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Cohort 6's last Peer Convening of 2017!

Posted by HALO Award on December 2, 2017 at 12:55 AM

Last month, Cohort 6 met for their third peer convening at The California Endowment’s Center for Healthy Communities. At this point in the HALO Award program year, the six organizations are well into the creation of their volunteer management plans. These multi-year strategic plans are designed to increase the capacity of the organizations through the improvement and strengthening of their volunteer programs.




During this session, participants were guided through a discussion to identify potential risks in implementing their volunteer management plans, as well as specific ways to minimize and address these potential barriers proactively. Additionally, three organizations presented “Spotlight Cases,” in which an organization has the opportunity to “spotlight” a specific issue or challenge in their volunteer program and then receive feedback and suggestions from their peers to address the concern. These peer-to-peer learning opportunities are highly valuable to the Cohort.



Danette Martin, Program Officer, Corporation for National & Community Service


In the afternoon, Danette Martin, Program Officer at the Corporation for National & Community Service, joined the convening to share about the Corporation’s AmeriCorps VISTA Program, a national service program that supports efforts to alleviate poverty by engaging individuals, 18 years and older, in a year of full-time service with a sponsoring organization. Danette explained the upcoming application process and highlighted the potential impact of mobilizing AmeriCorps volunteers to support organizational capacity and growth. This presentation was well-timed as Cohort 6 continues to refine their volunteer management plans. The intimate setting allowed participants to ask Danette organization-specific questions on ways they could utilize AmeriCorps volunteers as additions to their volunteer management plans.


For more information about the AmeriCorps VISTA program and the recently released 2018 Request for Concept Papers and application process, please visit the Resources page on the HALO Award website. From there you can access information about individual programs, application deadlines, and Danette Martin’s direct contact information.

Partnership Series: Blue Garnet

Posted by HALO Award on October 31, 2017 at 6:10 PM

Blue Garnet is a strategy and management firm for social change organizations seeking to translate vision to reality and go from good enough to truly great. In 2012, Blue Garnet joined the HALO Award team to lead the capacity building training throughout the grant term.


What notable evidence of impact have you seen in your direct work with the organizations?

We are incredibly fortunate to partner with the Foundation in learning and capacity building over the past five years. Over this time, not only have we seen remarkable changes in individual awardee organizations, but we have also developed evidence of this change from data collected across all cohorts to date. We can confidently say that participation in HALO leads to changes in awardees’ mindset and approach toward volunteer management. Specifically, awardees:


See their volunteer programs as a strategic part of, or an asset to, an integrated whole;

Recognize the importance of investing in volunteer management capacity to support organizational growth; and

Translate this into tangible actions (e.g. making time to plan, formalizing key roles and procedures, building infrastructure, broadening organizational buy-in)



How do you think the award’s approach supports the growth of both the volunteer program and organizations?

The Foundation considers growth of the volunteer program and overall organization to be integrally linked. Volunteer programs can be a smart and cost-effective way for organizations to expand their services; at the same time, organizations are hard pressed to scale up without the “X” factor that a strong volunteer program can provide. As a result, HALO was intentionally designed to formalize and bolster volunteer programs, while further integrating these programs with the rest of their organizations. For example, many awardees now consider volunteer programs a key component of their strategic planning process, helping them maximize potential use of all their key assets and capabilities.



How do you think the HALO Award program fits in the landscape of nonprofit capacity building programs in our region?

HALO stands out for its focus on volunteer program management. By combining financial support with technical assistance to build volunteer management capacity, the Foundation has create a real “niche” for itself in our region. This focus on volunteer management capacity really allows the Foundation to invest its limited resources to make a substantive difference with awardees.

What also stands out is the continuous learning that takes place as part of HALO. By soliciting feedback regularly, HALO design is always being refined, helping the Foundation to make the most of its investment along the way.



What are some opportunities for other funders to support volunteer programs?

The HALO Award offers a great example of how a modest investment in volunteer management capacity reaps a great return. HALO leverages limited funding dollars to help an organization take its volunteer program to the next level. We see a range of opportunities for funders to support volunteer programs. For example:


Recognize the value of volunteerism – Ask your grantees about the value volunteers bring to their organizations. Talk to them about how volunteers advance their mission, augment their program delivery and help foster a culture of philanthropy within their organizations.

Invest in strengthening volunteer programs – Understand what it takes to create and maintain a quality program, then find ways to support that. This can range from direct funding to recruit, support and retain the “right” volunteers, to capacity building to make strategic use of volunteers. Volunteers are effectively part of a nonprofits “talent” pool, and as such, require planning, learning and infrastructure to ensure this talent is committed and qualified for its “jobs."

Talk to us – This is just a starting point. We (Blue Garnet) and the Foundation have many more ideas and would be happy to share more!



