Wednesday, February 25, 2009

New Bills Introduced in NYS

NY Property Tax Exemption and Appropriation for Nonprofits
AB 2236 would amend the real property tax law to provide a property tax exemption to nonprofits, and allow owners of exempt property to apply for state financial aid in an amount equal to the sum of the property tax that the owner would have paid had the property not been exempt.

NY Required Posting on Charitable Solicitation Containers
AB 2678 would amend existing law regarding charitable contributions to require charities that solicit donations through unattended containers to post the percentage of the funds that will actually be used for the stated charitable purpose.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Southern Tier Nonprofit Executive Directors Group meeting set for March 18th

The first Southern Tier ED Group meeting will be held on March 18th following the Institute for Human Services 2009 Annual Conference called Managing in Tough Times: Leveraging Resources and Enhancing Networks. The meeting will begin at 12 pm and the agenda is below. The meeting is free for IHS conference participants and $5 for other executive directors. Refreshments will be provided.


  • Short introduction to the NY Nonprofit Executive Directors Network by CCSNYS regional manager Andrew Marietta
  • IHS director Pat Rogers will give a short compilation of what the Steering Committee has been working on (including mission statement)
  • The Group will establish a meeting schedule
  • Do a Graffiti type exercise with flip charts containing headlines of important key topics for the Group

Date: Wednesday, March 18th, 2009
Time: 12:00pm to 12:45pm
Cost: Free to IHS conference participants and $5 for other directors - Open to nonprofits from the Five county region (Steuben, Allegany, Chemung, Schuyler and Yates)
Refreshments will be provided
Radisson Hotel Corning, 125 Denison Pkwy E, Corning, NY 14830


Thursday, February 19, 2009

STNED Steering Committee Feb. 13th Meeting Minutes

Minutes of the February 13th, 2009 STNED Steering Committee Meeting

In Attendance: Sara Palmer-Community Foundation, Chris Sproule-Triangle Fund, Dick Russell-Faith in Action, Pat Rogers- Institute for Human Services, Joyce Hyatt-Chemung Valley Rural Health Network, Nancy Blake- Career Development Council, Elaine Farwell-Tanglewood Nature Ctr. & Museum

I. Review of IHS Annual Meeting (March 18th, 2009)
a. Pat stated that it was decided at the last meeting that STNED’s initial meeting be scheduled after the IHS regular meeting. People can go to the IHS meeting and then go to the STNED meeting, or just to the STNED (no charge for conference participants, actual refreshment cost charge to STNED only participants). Pat mentioned possibly doing a pre-conference online survey to identify participant organizational priorities in the current economic environment . Pre-conference registration will be posted online.

II. Mission Statement
a. Joyce brought the template for creating mission statements and after much discussion (and patient editing by Joyce), we came up with the following tentative mission statement for STNED:
The Southern Tier Non-Profit Directors Group is a network of non-profit executive and management professionals in the Southern Finger Lakes Region of New York State that provides education, peer support and the sharing of ideas to strengthen leadership and promote the collaborative utilization of resources.”

III. STNED Meeting after IHS Annual Meeting
a. What do we want to do at the meeting? Elaine (TW) stated we want to make sure it isn’t a repeat of the first meeting we had at the IHS in Bath in November. We all agreed we want to make sure people know we are making progress. We came up with the following format:
i. Short introduction to NYNED by Andrew Marietta
ii. Pat Rogers will give a short compilation of what the Steering Committee has been working on (including our mission statement). He will also outline how the IHS can support the Group to be more organized and have an internet presence (newsletter, constant contact, web links), which will keep us connected (along with NYNED site) between quarterly meetings.
iii. Establish/OK meeting schedule (taking info. from Andrew’s previous online survey). Might look something like: brown bag lunch meetings, 1st or 3rd week of the month, in Feb/March, May, September and November, roaming locations. We can get more input from everyone at this point (works, doesn’t work, alternate).
iv. Do a Graffiti type exercise with flip charts containing headlines of already established (through another of Andrew’s online surveys of interested directors) important key topics. Attendees will rotate through the topics. Key topics will include: Networking, Fund Development, Grantseeking, Economic & Community Impact of Non-profits and possibly one more? Each chart will have a steering committee member facilitate working through the topics to see what people want more specifically. What does this topic mean to you? What does your organization want to get from the exploration of this topic?

