Sunday, March 29, 2009

National-Service Bill Clears Final Major Hurdle, Winning Senate Approval

The Chronicle of Philanthropy related that the Senate adopted the Serve America Act, which would more than triple the number of participants in AmeriCorps and create an array of new volunteer programs for people of all ages — with a bipartisan vote of 79 to 19.

Among its provisions, the Serve America Act — the first update of programs operated by the Corporation for National and Community Service since 1993 — would create:
  • A Social Innovation Funds Pilot Program, which would provide “venture capital” to help nonprofit groups that have developed successful ways to tackle social problems expand their work. It would make $50-million available in 2010, growing to $100-million in 2014, with matching funds required from other sources.
  • A Volunteer Generation Fund of $50-million in 2010, growing to $100-million in 2014. Money would go to nonprofit groups or state national-service commissions for programs to help charities recruit and manage volunteers.
  • New service “corps” in the fields of clean energy, health, poverty, and services to veterans.
  • Encore Fellowships and Silver Scholarships for people age 55 and above.

Read more here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Membership Committee Meeting Set

South Central NY Executive Directors Group
Membership Meeting

Date: March 30, 2009
Location: Mental Health Association of the Southern Tier, Inc.
153 Court Street - Binghamton, NY 13901
Time: 8:30-9:15 am
*Light breakfast to be served

  • Review of current members
  • Press Release
  • NYNED Website
  • Ideas to increase membership
  • Other business/adjournment

E-mail the Membership Committee Chair Keith Leahy, MHAST Executive Director with any questions.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Philanthropy Incubator RFP

Last week, I shared with you that students in the masters of public administration program at Binghamton University were in the process for pursuing applications for grant money they will be giving away through the University's new Philanthropy Incubator project. The students have completed the RFP and it is accessible at the project's website: (click on grant application process). To be eligible for a grant an organization must be located in Central New York or the Southern Tier AND have been a social work field placement or public administration internship site within the past year. Grants will support one-time (non-recurring) capital or program projects. The application process has been made relatively simple to facilitate applications. The deadline for applying is March 31. If you need more information, please e-mail me at


David Campbell

BU student-run charity looks to optimize work of nonprofits

The Press & Sun-Bulletin featured a story about David Campbell's earlier post regarding his student-run charity that will award area nonprofits as much as $4,000 to help organizations with programs or projects. Read more here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Group Announced for Fund Development

An effort is underway to start a local professional development group that will focus on fund development. Interested staff and executive directors should contact Jennifer Cubic, Director of Development & Communications at AVRE, or call her at 607-724-2428 for more information.

SCNY ED Group Special Projects Committee Invites Participation

The Special Projects Committee recently announced at the March 10th SCNY ED Group program meeting the goal of developing an economic impact study (click here for an overview) of nonprofits in the region. The chair, Dr. Joseph Sellepack, has invited any nonprofits interested in participating to contact the Special Projects Committee. E-mail the committee here. The next Special Projects Committee is set for 10:30am on April 8th at Broome County Council of Churches.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

March 10th Program Summary: Discussion and Committee Report

The SCNY ED Group program meeting was held on Tuesday, March 10th and was hosted by the Jewish Community Center. Thirty-one directors attended the program that featured Teri Goodall Komar facilitating a discussion about the relationship between the executive director and board of directors. The program focused on positive examples and input from directors. The conversation covered a number of topics, which will be highlighted here.

The discussion first started with the role of the ED and the board. Directors discussed how to define the role or expectations of the board. A few organizations have developed a board expectation document (click here for example) that they give to new board members. By-laws also help set expectations by outlining attendance policies and committee participation.

The Group next discussed board involvement in fundraising. The consensus among the EDs was that they would like the board engaged and concerned about raising funds. The board needs to recognize this role, but EDs also would like to put the right board members in the correct roles for fund development activities. Not every board member can effectively ask for a donation. Carole Coppens from YWCA remarked that a fund development committee and plan have given clear direction to her board. As a part of this discussion, the Group addressed the question of having board giving requirements. EDS agreed that there should be 100% giving, but most nonprofits don't set a number. They expect board members to give to their best ability or personal significance. By setting a specific goal for each board member, many times a board member won't give above this number and may even think they have fulfilled their responsibility.

The program conversation moved to board engagement and recognition. The main point related was that the board must be given the opportunity to solve problems. Asking board members to just write checks is a quick way to lose their involvement.

