Monday, December 20, 2010

"Special" Genesis Group Discovery Tour to "The College of Nanoscale Science & Engineering"

Wednesday January 19th - Leave Utica @ 2:00pm ~ Arrive back approx. 8:30pm
Cost: $ 15.00 per person (includes r/t transportation on Birnie Bus, food & beverage and the tour)

For reservations, contact Ray Durso, Jr. by calling 315.792.7187 or via email,

Discovery Tour is sponsored by The Genesis Group and The Chamber Alliance of the Mohawk Valley, (representing Chamber's of Commerce from the Boonville Area, Camden Area, Clinton, Herkimer County, Kuyahoora Valley, Marcy, New Hartford, Greater Oneida, Rome Area, Trenton Area, and affiliate partners: Oneida County Tourism, Mohawk Valley EDGE and The Genesis Group).

5th Annual Regional Community Forum with Area Elected Officials
Thursday January 20th ~ 7:30am at The Radisson Hotel, Utica
SAVE THE DATE ~ More information to be announced

The Regional Community Forum is sponsored by The Genesis Group and The Chamber Alliance of the Mohawk Valley, (representing Chamber's of Commerce from the Boonville Area, Camden Area, Clinton, Herkimer County, Kuyahoora Valley, Marcy, New Hartford, Greater Oneida , Rome Area, Trenton Area, and affiliate partners: Oneida County Tourism, Mohawk Valley EDGE and The Genesis Group).

For more information about The Genesis Group, its programs and committees including our College Welcome Initiative and a Regional Ambassador's Program, visit our website

"Thank you for your continued interest and support. Have a Safe, Healthy and Happy Holiday Season!"


Raymond J. Durso, Jr.
Executive Director
The Genesis Group
of The Mohawk Valley Region
SUNYIT ~ 100 Seymour Road
Utica, New York 13502
315.792.7187 (T)
315.797.1280 (F)

Health center head 'helping people who can't help themselves'

From the

Janine Carzo first heard about a program using federal dollars to subsidize health care for the uninsured in the mid-1990s.

But it wasn't until last month that her efforts finally came to fruition, with the opening of the Utica Community Health Center on Oneida Street. The center's construction was funded in large part with federal stimulus money.

Carzo, who is the executive director of the center, answered questions about her new job recently. Those interested in the health center are encouraged to call ahead for appointments at 793-7600.

QUESTION: What are your responsibilities?

ANSWER: I oversee the entire operation. I hire the dental and medical providers. I hire the staff and schedule the staff. I've ordered all the equipment and supplies for the start-up. I've worked with other staff members to develop policy and procedures to get us going. I've helped with the institution of electronic health records.

QUESTION: How will you measure success at the nonprofit health center?

ANSWER: I would measure success by the reduction of the number of people using the emergency room; that we cut down on the people who feel the emergency room is their only source for medical care, for both medical and dental.

QUESTION: How has more than 20 years of experience in the health care industry prepared you for this challenge?

ANSWER: My experience has been primarily in helping people who can't help themselves. I started off as a social worker. So now, having been in the field of health care for 20-plus years, I know who to call, what resources to tap, providers I can call on to help and things that will assist our patients overall.

Chamber honors area’s top businesses, nonprofits

With flexibility, innovation and hard work, Mohawk Valley businesses and nonprofit organizations have worked to counteract the effects of the lagging economy.

The successes of five businesses and nonprofits were celebrated Thursday at the Mohawk Valley Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Awards luncheon at Twin Ponds Golf & Country Club.

The chamber honored The Peacemaker Program Inc. as the nonprofit of the year with fewer than 50 employees and First Source Federal Credit Union as the nonprofit with over 50 employees.

How to Change the World…

…Whatever the size of your wallet. These ideas, with budgets from $20 to $20,000, can help better the lives of others—and your own.

Got any plans for next week? Perhaps you could begin changing the world.

Yes, household budgets remain tight. But you don't have to be a lottery winner to make a difference in your community or halfway around the globe. People who are winding down first or primary careers and looking for new directions are discovering that for the cost of a weekend getaway, they can help change the world. Or start to.

Bob and Jo Link, for instance, retirees in Portland, Ore., serve on a nonprofit board that awards scholarships in Belize. Mr. Link, age 69, also troubleshoots computer problems for African refugees. This after the couple spent two years in the Peace Corps, helped with Hurricane Katrina cleanup, assembled computers for schools in Guatemala and worked with deaf orphans in Peru.

The cost to them? A few plane tickets, some scholarship donations and sweat equity.

"When you do this kind of stuff, you get back more than you really expect," Mr. Link says. "A lot of people wouldn't, or couldn't, put two years into the Peace Corps, but they could afford to spend a week in Peru."

We decided to look for ways that people, whatever the size of their savings, can change the lives of others—and their own. So go ahead: Pick one of the following budgets and write it on your calendar: "CTW."

$100 and Under

SERVICE PROGRAMS: In some cases, you actually can get paid while you're helping to make a difference.

The Links, for instance, earned $300 apiece each month in the Peace Corps, where about 7% of the organization's volunteers last year were age 50-plus. Closer to home, AmeriCorps, one of the largest national-service programs, is aiming for 10% of its 85,000 participants to be at least 55 years old—up from 4% in fiscal 2009.

AmeriCorps volunteers receive federal stipends averaging $11,800 for a commitment of 10 months to a year. They can also receive education grants of as much as $5,350, which, starting this year, they can transfer to their grandchildren, says Patrick Corvington, chief executive of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the agency that runs AmeriCorps. Work varies from part-time service in a volunteer's own community to full-time opportunities across the country. Options include helping to rebuild communities on the Gulf Coast and installing solar-electric systems in low-income California neighborhoods.

BECOME A LENDER: For what you spend today on lunch, "microfinance" allows you to play a big role in jump-starting modest entrepreneurial undertakings around the world—whether it's boosting inventory at a produce stand in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, or providing additional nets to fishermen in Cambodia.

f you're interested in lending to an individual entrepreneur overseas, lets you choose the borrower on its website. If the loans are paid back, you can fund another loan, donate the proceeds to Kiva or get your money back., where you can pick a classroom project to fund with as little as $1, sifts proposals by cost, school poverty level and subject. Requests might include $140 for dry-erase markers or $2,000 for camcorders and laptops for budding filmmakers.

Heifer International, through which $20 buys a flock of chickens or $5,000 delivers an "ark" of animals to a family or village in Asia or Africa, finds that many people age 50-plus seek out the cause around holidays. Then, as they learn more about it, many wind up joining study tours to the communities raising the animals, coordinating fund-raising efforts in the U.S., or working at several Heifer learning centers, says Steve Stirling, executive vice president for marketing in Little Rock, Ark.

$300 to $4,000

GIVING CIRCLES: One way to get more bang for your charity buck is to join a so-called giving circle, a group with a common interest that pools its resources and collectively decides where to put its combined money to work.

In the 1960s, Sally Bookman studied social anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. Now she leads a Dining for Women chapter with two dozen women, many of them retirees, attending monthly dinners in Santa Cruz, Calif. At each meeting, they eat a potluck dinner and chip in about $30 each to support women entrepreneurs in developing countries.

The national Dining for Women group, based in Greenville, S.C., picks the cause du jour and sends educational materials to local chapters. But the members' life experience gives the gatherings their flavor, says Ms. Bookman, 67. "At one meeting we were learning about women in a remote village in the jungle in Peru, and one of our members had been to that village for three days with her husband," she says.

If you join a giving circle, you can choose simply to write checks, or take a more active role researching where the circle's money might have the most impact.

