Millennial Week DC

This week Washington DC is host to its first annual Millennial Week. With a focus on highlighting the impact of the largest, most diverse generation in the United States (approximately 92 million in the United States, 1.8 billion globally) Millennial Week DC looks to cultivate, promote and present meaningful ideas and trends that reflect this generation.

In Thursday’s Washington Post, Caitlin Gibson explores Millennial Week DC, the negative stereotypes normally associated with this generation, and the steps they are taking to overcome them. While many label this generation as entitled, selfish, or uncharitable, the truth is that millennials are significant givers, of both time AND money. A recent study from Blackbaud shows that more than 60 percent of millennials donated an average of $481 per year across 3.3 charities. This generation, unlike others, wants more from the groups to which they give. They want to feel like they are part of the solution, whether as donors, volunteers or brand ambassadors. As nonprofits, we must be ready to engage them in these ways.

At the Catalogue for Philanthropy, we’re inspired by millennials and the way that they approach charitable giving and volunteerism. They challenge us to think bigger, be bolder, and meet their rising expectations for real-time information, rewards, and results (expectations which have been set largely thanks to the ever-present and emerging digital landscape). During 2014-2015, a main goal for the Catalogue is to expand our involvement with millennials, and we have exciting events, partnerships and campaigns in the works to do this…stay tuned!

Are you a millennial who wants to get more involved with the Catalogue? We’d love to hear your ideas! Contact us at ideas@cfp-dc.org.

At Millennial Week DC, working to improve a generation’s image, one selfie at a time – Caitlin Gibson, Washington Post

 

Around Town 5/30-6/5

Happy Friday! In case you missed our big announcement yesterday, we are excited to introduce you to our 2014-’15 class of Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington nonprofits! Once you check out that list, take a look at what our current nonprofits have going on around town this upcoming week!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Carousel Latino

The In Series
A festive carousel ride of Latino programs & artists, including cabaret, congas, tango, zarzuela, bolero, opera and more!
When: Fri May 30 2014 (8:00 PM)
Where: SOURCE, 1835 14th St., NW, Washington, DC 20009
Fee?: yes $30 general; $27 senior; $16 for students and youth
Volunteer Info: Usher, box office
Contact: Gregory Stuart, Executive Assistant, (202) 204-7765
For more information: click here

Saturday, May 31, 2014

DC SCORES Jamboree!

DC SCORES
The Jamboree! is our year-end culminating celebration of the DC SCORES programming year. The day is filled with a round-robin soccer tournament, arts and crafts booths, music, relay races, and many other activities for DC SCORES students and their families.
When: Sat May 31 2014 (8:00 AM – 3:00 PM)
Where: Anacostia Park, NA, -, – -
Fee?: no
Volunteer Info: Volunteer roles include setup/breakdown, registration, referees, arts & crafts leaders, facepainters, lunch servers, and field monitors.
Contact: Alyssa Morse, (202) 393-6999 ext 311
For more information: click here

Strauss Masterpieces

National Philharmonic
Thomas Pandolfi, piano National Philharmonic Chorale Piotr Gajewski, conductor On the 150th anniversary of the birth of Strauss, enjoy exploring four of his masterpieces. Don Juan, a tone poem for large orchestra, features impassioned love themes reflecting the romance Strauss was experiencing with his future wife. Written when Strauss was 21, the Burlesque for piano and orchestra, brilliantly virtuosic and fiendishly difficult, is a burst of youthful exhilaration, full of confident high spirits and vitality. Strauss’s Wanderers Sturmlied, written in 1884, for male chorus and orchestra, was influenced by the Romantic composer Brahms. Death and Transfiguration, a tone poem for large orchestra, completed in 1889, depicts a dying artist as he reflects on his innocent childhood, the struggles and successes of his adulthood and finally, his longed-for transfiguration. Strauss Don Juan Burlesque Wanderers Sturmlied Death and Transfiguration
When: Sat May 31 2014 (8:00 PM)
Where: The Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD 20852
Fee?: yes $28-$84 (Kids Free)
Contact: Deborah Birnbaum, (301) 581-5
For more information: click here

