more information and updates on this and other ED groups by logging onto
3. Lists: Darrell distributes the current Steering Committee and full group lists. These lists will be updated and distributed as needed. Anyone wanting a new list can contact Darrell.
4. The Future: We discussed at length what the plans are for the future the group. We discussed the possibility of a list serve. We also discussed ideas for program and special projects.
In addition to the Executive Committee there are three subcommittees. A member ship committee chaired by Keith Leahy, a program committee chair by Dick Squires and Bob Hanye and a special projects committee chaired by Joe Sellepack. These committees will be meeting periodically as needed.
Suggested future program ideas are training for board members, marketing and promotion of the group, tax and audit compliance, personnel issues, fundraising, energy conservation at facilities, agency presentations and training executives on how to work with boards.
A survey will be distributed to the membership for input for program topics for upcoming meetings.
5. Setting Meeting Schedule for the year: The executive committee will meet as needed, primarily before full group meetings. The full group meetings will be scheduled quarterly beginning December 9th. The next full group meeting will be hosted by the Brome County Council of Churches.
The full group meetings are tentatively scheduled as follows:
12.9.08 – at Broome County Council of Churches
3.10.09 – site to be determined
6.9.08 – site to be determined
9.8.09 – site to be determined
12.8.09 – site to be determined
Meetings will last approximately 1.5 hours and start at 8:30 AM. The first half will be the outside presenter. The second half will be a short agency presentation, networking and a regular business meeting.
The meeting adjourned at about10:00 AM.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Membership Meeting - September 16

Membership Committee Meeting

September 16, 2008

Members Present: Keith W. Leahey, MHAST, Chair; Joe Slavik, Catholic Charities of Broome County; John Barry, STAP; Mario Salati, Boy's & Girl's Club of Western BC and Jennifer Lesko, BC Urban League.

The meeting started at 8:00am with introductions and a brief discussion on the progress of the Steering Committee. The mission statement was reviewed.

Handouts of the current membership were provided to the committee to be used as a reference tool for further membership development.

The criteria for membership were discussed. Also, several ideas were shared about finding common, but important, topics of interest that pertain to most not for profit agencies (i.e.: fee for service, mandatory board training, addressing/sharing limited community resources and capital campaigns).

New membership applications can be sent to Diane Kunzman, Family Enrichment Network, by using the address or contact information at the top of the application form. Darrell Newvine, Ex. Dir., FEN has offered to the membership committee the services of Diane to maintain and update the membership list.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45am