"VOLUNTOURISM": Trips on which people do volunteer work, typically overseas, have exploded in number and type in recent years.

How do you choose among the estimated 10,000 trips out there? Ask how the work you do will fit into the overall scope of the on-the-ground project, says Alexia Nestora, founder of, an industry blog. If you're working with children, ask how what you do will build on what the previous volunteer did. (You don't want to be the 20th volunteer to teach them to sing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" in English, for example.) Also make sure the operator provides emergency medical insurance and has an employee living in the country who speaks English in case of political upheaval or a natural disaster.

Mark Sanger, a 58-year-old retired transportation engineer in La Grande, Ore., has taken several weeklong trips with Globe Aware, a Dallas nonprofit that coordinates volunteer travel work. In a tiny Costa Rican village, his crew slept in A-frame cabins and helped villagers build housing in hopes of drawing national-park tourists and generating additional income. He also spent time eating meals in local families' homes, where you could "see how they interact with their kids, what pictures they have on their walls." He enjoyed his next trip even more, teaching English to children in Cambodia.

"It was like a whole other world opened up to me," he says. "There's a sense of adventure…without your life in danger every day. It's a nice balance of doing something interesting, exciting, different and incredibly rewarding."

Your room, board and airfare in some cases are tax-deductible if you travel with a nonprofit. Vincent Mirrione, 69, of Newman, Calif., has taken seven trips with Cross-Cultural Solutions, a nonprofit operator in New Rochelle, N.Y., for six to eight weeks at a time. His work at a Guatemala soup kitchen and orphanage, Russian senior centers and a project that Mother Teresa started in India have wound up costing about $300 a week after the tax break, he says.

BACK TO SCHOOL: Retraining, as a classroom teacher, for instance, can jump-start a second career as well as benefit others.

"Green," of course, is hot. Clover Park Technical College, Lakewood, Wash., offers a number of environmental-sustainability programs, which include classroom study and hands-on field work. The programs last 12 weeks to two years, depending on an individual's goals.

Pam Kirchhofer, 49, enrolled there in a 15-month sustainable-building program after she was laid off as a personal-finance counselor. The attraction: "You're helping people save money by conserving energy and resources, and…you're being a good steward of the Earth," she says. The tough part: "I haven't had a math class in 28 years, and we just did an energy audit of this woman's house using algebraic equations."

$5,000 to $10,000

JOIN A BOARD: A director on a board? You? Why not?

"Almost half of all nonprofit board seats never get filled. Nonprofits would love to have more qualified candidates, but they don't know how to tap into really talented people in the community," says David Simms, a partner with Bridgespan Group in Boston, which advises nonprofits. (One new resource for a board-seat search: The websites where nonprofits place want-ads for volunteers also are starting to post vacant board seats.)

Bonnie R. Harrison, 61, a retired Corning Inc. executive, became involved with Southern Tier Hospice in Corning, N.Y., after serving as her father's caregiver while he was also receiving hospice services. To join the board, Ms. Harrison asked her father's hospice nurse to write a recommendation. Shortly after Ms. Harrison retired last year, the hospice board's chairwoman stepped down, and Ms. Harrison was asked to take her place.

"The challenge of working along with the board, the staff and different organizations has been a great help in making the transition away from a high-pressured job," she says.

BECOME A BENEFACTOR: So, you like the idea of having a charitable vehicle to help others, but you aren't Bill Gates. Consider a donor-advised fund, a good tool for people who want to give away amounts starting at about $5,000 a year.

Such funds can be set up through big financial-service companies, like Fidelity Investments, as well as university, religious and community foundations. The fund will invest your assets and make grants based on your guidance. Typically, you become eligible for an immediate tax deduction.

"It might be a little more than you can handle doing on your own, yet you don't want to set up the superstructure of a foundation," says John Gomperts, the recently named director of AmeriCorps. "You might go to a community foundation and say, 'I want to give this money away, and I care about the humane care of animals, so please give me some suggestions and administer this for me.' "

$20,000 and Up

START A NONPROFIT: You have a cause you're passionate about, and nobody seems to be tackling it. So you dream of starting a nonprofit to that end. Expect to spend at least $10,000 to $20,000 on start-up costs, including the legal expenses involved in creating an organization and asking the government to grant you a tax exemption, called 501(c)3 status.

First question: Are you sure there are no similar efforts? The U.S. has about 1.5 million nonprofits, and "many of them are doing phenomenal work," says Mr. Simms in Boston.

If your idea truly is unique, try to find a community foundation to "incubate your effort so that you can worry about the service you want to provide" instead of setting up the business end, says Christopher Stone, faculty director of the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.

Elaine Santore is the 59-year-old co-founder of Umbrella of the Capital District, a Schenectady, N.Y., organization that helps older adults, in part by matching them with retirees-turned-handymen. She and her partner jump-started the program before receiving their not-for-profit status. "I would clean houses if need be, and he would mow yards," she says. "It's good to be hands-on at first so you know what it's like."

ENDOW A SCHOLARSHIP: What if you win the lottery, or your stock options go through the roof? The sky's the limit: You could fund scientists trying to cure cancer, build a new stage for your local symphony, or even start your own university and town, as did Domino's Pizza founder and philanthropist Tom Monaghan.

One of the more popular big-ticket items, though, is creating your own college scholarship. With $1 million, you could set up an endowment that should last for decades, says Becky Sharpe, president of International Scholarship & Tuition Services Inc., Nashville, Tenn., which administers privately and publicly funded scholarships.

Joe Scarlett, retired chairman and chief executive of Tractor Supply Co., Brentwood, Tenn., started a family foundation in 2005 with $2.5 million to provide college scholarships to business students from middle Tennessee, and he hired Ms. Sharpe's company to run the award program.

"We generate way too few business leaders in our country, so we wanted to focus our scholarship money on business," says Mr. Scarlett, 67. The foundation now has a balance of approximately $24 million, thanks to additional gifts from the Scarletts and growth in its value, and is expanding its efforts, supporting students in high schools and even preschools.

Original Article by Kelly Greene from

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

SBA, Microsoft create technology guide, online course

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) today announced a new technology resource is available for small business owners.

The SBA and Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft Corp. have teamed up to create "Business Technology Simplified," a free guidebook that offers tips on how to use technology and innovation to make businesses work more efficiently, the SBA said in a news release.
The guidebook includes material on simplifying work tasks, do-it-yourself marketing, time management, and finding and cultivating customers.

"Business Technology Simplified" is available in a printed format at the SBA Syracuse district office. Computer users can also access the guidebook online at the Microsoft website.
It's also available as a free distance-learning course, according to the SBA.

The course is available at

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Community Foundation Awards More Than $420,000 to Local Organizations in December

The Grants Committee of The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties, Inc. awarded $420,582 to local not-for-profit organizations at its December meeting.

The OD reports that the following organizations received funding:
• Adirondack Railway Preservation Society will purchase a new locomotive to use for Adirondack Scenic Railroad programs, such as the Polar Express, with a $95,582 grant.
• The Arts Guild of Old Forge will unveil its new building and expanded programming this summer, and a grant of $100,000 will help them add professional staff to manage new programs and events.
• Organizations that help people through tough times are experiencing great demand. The Food Bank of Central New York, which supplies food pantries and feeding sites in Herkimer and Oneida counties, received a $50,000 grant that will help them renovate office and food storage space.
• With a $75,000 grant, Herkimer Area Resource Center will install an elevator into their German Street building. The elevator is part of a strategic effort to attract tenants to the building – an effort that is already paying off.
• People in poor health can have their vital signs observed remotely, as Visiting Nurse Association received a $100,000 grant to add equipment to their teleheath service. This equipment allows patients to be monitored by health care professionals from the comfort of their homes.