Carousel Latino

The In Series
A festive carousel ride of Latino programs & artists, including cabaret, congas, tango, zarzuela, bolero, opera and more!
When: Sat May 31 2014 (8:00 PM)
Where: SOURCE, 1835 14th St., NW, Washington, DC 20009
Fee?: yes $30 general; $27 senior; $16 for students and youth
Volunteer Info: Usher, box office
Contact: Gregory Stuart, Executive Assistant, (202) 204-7765
For more information: click here

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Carousel Latino

The In Series
A festive carousel ride of Latino programs & artists, including cabaret, congas, tango, zarzuela, bolero, opera and more!
When: Sun Jun 1 2014 (3:00 PM)
Where: SOURCE, 1835 14th St., NW, Washington, DC 20009
Fee?: yes $30 general; $27 senior; $16 for students and youth
Volunteer Info: Usher, box office
Contact: Gregory Stuart, Executive Assistant, (202) 204-7765
For more information: click here

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

One Hour, One World Tour

Ayuda
If you would like to get a first person introduction to Ayuda’s work and learn how you could get involved, please join us for one of our frequent One Hour, One World tours. Please sign up for a time and feel free to bring friends. (Tours are conducted in English)
When: Wed Jun 4 2014 (6:00 PM – 7:00 PM)
Where: Ayuda DC office, 6925B Willow Street NW, Washington, DC 20012
Fee?: no
Contact: Elise Webb, (202) 387-4848 ext 130
For more information: click here

Teach a Woman to Fish Book Release and Celebration

Women Thrive Worldwide
Women Thrive Worldwide is having a party in Washington, DC on June 4th, and you are invited! To celebrate the release of Teach a Woman to Fish: Overcoming Poverty Around the Globe, Women Thrive is gathering friends, family, colleagues, and some of Washington’s top champions for global women’s rights. Can you join us? Please RSVP now. What: Teach a Woman to Fish Book Release and Celebration Where: Busboys and Poets 2021 14th St, NW Washington, DC 2009 When: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 (6:00 PM – 9:00 PM) RSVP NOW Space is limited. Hors d’oeuvres will be served. Teach a Woman to Fish is the inspiring story of women and girls around the world who are working to break free of poverty, violence, and inequality. A first-person account by one of the world’s most passionate advocates for equality, it’s a stirring record of Woman Thrive’s more than 15 years of work in Sri Lanka, Honduras, Burkina Faso, and around the globe. In the words of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Teach a Woman to Fish is a book that “every citizen and lawmaker should read…” Don’t miss the worldwide advance release of this powerful new book. Please RSVP now…
When: Wed Jun 4 2014 (6:00 PM – 9:00 PM)
Where: Bus Boys and Poets, 2021 14th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009
Fee?: no
Contact: Jillian Holzer, (202) 999-4483
For more information: click here

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Theater Tech Program Graduation & Student Showcase

Joe’s Movement Emporium/World Arts Focus
Celebrate with our student participants as they complete their time with us and showcase their digital media work. The Theater Tech Program is a workforce development initiative that prepares low-income youth from Prince George’s County for employment through training in technical theater production, operations and digital media along with supports such as tutoring, college exploration and life skills coaching.
When: Thu Jun 5 2014 (5:00 PM – 7:00 PM)
Where: Joe’s Movement Emporium, 3309 Bunker Hill Road, Mount Rainier, MD 20712
Fee?: no
Contact: Melissa Rosenberg, (301) 699-1819
For more information: click here

Extra! Extra! Find out who will be featured by the Catalogue in 2014-2015!

The Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington is honored to announce our newest group of local charities recognized as among *the best* in our region. The 12th edition of the Catalogue for Philanthropy will feature 78 organizations in its print Catalogue, and an additional 18 organizations online. To see the full list of organizations, click here.

Spanning across all four categories of Nature, Culture, Education, and Human Services, each charity selected for the Catalogue underwent a rigorous vetting process conducted by our 120+ person review team.

One of the highlights from this year’s list includes five “growth” charities that increased their operating budget above CFP’s $3 million limit since their last application (charities may re-apply to the Catalogue every 4 years). A big “congratulations” to DC Bilingual Public Charter School, Jubilee Housing, Latin American Montessori Bilingual Public Charter School, Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, and United States Capitol Historical Society on their growth!

What’s next? Over the next several months, the CFP team will be working hard to write, edit, and produce the 2014-2015 Catalogue so it can be used as a valuable guide to giving by more than 25,000 individuals in our region during the holiday season (and beyond). While the 2014-2015 Catalogue won’t be mailed until November 1st, you can still view our 2013-2014 charities or browse the digital edition of the Catalogue at CFP-DC.org.

