Bridging Hope


Katena Cain, PhD.
Nonprofit Management Consultant



Bridging Hope: Empowering Individuals Living in Poverty Through Bridges Out of Poverty Resources

In the ongoing battle against poverty, there exists a beacon of hope known as Bridges Out of Poverty. This transformative framework offers a holistic approach to empowering individuals and communities to overcome the barriers of poverty and build pathways to a brighter future. In this blog, we explore the profound impact of Bridges Out of Poverty initiatives and how they are empowering individuals living in poverty to chart a new course toward economic stability and self-sufficiency.

Understanding the Landscape of Poverty: Bridges Out of Poverty provides a unique lens through which to view poverty, recognizing it as a complex and multifaceted issue that is influenced by a variety of factors, including economic, social, and systemic barriers. By understanding the hidden rules of class and exploring the intersections of poverty, race, and privilege, Bridges Out of Poverty equips individuals and communities with the knowledge and tools needed to address the root causes of poverty.

Empowering Through Education: Central to Bridges Out of Poverty initiatives is the power of education as a catalyst for change. Workshops, training programs, and community dialogues provide individuals with the opportunity to increase their awareness, build empathy, and develop the skills needed to navigate the challenges of poverty. By fostering a culture of learning and growth, Bridges Out of Poverty empowers individuals to take control of their own destinies and pursue opportunities for personal and professional development.





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Navigating Leadership: Exploring Nonprofit Network's ED Academy

 

Navigating Leadership: Exploring Our Executive Director Academy

Are you an Executive Director, CEO, Managing Director, or Direct Report yearning for profound professional development to enhance your leadership skills?
If so, the Nonprofit Network ED Academy is tailor-made for you. Delving into the history of the ED Academy reveals its roots in a partnership with a foundation in 2017, which identified a need for customized training for new Executive Directors.
This initial collaboration laid the foundation for the now-annual ED Academy, consisting of 8 sessions focused on practical skills and practices.

Sessions Overview: The ED Academy comprises eight sessions, including an introductory and wrap-up session. Throughout these online sessions, participants will intentionally implement learned skills, sharing their challenges and successes with both fellow participants and facilitators. The cohort model emphasizes interactivity and reflection to maximize the value of the learning experience. The sessions cover a diverse range of topics, reflecting the multifaceted role of an Executive Director and some of these are:

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Leading with Self-Reflection

Leading with Self-Reflection: Centering Impact over Intention 

Emotionally we know that our work in the nonprofit field often takes us beyond our job description. This is because the nature of our work relies on a responsiveness to the human condition. Ours and the communities we serve.

It only makes sense that our personal and professional development must also shift. I found the theory of cultural humility appealing years ago, 3 years ago I developed the cultural humility in practice training to strengthen our capacity to leave and serve while preventing unnecessary harm.

I’ve found that self-reflection and personal inquiry are crucial aspects of individual growth and development, and they play a vital role in building stronger communities, fostering intersectional solutions, and driving transformative leadership and culture change.

By delving into the depths of our own experiences, motivations, and biases, we gain a deeper understanding of ourselves, which in turn enables us to empathize with and appreciate the perspectives of others. We also know that generative self-critique can inform sound decision making on the micro and macro level - this can save lives. This introspective process is instrumental in shaping empathetic, inclusive, and resilient communities. 

In Part 1: Why Cultural Humility - we shared the importance of a cultural humility lens for nonprofit leaders. 

In Part 2: Assessing Our Own Cultural Humility - we explored scenarios that highlighted the opportunity for potential practice shifts based on the needs of community members, how our biases and perspectives could limit the care we’re able to provide in community.  

In this blog, we will review a handful of the results of the Cultural Humility Assessment in the context of our future learning opportunity coming up at the end of this month (Jan 31, Feb 7). You can see the raw results of the survey here and you can register for our upcoming training event Here.


Self-Reflection and Personal Inquiry

Self-reflection involves examining one's thoughts, feelings, and experiences in a contemplative manner. It requires individuals to assess their beliefs, values, and behaviors with a critical eye, facilitating a greater self-awareness. Personal inquiry, on the other hand, involves asking meaningful questions about one's identity, purpose, and relationships. It encourages individuals to seek understanding and meaning in their experiences, leading to a more profound sense of self-discovery. 














