Tuesday, May 31, 2011

TCO General Director Honored at 2011 Opera America Conference in Boston

Tri-Cities Opera was in Boston from May 7-11 for the Opera America Conference 2011, "Opera Entrepreneurship: Building on Tradition". Reed Smith, General Director, Joe Beck, Technical Director, & Judy Berry, Interim Marketing & Development Director, attended sessions and networking events in addition to manning the TCO exhibit. The display was a very popular stop, generating lots of interest in TCO costume & set rentals, and in our company in general.
The conference in full swing included an opening session & reception at the Museum of Fine Arts (complete with 'flash mob' of the "Brindisi" from La Traviata...just like we do in Binghamton with our "TCO is Taking Culture Out" happenings!) and an incredible session at the Media Lab on the M.I.T campus focusing on technological advancements in the world of opera.

But the highlight of the conference for Tri-Cities Opera came at the closing session when TCO took center stage, as General Director Reed Smith was honored with a distinguished service award. Opera America President/CEO, Marc Scorca praised TCO's place both in the past, as one of the first Resident Artist Training Programs in the country, which is still going strong today, and in the future, as "the company enters its exciting new life cycle". Marc noted Reed's many achievements while presenting him with a plaque celebrating his tenth anniversary at TCO's helm. Bravo!

TCO thanks Opera America and primary hosts Boston Lyric Opera and Opera Boston for a truly amazing experience. The entire four days were filled with a vast amount information, innovation, ideas, illumination and inspiration from this amazing annual assemblage of opera companies.

Roof collapses at Mothers and Babies Perinatal Newtork building

YNN reported that Thursday night's severe weather caused some major damage for a local non-profit. The roof collapsed at the Mothers and Babies Perinatal Network in Binghamton.

Employees at the Mothers and Babies Perinatal Network in Binghamton opened the doors of their office Friday morning to a sopping mess.

"We discovered this morning that half of our roof had blown off and all the rain had poured into the building," Sharon Chesna, Mother and Babies Executive Director, said.

Because of all that rain, nearly two thirds of the building on the inside has significant damage. Officials say they expect the damage to cost well over $50,000.

"All of our computers, copiers, meters. All of that stuff. A lot of our program materials is all destroyed," Chesna said.

"It is overwhelming, you know we don't know what we have lost yet. We don't know what can be saved and we are just not sure where we stand," said office manager Enid Jones.

Aside from their immediate concern of getting the roof repaired, employees say their number one priority is getting the inside fixed so they can get back up and running for the community.

"We help with health insurance and people need us to help them with their applications," said Jones.

The non-profit has been a staple in the community helping parents secure health insurance for their children and when some parents stopped by Friday they were shocked to learn about what happened.

"It is very upsetting because this is something that my kids, other families' kids need and to delay it, it could cause a lot of problems in the future," Binghamton resident Christina Markoff said.

But program leaders say the physical damage to the building will not sway them for long. They are working very hard to get back open and serving the community as soon as possible.

Crews will be working to repair the roof and clean the inside of the building throughout the holiday weekend. Executives say they hope to know by the middle of next week how long they will have to remain closed. They do want the public to know that they will still try and answer phone calls that come into the office. Watch the video here.

Friday, May 13, 2011

May 11th Program RECAP: See What You Missed About Social Media!

SCNY ED Group May 11th Program RECAP

It's A Social Media World After All!

Even if you missed the Program this week, you can still take advantage of the social media tools and resources for your nonprofit!

You will find the NYCON presentation from Wednesday's program available here for your information and use. This info lays out the pros and cons of the higher profile social media tools, like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Blogging. We encourage you to make the most of the NYCON presentation and embrace Web 2.0 for your nonprofit. Just be sure to take a look at our essential Rules for Social Media and develop a good social media policy.


Questions? Contact us.  