A special thank you to our dedicated review team, partners, board members, and CFP staff who made this application and review process one of our best yet. Stay tuned for future blog posts when we’ll give you a peek inside the Catalogue production process!

Around Town 5/23-5/29

We hope everyone has a wonderful and relaxing Memorial Day Weekend! Take some time to meet a few great nonprofits and get to know the community around you by heading to some of these great events!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Volunteer for Kid Power at Run or Dye!

Kid Power
Kid Power is the nonprofit partner of this year’s Run or Dye event! Last November, Kid Power was honored to be the partner for the 2013 event. It was so much fun for our team and our supporters, that we are thrilled to participate again. Proceeds from the run will benefit help us serve more youth! But, we need your help! We receive a donation based on the number of volunteers we recruit to help at the event. And, we need to recruit 100 volunteers this year!!
When: Sat May 24 2014 (07:30 AM – 1:00 PM)
Where: RFK Stadium, 2400 East Capitol Street SE, Washington, DC 20003
Fee?: no
Volunteer Info: Volunteer Duties- help registering runners, spraying runners in dye, give runners water, help runners with directions, event set-up, and more! What you get for volunteering- Free Run or Dye Tshirt, access to the celebration party after the race, entry into a Kid Power raffle, and knowing you had a part in helping DC youth receive high quality afterschool programs! When: Saturday May 24th; 7:30 am – 1pm (accomodations may be made for several volunteers who are not able to arrive by 7 am) at RFK Stadium (nearest metro: Stadium Armory). Friday shifts are also available (help with packet pick-up and registration): Friday May 23rd; 9 am- 3pm and 2:45pm-8pm.
Contact: Kid Power, (202) 383-4543
For more information: click here

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Cuisine des Artistes: Biennial Spring Gala Fundraiser to Honor Bruce Kogod

District of Columbia Arts Center (DCAC)
Showcasing the talents of local area chefs and artists, Cuisine des Artistes is a dinner happening. In this rare union, gastronomical, visual, theatrical and literary artists join forces to create a feast for the senses featuring the most delicious edible art. With entertainment by performing artists, design by visual artists, and food created by culinary artists, Cuisine des Artistes is more than an event, it’s a phenomenon.
When: Thu May 29 2014 (6:30 PM)
Where: The Meridian House, 1630 Crescent Place NW, Washington D.C., DC 2008
Fee?: yes $125 for DCAC Members/ $150 for New Members
Contact: Rebecca Gray, (202) 462-7833
For more information: click here

Carousel Latino

The In Series
A festive carousel ride of Latino programs & artists, including cabaret, congas, tango, zarzuela, bolero, opera and more!
When: Thu May 29 2014 (7:30 PM)
Where: SOURCE, 1835 14th St., NW, Washington, DC 20009
Fee? yes $30 general; $27 senior; $16 for students and youth
Volunteer Info: Usher, box office
Contact: Gregory Stuart, Executive Assistant, (202) 204-7765
For more information: click here

Changing the Way we Think about Charity: Nonprofit Roundtable Annual Meeting

On Tuesday, hundreds of nonprofit and community leaders gathered at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center for the Nonprofit Roundtable’s Annual Meeting.

The meeting provided an opportunity to network, recognize the impact of leaders in the nonprofit sector, and learn about the Roundtable’s strategic plan for 2014 and beyond to “bring forward the leadership, voice and vision of our nonprofit community.”

Dan Pallotta, keynote speaker for the event, gave a thought-provoking talk based on his book, Uncharitable, about why charities should let go of old belief systems that hold us back from big change. Below are some of the key takeaways captured by the Catalogue team:

  • If we want to see social problems fixed on a grand scale, we must change the way we think about our approach to solving them. Simply thinking “out of the box” is not enough. We need to understand what’s inside the box: what works, what doesn’t, and what has held us back from making a bigger, lasting impact on our communities.
  • “If you prohibit failure, you squash innovation.” We must let go of our fear of failure, since innovation is critical to driving change.
  • Stop telling nonprofits to “be more like a business.” Often, this phrase is intended to mean “be more efficient.” What it should mean is this: be more like a business by investing in your people, your marketing and advertising, and new revenue ideas. When businesses do this, they see a return in talent, awareness and engagement.
  • When evaluating a charity, we need to let go of the idea that “one number” can represent its efficacy. Instead, we should be measuring a charity’s intention to have an impact, its progress towards making those goals, and how it will distribute this information.