IV. Other Business
a. Joyce (CVRHN) brought up questions about dues (should we have them?), competing groups (there are really none in the immediate area) and take-aways from the meetings. She also suggested having a yearly schedule of sorts so that people know what is coming up and can arrange their schedules accordingly. Dick (FIA) said that we could structure it as Joyce had described. Ours might look something like: Feb/March- Education (piggybacking on the IHS Annual Meeting), May and November-Focus Groups, September-Social Networking.
b. Chris said the Triangle (and Community Foundation) are interested in keeping an eye on the STNED Group and possibly helping us as we move forward. Maybe financially (via a grant?), maybe otherwise, since there is an interest with both Foundations in seeing a group like ours succeed.
c. We should have a logo at least to begin on professionalizing the group. Nancy Blake suggested using a BOCES or CCC student project as they had previously done.
V. Next Meeting
a. Will be planned if needed before the March 18th IHS meeting. We will consult via email about that and to re-look at the mission we developed. Pat will let us know about any needs he has (including additional flip charts and volunteers to facilitate work at the charts) for the March meeting.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Don't Sit on Your Assets: How to Substitute Creativity for Cash and Accomplish More in Challenging Economic Times

Registration is now open for "Don't Sit on Your Assets: How to Substitute Creativity for Cash and Accomplish More in Challenging Economic Times" presented by Jeff Bercuvitz, president of Sparks: The Center for Leadership, Innovation and Community (bio below) at the Tikkun v'Or Retreat Center on Thursday, March 5th, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

* Are you trying to figure out how to not only help your organization get through the current fiscal crisis, but come out of it stronger than ever?
* Are you interested to learn how to capture the imagination of funders and the general public on a very limited budget?
* Do you want to keep morale high and help staff avoid burnout?

On March 5th, leaders in Tompkins County will have the opportunity to participate in a day-long workshop led by Jeff Bercuvitz, the president of The Center for Leadership, Innovation and Community (CLIC), to help them clarify their individual visions of success, learn how to identify and harness often overlooked resources and develop a "think big, start small" action plan for their organization.

Over the past 20 years, Jeff has trained and coached thousands of community builders, social service professionals and other leaders in more than 40 states, throughout Canada and in numerous countries in Africa, Asia and Europe. His work has been widely lauded for its creativity and results.

Bio: As president of The Center for Leadership, Innovation and Community (CLIC) Jeff Bercuvitz has worked with many non-profit organizations, social service agencies, foundations, educational institutions, civic groups, municipalities, businesses, and government agencies to help their leadership and staffs discover creative, inexpensive and enjoyable ways to make their work more successful, as well as more personally rewarding and sustainable.

The heart of Bercuvitz's work is inspiring creativity, passion and action for individuals, organizations and communities. He helps people clarify their visions of success and then brainstorms with them to craft practical strategies to build support for their efforts, gain access to more resources and realize their visions of success, while simultaneously avoiding burnout.
Bercuvitz has worked with organizations ranging from the White House to women's cooperatives in rural Tanzania. He has designed innovative campaigns around the country for cities from Seattle to Kalamazoo. He has given more than 500 talks and workshops on effective strategies for community service, youth involvement, inclusion of people with disabilities, sustainability, downtown revitalization, crime prevention, economic development, and other facets of community-building and leadership development.

In lively and entertaining workshops and retreats, Bercuvitz motivates people by telling inspiring success stories, while also providing them with the necessary "how-to's" to set meaningful and achievable goals and then move effectively from vision to action. His "Small Sparks" process has been singled out as one of the country's best examples of how to move beyond talking about social capital, to actually helping to build it. Around the world, Bercuvitz is known as the "Chocolateman" for giving out chocolates as he catches ordinary people in the act of doing extraordinary things to strengthen their organizations and communities.

Prior to his founding the Center for Leadership, Innovation and Community, Bercuvitz served as the president of Community Innovations and as the Executive Director of the Working Land Fund, a not-for-profit organization that integrated sustainable agriculture, land preservation and community economic development. Bercuvitz also served as the Director of the Regeneration Project of Rodale Press in Emmaus, Pennsylvania that helped people learn sustainable economic development and community-building strategies.

Cost: $130 (registration information below); deadline for receipt of payment: Thursday, February 26, 2009 – space is limited. Lunch and snacks will be provided.