The last portion of the program discussion was about how EDs educate their boards. The following were examples from the Group:
  • Give board info (board manual, minutes, financials, etc) upfront and set expectations
  • Ask each board member to chair committee
  • Periodically send them to training
  • Try to have a mini-retreat
  • Invite board to come and work in the office
  • Board orientation
  • Board web page or blog (American Red Cross and BCCC Foundation both have blogs in place for their boards)
  • E-mail communication (Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park uses e-mail to educate board by sending trivia and animal updates)
  • Require potential board members to attend 1 to 3 meetings before joining the board
  • Having staff present to board about programs and activities

SCNY ED Group Special Projects Committee Update

The second portion of the ED program featured an overview of the Special Projects Committee's efforts by the chair, Dr. Joseph Sellepack. The Committee is proposing a multi-year economic impact study (overview) of nonprofits in the region. The ED Group will partner with Binghamton University for assistance and development of this study. The Group discussed the need to get broad engagement and some ideas of what the study would cover. The Group also discussed what the uses for the study info could be. Overall, the study will show the economic impact of nonprofits on the community; change perceptions; and show what the cost would be if the city or county had to provide services covered by nonprofits. The next Special Projects Committee is set for 10:30am on April 8th at Broome County Council of Churches.

Jewish Community Center Introduction

The program ended with a presentation by Sheryl Brumer about her agency, the Jewish Community Center. She related that there are many misconceptions about the JCC. The agency serves everybody and has been around for over 80 years.

Next program meeting is set for June 9th.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Southern Tier Capacity Building Program 2009

The Southern Tier Capacity Building Program announces two free nonprofit trainings and a companion mini-grant program for 2009. The two workshops are supported by The Community Foundation for South Central New York and The Stewart W. and Willma C. Hoyt Foundation, Inc. The first workshop, Strategic Management in Tough Times, is set for April 17th and the second, Succession Planning, is set for June 9th. Nonprofit board members and management leaders alike are encouraged to attend. To register, visit or call 1-800-515-5012 ext 141.

Nonprofits who attend one of these two workshops are qualified for the Broome, Chenango, Cortland and Tioga Capacity Building Mini-Grant Program. This Capacity Building Mini-Grant Program is intended to measurably improve the governance and management operations of qualifying 501(c)3 nonprofits that are located or provide a substantial amount of services in Broome, Chenango, Cortland and/or Tioga Counties. The Mini-Grant Program is sponsored by the New York Council of Nonprofits (formerly CCSNYS), The Community Foundation for South Central New York, The Stewart W. and Willma C. Hoyt Foundation, and Conrad and Virginia Klee Foundation. For more information, visit

Membership Committee Meeting March 30th

The next membership committee meeting of the South Central NY Executive Directors group will be held on March 30, 8:30am at the Mental Health Association of the Southern Tier, 153 Court Street, Binghamton.

Agenda will be available soon. Last week, a press release was sent to the Press and Sun-Bulletin, based on a discussion at the last steering committee meeting. I am hopeful this will peak the interest of some other ED's. Light breakfast to be served. Please RSVP to me by March 26th. Thank you. Have a great day!

Keith W. Leahey, MSW

Executive Director, MHAST

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Fasten Your Seatbelts: It's Going to Be a Bumpy Giving Season

GuideStar implemented a report on the economy's impact on charitable giving in November that is a good resource for nonprofits. The data was gathered through a survey. One telling question asked was: "Did total contributions to your organization increase, decrease, or stay about the same during the first nine months of this year compared to the first nine months of 2007?" The number of participants who said that contributions had decreased nearly equaled the number who said they had increased. Overall the survey found that charitable donations are down at the same time that demand for nonprofits' services rose. Visit here for an overview or click here for the full survey report.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Binghamton University's Philanthropy Incubator

As some of you know, last year Binghamton University received a grant from Campus Compact and the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund for students in the Public Administration and Social Work Departments to make grants to local nonprofits. The students are in the process of finalizing their RFP and it will be posted in the next week. Today's posting is a "heads up" that the RFP is coming!

The project is called the Philanthropy Incubator and students have used it as a way to strengthen collaborations between the University (particularly the College of Community and Public Affairs professional masters degree programs) and local nonprofits. The students will give away up to $12,000 to address small, non-recurring capital or programmatic needs. Grant applications will be evaluated in terms of their capacity to maximize the benefit they provide to applicant organizations. We anticipate making several grants ranging in value from $1,000-$4,000. To be eligible, eligible, organzations must have participated as an internship or field placement site for Binghamton University Public Administration or Social Work students in 2008 or 2009.

Applicants will be requested to fill out a short application form and provide a narrative; proposals will be due at the end of this month. I will post a link to the RFP in the next week for all those interested. In the meantime, should you have questions about the competition, please e-mail me at

Best wishes,

David Campbell