At the Catalogue, we’re looking forward to next year’s event, and continuing our work with the Nonprofit Roundtable in 2014!

To learn more about Dan Pallotta and Uncharitable,visit:?http://www.danpallotta.com/index.php

About The Nonprofit Roundtable: The Nonprofit Roundtable is an alliance of over 300 nonprofits and community partners building the strength, visibility, and influence of the nonprofit sector to improve the quality of life for all in the Greater Washington region.

Around Town 5/16-5/22

Looking for something fun to do before Memorial Day weekend hits next weekend? Check out these great events that some CFP nonprofits are putting on this week!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The World’s Most Important Dinner Party

A Wider Circle
Come see our Center for Community Service transform into a beautiful dining room and theatre for The World’s Most Important Dinner Party. Enjoy dinner and a show, put on by the talented young performers of Take the Stage Performance Company. It only costs A Wider Circle $33 to provide a child or adult with all of his or her basic need items – from beds and dressers to sheets, towels, dishes, pots, pans, and much, much more! $33 is only a suggested donation. We invite you to come on out, share in some great food, hear about the work, and enjoy dinner and a show!
When: Sat May 17 2014 (7:00 PM)
Where: A Wider Circle’s Center for Community Service, 9159 Brookville Road, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910
Fee?: no
Contact: Kim Canary, (301) 608-3504
For more information: click here

Sarah Chang Plays Vivaldi’s Four Seasons

National Philharmonic
Sarah Chang, violin Piotr Gajewski, conductor Violinist Sarah Chang, recognized worldwide as one of classical music’s most captivating and gifted performers, plays Vivaldi’s most popular work, The Four Seasons, a set of four short violin concertos written around 1723. The concertos each depict a season and are filled with dazzling effects mimicking natural phenomena such as storms, wind, thunder and rain, as well as bird calls. Ms. Chang’s 2007 CD of the Seasons attracted international commendation, with BBC Music Magazine stating, She has never made a finer recording. Strauss wrote the adagio for strings, Metamorphosen, during the closing days of World War II as an elegy for the destruction of Munich, including the historic National Theatre opera house. Strauss Metamorphosen Vivaldi The Four Seasons
When: Sat May 17 2014 (8:00 PM)
Where: The Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD 20852
Fee?: yes $28-$84 (Kids Free)
Contact: Deborah Birnbaum
For more information: click here

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sarah Chang Plays Vivaldi’s Four Seasons

National Philharmonic
Sarah Chang, violin Piotr Gajewski, conductor Violinist Sarah Chang, recognized worldwide as one of classical music’s most captivating and gifted performers, plays Vivaldi’s most popular work, The Four Seasons, a set of four short violin concertos written around 1723. The concertos each depict a season and are filled with dazzling effects mimicking natural phenomena such as storms, wind, thunder and rain, as well as bird calls. Ms. Chang’s 2007 CD of the Seasons attracted international commendation, with BBC Music Magazine stating, She has never made a finer recording. Strauss wrote the adagio for strings, Metamorphosen, during the closing days of World War II as an elegy for the destruction of Munich, including the historic National Theatre opera house. Strauss Metamorphosen Vivaldi The Four Seasons
When: Sun May 18 2014 (3:00 PM)
Where: The Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD 20852
Fee?: yes $28-$84 (Kids Free)
Contact: Deborah Birnbaum
For more information: click here

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

One Hour, One World Tour

Ayuda
If you would like to get a first person introduction to Ayuda’s work and learn how you could get involved, please join us for one of our frequent One Hour, One World tours. Please sign up for a time and feel free to bring friends. (Tours are conducted in English)
When: Wed May 21 2014 (6:00 PM – 7:00 PM)
Where: Ayuda DC office, 6925B Willow Street NW, Washington, DC 20012
Fee?: no
Contact: Elise Webb, (202) 387-4848 ext 130
For more information: click here

Celebrating Meyer Foundation’s Julie Rogers

Last night, Catalogue President Barbara Harman joined other leaders in the DC nonprofit community to celebrate the work of Julie Rogers, President and CEO of the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, who will be stepping down from her position after 28 years of leadership.

