Post newsgroup Publicationwww.postnewsgroup.com Weekly Edition Sept. 21-27, 2011 48th Year, No. 12
Non Profit Pointers
Youth Nonprofits Are Growing, Are They Effective?
By Lenora Williams
It’s time to think outside of the box! Our youth are smart, ready for fresh perspectives, and a lot more of our time and support for their ideas. Many youth nonprofits have funds without young people( youth) to fill the programs. Others have youth with ideas,but limited funds to expand programs that will ignite their creativity.
Is everything in place? Government agencies have created youth programs and dedicated funding. Are these government programs thoroughly addressing the needs of our youth?
All youth government and nonprofit programs regardless of their funding source need to be annually assessed for their impact on our communities. Perhaps our youth should weigh in on how well they are being served? If youth–on-youth crime is an indicator, are there more youth that need community based programs than there are nonprofit groups meeting their needs?
What is the responsibility of today’s youth nonprofits? How can we offer more services to our youth while facing dwindling funds in an extraordinarily tough economy? There are volumes of youth nonprofits,which reflect a variety of programs and venues; churches, charter schools, health clinics,sports, music, arts, judicial, theater, etc. In 1990, the United States as reported by the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) had over 17,000youth nonprofit organizations,in 2009, the NCCS indicated that there are 1.5 million youth nonprofit organizations in the United States. Today we have churches forming grant funded nonprofits serving both faith based and street corner youth programs.
We have charter schools forming nonprofits trying to fix our failing urban school systems. Music, art, and theater programs continue to be cut from inner city public schools.These programs were the cornerstone of our existence beyond the traditional classroom learning. Charter schools are trying to step up to the plate but with limited resources. Their marketing budgets are lean and in most cases, their outreach produces fewer recruits than desired. Like many of our youth nonprofits, charter schools tend to be great institutions with low enrollment and awesome success stories. Our youth are still in sub-standard learning environments, and they have fewer goals and dreams.
By collaborating with schools some nonprofits provide the services and programs that our schools have eliminated, but we still need more. For more information on nonprofit sustainability, and, youth funding sources, please go to my website www.williamsllnonprofitcorner.com.
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Youth Groups set the tone July 27, 2011 By Lenora Williams
Youth nonprofits set the tone for America’s future. We need youth speaking up to build stronger communities. Youth all over the country are establishing their own nonprofits and heading up nonprofit agendas. Our youth have become entrepreneurs by figuring out ways to develop their own community based businesses in the nonprofit arena. These self-serving nonprofits are driven by their creativity along with the desire to direct and shape their visions. We applaud youth Movement Records(youth radio nonprofit in the bay area),and other nonprofits that are being created and or spear headed by adolescence. Youth on the radio are using their voice and choice of music as an opportunity to reach their peers. Other youth-to-youth community groups such as; Foot Soldiers in Brooklyn, New York who clean, shovel, and sweep the neighborhood's; New Zealand Youth Delegation, NZYD who channel communications between New Zealand's youth community and the political sphere, Project ARC, and youth in Philanthropy Canada, all exemplify that young people can not only represent themselves well, but also forge alliances which move agendas with a mission and purpose. Youth do respond to youth, so often acknowledge this negatively as peer pressure. However youth community based organizations have used peer influence as an effective mechanism for building their communities.
Youth nonprofit funds, There are different types of funding for all nonprofits: Federal, state, county, city, foundations, philanthropist, private businesses, and individuals. New methods exist for obtaining funds for nonprofits. As we progress paper submissions are disappearing, you must apply on-line. Letters introducing your organization to the funder called LOIs are on the way out as well. Your organization most times has to be invited to apply by some of the more well known funders. Funders are narrowing their focus to fund specific areas and groups. Nonprofits must spend time researching who will fund them, how to get their attention and funding time lines.
I have done a little bit of homework for you locating a few youth nonprofit funders. To see my Face book page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Williamsllpostnonprofitcorner/132836066768629or my website www.williamsllnonprofitcorner.com. Keep in mind paying for a good grant writer is a sound investment. A grant writer is only as good as the information or materials provided to them by you about your organization. Some organizations have staff that run programs and write grants. The grant writer must know the agency to write a good grant, or ensure extensive research is done to extract the information needed from the program staff. Your grant writer tells your story!
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
- John Quincy Adams
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When it comes to business development, Lenora Williams knows what she is talking about. She is certified in accounting, business, compliance and ethics and has over 20 years of experience.
Originally from New York and now living in the Bay Area, she has embraced non-profit business and became an advocate for this rapidly growing industry. For the past 10 years, she has been working as a consultant helping non-profits to reach their highest potential.
“My personal mission is to empower non-profits in a way that will allow them to continue to provide services to the voiceless,” she said.
Williams attended Stony brook University and has a master’s degree in finance. She started working with non-profits while she was a budget finance director with the City of Oakland, helping non-profit corporations seeking funding or property to lease.
However, this job was not fulfilling, she said. “All the money was not bringing me happiness – it was bringing me grief,” she said. "I wanted to find something where I could make money and give back at the same time.”
Williams found that balance when she and her business partner opened Alhambra Academy in the 1990s,a nonprofit school under the umbrella of a fiscal agent in Oakland. “My daughter was the first student in the school,” she said.
“We created the school to educate our children because we were doing public and private school, home schooling, a nd we weren’t satisfied.”
The school leased space from the company she worked with, starting with four to five students and grew. It lasted for six years.
Her desire to give back and her business expertise inspired Williams to stay in business for herself, helping non-profits build and maintain strong foundations. Her clients include charter schools and Head Start centers in the Bay Area, education and youth programs, as well as multi-community service programs and health centers.
She offers help with finances, compliance training and ways to build capacity and stability.
“I’m the ‘brain child’ to help get businesses out of trouble and be successful, whether they’re in bankruptcy or trying to expand. Most non-profits live and die by the grant; so most don’t have a foundation. It is time for non-profits to explore collaborations and mergers with non-profit businesses that offer the same services. “
Non-profits play an important role in the community, providing services from sheltering the homeless to health services for the elderly, housing assistance, youth programs in arts and entertainment, and sports.
Many churches have adopted a business mindset in creating their own non-profit corporations, offering youth services and health prevention programs.
Williams sees a need for more programs that cater to the needs of today’s youth.
“I would suggest that non-profits begin to consider creating youth advisory boards that report to the Board of Directors,” she said. “The youth boards should consist of youth in their respective communities, and they should be diverse in culture, economics and active members of their community. I believe creating a youth voice will begin to create change in the direction of services provided for youth.”