You can go to school and earn an advanced degree in executive leadership, but no one is formally trained to be a board chair. Nonprofit board chairs are often successful professionals accustomed to playing an active role in driving change, making bold moves, and giving orders in their own organizations – in short, traits that can make for a disastrous board chair.
What, then, are the traits of a great board chair? Here’s what we’ve learned from a review of recent research, as well Fairmount Ventures’ experience over many years of working with hundreds of boards. MORE
We’re fortunate at Fairmount to have such a wide-skilled range of team members contributing to our work. Among them, our graduate-level Research Assistants provide essential research support that informs the recommendations our project consulting teams develop for clients. At the office on any given day around their studies, you’ll find Abigail Dym (University of Pennsylvania, MPA, Fels Institute of Government/MSEd, Graduate School of Education, Class of 2018); Peter Kramer (University of Pennslyvania, MPA, Fels Institute of Government, Class of 2019) and Angie Wang (University of Pennsylvania, Masters of Behavioral and Decision Sciences, May 2018) drawing on their data and analytical skills to benefit a host of planning and fundraising projects.
2018 is shaping up to be an exciting year at Fairmount Ventures. We’re fueled by the City’s new champion spirit, watching the triumphant return of the LOVE Park statue from our office windows, and kicking off our second quarter-century of service to the Philadelphia region. We’re also busy building our bench strength to drive even more impact for our nonprofit clients.
Fairmount is especially delighted to announce the following staff promotions as we expand our capacity and our expertise to help nonprofits advance their missions and thrive. MORE
Anneliese Van Arsdale, Project Manager, assists clients in all facets of resource development, from grant writing to capital campaign management. She leans on her frontlines experience to inform her understanding of the challenges clients face as she helps them pursue strategic goals, embark on big projects and seek financial sustainability. Anneliese earned a B.A. from Kenyon College, where she studied dance and drama.
Among the most important decisions an organization will make is selecting its leader. Yet, a recent study estimated that while 66% of nonprofit executives expect to leave their jobs within five years, only 13% of nonprofit organizations have succession plans. If selecting its top executive is so critical, and one of the few variables over which a nonprofit has total control, how do we get it right?
Aimée Miller, Senior Vice President & Partner, focuses her client work at Fairmount Ventures on resource development strategy, program design, and annual and campaign fundraising to benefit a diverse mix of arts, civic, environmental, education, health, and human service organizations. Much of Aimée’s work leverages her expertise as a writer and editor by crafting compelling messaging to help nonprofits increase revenues from public and private sources. Aimée earned a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied at the Annenberg School for Communication. MORE
Molly Botnick, Associate, is dedicated to helping nonprofits pursue social justice and to assist them in serving their communities more effectively. With a background in social work and direct service, she brings a ground-level perspective of the issues facing underserved Philadelphians to Fairmount Ventures. Molly earned her B.A. in International Studies at Kenyon College. MORE
The aphorism “culture eats strategy for breakfast”, while apocryphally attributed to Peter Drucker, is a powerful insight irrespective of who said it first. How many of us have developed great plans only to have our ideas not reach full potential, despite best efforts? We spend considerable time focused on the stuff we can see and think we can control – procedures, technology, staffing – at the peril of giving insufficient attention to the stuff we cannot, or choose not, to see: organizational culture. MORE
In May the Philadelphia Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation joined forces to launch On the Table Philly. On the Table was an initiative to engage area residents in open dialogue and to inspire solutions around the topics of participants’ choosing that can strengthen Philadelphia communities. A team of Fairmount Ventures staff decided to jump in to this inaugural round of On the Table conversations by convening members of the region’s nonprofit organizations around this question: “How do we support the nonprofit sector’s passionate workforce and retain the talent critical to ensuring the effectiveness of your work and the vibrancy of the sector?” MORE
Adela Smith, Vice President & Partner,relies on social work values and a keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities nonprofit leaders face when planning for their future. She develops business, fundraising, and board development strategies for Fairmount’s clients that are at once ambitious and achievable. Adela earned her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and her MSW from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy & Practice. MORE