The event, held at the Carnegie Institution for Science, included performances and tributes from grantees (such as 2013-2014 Catalogue charity DC Scores), past and present board members, and staff.

Reflecting on the event and Meyer Foundation’s impact on the Catalogue for Philanthropy under Julie Roger’s leadership, Barbara said:

“I met many people in the assembled group who talked about the impact that a Meyer grant had had on their organization: Meyer’s stamp of approval was critical in their growth. We can say the same at the Catalogue: Meyer gave us our VERY FIRST grant and has been a loyal funder and partner since the Catalogue began in 2003.?Meyer trusted us, even when we were new guys in town, and their support grew over the years.

Julie’s faith was sustaining. Now she is heading off on a new journey, passing the baton, as smart leaders do, to someone she has great faith in and in whose hands she has confidence the Meyer Foundation will continue to grow — Nicky Goren, former head of The Women’s Foundation. Julie ended her brief remarks with the word Namaste, a greeting that means both hello and farewell. We wish Julie the best of best wishes as she embarks on the next phase of her journey. She will be missed!”

Best wishes to Julie Rogers from the entire Catalogue for Philanthropy team!

Taking a Stand on Nonprofit Mismanagement

Last week, The Chronicle of Philanthropy tackled the difficult subject of nonprofit mismanagement with “Keeping Quiet About Wrongdoing at Nonprofits Only Makes Matters Worse” by Ken Berger, president of Charity Navigator and Jeremy Kohomban, chief executive of the Children’s Village.

The article discusses how nonprofits tend to ignore media coverage of the wrongdoing and mismanagement that happens in the sector, and instead choose to believe that the end result — their good work in the community — will help the public overlook the problems that exist. Berger and Kohomban argue that nonprofits should not bury their heads in the sand, nor focus only on results, as this creates “a sense of denial and defensiveness throughout the nonprofit world that is damaging our credibility with the public.” They call for nonprofit leaders and board members to hold each other accountable and speak out when they see mismanagement happening.

At the Catalogue, we agree with the authors that there is much more to assessing how a charity operates than simply evaluating its results. Our review process encompasses the things Berger and Kohomban mention as being critical to evaluation: financial management, good governance, ethics, and high operating standards. We hope that with increased?accountability, our review process, and the processes being implemented by nonprofit leaders such as Berger and Kohomban, we can continue to elevate perceptions of the nonprofit sector.

Keeping Quiet About Wrongdoing at Nonprofits Only Makes Matters Worse

By Ken Berger and Jeremy Kohomban

New momentum has been growing to create activist organizations that defend nonprofits from public attacks and from regulations and laws they believe would harm their operations.

Witness the efforts of CForward, an organization that seeks to influence local and state politicians and went so far as to organize a PAC; and the Charity Defense Council, an effort to thwart unfair criticism.

Both groups are trying to give nonprofits more political muscle, and both are responding to the sensationalist news media, which more and more recognize that controversy sells and often present information about charities that lacks context, and in some egregious cases intentionally distort information.

The result has been that prominent journalists have depicted some well- functioning charities as incompetent or deceitful, and sometimes both.

To the extent that these efforts defend nonprofits that need defending and educate the public on the complexities and challenges facing the nonprofit world, we say bravo.

But we fear that too often, allegations of true mismanagement and scandal at nonprofits either get no response from charity and foundation leaders or, even worse, get a defense that cannot be justified.

Cases of mismanagement abound. Some researchers have estimated that tens of billions a year are lost as a result of unethical behavior, typically by leaders of nonprofits.

For example, last month William Rapfogel pleaded guilty to stealing more than $9-million from the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, an organization he led for more than 20 years. Mr. Rapfogel said he had been involved in a complex scheme with other top executives in which they systematically overpaid the council?s insurance and then obtained kickbacks from the insurance company.

One can’t pretend the news media sensationalize nonprofit corruption when it comes to such cases.

In our opinion, based on our 60 years of collective experience, a culture of constructive self-criticism has yet to embed itself in the ethos of most nonprofits, their staff leadership, and their boards of directors.

The reasons for these poor responses are varied.

Nonprofits, like other organizations, often follow a commonly held view about the best way to handle an attack: If you ignore it, the public will forget and move on. The media thrive on controversy, so don’t discuss it and don’t highlight it in any way and journalists will move on.