The Community Foundation has been a force for improving lives and promoting philanthropy throughout Herkimer and Oneida counties since 1952. The Foundation has made more than 4,300 grants totaling over $35 million in support of causes ranging from education to health care, the arts to the environment. Grants are generated by the more than 270 funds that comprise The Foundation’s endowment, established and advanced by area individuals and families.

For more information about The Community Foundation, call 315-735-8212 or visit

Tuesday, December 7, 2010



The Mohawk Valley Latino Association will include their end of the year holiday celebration on Saturday, December 18, 2010. It will present a festivity of the Hispanic Culture featuring a variety of Latin Music, dancing, food and raffles. Save the date! Celebrate culture!

Date: Saturday, December 18, 2010
Time: 6:00pm-Midnight
Location: El Canelo Restaurant
1909 Genesse Street
Utica, NY
Tickets: $15 (includes buffet, cash bar)
There will also be music and raffles!


Call 738-1083 ext. 147 or email

About the Latino Association:

What does the Latino Association do?

Our mission is to improve the standards of living for ALL residents of the Mohawk Valley through various services that will help educate, achieve awareness among the different cultures, help shape the young minds and highlight the great opportunities available in the Mohawk Valley.

MVLA has successfully contributed to our communities by establishing programs such as:

• Spanish GED Instructions

• Referrals to ESL adult classes and American citizenship classes

• Access to health care insurance and affordable housing

• Self Improvement Focus meeting groups (Financial Literacy, Travel and Membership)

• Founded a children’s dance group to increase awareness of the Latino cultural history

Sunday, December 5, 2010

How to Donate like a Pro

In a Time of Tighter Budgets—For Benefactors and Charities Alike—It's More Important Than Ever to Make Your Gifts Count. Here's How

Investors demand a good return from their assets. Now donors are increasingly seeking the same for their charitable dollars.

Many philanthropists, large and small, are anxious about writing checks—and many endowments have yet to recover fully from the bruising they took during the financial crisis. Finding the worthiest, most-efficient organizations to maximize the impact of your donations couldn't be more pressing.

Yet identifying the best charity can be as difficult as picking a good money manager, with philanthropists left to navigate a world of tax forms, ratings systems and often misleading jargon. It's easy just to write a check and hope for the best—but you stand the risk of getting a poor return on your charitable investments.

Making matters more complicated: Many long-cherished tax breaks are coming under fire. Next year could bring the return of limits on itemized deductions, including those for donations, if Congress doesn't extend the Bush-era tax cuts for couples earning more than $250,000 ($200,000 for individuals). Even if Congress extends the cuts for all, the idea of cutting back charitable tax breaks is still in play: President Obama's deficit commission this week proposed limiting the deductions for large gifts to amounts above 2% of adjusted gross income.

All this is making donors rethink their giving strategies, says Patrick Rooney, executive director of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. "They want to make sure now more than ever that they're using their money wisely."

Overall giving is down sharply from its recent highs. Among high-net-worth households—who account for the bulk of individual charitable dollars—average giving dropped 34.9% to $54,016 in 2009, from $83,034 in 2007, according to a survey conducted by the center and sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

The downward trend appears to be continuing. One in five people say they are giving to fewer organizations than in the past, according to a November poll from Harris Interactive. A third are giving in smaller amounts this year than last. And the percentage of people not giving at all has doubled to 12% in 2010 from last year.

There are a host of charity-rating agencies to consult, but to get a more-accurate picture, consider volunteering your time before giving money. Do your own research: Talk to beneficiaries, visit work sites and study a group's finances yourself to judge the effectiveness of its programs.

That's what Denise Winston did. The former business banker "always just wrote a check," she says. But after leaving her job and starting her own financial-education business in 2009, the Bakersfield, Calif., resident became more frustrated over how little of her donations were going to beneficiaries. She decided she would spend time volunteering with different organizations before giving, partly to get a better sense of her time and money's impact.

"I'm closer to the person receiving support," she says. "Anyone can write a check. But I like to give things you can't buy."

Here's how to navigate the system and make sure the dollars you donate are making the biggest impact possible.

Article continued at Wall Street, includes ways of gauging donor's impact and red flags that donors should watch out for.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Charities Seeing Slight Recovery in Giving, But Not Enough to Keep Up with Demand or Budget Cuts

Nonprofit organizations have seen a slight turnaround in giving so far this year that mirrors the slow economic recovery, a new survey from the Nonprofit Research Collaborative (NRC) finds. But the small rebound hasn't been enough to help many nonprofits that are grappling with staff and service cuts even as demand for their services has increased.

The national survey showed that 36 percent of charities reported an increase in donations in the first nine months of 2010, compared with only 23 percent in the same period of 2009.

Thirty-seven percent of charities reported a decrease in giving, a dramatic change from 2009's 51 percent. Among those experiencing a decline in giving, the main reason cited was fewer individual donations and smaller amounts. Lower amounts received from foundations and corporations also contributed to the overall lower giving amounts at these charities. Giving remained unchanged at 26 percent of nonprofits in 2010 vs. 25 percent in 2009.

"We are beginning to see some positive signs, but despite that giving still has a long way to go to return to the levels it was at three or four years ago," said Patrick M. Rooney, executive director of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, which spearheaded the collaboration. "One-fifth of charities in the survey said their budgets for 2011 will be lower than for 2010, forcing many of them to look at cuts in services, salaries and staff."

Among the 20 percent of nonprofits anticipating reduced budgets next year, 66 percent say they will have to reduce programs, services or operating hours, 59 percent expect to cut or freeze staff salaries or benefits, and 49 percent are planning layoffs or hiring freezes.

"The Nonprofit Fundraising Survey: November 2010" is the first product of a collaboration involving six organizations that serve the nonprofit sector: the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Blackbaud, the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, the Foundation Center, GuideStar USA Inc., and the Urban Institute's National Center for Charitable Statistics.

"For the first time in two years, there is cause for cautious optimism about the nonprofit sector in this economy," said Bob Ottenhoff, president and CEO of GuideStar. "Nonetheless, in this latest study, as in all prior years, nonprofits also are reporting increased demand for their services. Even as giving increases, philanthropic dollars fall short of the amounts needed to help people in our country and abroad."

Demand for services increased at 78 percent of human service nonprofits and 68 percent of charities overall in 2010. Charities will be hard-pressed in 2011 to secure funding for growing needs, especially as individual and foundation donors are cautious about boosting support and other sources of funding — including government contracts for services — are cut.

"Younger, less well-established nonprofits have been especially hard hit by the recession," noted Lawrence T. McGill, vice president for research at the Foundation Center. "Many foundations, seeking to maximize more limited resources, have steered their grantmaking toward organizations they believe have the best chance to weather the economic storm."

Other Key NRC Survey Findings:

  • In four of eight subsectors, the share of organizations reporting an increase in contributions was about the same as the share reporting a decrease. The four with nearly equal percentages of organizations with giving up and giving down are: arts, education, environment/animals, and human services.
  • International organizations were the most likely to report an increase in contributions, reflecting donations made for disaster relief.
  • In three subsectors — health, public-society benefit, and religion — a larger share of the organizations reported declines than reported increases.
  • The larger an organization's annual expenditures, the more likely it reported an increase in charitable receipts in the first nine months of 2010 compared with the same period in 2009.
  • Most organizations were guardedly optimistic about 2011. Forty-seven percent plan budget increases, 33 percent expect to maintain their current level of expenditures, and 20 percent anticipate a lower budget for 2011.
The Collaborative and Survey Methodology

By working together, the Nonprofit Research Collaborative can reduce the number of surveys nonprofits are asked to complete, collect information more efficiently, and analyze it in more useful ways to create the benchmarks and trends that nonprofits and grant makers use to guide their work. Each partner has at least a decade of direct experience collecting information from nonprofits on charitable receipts, fundraising practices, and/or grantmaking activities. Survey participants will form a panel over time, allowing for trend comparisons among the same organizations. This approach provides more useful benchmarking information than repeated cross-sectional studies.