Monday, May 9, 2011


A workshop for Center Directors, Finance Managers and Board Members

Tuesday May 24 , 2011
9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Child Development Council
609 West Clinton Street, Ithaca NY

8:30 Registration – Light Refreshments
9:00 Welcome and Introductions – George Ferrari, Community Foundation of Tompkins County
9:15 Keeping your Eye on the Bottom Line – Sherri Koski
Child care center directors face one of the toughest jobs of managing a business in the human service field. We will review budget processes including determining the actual cost of care and setting fees with cost in mind. We will also discuss policies and the protection they offer. This session will encourage participation and sharing of what your practices are and how they work for you.

Sherri Koski is the Executive Director, Ithaca Community Childcare Center. She’s been the director for 5 years and held the position of Enrollment & Marketing Manager for the previous 7 years. Sherri worked at Wegmans managing various departments for 7 years. All of these roles have provided the challenge of keeping an eye on the bottom line while maintaining relationships with the customer.

10:45 Break

11:00 Shared Services Alliances 101 – Carla Hibbard
A Shared Services Alliance is a community-based partnership comprised of small businesses (whether nonprofit or for-profit) within an industry or sector working together to share costs and deliver services in a more streamlined and efficient way. By participating in an Alliance, small businesses become stronger, more accountable, more financially sound and efficient, and better equipped to offer affordable, high-quality services. This overview will present some of the critical steps in beginning an Alliance, from needs assessment through development of a business plan.

Carla Hibbard brings more than 25 years’ experience in education and training leadership to her role as Director of Steuben Child Care Project. In this position, Ms. Hibbard manages four state and county contracts, a $1.3 million budget, and a staff of twenty that delivers services aimed at improving the quality, availability, affordability, and accessibility of child care in Steuben County, New York. Ms. Hibbard serves on several boards and committees and is currently a member of the National Shared Services Alliance Steering Committee.
Registration: $40 by May 18, 2011
For more information: www.childdevelopmentcouncil.org or by calling (607 273-0259)

To Enroll in Training, each individual must complete this form fully and carefully.
The following information is required in order to be enrolled in training.

First Name: _____________________________Last Name:___________________________________

Home (Local if student) Address:____________________________________________________________________
Street City State Zip
Name of Program/Provider__________________________ Type of Care______________ Lic/Reg #______________
(FDC, GFDC, NS, SACC, Center, Legally Exempt, Other)
Home(Cell)Phone:__________________ *Birth Date:_______________ *Last 5 digits of SS# :___ ___ ___ ___ ___
Email Address (recommended but not required) : ________________________________________

*Your birth date and the last five digits of your social security number will be used to generate a random personal identification number for you in our training database. This information will be kept confidential. You cannot be enrolled in training without being registered and creating a personal ID number. This personal ID number can be used to allow CCR&R staff to access your training records and provide you with a training history/transcript that you can use to document training you have taken to meet OCFS requirements. In the future, you may also be able to access this information and enroll in training directly online.
Please send completed form and payment to: Child Development Council, 609 W. Clinton St., Ithaca, NY 14850

For credit card payments please call: (607) 273-0259

Sunday, May 8, 2011

ACCORD presents the Seventh Annual T.A.L.K Event

ACCORD Presents
The Seventh Annual T.A.L.K (Training Activates Learning and Knowledge) event
Featuring Local Financial Consultant
Glen Wood

This Year's Topic is
"Let's Make Cent's": Communicating with your Financial Advisor to Plan for Retirement

Where: The Binghamton Club
When: May 20, 2011
Cost: Individual Seating-$25.00, Table for 8-$160.00
Reservations: Call Debbie at 724-5153 ext. 305 by May 12

Have fun and learn a little, too! Buffet luncheon and a chance to win prizes!
An opportunity for Team Building am motivating staff!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

ACCORD to reduce hours due to state budget cuts

Beginning Friday April 29, 2011 ACCORD’s Binghamton office, at 30 West State Street, will only offer services four days per week. The office will be closed on Fridays after that date. The Tioga County office will remain open 5 days per week but the office will now be open from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

ACCORD, A Center for Dispute Resolution, Inc., operating since 1982, sustained budget cuts of over $222,000 from the Unified Court System. This included reductions in funding of $213,282 for ACCORD’s mediation and other dispute resolution services and $ 8,899 for the Voices for Children / CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) program. These cuts have resulted in 6 staff members being laid off and the remaining staff having a reduction in hours or salaries. ACCORD’s Petition Intake services to Family Courts in Broome and Tioga Counties have already been closed.

