Fairmount Supports the New Neighborhood Gardens Trust

Drew Becker, President of the Philadelphia Horticultural Society (right) unveils the new logo for the Neighborhood Gardens Trust.

Drew Becker, President of the Philadelphia Horticultural Society (right) unveils the new logo for the Neighborhood Gardens Trust.

The Neighborhood Gardens Trust (NGT), formerly known as the Neighborhood Gardens Association (NGA) unveiled their new name, logo, and future plans at the Summer Winter Garden near Drexel University.

An affiliate of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), NGT’s primary mission is to acquire and preserve community gardens and share open spaces to foster neighborhood community. As cities evolve, including Philadelphia’s rapid population growth, there is greater competition for space. NGT, in partnership with PHS wants to ensure there is a quality number of open green spaces for Philadelphia’s communities.

Margaret McCarvill, Board President of the Neighborhood Gardens Trust poses at the Summer Winter Community Garden near Drexel University.

Margaret McCarvill, Board President of the Neighborhood Gardens Trust, poses at the Summer Winter Community Garden near Drexel University.

In the early 2000’s when the Neighborhood Gardens Trust was known as the Neighborhood Gardens Association, leaders realized they weren’t preserving enough gardens at the same pace as the city’s population was growing bigger.

Fairmount recently drafted a new strategic plan for NGT to provide a roadmap on how to acquire more land and preserve it for community use, as well as explore ways to collaborate with existing organizations. For example the recent land bank legislation will facilitate a more direct method to acquire and preserve vacant land, as the new law now recognizes community gardens as legitimate long-term land use.

Brian Abernathy, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority speaks at the Neighborhood Gardens Trust Media Day.

Brian Abernathy, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority speaks at the Neighborhood Gardens Trust Media Day.

Neighborhood Gardens Trust will sponsor Community Gardens Day on Saturday, June 21.

Local gardeners can learn and explore the benefits of community gardens. One of the key points illustrated at the Neighborhood Gardens Trust’s Media Day was that community gardens represent more than just gardening and aesthetics – they’re central hubs that unite residents and strengthen communities. Fairmount is proud to help and humbled to have a hand in the success of the future direction of Neighborhood Gardens Trust.

***

If you like this post, browse Fairmount’s monthly collection of ideas for people who want more impact, better fundraising and to stay connected to the region’s impact creators. Subscribe here – it’s free.

A Delaware Valley Nonprofit Partnership Update

An informal gathering of nonprofit executives was held at Ladder 15.

Ladder 15 on Sansom Street in Philadelphia was the site for the Delaware Valley Nonprofit Partnership update on Thursday, May 15.

About 20 nonprofit executives met informally to learn about the progress of the Delaware Valley Nonprofit Partnership (DVNP).

Fairmount previously met with the DVNP Steering Committee and interviewed about 25 leaders from different regional nonprofits to gauge the interest and feasibility of the DVNP. Fairmount produced an environmental scan to help direct the next steps in DVNP’s plan to fully launch within the next two years. Thursday’s informal meeting was an opportunity for nonprofit executives to discuss the key findings from the environmental scan in greater depth.

tom young who is leading this initiative...

Tom Young [center], President, eXude Risk Management and Commercial Insurance, shares insights about the DVNP’s environmental scan. Young is an entrepreneur who is largely spearheading the DVNP initiative.

Environmental Scan Key Implications

The environmental scan revealed nonprofit leaders generally see a need for a regionally-focused, cross-sector association for small and mid-sized nonprofits. The ability to save financial resources was identified by those interviewed as one of the most appealing potential benefits to join the DVNP. Financial savings could occur in several ways. For example DVNP members could share purchasing costs for equipment, services, and commodities. Additional membership benefits appealing to many nonprofit executives interviewed include:

  • Having shared interests in public policy and funding.
  • Fostering programmatic collaborations among groups that do not typically know each other.
  • Raising public awareness of the value of the nonprofit sector to the region (and using that increased awareness to have a unified voice and representation with elected officials).

Don Kligerman, President, Fairmount Ventures ....