The first NRC survey, based on questions that GuideStar used for its annual economic surveys, was fielded between October 19 and November 3, 2010. It received 2,513 responses. More than 2,350 charities completed the questions, as did 163 foundations. The analysis for grant makers includes responses from charities that make grants but that are not foundations. These include United Ways, Jewish federations, congregations, and a number of other types of organizations. There were responses from 386 grant makers.

The respondents form a convenience sample. There is no margin of error or measure of statistical significance using this sampling technique, as it is not a random sample of the population studied. However, given the long-running nature of GuideStar's economic surveys and the strong relationship between findings in those studies in prior years and actual results once tax data about charitable giving are available, the method employed here is a useful barometer of what charities experience and what total giving will look like. In the future, the NRC surveys are expected to occur in early winter, spring, and fall every year.

"The Nonprofit Fundraising Survey: November 2010" (PDF), which includes responses broken down by types of nonprofits and budget size, can be downloaded at no charge from the Gain Knowledge area of the Foundation Center's web site.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Arts as an International Force for Change

Twenty-five Chinese Ministry of Culture executives just left my office. It was exciting to learn about Chinese cultural investment in projects -- from massive contemporary visual art colonies in Beijing and Shanghai to an exploding phenomenon of cultural festivals in cities and villages throughout their colossal country. They in turn were eager to learn how the arts industry is structured and supported in the United States. As they were leaving my office, 35 French, Belgian and Spanish business leaders arrived with the cultural officer from the French Embassy. They, too, were excited to learn how the arts industry is supported in the United States.

Last month, I was brought in to speak to arts groups and government and business leaders in Amsterdam; other Americans for the Arts staff members went or will go to Brussels, London, Korea, and Germany just this fall. Each of these countries wants to learn how the arts industry in America is supported and how private sector giving to the arts works. They are especially curious about how business donations "flow" into the bank accounts of U.S. arts organizations, and to capture the compelling arguments that motivate elected officials to "shower" the arts with public dollars and supportive policymaking in America.

What is going on? World governments are increasingly excited about the economic power of the arts and the value of cultural exchange in a changing world. Because the prodigious levels of government support in Europe and Asia are diminishing, they want to better understand our American advocacy techniques. And as they observe the sea of corporate logos on the backs of most U.S. performing arts programs, they want to know America's secret to eliciting substantial business support for the arts.

However, the leaders from these other countries are often quite disappointed when I tell them that the result of our mightiest, most sophisticated advocacy efforts generates just 9 percent of the total income for U.S. nonprofit arts organizations. Equally disappointing is that private sector support in America is only 31 percent, mostly from individuals. Business support -- despite all the logos and brand recognition -- is only about 5 percent. Yet these foreign leaders and delegations keep coming because they see the breadth of creative and innovative arts organization we have here. They see the freedom of ideas, the variety and the sheer pluck and entrepreneurial spirit of America's arts community.

In September 2009, at the Sundance Preserve, Robert Redford and I convened our fourth National Arts Policy Roundtable for CEOs, elected officials and opinion leaders to discuss how the arts strengthen 21st century global communities by helping create better understanding and stronger relationships between the U.S. and the world .

Thinking about this 21st century global marketplace, four key cultural imperatives jumped out:

  1. The arts are a global economic force.
  2. The arts are an aggressive part of today's international competitive marketplace.
  3. Improved cultural understanding is essential in international dialogue.
  4. The arts make dramatic contributions to our national security.

The report complements what has been a recent growth of dialogue and interest in making a case for the strength of the arts in U.S. diplomacy and with key decision-makers. Margaret (Peggy) Ayers at the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation has pioneered groundbreaking research on our private sector's role in supporting U.S. cultural exchange. Former Congressman John Brademas, with his Brademas Center for the Study of Congress' Project on Cultural Diplomacy at NYU, is spearheading an effort to reinvigorate Congress' role in supporting the arts in our cultural diplomacy efforts.

From the Huffington Post. Read more here.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Nonprofits Have Big Role in State

As Governor-Elect Andrew Cuomo and legislators shape their plans for New York next year, they should pay close attention to the state's vibrant not-for-profit sector, as it is the standard-bearer for innovation and service to the state and its people. The 80,000 not-for-profit organizations in the state play crucial roles: leading efforts to prevent or cure disease, alleviate poverty, advance education, address environmental and social concerns, and ennoble through culture.

New York's robust charitable sector, including such powerhouses as Columbia University, Sloan-Kettering, the Red Cross, the Ford Foundation and Lincoln Center, as well as community-based organizations, such as local drug-prevention programs, small community theaters and religion-based charities, help fuel the state's economy, generating over $150 billion in revenue annually and employing hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. Second in size only to the government as an employer in the city, the nonprofit sector provides more jobs than the financial and insurance industries combined.

Working together, state government and nonprofits can help maintain our state's primacy as innovator, incubator and magnet for investment. Here's how.

* Adjust taxes to encourage more giving. For example, reward taxpayers for increases in year-over-year charitable giving and incentivize artists to donate their work to charity auctions in support of good causes.

* Promote regulatory, administrative and legislative reforms that make it easier to start and operate nonprofits, especially in high-tech, medical research and green industries.

* Encourage and facilitate partnering among nonprofits and between them and for-profit businesses. For instance, provide a clearinghouse so that environmental groups can pair up with green-tech businesses or so arts-in-education organizations can collaborate with founders of charter schools.

* Incentivize nonprofits to hire recent college graduates to fill needed roles while they learn important lessons about professional development and social responsibility.

* Rearrange state budgets with existing charitable resources in mind. For example, recalibrate school aid and Medicaid expenditures so that public spending on students, the elderly and the disabled complements and stimulates private nonprofit resources and support.

* Safeguard against encroachments on sales- or property-tax -exemptions, which would hurt already-stretched hospitals, elder-care facilities and YMCAs.

* Promote visibility for worthy nonprofits by providing voluntary check-offs on state tax forms.

* Include nonprofit destinations in the state's promotion of tourism and convention activity.

* Make nonprofits part of New York's federal lobbying strategy.

The public's trust in state government may be at a low ebb, but public support for nonprofits endures. By recommitting himself to the well-being of our valuable nonprofit institutions, Mr. Cuomo can take important steps toward reclaiming the state's role as a national beacon and perpetuate its highest ideals.

by Lesley Freidman Rosenthal, for original article click here.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Funding Available for Park and Trail Groups: Only One Week Left to Apply

Parks & Trails New York is offering a new round of Capacity Building Grants for park and trail groups in New York State. The grants, of up to $3,000, can be used to assist with activities associated with organizational start-up and development, training, communications, and volunteer recruitment and management. The deadline for submitting applications is November 22, 2010.

For more information email Parks & Trails New York or call 518-434-1583.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Three Organizations Collaborating to Low Income Families with Thanksgiving Meals

The Mohawk Valley Latino Association, The NIA Group of Utica and Arts West Alliance have partnered to give free Thanksgiving Meals to low income families in Onieda and Herkimer counties.

MVLA and NIA are accepting the donations to purchase turkeys to add to the other food items donated, any amount is welcome and appreciated. Due to the fact that, Thanksgiving is here, please send your donations as soon as possible, as this is a time sensitive request.