But many nonprofits also think that because they are doing important work that serves society, the public should focus on the end result and little else. What?s more, many nonprofit leaders believe it’s unnecessary to speak out because bad deeds are so rare at charities. Just like in business or government, wrongdoers exist, but nonprofits don’t see any reason why they should be held to a higher standard than any other institution when it comes to punishing bad players.

The result is a sense of denial and defensiveness throughout the nonprofit world that is damaging our credibility with the public.

We recognize the deep commitment of people who work at nonprofits and the great good they do for society. But we strongly disagree with those who believe “results are all that matters” when assessing how a charity operates.

Financial management, good governance, ethics, and high operating standards must continue to be vital measures of a nonprofit’s worthiness.

If a charity mismanages its finances, today’s results can be tomorrow’s bankruptcy. If a charity has poor governance, an unethical and unaccountable chief executive or board might embezzle funds that won’t go toward producing results. And if we persist in saying results are all we care about, we will continue to see a never-ending series of scandals and mismanagement that will rock the nonprofit world and damage the public trust.

We need to look at both performance and accountability for financial, operational, and results to assess nonprofits.

Charities should also be held to a higher standard of ethics because of the way we are structured and how we raise money. We benefit from tax exemptions and the charitable deduction, and we are governed by volunteers. The public expects independent oversight of our organizations to ensure that tax-exempt money benefits society as a whole and not an institution or its leadership.

No nonprofit should tolerate serious ethical failures, and we must all be outspoken when somebody violates our trust. We therefore urge nonprofit leaders and boards of directors to step up and take the risk of confessing to abuses of funds and other serious misdeeds.

This is not easy for anyone to do.

We know that those who speak out could face ostracism from movers and shakers in the nonprofit world as well as from donors and powerful political leaders.

Personally, neither of us has always been so bold. We have failed to speak when we should have. We have both missed opportunities in our careers.

Just last year during a scandal in New York City, Jeremy raised the need for a public statement from a well-regarded nonprofit membership association on whose board he and the alleged perpetrator served.

The refusal was almost instantaneous.

In this case, the excuse was that this happens, and because of the powerful parties (allegedly including politicians) involved, it was best to say nothing. Rather than pushing for further discussion, and an open discussion, Jeremy simply backed off because he feared alienation.

A few years back, Ken was a firsthand witness to a CEO who had been stealing large sums from a charity. Although the CEO was eventually caught and removed as a result of a reporting system Ken helped create, the length of time the theft went on should never have been tolerated.

Ken’s fear (and that of others within the organization) of retribution for reporting the problem permitted the situation to go on far too long.

For some time now we both have been committed to being more forthright about our errors and missteps, as well as speaking out when we see scandalous and unethical behavior. However, it will take this generation of nonprofit leaders, and likely the ones who follow us, to breed the type of culture that celebrates open discussion of these things.

The nonprofit world has already lost enough time and credibility. Now is the time to start doing better.

Ken Berger is president of Charity Navigator and Jeremy Kohomban is chief executive of the Children’s Village, in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.

Helping Nonprofits Build Their Brand

On Tuesday, May 6th,the Catalogue’s Marketing Communications Workshop Series culminated with a session focused on brand-building for nonprofits. The series, sponsored by Integrity Management Consulting, was designed to help nonprofits strengthen their storytelling and value propositions through their writing, imagery, and branding.

Aline Newman, Director of Marketing and Communications at the Catalogue for Philanthropy, presented this session to 40 CFP nonprofit attendees. The discussion focused on understanding what a brand is, why branding is important for nonprofits, how it differs from corporate branding, and how nonprofits can use their brand to accelerate their mission. Attendees shared their takeaways from the event on social media with the hashtag #cfpstorytelling.

#cfpstorytelling tweet from Joe's Movement Emporium

It spite of resistance to branding among some in the nonprofit sector (some fear that it is too “corporate” or distracts from activities such as fundraising and program management), the truth is that a brand is one of the most valuable assets in any nonprofit organization. When rooted firmly in an organization’s mission and values, a brand has potential to unite staff, donors and volunteers, as well as attract partners who are best suited to broaden overall impact.

During the workshop, attendees explored the initial steps needed to build a strong brand. A strong brand is not built primarily on logos, colors, or websites, but instead on a thorough understanding of internal identity and external image, and aligning these to establish a sense of trust.