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Get the Most out of Your Meeting Minutes

 

Jessica Chipman
Office Manager

 

Many people can relate to sitting in an unproductive meeting.  However, meetings do not have to be a waste of time. If accurate minutes are kept and clear-cut action steps are identified, then hours spent in a meeting can lead to a productive outcome. 

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Assessing Our Own Cultural Humility


Crystallee Crain PhD.

Capacity Builder

Part 2: Assessing Our Own Cultural Humility 

 
There are a variety of ways to gain a deeper perspective on your leadership and impact in the community from a cultural humility lens. The invitation of inquiry is one way, asking ourselves to evaluate how we consider, engage, and repair our relationships with people who are different from us.

Nonprofit Network invites readers to take a 5 minute survey assessment so that we can get a big picture of where we stand as the nonprofit field in Michigan. We plan to share the results early next year with recommendations for additional learning.
The survey is anonymous. 
 






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Why Cultural Humility

 

Crystallee Crain PhD.
Capacity Builder

Part 1: Why Cultural Humility?

In the realm of nonprofit organizations, the responsibilities of leadership extend far beyond the conventional mission driven environment. Nonprofit professionals are entrusted with the ultimate task of solidarity by which we address societal challenges, supporting marginalized communities, and striving for positive social change. To lead effectively in this context, it becomes paramount for nonprofit leaders to embrace a stance of cultural humility.


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3 Reasons Your Board Should Brush Up on Governance

   

 Sharon Castle
Capacity Builder

 “The fitting Board of Directors is less about physical strength, more about mental toughness, with fitting minds and fresh eyes.” ― Pearl ZhuDigitizing Boardroom: The Multifaceted Aspects of Digital Ready Boards

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Is it time for a Capital Campaign?


Sharon Castle
Capacity Builder


A capital campaign is a significant undertaking requiring a substantial, and possibly, unprecedented investment of organizational resources and many nonprofits have little or no experience in this area.  From initial planning to wrap up to pledge collection, the effort will likely take years and should propel your organization to a new level of fundraising.  

2023 Capital Campaign Cohort Participant Feedback




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Staff Announcement - Welcome Crystallee!

Crystallee Crain, Ph.D.
Capacity Builder

My Approach to Nonprofit Consulting: Fostering Self-Determination, Integrity, Care, Belonging, Solidarity, and Trust

  

As a nonprofit consultant, I am committed to providing a holistic and pragmatic approach that centers around key values: self-determination, integrity, care, belonging, solidarity, and trust. As a young person growing up in Flint, Michigan I saw firsthand the power of community led efforts to meet the needs of people that the system failed. I learned early in life that it was people in the community that made the decision to give, share, and lead that changed our lives. Later in life I learned about the opportunities nonprofit organizations bring to the actualization of our community of care. 


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Let's Talk About Generational Giving


Sharon Castle
Capacity Builder

A new report from the Giving Tuesday Data Commons recently released *Rethinking Resilience:  Insights from the Giving Ecosystem, A Lookback at 2022 Trends in Global Generosity. *”  

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Upgrade Your Toolbox

 

We're always having conversations with leaders about self-care. But today, we're specifically thinking about professional development. When we contemplate professional development, we immediately think about the goal of your mission and what you hope to achieve. But before the work starts, we need to prepare, and choose the right tools for the task. Invest time to equip yourself for success.  

Time and the right tools are a resounding endorsement of professional development.  Which leads us to two questions: 

1) Why do we jump straight into the work? 

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Benefits of Board Governance Training.

Leading a nonprofit organization is a lot like preparing for an athletic competition.  It requires consistent training, practice, and a plan to succeed. An athlete never gets to check the box off next to a basic skill. It doesn't matter how many times you've run that drill—you still review, practice, and adapt when necessary, and yes, keep on training. And it is the same for a board of directors.

A board is never past the need for training.  Seasons, needs, pandemics, growth, and experiences are just some of the variables that change the environment in which a nonprofit lives. All board members benefit from regular governance training.  So, let's talk about what some of those benefits include:

 

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I See You


Regina Pinney
Executive Director

 

Being colorblind is the idea that ignoring or overlooking racial and ethnic differences promotes racial harmony. In some circles, it’s called color-evasive. In others, it is called a myth.