Donations are being accepted at the addresses below:

MVLA, Inc.
309 Genesee Street, 3rd Floor
Utica, NY 13501
315-738-1083, Extension 147

The NIA Group of Utica, Inc.
PO Box 394
Utica, NY 13503

Thanks! Gracias!

Sonia Martinez Kay Lanaux Harmony Speciale
Chairman/President Chairman Founder & Director
MVLA, Inc. The NIA Group of Utica Arts West Alliance

People can come on Sunday, November 21, 2010, 3-5 PM, at the New Renainnace Center, 7 Rutger Park, corners of Seymour and Rutger streets., to pick up a box of healthy foods and a turkey to enjoy on this special holiday time.

For other details and/or questions, please see, contact information above this message.
Mohawk Valley Latino, Inc.
309 Genesee Street, 3rd Floor
Utica, NY 13501
315/738-1083, X121 or 147
MVLA in facebook
Motivation * Vision * Latin Pride * Attitude
Motivacion * Vision * Orgullo Latino * Actitud

Friday, November 12, 2010

Merger pending for MV Council on Alcoholism and Family Services of the MV

From the OD: Officials are hoping a merger will help two area nonprofit agencies do more with the same resources.

The agencies – Family Services of the Mohawk Valley and Mohawk Valley Council on Alcoholism/Addictions – are waiting for permission from the state secretary of state’s office to merge into a combined agency called the Center for Family Life & Recovery. The target date for the merger is Jan. 1.

“We’re not two agencies that have been forced to do this because we’re in trouble (financially),” council Executive Director Cassandra Sheets said. “We chose to do it because we really saw an opportunity to make something work and to marry two services.”

The combined agency would continue to work out of existing offices for both agencies until its housing needs are determined, officials said.

Sheets is expected to remain as executive director of the merged agencies. Family Services Executive Director Herb Freeman has been working part-time since his originally planned retirement date of June 30, and will retire officially Dec. 31.

No layoffs are planned as a result of the merger and services should continue without disruption, Sheets said.

Sheets said she hopes the new center will be able to offer more professional development training for area human-services workers and more support services for people who have completed some kind of recovery program, such as for addiction, alcoholism or mental health.

Alcohol and drugs often play a role in the problems addressed by Family Services and other human-service agencies, Sheets noted. Alcohol-and-drug education should be infused throughout the human-services system, she said.

The two agencies already do a lot of similar work, Freeman noted. Both serve what he called “mandated clients.” The council provides a program for convicted drunk drivers who want to get their licenses back, Freeman said. And Family Services provides court-ordered programs for men convicted of battering women or of sexually abusing children, and for parents who have lost or face losing custody of their children due to neglect or abuse, he said.

“In the area of mandated clients, that seemed like a very good fit,” Freeman said. “And we also know historically that alcohol and drug abuse is a major issue for families where there’s a neglect issue for children.”

Family Services counselors also have the necessary skill to help with the employee-assistance program offered to area employers by the council, he said.

Freeman also said that Family Services’ strategic plan has always called for more work in prevention, an area in which the council is already active.

Recognizing the Impact of Community Foundations

During the week of November 12-18, 2010, The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties will join more than 700 community foundations across America for Community Foundation Week activities. Community foundations represent one of the fastest-growing forms of philanthropy in the United States and hold nearly $50 billion in assets. Every state in the U.S. is home to at least one community foundation—large and small, urban, and rural—that is fostering local collaboration and innovation to address persistent civic and economic challenges.

“In a down economy, with limited resources, and a growing need for services to help families in need, we are more determined than ever to bring our community partners together to find innovative and effective solutions to some of our most challenging social problems,” said Foundation President/CEO Peggy O’Shea. “Our community is stepping up and getting more creative in how we provide support that people need during tough times.”

The Community Foundation recently collaborated with Mohawk Valley EDGE and United Way of the Valley and greater Utica Area on a Community Indicators project, to identify our area’s greatest needs. The Community Foundation also funded literacy studies for the greater Utica area and Herkimer County, which paved the way for two New York State Department of Higher Education Literacy Zones and leveraged $1.5M in funding for the programs.

Further, the Foundation established a Corporate Partners Program with area businesses to galvanize charitable resources and maximize their impact for public good, recognizing that “we can do more together than alone,” in the words of President/CEO O’Shea. To date in 2010, nearly 300 grants and $1.8 million have been distributed to charities serving the community to meet essential needs.

Launched in 1989 through a proclamation by former President George H.W. Bush, the first Community Foundation Week included a congressional briefing about the work of community foundations throughout America and their collaborative approach to working with the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to address community problems.

Nonprofit Businesses of the Year Announced by Mohawk Valley Chamber and Mohawk Valley Business Journal

The Mohawk Valley Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with The Mohawk Valley Business Journal, selected the finalists for the 2010 "Business of the Year Awards."

The finalists in the nonprofit with more than 50 employees category are First Source Federal Credit Union and Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute. Finalists in the nonprofit with fewer than 50 employees category are Kids Oneida, The Peacemaker Program, and The Children's Museum of History, Science & Technology.

The chamber will announce the award winners Dec. 16 at a luncheon at Twin Ponds in New York Mills. Richard Hanna, who won the race for the 24th Congressional District seat in the House of Representatives, is the keynote speaker for the event, which begins at noon.

Tickets are $30 per person. For reservations or more information, contact the chamber at 724-3151 or

Award sponsors include Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, Benefit Specialists of NY, Faxton-St. Luke's Healthcare, and Holland Farms.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Nonprofit Times TV

Nonprofit Times TV has a collection of webcasts and other videos directed specifically to nonprofits and their needs and interests. Videos cover not just current news, but issues such as fundraising, volunteer management, legal issues, and finance. Most videos are less than three minutes, giving necessary information without taking too much time. Users can also submit their own videos to share ideas with others in the sector.

Their current webcast discusses the loss of revenue of national nonprofit organizations and the Jerry Lewis telethon. Check out Nonprofit Times TV here.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Phish Show Benefits For the Good

Phish. Uitca. 2010 Tour. They’re back. This time not in Syracuse or Albany – they rocked Utica. Hard. The over-capacity crowd was set ablaze on Oct. 20th as Phish got real dirty, real quick, and showed us once again that they are back and better than ever.

One local “phan” anticipated that the smaller, more intimate arena show at the Memorial Auditorium was going to be a “clinic.” He was right.

It is widely known that Phish is playing at a level unmatched by any previous incarnations of the musical phenomenon. This is why phans young an old assembled from all corners of the continent to witness what was anticipated and billed as potentially the best night of the 2010 tour thus far – the band did not disappoint...

With the exception of the unfortunate police arrests of out-of-towners, the show, which sold out in 18 minutes was a joy for all to behold.

The energy and the way in which Phish wove in and out of their jams signaled their appreciation for a small venue. Followers have begun to compare the quality of the Utica dispatch with the 2009 Albany and Syracuse shows. For those that attended each of the respective shows the verdict has consistently been that the energy and excitement at the Utica Auditorium was packed to the point that the vigor of other shows pale in comparison to reception Utica received.

The real story concerns Utica, Phish and hope. CEO of For The Good, Inc., Cassandra Harris-Lockwood entered her organization for consideration by The WaterWheel Foundation. The Waterwheel Foundation was created by Phish in 1997 to oversee the band’s various charitable activities. The Touring Division of Waterwheel has worked with the band to benefit a select non-profit (picked by the band) in every market that Phish visits on tour. The net proceeds raised at each show- fan donations plus the sale of WaterWheel logo merchandise and items autographed by the band- are donated to the selected organization after deducting overhead costs.