For organizations who want to formalize or strengthen their volunteer programs, what is one piece of advice you would share with them?

To nonprofits: Just do it! Take the time to sit with colleagues whose work involve volunteers and focus on what is important together. Based on our experience, for most nonprofits, this means 1) better understanding your volunteers, 2) formalize the work you need done, and 3) develop a plan to align these two. Sounds easier said than done? Then our second piece of advice would be this: Apply for the next HALO Award!


To funders: Don’t start from scratch! Talk to your colleagues and grantees. Share what you are learning and doing. And encourage your grantees to apply for HALO!



Is there anything else you would like to share?

One thought to leave you with: In the broader field of management science, great companies are great because they are able to get the “right” people in the “right” seats on the bus. We often think of human resources in terms of employees, but volunteers represent an amazing and under-tapped resource. Our hope is that our sector can learn to embrace the role volunteers play, in so doing harnessing the power they bring to our missions, communities and impact.


Left: Way-Ting Chen, Co-founder & Partner, Blue Garnet

Partnership Series: Social Venture Partners LA

Posted by HALO Award on October 17, 2017 at 3:50 PM

At Cohort 6’s second peer convening in August, the Foundation invited Social Venture Partners (SVP) Los Angeles to lead a half-day Fast Pitch workshop for HALO Award grantees. SVP Los Angeles works with individual philanthropists to realize greater impact with their giving, strengthen nonprofits, and invest in collaborative solutions. Their Social Innovation Fast Pitch program trains nonprofit leaders to powerfully communicate their story, while connecting them with leaders in the business, philanthropic, and nonprofit communities.



Cohort 6 with SVP Volunteer Coaches


How does the Fast Pitch program build the capacity of and/or benefit nonprofits?

We work with a cohort of nonprofit leaders over two months, supporting them in developing a powerful 3-minute pitch to share who they are and how they connect to the work, why their organization is critical and impactful, and what they like to ask people to do in support of their great work. They work intensively with our coaches and receive written and verbal feedback from coaches and peers, as well as videos of their practice runs. It’s an incredible amount of feedback on something many of us do regularly – pitching our work – and yet rarely receive feedback on. The program culminates with an inspiring event where the nonprofits deliver their pitches to an audience of 600 philanthropists, nonprofits, and corporate leaders.



Beth Winton, Lake Avenue Community Foundation with a Volunteer Fast Pitch Coach


Why Fast Pitch? What is the secret to storytelling effectively and efficiently in 180 seconds?

Three minutes is a surprisingly long period of time – much longer than your typical elevator ride! Bring yourself into your storytelling! So often in nonprofit work, we tell ourselves it shouldn’t be about us, but we find that when leaders share what connects them deeply to their work, they’re far more likely to inspire people to action.



Rachel Black, Foothill Unity Center presenting her Fast Pitch


What/Who is the ideal candidate for the Fast Pitch program?

We focus on supporting emerging nonprofits and programs that have innovative solutions to pressing social problems, and we look for leaders who are eager to learn and grow.


Besides Fast Pitch, in what other ways can an individual or organization engage with SVP?

We are really excited to have just launched a nine-month Accelerator Program to support systems-change nonprofits in accelerating their growth and impact. We also now offer specialized Fast Pitch workshops for organizations that want to bring us in to work with their teams. And because we are built on an engaged philanthropy model, we always welcome new “Partners” to our community – individuals eager to contribute their time and money in supporting these incredible nonprofit organizations.



Alli Simon, Christine Margiotta, and Sharon Stratton, Social Venture Partners LA


For more information about Social Venture Partners, please visit socialventurepartners.org/los-angeles/

Volunteer Spotlight Series: Centinela Youth Services & Lake Avenue Community Foundation

Posted by HALO Award on August 29, 2017 at 3:55 PM


Denise Yusuff, Volunteer Awardee

Centinela Youth Services


What do you do at Centinela Youth Services?

I am a volunteer mediator. I volunteer for the victim offender restitution program and the families able to resolve situations program.


When and why did you first get involved with Centinela Youth Services?

I became involved with Centinela Youth Services in 2014. I wanted to volunteer for an organization that improved the chances for our youth, enriched their lives and gave our youth an opportunity to overcome obstacles. I am very invested in making sure that our youth have the best opportunity to move beyond their current situation and have an enriched future.


What motivates you to stay involved at Centinela Youth Services?

I love seeing youth become empowered to take ownership of their actions and handle conflict in a positive manner. These are invaluable life skills that will put them on a path to success.


What is your favorite memory of volunteering with Centinela Youth Services?

My favorite memory was a tender moment between a family. The youth took complete ownership of her actions and acknowledged her parents’ actions were out of love and concern. The session was a complete breakthrough and very productive.


What has surprised you most about working with Centinela Youth Services? What do you wish other people knew about Centinela Youth Services?