Questions: call (607) 273-8686 or email

Human Services Coalition of Tompkins County Leadership Development Series 2008-2009

"How to Ask for Money" with Burke Keegan
For Board Members, Chief Executives and Development Staff of Non-profit Organizations
Wednesday, February 25, 2009, 9:00-11:30am
Beverly Livesay Conference Room, Human Services Building
320 W. State St./Martin Luther King, Jr. St.
Ithaca, NY 14850

This fast-paced session will be most helpful to fundraisers, volunteer and staff, who are ready to meet with donors and ask them for a large amount of money. We will cover identifying prospects, qualifying them, cultivating and asking, and thanking them. Everyone will practice asking, and have the experience of being asked.

Burke Keegan is a Board Development and Fundraising expert based in Newfield, New York. Since 1976, she has worked with non-profits to develop their potential for excellence. Burke provides Technical Assistance in Board Governance issues, Board Expansion, and in Major Gift and Annual Campaigns; produces Feasibility Studies for non-profits contemplating new ways to raise money; and conducts Board Retreats, Fundraising Trainings and specially tailored trainings to help organizations identify and reach their potential. She also Coaches Directors of Development and Board Members to give them expert feedback and advice on how to get the results they desire. Her book, Fundraising for Non-Profits, HarperCollins, in its fourth printing, is used as a college text and Board manual.
Fee: $40. Deadline for receipt of payment: Friday, February 20, 2009 — space is limited.

Questions: call (607) 273-8686 or email

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Scan of Nonprofit Policy Recommendations for the Obama Administration

The Cohen Report, written by Rick Cohen, the Nonprofit Quarterly’s national correspondent, features an overview here of many of the ideas and agendas being put forward to the Obama administration by various nonprofit groups and associations. As his blog post states:

"The analysis here taps formal recommendations or briefs promulgated by several organizations including Independent Sector, the National Council of Nonprofits, and the Council on Foundations, plus shorter commentaries and op-eds issued by well known nonprofit sector leaders and observers such as Lester Salamon, John Bridgeland, E.J. Dionne, and Melissa Berman."

Mr. Cohen breaks this information out into categories and brings a clear perspective to the many calls for action in the nonprofit sector.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Highlighting the struggles of the region

This info was shared by Martha Robertson, Tompkins County Legislator, Town of Dryden (western half). She relates that while other communities are being hit harder, Tompkins County is being impacted. As she relates:

"On Wednesday of this week, those of us who attended the Homeless & Housing Task Force meeting described below heard reports from a long list of the "safety net" agencies. These included the Tompkins County Office for the Aging, Food Bank of the Southern Tier, the Red Cross, Tompkins Community Action and many others. Just a few "lowlights" --
  • There have been spikes in the number of guests going to Loaves and Fishes for meals and advocacy.
  • TCA is getting at least 50-75 calls a day for heating assistance. They had to change their food pantry hours to accommodate people trying to get there on their lunch hour. In other words, working people are seeing their hours cut so they can't feed their families on their wages anymore.
  • Catholic Charities has given security deposits to 70 families in the last four months; the remaining money has to last eight months, until the new IURA funds kick in, next October 1. However, they only have enough money to serve another 28 families.
  • Workforce NY is seeing about 560 people a month coming in looking for work; many more senior citizens are coming in looking for a job.

The real families behind these numbers are struggling. The nonprofits are fighting to preserve services in the face of state budget cuts. The need is exploding and the resources are shrinking."

This info clearly shows the growing needs and some of the many challenges the nonprofit sector is confronting. The Southern Tier ED Group will continue to post regional information here, and invites other EDs to share their stories.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Guide for sharing space

Two groups have published a guide for foundations on sharing nonprofit workspaces. The free guide from the NonprofitCenters Network and Tides Shared Spaces lists benefits of sharing space and services, and provides tips for foundations looking to fund such "mission-focused facilities." The guide also includes profiles of projects across the U.S. that are considered best-practice efforts in sharing nonprofit space.

Managing through the Downturn

Fiscal Management Associates (FMA) and the Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) joined together to present a workshop, The 2009 Nonprofit Economic Climate: Managing through the Downturn, that offered nonprofit leaders concrete tools to lead their organizations in response to the current ecnomic challenges. With the support of The Clark, Robin Hood, and Tiger foundations, the tools and presentation from this program are available online here. The link offers a 90 minute webinar and powerpoint and various tools.

Available tools include:
  • Recession Checklist
  • Recession Tips
  • Cash Flow template
  • Financial Matters for Bankers
  • Reserve Options
  • Scenario Planning Model
  • Cost Reduction Strategies
  • Cost Containment Discussion
  • Scenario Planning Process
  • Strategic Alliances Checklist