The WaterWheel Foundation chooses non-profits from a large sphere of needs including social services, primarily those benefiting women and children; environmental, with a focus on clean water and land conservation; as well as food banks, urban gardening and more. To date, WaterWheel has donated over $750,000 to more then 325 groups. Accordingly, For The Good, Inc. was picked by the band to be the beneficiary of the donations and sales from merchandise at the Utica show. The band was gifted a generous basket of delicious selections from For The Good, Inc.’s Community Gardens that initially interested the group in the work done by the organization here in Utica.

The affirmation of the work done by For The Good, Inc. here in Utica, by one of the world’s best known musical acts is not the first time international artisans have commended the efforts of the city’s lone change agent. In 2008 Academy Award winning actor Adrien Brody donated $50,000 to For The Good for the Study Buddy Club and its Arts Program.

“Phish provided For The Good with an amazing opportunity to showcase their Community Gardens, the Study Buddy Club, the Mohawk Valley Contractor’s Guild and our independent publication, the Utica Phoenix,” Harris-Lockwood remarked. “We are very grateful to Phish for recognizing our hard work and dedication to our community. We are also thankful for this funding opportunity and the support to continue the work that we do.”

With the influx of patrons to the area in observance of the show, the local economy felt the holistic benefits of the unique brand of industry that Phish brings to town. Hotels were sold out, bars and clubs were packed before and after the show and food/wares vendors (local and visiting) benefited from the event. Friends reunited under a common banner of the positive enjoyment of music and in the process enriched the greater community.

Someone who has been a seminal phan experiencing Phish 3.0, one is very much elated seeing the quartet not at all mitigated by the past, in fact, in its most brilliant manifestation to date. The live Phish experience is a celebration, an ongoing conversation and a rowdy exploration of that unmistakable brand of music.

Phish elected Utica as worthy location amidst their history-making 2010 tour, while additionally making a presentation as unique and special as any performance to date. If Phish recognizes the positive energy, cultural appreciation for the arts, and the vibrant history that is alive here in Utica, while personally anointing the progress and good work that is being done, we have much to be thankful for. With one of the worst economic situations in the state, Utica needed the uplifting energy, grassroots commerce and communal encouragement to remind us that we are very much on the map. Phish, along with Utica are here to stay, and this is only the beginning.

From Utica

Sunday, October 31, 2010

"Nonprofit Spark": A Radio Talk Show for New and Emerging Nonprofits

"Nonprofit Spark" is weekly radio talk show through The Voice America hosted by Renee McGivern, a Minnesota-based nonprofit consultant. This show, launched in September, is focused on spurring dialogue on issues of emerging and new organizations. Check out her show live on Thursdays at 8am EST or catch up on past episodes on her show's webpage.

About the Host: Renee McGivern has 30 years of experience working in nonprofits and trade associations. She’s worn the hats of development, communications and executive director and also spent a great deal of her career designing training seminars for the newspaper industry. McGivern’s passion is to facilitate learning, communication and action so life works for people and organizations. “Nonprofit Spark is the first national radio show devoted to new and emerging nonprofits,” says McGivern. “It’s my dream job - to spark learning and action so leaders are effective at making a huge difference in the world.”

Friday, October 29, 2010

New York Nonprofit Press: Camp Finance

The New York Nonprofit Press reports that over 250 people turned out for this year’s Camp Finance hosted by the New York Council of Nonprofits (NYCON) on September 30th and October 1st.

The event, which was held at Mohonk Mountain House, featured a keynote addess by Tim Delaney, Executive Director of the National Council of Nonprofits on “The Future of Our Sector: State and National Trends You Should Know About”.

Elliot Pagliaccio, Assistant Comptroller for Strategic Planning & Program Effectiveness kicked off day two with a discussion on “Strengthening the NYS & Nonprofit Sector Relationship: Reforming Procurement & Prompt Payment in New York State.”

More than 25 workshops were offered in a series of “tracks” on such topics as Basic Nonprofit Accounting, Nonprofit Accountability & Compliance. Fundraising & Marketing, and Grantmaking Today.

Camp Finance also included the recognition of Edward S. Mucenski, CPA of Potsdam, NY as the 2010 recipient of the Michael H. Urbach, CPA Community Builder’s Award. The New York Council of Nonprofits, Inc. (NYCON) and the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA) co-sponsor the seventh annual award. The award recognizes exemplary achievements of a certified public accountant who serves on the board(s) of directors of charitable organizations.

Mucenski has been a Shareholder/Director in the firm of Pinto Mucenski Hooper Van House & Co., P.C. in Potsdam, New York since 1984 and is currently serving as the Chief Executive Officer of the firm. Prior to that time, he had worked for the firm of Ernst & Ernst in Syracuse, NY. He has served in a variety of board leadership roles over an extended period of time, including Chairman and Vice-Chair of the St. Joseph’s Addiction Treatment & Recovery Centers; Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Canton-Potsdam Hospital; Treasurer of Mater Dei Foundation; and is past Treasurer of the Rotary Club of Potsdam. He also serves as a board member on Community Bank, N.A. and St. Mary’s Church Finance Council.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Steering Committee Minutes: Planning for Dec 6th and 2011

Mohawk Valley Nonprofit Leaders Group Steering Committee
October 25

Present: Cornelia E. Brown, MAMI Interpreters; Lorraine Kinney-Kitchen , Mid-York Child Care Coordiating Council, Inc; Jeff Owen, USC The Business College; Darby O'Brien, Utica Library; Tim Trent; Kevin Marken, Stanley Center for the Arts

• Recap of the October 6th ED and Board Working Together panel discussion
o Will focus on the topic of ED and Board Partnership on an annual basis
 2011 will offer separate general sessions for EDs and board members and then joint session

• Half day conference approach with breakouts
o Suggestions received for ED focus include
 How do you deal with a board member who continues to want to be involved with day to day activities?
 Board dysfunction as a result of personality conflicts and agendas and what to do?
 Staffing issues
o Suggestions for Board focus include
 What to look for in the financial reports?
 How do you deal with an inappropriate board member?

• Focus for next program meeting, set for December 6
o Social and networking focus
 Will ask EDs to bring 3 ideas or challenges they would like to see the ED Group address

• More specifically, will have easels with notepads around the room listing questions for the participants to address
o Examples: Biggest financial challenge/issue; fund development challenge/issue; board need/challenge; special event challenge/issue; leadership challenge/issue; biggest challenge/issue in general
 Details

• Participants invited to bring materials to share

• Meeting held at Stanley
o 5 to 7pm
o $15 fee
 Light food, soda, coffee, and cash wine and beer bar

• 2011 Planning
o Will have next Steering Committee meeting on Dec 13 to discuss outcomes of Dec 6th meeting and plan for next year
o Ideas
 Recruiting board members
 Leadership

Next Steering Committee Meeting: December 13th at 9am located at Stanley Performing Arts Center

Thursday, October 21, 2010

October 6 Program ED and the Board Working Together: Watch the Discussion!

Missed the Mohawk Valley Nonprofit Leaders Group October 6th Program? Watch the panel discussion on the ED and the Board Working Together: Keys to Success.

Here's more video from the panel on NYCON's YouTube Channel.

The panel featured:
Facilitator: Kevin Marken, Stanley Center for the Arts

Jan Forte, Homeownership Center
Kelly Blazosky, Oneida County Tourism
Peggy O'Shea, The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties, Inc.
Larry Gilroy, Board Member
Jim Stewart, Stewart Consulting

Questions Discussed:
o What is EDs responsibility for board development?
o What is/how do you define the relationship between the board and ED?
o What are the ethics and issues regarding developing a board focused on mission or community politics?
o How do you keep reinforcing mission and focus of board?
o How do you (and who) set board expectations, get commitment, and monitor/facilitate them?
o How do you communicate and convey obligations and other related info to the board and make them understand?
o How do you clarify and emphasize the importance of conflict of interests and priority issues for the board?
o How much involvement should board members have in daily activities?
o What is the nomination process and what works and what doesn't?