The skills you learn to help others are life skills you can put to use in your daily life. Everyone is great to learn from. You just feel good being there. It's a win-win for everyone involved and the community at large.


What would you tell someone who is interested in volunteering with Centinela Youth Services?

Sign up! You won't regret it! The benefits to the community and for yourself are tremendous.


For more information about volunteering with Centinela Youth Services, please visit www.cys-la.org/mediators-con8



Tonie Neuwirth, Volunteer Awardee

Lake Avenue Community Foundation


What do you do at Lake Avenue Community Foundation (LACF)?

My title at LACF is Data Coordinator, where I process donations, prepare acknowledgements, select and correct mailing lists, and identify data for various reports about donations and donors (like who were the new donors for a recent summer campaign).


When and why did you first get involved with LACF?

In 2002 or 2003 LACF’s partner church, which shares offices with LACF, ran a capital campaign. Being newly retired, I was looking for an area of service and having a computer background, I volunteered for the campaign. There was a continued need at LACF, so I stayed on after the campaign.


What motivates you to stay involved at LACF?

It is hard to say what the motivation is totally, but it includes the ongoing need for what I do, the folks I work with (it is a “family”;), and being part of something bigger than myself. LACF is a small organization and we have had staff come and go. It has really been a privilege to provide a degree of constancy that enables the work in my area to continue and to support new staff where their need and my skills intersect. LACF has become a home away from home.


What is your favorite memory of volunteering with LACF?

It is hard to select a favorite memory. First, I would say that before important meetings or events we get together to pray, like when our Executive Director has an important lunch, meeting or tour of our programs. At one time, LACF included homeless outreach and I got to know some of our guests. Occasionally, some old friends stop by and it is always good to see them. Currently, all program areas work more closely together than before and there is more of a team feeling which is good. Just this last weekend some of us in the office got together for a potluck lunch and painting pictures with acrylic paints.

 

What has surprised you most about working with LACF? What do you wish other people knew about LACF?

The Lord keeps us humble at LACF. Finances are pretty lean at times and we have to belt tighten. It is no longer a surprise, but it was at the beginning. Our name currently includes the name of our church partner Lake Avenue Church. I would wish there was a way to clearly communicate we are a separate organization and we could use their direct support of our work.


What would you tell someone who is interested in volunteering with LACF?

There are many areas where people can serve, from administration to working in programs. If you want to be part of the tutoring program there are several areas you can serve other than tutoring, like helping with reading and enrichment programs. You can choose the age level you want to work with. You are not in this alone as there is training and support all along the way. If you want to be a mentor you will be matched with a student and have a mentor coach that will support you all along the way.


For more information about volunteering with Lake Avenue Community Foundation, please visit http://www.lakeavefoundation.org/vounteer/


An exciting beginning!

Posted by HALO Award on June 16, 2017 at 7:15 PM

Last month the 2016 HALO Award awardees met as Cohort 6 for the first time for a peer convening at The California Endowment – Center for Healthy Communities. This was the first of four peer convenings that will take place during the HALO Award program year. At these peer learning sessions, HALO Award awardees focus on relationship building amongst the other cohort organizations, addressing specific volunteer program issues, participating in facilitated discussions by Blue Garnet, and hearing from guest speakers, including HALO Award program alumni. HALO Award peer convenings are thoughtful, strategic, and interactive for participants.



human-I-T


This being Cohort 6’s first peer convening, there was a strong focus on not only getting acquainted with the different organizations and their volunteer programs, but also on getting to know one another individually. The impact of the HALO Award does not end with a single grant and year of program support; the program design encourages awardees to become a family of nonprofits who have shared experiences in the program that they can lean on and be resources for long after the end of their award year.



Lake Avenue Community Foundation


In addition to relationship building, organizations had time to reflect on their volunteer programs, answering questions about program approach, challenges, and successes. This activity allowed for cross-organizational discussion that revealed themes of common challenges and approaches from all the organizations.



Participants were then guided through an exercise where they envisioned what volunteers experience when working with their organization. This activity challenged organizations to think about the volunteer experience from a new perspective, revealing areas that needed further exploration to improve the quality of their volunteers' journeys.


It was an exciting first peer convening, full of thoughtful conversation – we can’t wait for our next convening!



Foothill Unity Center


Volunteer Spotlight: Foothill Unity Center & human-I-T

Posted by HALO Award on May 19, 2017 at 7:20 PM


This is the first installment of our "Volunteer Spotlight Series." In each installment, we will feature 2016 HALO Volunteer Awardees to highlight their unique impact and experience as volunteers, as well as the volunteer programs they serve.



Janet Wall, Foothill Unity Center Volunteer Awardee


What do you do at Foothill Unity Center?

