Monday, August 31, 2009

Steering Committee Minutes

Steering Committee Meeting August 14th

Lori S., Debra M., Michael W., and Susan K.

  • Discussed possible new Steering Committee members
  • Delaware County
    § Liz Callahan, Hanford Mills Museum
    § Peg Ellsworth, M-ARK Project
    § Lisa Rainwater, Catskill Center
  • Chenango County
    § Patty Lockwood-Blaise, Earlville Opera
    § Jane Coddington, Catholic Charities
    § Dave Sheldon, The Place
  • Discussed meeting format
    o Part of value is social interaction, sit next to someone and network peer to peer
  • Discussed issues for Group
    o Health care challenges
    o Aging work force
    o Human resources issues
    § VP of Wilber Bank, Bob Harder, potential speaker
    § Department of Labor, Jim Phillips (432-4800 ext 7)
    · Unemployment benefits
    · Hiring and firing
    · Part-time staff
    · Volunteers
    o Myth of running org with volunteers
    · CDO Workforce
    · Americorps
    · Creative ways to reward employees
    · Other resources
    o Experience Works through Dept of Labor
    § Panel Discussion
    o NYS budget cuts and impact on organization
  • Locations
    o Foothills SPAC
    o Soccer Hall of Fame
    o Wilber Bank

Friday, August 21, 2009

Nonprofits in Rural America: Overcoming the Resource Gap

The Bridgespan Group has released a paper discussing the nonprofit sector in rural America and its challenges around funding. As the article relates:

This paper lays out some of the facts surrounding rural nonprofit funding in the sample states, including original research comparing rural and urban nonprofits. We also take a preliminary stab—in the interest of seeding a dialogue—at some lessons for both nonprofits and foundations interested in addressing rural issues. While it would be presumptuous to consider our lessons as recipes for success, we hope organizations will consider these lessons as they wrestle with the contemporary questions of how to fund the important work of addressing rural poverty during these tough economic times.

The Rural Funding Gap
While the current economic climate has placed tremendous financial strains on the nonprofit community at large, recent studies have found that nonprofits in rural America face amplified funding challenges. "Compared to their urban counterparts, rural nonprofits are significantly disadvantaged,” says Rachel Swierzewski, a research consultant for the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy and the author of a 2007 report on rural philanthropy. “With scarce local funding sources and often insufficient local support systems, rural nonprofits find it incredibly difficult to build strong organizations."[2]

The data on rural nonprofit funding is stark. Consider the rural funding gap in three important realms.
  • Federal government funding: In each year between 1994 and 2001, rural areas received between $401 and $648 less per capita than urban areas for community resources, human resources, and national functions.[3]
  • Private foundations: A 2006 "analysis of grant making of the top 1,000 U.S. foundations shows that…grants to rural America accounted for only 6.8 percent of overall annual giving by foundations,"[4] even though rural America accounts for 18 percent of the nation’s population and 21 percent of those who live in poverty.[5,6]
  • Corporate giving: A 2000 study of giving by 124 Fortune 500 corporations found that rural organizations received only 1.4 percent of the 10,905 grants made.[7]
The scarcity of funding for rural nonprofits means that these organizations—with fewer resources to begin with—must work harder to obtain the money they need to serve rural communities. The result is that rural nonprofits are less able to help disadvantaged residents in rural communities to overcome their challenges. Read more here.

Filling the Void and Making Things Work

Recently we have seen funding cutbacks and grant losses throughout the nonprofit sector, especially with local organizations. In response, we need to find new ways of filling gaps and taking needs to a greater public. I came across one such tool recently that any nonprofit can learn from. The resource,, is an online charity that makes it easy for anyone to help students in need.

Here's how it works: public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests on Requests range from pencils for a poetry writing unit, to violins for a school recital, to microscope slides for a biology class.

Then, you can browse project requests and give any amount to the one that makes your eye twinkle. Once a project reaches its funding goal, we deliver the materials to the school.
You'll get photos of your project taking place, a thank-you letter from the teacher, and a cost report showing how each dollar was spent. If you give over $100, you'll also receive hand-written thank-you letters from the students.

At, you can give as little as $1 and get the same level of choice, transparency, and feedback that is traditionally reserved for someone who gives millions. We call it citizen philanthropy.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Remind the Government Nonprofits Exist!

Dear Nonprofit Leader,
I write to urge you to check out the following blog post. You know I have never done this before, so it must be important. And it is.

As nonprofits across the country have been going to our federal officials to discuss how their health care reform plans affect nonprofits, we keep hearing government officials say things like: "Gee, we hadn't thought about nonprofits as employers."

So, in this blog column, the President of the National Council of Nonprofits points out how nonprofits keep being taken for granted and urges nonprofits to "beat the drum" to "remind government that we exist, and we exist at a scale that should not and cannot be ignored any longer."

In this Great Recession, our nonprofits are being asked to meet increasing community needs with decreasing resources - while also paying escalating costs, such as constantly increasing health insurance premiums. As the blog column warns: that "math just doesn't work."