Lawsuits: GroWest's leaders responsible for improprieties

Imagine a dysfunctional nonprofit agency, filled with corruption and negligence at every level.

That’s the picture of GroWest Inc. painted in five state Supreme Court lawsuits obtained Wednesday by the O-D.

Some of the most egregious allegations are made against John Denelsbeck, the agency’s former executive director. One complaint filed by GroWest claimed Denelsbeck orchestrated bid rigging and masked the nonprofit’s financial problems from the board of directors.

“Denelsbeck used inside program information, such as project cost estimates to manipulate the bidding process to ensure that preferred contractors got particular jobs,” the complaint states.

Those contractors then called for bogus emergency repairs and other project changes to raise costs, according to the complaint. In some cases, the contractors used construction materials obtained through GroWest funds for personal use, according to the court documents.

The four separate legal actions filed by GroWest against its former officials and contractors claim various monetary damages ranging from $439,003 to more than $7.4 million. A fifth complaint filed by the city against GroWest and its former leaders also claims damages of more than $7.4 million.

Attorney Mark Wolber, who is representing Denelsbeck, said the former executive director did nothing wrong. Wolber took issue with how the allegations were compiled and questioned why Denelsbeck never was interviewed during a city investigation into the nonprofit.

“I find it a bit difficult to understand how anyone attempting to investigate can get a fair picture of the situation without explanation from both sides,” Wolber said.

Read more of the OD's article here.

Monday, October 18, 2010

NYS Society of CPAs Discusses Family Foundations: Oct 20 Program


Date: Wednesday October 20, 2010
Place: Radisson Hotel
200 Genesee Street
Utica, New York

Schedule: Registration/Breakfast Buffet: 7:30 - 8:00
Seminar: 8:00 - 10:00

Please join the Utica Chapter of NYSSCPA for this exciting discussion on family foundations. Our speaker, Bryan Clontz, will discuss the attributes of private foundations, community foundations, and supporting organizations and review the advantages and drawbacks of each. Mr. Clontz is the president and co-founder of Charitable Solutions, LLC, and specializes in non-cash asset receipt and liquidation, gift annuity reinsurance brokerage, gift annuity risk management consulting, life insurance appraisals and CRT/CGA investment management. His company’s website is: He also serves as a Senior Consultant for Ekstrom & Associates – a Connecticut-based community foundation consulting firm.

This seminar is graciously co-sponsored by The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties and their generous Corporate Partners: Bank of America, Bank of Utica, Carbone Auto Group, Cathedral Corporation, Fastrac Markets, JAY-K Independent Lumber, M. Griffith Investment Services, NBT Bank, Pacemaker Steel & Piping Company, Strategic Financial Services and Staffworks.

Discussion Leader: Bryan Clontz
Course code: 29101101.
The cost for the meeting will be $15 per person.

Please mail your reservation and payment by check to Scott Hosler, c/o Gruver, Zweifel & Scott, LLP, 7936 Seneca Turnpike, Clinton, NY 13323 by Wednesday October 13, 2010. Reservations may also be faxed to 797-0305 or e-mailed to Checks should be made payable to NYSSCPA – Utica.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

How Much Does Your Program Really Cost?

From the National Council of Nonprofits' Nonprofit Knowledge Matters October Newsletter:

Your Mission: What Does it Really Cost?

Too often the grant or contract a nonprofit receives to deliver a program or service, whether from a foundation or the government, simply does not cover the full cost of delivering that program or service. This problem is highlighted in the National Council's recent Special Report: Costs, Complexification, and Crisis: Government’s Human Services Contracting "System" Hurts Everyone. The report illustrates how government contracts that do not cover the full cost of services cut into the muscle of the nonprofit providing the services, and ultimately weaken our communities.
In fact, failure to cover the full cost of services and programs was the #1 problem uncovered by the first-ever national survey documenting the serious and widespread problems experienced by nonprofit human service providers under contract with local, state and federal governments. View the findings from the survey conducted by the Urban Insitute.

The "full cost recovery" problem is echoed by the experience of nonprofits receiving funding from private philanthropy. Foundation grants frequently fall short of covering the actual cost to the nonprofit of delivering programs and services covered by the grant. For instance, a survey by Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) found that only 20 percent of foundations say that their grants "often or always" include the appropriate overhead to cover the amount of time grantees spend reporting on their grants. Read a national study by GEO.
In order for nonprofits to be sustainable this paradigm has to change.

Whether from the perspective of capacity builders, or nonprofits that are striving to build their own capacity, we should recognize that part of the problem – and a big step towards a solution – lies with nonprofits themselves. Here are three things you can do:
  1. Know how to calculate the full cost of delivering programs and services – not the "budgeted" costs (often a euphemism for anticipated or projected costs) but the actual costs of service delivery.
  2. Advocate for your organization by communicating the actual costs of program delivery to funding sources.
  3. Communicate to funders that shortchanging nonprofits by not paying the full cost of service delivery is a barrier to the sustainability of individual nonprofits.
The bottom line is that without knowing how much to ask for, and without receiving full cost recovery, nonprofits will never be able to build their capacity or provide sustainable services to our communities.

Wondering where to start? The National Council's Capacity Building Hub shares resources to help nonprofits understand and calculate the full cost of delivering their mission, and to help grantmakers understand the importance of full cost recovery.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

New Website Trains Volunteers; RSVP site offers information, accessibility

The Oneida Dispatch reported that RSVP, a program that matches adults 55 and over with community service organizations, has launched a new website set to aid volunteer recruitment.

“This website will help us move into the 21st century,” says Mary Bartlett, RSVP’s director. She says she expects this website to help recruit volunteers because it makes the organization more accessible.

The website offers an application RSVP uses to place applicants at an organization based upon their skills and interests.

The site as launched earlier this month.
The organization has been working since the beginning of the year to recruit volunteers because of increased needs at local community organizations and charities.

Some of the programs available are a tax counseling program, adult literacy tutors, defensive driving instructors, resident advocate, citizen corp and habitat for humanity.

A grant from the Central New York Community Foundation has made the RSVP recruitment drive possible.

For more information call RSVP at 684-3001 or visit:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

MVLA General Membership October Meeting Notice

Who: The Mohawk Valley Latino Association, Inc. (MVLA)

What: Junta General de Miembros/ General Membership Meeting ~ 2010

Where: El Canelo Restaurant, 1909 Genesee Street (Price Chopper Plaza), Utica, NY

When: Sabado, 23 de Octubre / Saturday, October 23, 2010

Time: 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

We encourage your attendance and participation. Please feel free to bring a friend or family member along. Our meetings are informational, full of energy, ideas, and most importantly very beneficial to the Latino community.

Contact Information:
Mohawk Valley Latino Association, Inc.
309 Genesee Street (Park Ave. Entrance) 3rd Floor, Utica, NY
(315)738-1083 ext. 121 or 147
RSVP by: Friday, October 22, 2010

MVLA, Inc. Mission Statement:
To improve the standard of living for all residents of the Mohawk Valley through various services that will educate, empower, achieve awareness among

Different cultures, help shape young minds, and demonstrate the great opportunities available within the Mohawk Valley.