Don Kligerman [left], President, Fairmount Ventures chats with Katherine Primus [right], Vice President of Business Development & Marketing, Philadelphia Education Fund.

A Model For Success

The Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership (GPNP) is a similar initiative established in 2006 that has brought together more than 370 nonprofits. GPNP has collaborated with DVNP and shared committee information, by-laws and other documents to help DVNP create a successful model.

The conclusions from DVNP’s environmental scan are positive. A clear opportunity exists to successfully unite many of the region’s nonprofits with one voice.

***

If you like this post, browse Fairmount’s monthly collection of ideas for people who want more impact, better fundraising and to stay connected to the region’s impact creators. Subscribe here – it’s free.

You’ve Secured A Great Board Member – Now What?

Boardroom

This post appears in the May edition of reSources – Fairmount’s monthly collection of ideas for people who want more impact, better fundraising and to stay connected to the region’s impact creators. Subscribe here – it’s free.

1. Inquire: Ask new board member(s) what they want to learn, and where they think they can be most effective. Think of it as a relationship in which both parties have something to offer and an expectation to receive. Clear and mutual expectations help board members focus on the bigger picture of how they can advance your mission.

2. Involve: Being on a board is not a spectator sport. Too many organizations work hard real hard finding accomplished decision makers for their board, and then don’t give them meaningful work to do. If you want to get the most out of board members, ask a lot of them. Have active committees that are properly supported by staff, with timely information, an established schedule of meetings and well organized, engaging discussions. Instill new board members with the understanding that they joined a high-performing, engaged board.

3. Inspire: Let them get up front and personal with your organization’s services, showing them your mission in action. Seeing the impact of your organization and meeting your clients, as appropriate, will help solidify their belief that being on your board matters. If your new board members feel their work is meaningful, they are more likely to remain engaged, willing to fundraise and introduce people they know to your important cause.

                                                                    ***

Stay up to date with the latest job opportunities and insights from Fairmount on LinkedIn and say hello on Twitter @FairmountV.

Nonprofit Leadership Looks Like This

Our clients come to us carrying different goals to move their organization forward. 

Some need to generate funding in new ways after their once-steady sources become obsolete. Others want to create a stronger, more engaged board. Some face uncertainty about the best approach to expand their organization.

A one-size-fits-all solution doesn’t exist. The answer often depends on the unique qualities of a particular organization like their resources and capacity to implement different solutions.

But leadership is a significant factor for nonprofit success that’s often overlooked. Strong leadership is a resource that’s necessary for long-term success, just like sufficient funding.

Part of our role at Fairmount is to remove barriers preventing clients from reaching their goals and offering solutions to challenges based on best-practices and experience. We put tools in place to help nonprofit decision makers become the best leaders possible. Since we’ve worked with more than 325 nonprofits throughout the past 22 years, we have extensive experience about what strong leadership looks like.

Identifying Strong Nonprofit Leadership

Below are four must-have qualities we believe strong nonprofit leaders possess:

  • Aware – good leaders “get it.” They thoroughly understand the dynamics inside and surrounding their organization. They possess the ability to understand their work in a broader context that goes beyond just knowing about the needs of their staff and the people they serve.
  • Willing – good leaders understand their responsibility to make difficult decisions and possess the grit to follow through to make hard choices. This distinction is important. Leaders must first understand – and embrace – that their role requires them to make tough decisions before they’re able to act.
  • Persistent – good leaders introduce smart ideas and figure out ways to garner support from others, even when facing resistance. Being able to rally others to their cause is critical for getting initiatives approved.
  • Inclusive – good leaders invite others to share in the organization’s successes while taking responsibility for setbacks. This behavior inspires an organization’s staff, volunteers, donors, and collaborators to feel their contribution to matters.

***

If you liked this post: browse reSources, Fairmount’s monthly collection of smart, timely ideas for people changing the world through a better nonprofit sector. Scan through previous editions and subscribe (it’s simple).

Stay up to date with the latest from Fairmount on LinkedIn or say hello on Twitter @FairmountV.