If you agree that our government officials shouldn't ignore, overlook, or forget about nonprofits, then please join me and the New York Council of Nonprofits by contacting our federal officials to urge them to respect the more than 60,000 nonprofits in New York by including us in health care reform in a meaningful way.

Let's all "pick up a drum" and start making some noise, telling our stories about how New York's nonprofits add real value to local communities and individual lives every single day. Otherwise, we will be forgotten - which would be "unfair and unsafe to those depending on services we deliver and the benefits we provide."

Contact Your Senators:
Gillibrand, Kirsten E. 478 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC, 20510(202) 224-4451
Contact Senator Gillibrand Now.

Schumer, Charles E. 313 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington DC, 20510(202) 224-6542
Contact Senator Schumer Now.
Click here for your members of Congress
Thank you again for the work that you do and for raising your voice on behalf of our nonprofit community here in New York.

Doug Sauer, CEO
New York Council of Nonprofits, Inc.

CROP programs lose funding

The Daily Star reported on that four area schools are scrambling to make plans for their CROP after-school programs after recently losing their funding.

Programs at Riverside in Oneonta, Jefferson, Stamford and Cherry Valley-Springfield were denied funding in June through an application submitted by Otsego-Northern Catskills Board of Cooperative Educational Services.

CROP director Kris Kaschak said the grant application was one of 387 submitted by organizations in the state and 60 were approved for funding provided by the federal No Child Left Behind program. Read more here.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

7th Annual Rally for Recovery Set for September 20th



Oneonta, NY
Neahwa Park, Large Pavilion

Event T-Shirt to first 50 registrants
Walk Registration: 12 PM
Two Mile Walk: 1 PM $3 donation (or Optional 1 mile)
FOOD served 1:30 ON (additional cost)
Live Music 1:30 – 4 pm
Games and Family Activities

For more information: or call the Turning Point at 607-267-4435

Friday, August 14, 2009

Nonprofit Ventures

The NY Council of Nonprofits started a simple blog, Nonprofit Ventures, after our recent Entrepreneurial Ventures for the Arts trainings in Albany and NYC. This blog is a place to share ideas and ask questions about starting your own for profit venture. As nonprofits face more funding challenges, entrepreneurial ventures are becoming more of focus and opportunity to generate unrestricted operating revenue. Do you have an idea? Share it here on NYNED or visit Nonprofit Ventures.

We also invite to learn from your peers. We recently sat down to speak with Bernadette Cannon, an amazing supporter and advocate for Catskill Area Hospice and Palliative Care, who attended the very first New York Council of Nonprofits Entrepreneurial Ventures training in Oneonta in 2004. She came to the training with a simple idea: start a thrift shop. For the next couple of years, she worked tirelessly to make her idea a reality. Listen to her share her insight about her for profit venture. Most importantly, hear about her success.

Visit our YouTube channel and watch Bernadette share the rest of her story and her feedback. Have your own story to share? Post it here, or contact us. Interested in contacting Bernadette? You can e-mail her at

Monday, August 10, 2009

Area sales-tax revenues down

The Daily Star reported that sales-tax revenue totals throughout the four-county area showed a sharp decline from last year's revenue during the second quarter, forcing budget cuts and hiring freezes.

Otsego County Treasurer Myrna Thayne said the current quarter's numbers are "not good, but they are not as bad as they could be."

Thayne said Otsego's sales-tax revenue for April, May and June _ the second quarter of 2009 _ totaled $12,756,905, compared with $13,680,656 for the same period last year, which is a 6.75 percent decrease. Read more here.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


The Executive Service Corps (ESC) Board of Directors announces the appointment of Nola Henry to the newly created position of Office Manager for the organization. In this position, she is responsible for the overall management/coordination of the Executive Service Corps of Otsego-Delaware, Inc. Nola assumed this position effective August 3, 2009 upon the resignation of Lori Solensten who was the Executive Director.

Nola brings a wealth of expertise and experience to the position having been the organizations Executive Assistant for four years according to Rich McCaffery, Chair of the Board of Directors. "We are fortunate to have someone with the vast educational background Nola brings to this position as well as her familiarization of ESC and the small businesses and non-for -profit organizations throughout the two county region" McCaffery states.

She possesses a Bachelor of Arts from SUNY Potsdam in Interdisciplinary Social Science with a concentration in Nursery - Grade Six Education and a Master of Science in Early Education/Dev. and Administration from NOVA Southeastern University.

Executive Service Corps Otsego-Delaware is a nonprofit organization devoted to strengthening small businesses and nonprofits through mentoring, consulting and training provided by highly experienced individuals who volunteer their services.

For more information about ESC contact their office at 12 Dietz Street, Oneonta or call 433-1700 or e-mail Regular business hours are Mondays through Thursdays 9am-2pm.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

For Your Consideration: Boards Should Only Have Three Committees

Blue Avocado's Board Cafe offered an article by David La Piana that discusses the challenges boards face with committees and their operation. David states that nonprofits should consider a simple three-committee structure consisting of Internal Affairs, External Affairs, and Governance. He ties the structure together with an Executive Committee that has Chairs from each of the three committees. Read more about his idea here.