2009-2012 Executive Board
Sonia Martinez, Chairman / President
Kay Lanaux, Interim Treasurer
Marabella Colón, Executive Secretary
Open Position, Member-At-Large
Cira Foster, Member-At-Large
LaToya Richardson, Member-At-Large
Tim Trent, Board Advisor

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Mapping Tool Fosters Strategic Grantmaking in Education

New York, NY — October 12, 2010. The Foundation Center has launched Philanthropy In/Sight®: Education, an innovative data visualization tool that helps grantmakers maximize their investments in education. The tool is available through the organization's Foundations for Education Excellence web portal, a knowledge hub for funders researching best practices and funding opportunities in the field. Through support from the C.S. Mott and JPMorgan Chase foundations, education funders can register to use the tool free of charge at the project web site.

"Foundations are driving fundamental change in our system of education," said Foundation Center president, Bradford Smith. "Now more than ever, they are looking to be more strategic and to increase the impact of their grantmaking. Philanthropy In/Sight: Education, gives them a virtual GPS for tracking the flow of education funds, whether it's across the country, around the world, or in their own backyards."

Philanthropy In/Sight: Education, a customized version of the Foundation Center's Philanthropy In/Sight® mapping tool, is the only resource of its kind to offer comprehensive data on who is giving and who is getting grants across all areas of education, from pre-K learning to preparation for college and career. More than 1,100 grant subject terms can be chosen to hone in on programmatic areas. In addition, a menu of geo-targeting tools allows grantmakers to map the locations of organizations and determine funding gaps in countries, states, cities, counties, metropolitan areas, and ZIP codes — as well as in school and congressional districts. By combining the Center's data with Google maps, grantmakers can quickly view information on funding relationships and giving trends in engaging visual formats.

According to product manager, Dave Clark, "Philanthropy In/Sight: Education is a powerful tool that can help grantmakers better target their programs. The ability to overlay dynamic grants information with a wide array of demographic, socio-economic, and other data will help shine a light on areas of greatest need." The data — including population, income, housing, and education-focused statistics — are drawn from authoritative sources such as the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Department of Education, and the American Human Development Index.

Videos guide funders through real-world scenarios that show how to use Philanthropy In/Sight: Education to best advantage, including how to identify potential funding partners and grantees. "A key benefit of the tool," said Clark, "is its ability to foster collaborations between individuals and like-minded organizations. It's an effective way to connect the dots for a more vivid picture of the funding landscape in education."

About the Foundation Center
Established in 1956 and today supported by close to 550 foundations, the Foundation Center is the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide. Through data, analysis, and training, it connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to succeed. The Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. and, increasingly, global grantmakers and their grants — a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance knowledge of philanthropy at every level. Thousands of people visit the Center's web site each day and are served in its five regional library/learning centers and its network of 450 funding information centers located in public libraries, community foundations, and educational institutions nationwide and beyond. For more information, please visit or call (212) 620-4230.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

National Study Shows Government's Unfair Business Practices Hurt New York State Charities

Albany, N.Y. – October 6th, 2010 – The Urban Institute will be releasing a ground breaking national study this morning regarding government contracting and payment practices with human service nonprofits. The report, Human Service Nonprofits and Government Collaboration: Findings from the 2010 National Survey of Nonprofit Government Contracts and Grants, provides essential national and New York State data on contracting practices.

The study is based on survey data for 2009. It ranks late government payments to nonprofits in New York State as being the 9th worst in the country. Payments were commonly late 90 days or more despite the fact that New York is the only state in the country with a “Prompt Contracting” law designed to protect nonprofits from late contracts and payments. This finding reinforces data produced by the State Comptroller that shows that 90% of all state payments are late. The study also revealed that the processes of applying for and reporting on state contracts is seen as problematically complex and time consuming by over 70% of the nonprofits.

Other rankings specific to New York State include:

· Ranked 11th in the list of worst offenders with respect to
mid-term changes to contracts.

· Ranked 20th in having contracts that do not cover the full cost of the services being performed. Related findings include that 47% of the nonprofits report contracts requiring them to share the cost of full service and over 60% reporting limitations on reimbursement for administrative or overhead expenses incurred.

Our state’s nonprofits have, historically, been resilient when it comes to putting mission and people first, often absorbing the financial loses and risks associated with doing business with government,” states Doug Sauer, Chief Executive Officer of the New York Council of Nonprofits (NYCON). He further observes, “These are very difficult times for all. Community-based nonprofits are on the front lines of the crisis in human needs that people across the state are facing. Sadly, the inability of our government leaders to responsibly manage their budgets and be fair in their contractual commitments, are now pushing many charities to the financial breaking point. In essence, government appears to be expecting charitable donors, who are also taxpayers, to subsidize its cash flow. ”

The problem has worsened. A recent survey conducted by NYCON shows that the over 80% of nonprofits report that the contracting and payment problems with the State of New York have worsened in 2010 over 2009. To cope with the state´s business practices, over 60% of charities have reduced services or eliminated programs. Most have had to draw on their charitable reserves and/or borrow money.

To help strengthen the partnership between government and nonprofits NYCON, working closely with the Comptroller’s Office and other State agencies, launched an “Ombudsman Program” to help nonprofits navigate the New York State contracting and payments process as well as, over time, improve the efficiency and timeliness of the State’s processing of nonprofit business.

“Not-for-profits are struggling to provide crucial services to New York families,” said New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. "When state agencies fail to approve contracts and make payments on deadline, they make the problem worse. Many not-for-profits already face significant challenges, and when contracts are delayed and payments aren’t made, the situation gets even tougher."

We need to fix this system,” stated Doug Sauer. “We call on all parties, including candidates for office, to commit to working together for responsible solutions.”

Complete study available now at

Thursday, September 30, 2010

6th Annual Gala for the Mohawk Valley Latino Association

The Mohawk Valley Latino Association’s annual Hispanic Heritage Celebration will conclude with a dance event on Saturday, October 9, 2010. It will be a celebration of Hispanic culture featuring exhibitions of various Latin dances by professional and amateur dancers, as well as a performance by the Latino Association’s own children’s dance group – Ritmo Caribeno.


Saturday, October 9, 2010 at the Alumni Center at Mohawk Valley Community College
1101 Sherman Drive Utica, NY
6:00pm - midnight

$35 per person, $60 per couple, $250 for table of 8, $25 for students with I.D. and seniors

Dinner with special Hispanic dishes - Cash Bar - Dessert - DJ & Dancing - Performance by Ritmo Caribeno

See our talented professional and amateur dancers showcase the hottest Latin dances, learn about their origin and then hit the floor yourself and DANCE!

The Dancers

- Dr. Aymme Belen & Dr. Martin Morell dance the Bachata
- David & Marilyn Katz dance the Cha Cha
- Sam Jones & Sandy DePerno dance the Merengue
- Tony Colon & Beth Soggs dance the Salsa
- Frank Elias, Cassandra Harris-Lockwood & Evon Ervin dance the Tango
- Cristina Nudo, Cira Foster, Stephany Rodriguez and Lazaro Miranda dance a Cuban Rumba show
Choreography by Miss Laurie Hotaling


Call 738-1083 ext. 147 or email

What does the Latino Association do?

Our mission is to improve the standards of living for ALL residents of the Mohawk Valley through various services that will help educate, achieve awareness among the different cultures, help shape the young minds and highlight the great opportunities available in the Mohawk Valley.

MVLA has increased the awareness in our communities by establishing programs such as:

• Spanish GED Instructions

• Referrals to ESL adult classes and American citizenship classes

• Access to health care insurance and affordable housing

• Self Improvement Focus meeting groups (Financial Literacy, Travel and Membership)

• Founded a children’s dance group to increase awareness of the Latino cultural history and enrich the youth in our community