Following the presentation was a lively Q&A and brainstorming session in which nonprofits shared their challenges — and insights — with one another based on recent experiences. Due to the large amount of interest in the topic of branding, the Catalogue is exploring the possibility of developing a new series of workshops devoted to the many areas of this topic. Stay tuned!

Guest Post: Aspire Counseling

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and in that spirit, we welcome Aspire Counseling to the blog! Aspire Counseling is committed to meeting the mental health needs of all Montgomery County residents, regardless of income. Their programs reach out to patients at the most critical junctures in their lives: when they become parents, battle an illness, or face aging. In particular, their Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies program offers in-home therapy to expecting and new mothers battling post partum depression. Read more about their program and how to get involved here:

When Mother’s Day is Not Happy

Sunday May 11th is Mother’s Day. If a mother, you may receive breakfast in bed, a homemade card, flowers or a text message from your college son with “Happy Mother’s Day!” And yes, mothering can be a “happy” experience. It can also be hard. Sleepless nights, tantrums, juggling schedules, laundry, negotiating, reminding, etc. are no fun and can make for, at times – an unhappy experience.

One in five women will experience an even darker side to motherhood: pre and/or postpartum depression (PPD). Low income women have triple the chance (45 – 55%) of developing PPD compared to women in middle and upper income families. Low income women are also most likely to be uninsured. Finding affordable mental health treatment is often impossible.

Aspire Counseling, a mental health non-profit organization based in Gaithersburg Maryland, runs Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies, a community based program that provides free home based mental health therapy to low income, uninsured and under-insured pregnant women and new mothers with pre-natal and post -partum depression. Our bilingual therapists travel to the women’s homes — or wherever easiest for the mother (playground, community center). This way she does not need to find childcare, arrange transport, or leave the house which can be a completely daunting and overwhelming exercise if depressed.

Eighty five percent of the women we serve are foreign-born. Many come from countries where they would be considered “crazy” if depressed. Seventy percent have experienced physical or verbal trauma in their home country. The trauma is often horrific: repeated childhood sexual abuse, gang violence, physical abuse by parents or partners, and rape. These women have not bad choices. They have been dealt a difficult hand in life and want to rise above it — for themselves and their child.

For example, “Jane” was referred for help when she experienced symptoms of pain and paralysis after her baby’s birth and medical tests ruled out physical causes. Most of Jane’s family stayed in El Salvador when Jane came to the US. Her pregnancy was fraught with depression, bad thoughts, and remorse about having left her family behind. Jane’s feeling of paralysis spread. Her anxiety skyrocketed. Her marriage was at risk. After 13 therapy sessions, Jane’s pain and paralysis had almost entirely disappeared. She was able to use “positive self-talk” and relaxation techniques to decrease anxiety and increase her sense of control. Her marriage improved. Jane still grieves her separation from her family in Central America, but she has begun to go church, where she sees other mothers from El Salvador.

The program has been running for over twelve years and treats more than 100 low income uninsured women each year. Nancy Ebb, program founder, recalls the very first client, “She was so anxious she stayed awake all night holding her baby to make sure nothing bad happened. She, and the baby, were listless.” In 2013 the award winning program helped 111 women. One hundred of the 111 women were uninsured and would have had no source of mental health care were it not for Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies.

Home visitation means therapists can make a real difference. Ninety percent of the women we serve through the program get better and learn tools to combat depression in the future. When a mother’s depression lifts, babies “wake up,” come alive to their surroundings, and begin to thrive. Effectively diagnosing and treating postpartum depression restores the mother-infant bond, and avoids cognitive, emotional and behavioral problems that can arise in children of depressed mothers. Mothers who are available to their babies read their signals, keep them nourished, and teach them to laugh, explore, and trust the world around them.

If you know a family member, friend, or neighbor with a new baby this Mother’s Day, take the opportunity to bring them a cooked meal, offer to run errands, or just let them know it is okay to feel tired, overwhelmed and unsure. If they need more help, are unable to sleep when the baby sleeps, continually crying and are listless, call Aspire Counseling Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies program manager, America Caballero on (301) 978 9750.

For more information on Aspire Counseling’s Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies program and other services, visit them online at: www.ccascounseling.org or check out their CFP page to get involved!