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Mental Health Challenges in Today's Environment

 

 

May is #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth

In addition to my role as a consultant for nonprofit and public sector organizations, I am also a mental health professional. I’ve been a licensed clinical social worker for over twenty years. I served as the deputy director of a community mental health authority, and I occasionally see clients in my private practice.

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They Why Behind Peer Coaching


Sharon Castle

Capacity Builder

“This has been the single most impactful Professional Development I have ever been a part of. This process of utilizing empowering questions to guide coaching, along with reiterating thoughts, and not going straight to advice- this has all been a game changer for me and how I communicate.”

“Peer coaching is BY FAR one of the best continuing education courses I've ever taken. I use the skills in my personal and professional life, and they have gotten me unstuck from many challenging conversations and relationships.”                       ~ Peer Coaching Cohort Participants – March 2023



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The Importance of Community Conversations

Katena Cain, PhD
Nonprofit Management Consultant

“Far too often, people think of themselves as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole world. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.” – Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

As humans, we operate within many different networks, all of which influence our perspectives and serve different purposes in our lives. While most networks are formed around a shared experience – such as the organization we work for, the city we live in, or identities that we hold – it is important to be cognizant of the networks we are part of and the diversity that is present within them. Given that our networks influence the way we think and the opportunities we give and receive, lack of diversity within these networks can propagate inequitable systems and create echo chambers of perspectives.

As nonprofits, we cannot meet our missions without having courageous conversations about inclusion and anti-racism in the systems, programs, policies and procedures that govern our organizations. It’s all fine and good to have these conversations in silos, but it is much more impactful when community leaders can come together to engage in conversation about their strengths, barriers and ideas. When we do this, we can learn from each other, share stories and have accountability partners.


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The Many Pieces of a Fund Development Plan


Sharon Castle

Capacity Builder

I’m not going to sugarcoat it; fundraising is tough. Been there, done that, and I continue to do it. Let’s face it, there’s a reason many of us describe fundraising as “the oldest profession.” It has been around a long time and not going to go away anytime soon.  I have great respect for Executive Directors, Development Directors, Board members, Staff and Volunteers who understand and actively engage in fundraising for their nonprofit organizations.

Alas, each of us has a responsibility to play a role in philanthropy: acting as an ambassador and sharing positive aspects of how the community is benefiting from the organization’s activities with friends, relatives and coworkers; being part of a team of solicitors and participating in well developed “asks”; making the public feel welcome at events or when they making an on-site visit; or making a personal gift, something we all should be doing at least once annually. 

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It's Time to Activate the Levers of Power for Your Mission.

Renell Weathers
Advocacy and Public Policy Consultant

It's Time to Activate the Levers of Power for Your Mission.

Life has a way of interrupting our plans, making you either frustrated because you hate change or exhilarated because you embrace change. You may also be confused about which direction to channel your efforts. Whichever best describes you, this is not the time to put your head under the covers. It’s time to engage.  

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A Great Nonprofit Leader Drives the Mission



Katena Cain, PhD.

Nonprofit Management Consultant

A great nonprofit leader drives the mission down through the organization, upward through the board, and outward through the community.  They are also the organization’s chief storyteller, brand advocate, brand guardian, crisis spokesperson, chief marketing officer, and chief fundraiser. To be effective in many of these roles, they must be authentic and be able to connect, collaborate, persuade, mediate, and negotiate with the best.

A great leader is also the ambassador for the health of the organization, both structurally and financially. This means they are responsible for building and maintaining relationships that enable the organization to flourish. They must recruit and retain the talent and supply the tools necessary to develop a strong infrastructure and a culture that builds morale.

A great leader is "tapped-in" to her board, staff, and the people they serve.  They are in tune with the social and economic conditions that affect the organization’s mission. 




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Without a plan, plan to lose money

 


Regina Pinney
Executive Director

As we emerge to seek a new normal, our post pandemic development strategies must be adaptive and directive and emphasize what we have learned in the past years and what we can (and can not) control.  

A first step is to recreate (or create) a development plan to attract and retain donors and ensure these strategies are cost effective and our investments of time, talent, energy, and resources are efficient and effective.  



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