Executive Director Richard Squire says, “The agency will continue to provide the full array of mediation services but these reductions will impact how quickly cases can be handled and in the hours of staff availability.” ACCORD’s services include mediations to handle neighbor/ community disputes, small claims, family issues such as custody/visitation and support, and the Assisted Senior Communication (elder mediation) program. ACCORD’s Voices for Children / CASA program will also reduce office hours but will maintain support of the CASA volunteers providing support to abused and neglected children.

An Initial Mediation Training scheduled for May 13, 14, 15, 17, and 18, will still be held in spite of the cuts. The agency is actively recruiting individuals interested in becoming volunteer mediators. Squire says, “Over 80% of the agency’s mediation services are provided by volunteers, in spite of the cuts we must continue to recruit and train these critical volunteers. By using volunteers we are able to serve thousands of individuals and businesses each year.”

In a recent email to the agency’s volunteers David Wasser, Board President said that in addition to months of strategic planning, “The Board adopted a Resource Development Plan in January of this year. This was done after more than six months of thoughtful work. Time has not allowed us to reap the benefits or direction of our planning and labors. But, we will continue to work in that direction.”

In addition to funding from Unified Court System and Court Improvement Programs ACCORD receives funding from local contributions, the United Ways of Broome and Tioga counties, and local foundations.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Boston's PILOT Efforts Create Issues for Nonprofits Across US

Tim Delaney, President & CEO, National Council of Nonprofits, posted to Huffington Post about the recent issue of PILOTS in Boston.

As he relates: Leaders of nonprofit organizations across America were stunned by reports this week in the Boston Globe and NPR's Marketplace that the City of Boston would turn its back on the nonprofit cultural, educational, and health care institutions that have played such vital roles in making that city great.

What stunned nonprofit leaders nationwide is that Boston sent letters essentially mandating that various nonprofits make "Payments-In-Lieu-Of-Taxes" (PILOTs) to the city based on the value of their property, even though Massachusetts law -- like the law in all 50 states -- prohibits local governments from taxing nonprofit property. What in turn shocked nonprofit leaders is how Boston intends to enforce its supposedly "voluntary" PILOT program: with a Scarlet-letter campaign designed to coerce compliance with the city's demand for "voluntary" payments.

Boston has concocted an Orwellian program that uses euphemisms -- such as "PILOTs" instead of "property taxes" and "voluntary" instead of "coerced" -- apparently attempting to hide what is really happening to evade what the law prohibits. The city, knowing the courts would strike down as an illegal act any attempt to directly impose property taxes on charitable nonprofits, invented a program to coerce "voluntary" Payments-In-Lieu-Of-Taxes. But slapping on a misleading label to cover a bad act does not render it any more acceptable; a payment based on property value is still a tax.

To enforce its legally unenforceable program, Boston has threatened to paint a Scarlet letter of shame on every nonprofit that does not comply with the city's demands for payments. Such coercion to obtain what the Commonwealth's law prohibits is outrageous and threatens everyone; who's next, when Boston -- or any government -- wants something the law prohibits?

The city's program also disregards unique aspects of nonprofit law, thus putting coerced nonprofits at risk of running afoul of the Massachusetts Attorney General, who has jurisdiction to oversee that funds donated to nonprofits are used as donors intend. By demanding that nonprofits pay the city 25 percent of their property's tax value, the city is whipsawing nonprofits, putting them in a lose-lose dilemma: either undergo the city's shameful public branding, or cave in to the city's demands to pay, only to have the Massachusetts Attorney General come after the nonprofit if donors complain that they gave their money for purposes other than transfers to the city treasury.

In trying to balance its budget on the backs of people served by charities and those who donate to them, Boston has disregarded not only the law, but also fiscal reality. The recession already has stretched nonprofits too far financially as demands for their services have skyrocketed while their revenues have nosedived, with corporate contributions declining, foundation grants down, and governments delaying payments and not paying full costs on legally-binding contracts. According to the IRS, even individual giving has sagged by 20 percent. Read more here.