I am the Volunteer Co-Chair of the annual Back to School event where over 1,000 children are furnished with clothing, underwear, socks, backpacks, school supplies, shoe vouchers, haircuts, vision screening and dental screening; I am a committee member of the Holiday Distribution where over 1500 children are given 2 toys, 2 articles of clothing and two books; I am on the Capital Campaign committee; I have been on the strategic planning committee and I have worked on the Mobile Dental Clinic.


When and why did you first get involved with Foothill Unity Center?

I first became involved with Foothill Unity Center when I retired in 2011. I got involved because I knew they had a food bank and thought it would be a good place to volunteer my time.


What motivates you to stay involved at Foothill Unity Center?

I am motivated to stay involved because I believe in the mission of Foothill Unity Center, I admire the way the staff and volunteers treat their clients with such dignity and I feel I am able to lend operational and technical expertise to help them work smarter not harder.


What is your favorite memory of volunteering with Foothill Unity Center?

My favorite memories all involve the look on the clients faces: The children when they see all that is available to them at Back to School event and the parents when they see the toys, clothing and books for their children at the Holiday Distribution.


What has surprised you most about working with Foothill Unity Center?

What do you wish other people knew about Foothill Unity Center? What has surprised me most is how hard the staff works and how dedicated they are to their clients. I am also surprised by the lack of technology that could make them even more efficient and able to better serve their clients - and how willing they are to adapt to new things when presented with ways to be more efficient. I wish others knew about all the services that Foothill Unity Center offers beyond food. Foothill Unity Center is an invaluable resource that so many people don't know about. If more knew about it, I believe more would support it.


What would you tell someone who is interested in volunteering with Foothill Unity Center?

I always tell anyone looking for a place to volunteer to check out Foothill Unity Center. There are a variety of volunteer opportunities available so there is something for everyone. I tell people that they will get far more out of the Foothill Unity Center experience than they will give. It is easy to get friends to join the events as they see how much joy I get from my experience with Foothill Unity Center.


For more information about volunteering at Foothill Unity Center, please visit foothillunitycenter.org/get-involved/other-ways-to-help/



Brandon Smith, human-I-T Volunteer Awardee


What do you do at human-I-T?

I am proudly managing outreach to prospective individual and business technology donors in order to repurpose their unwanted technology to help those in need. Our recipients include low-income families, veterans, persons with disabilities, and qualifying non-profits.


When and why did you first get involved with human-I-T?

I was first drawn to human-I-T when I had realized the tremendous gap between those that have access to technology and those that do not. On one side, it is a nuisance for a business to have older computers sitting around after an upgrade. On the other hand, you have low-income students that cannot do a history project because they do not have the internet or a disabled adult that cannot apply for a job because they do not have easy access to a computer. It only makes sense to connect our global e-waste problem with such an obvious solution.


What motivates you to stay involved at human-I-T?

The people we serve is what keeps me motivated here at human-I-T. Each individual item we take in is a step towards helping someone get a computer for the first time, and that keeps me going each and every day. Not only are we serving our recipients, but we are providing a valuable business service and keeping these items out of landfills. It's a 'Win' all the way around!


What is your favorite memory of volunteering with human-I-T?

My favorite memory at human-I-T is a memory I will never forget. It was my first distribution with human-I-T when we were handing out desktops to low-income families at a housing project in Los Angeles. There was one particular little girl that had burst into tears when she was handed her very first computer. That moment had left an impact on me that will always remind me to look out for my community and to give back whenever possible.


What has surprised you most about working with human-I-T?

What do you wish other people knew about human-I-T? The greatest surprise I've encountered at human-I-T is that most people do not know that repurposing technology is an option! Many still believe in the stigma that recycling is the best option when at the same time, hundreds of thousands of those less fortunate here in the US do not have home access to the internet. I wish others knew how easy, cost-effective, and impactful it is to repurpose their old technology versus grinding up recycling it.


What would you tell someone who is interested in volunteering with human-I-T?

I would first suggest that they come to a distribution event to see first-hand as our efforts make an impact on the local community. After they see the impression we are making, there are several great opportunities to volunteer here at human-I-T. Whether they are looking to break into IT and work with our processing and refurbishment teams or see how our donation outreach or social media are managed, we welcome everyone to join our growing family.


For more information about volunteering with human-I-T, please visit human-i-t.org/volunteer/ 


Partnership Series: AmeriCorps VISTA

Posted by HALO Award on March 23, 2017 at 1:15 PM

The Carl & Roberta Deutsch Foundation finds the relationship between nonprofits and volunteers inspiring. In an effort to connect our nonprofit partners with programs and opportunities that promote and support volunteerism, the Foundation partnered with the Corporation for National & Community Service to host an information session about the AmeriCorps VISTA and Senior RSVP Programs. 




Representatives from 20 Deutsch Foundation nonprofit partners, including past Halo Award winners, attended the session. Danette Martin, Program Officer at the Corporation’s California State Office, shared the history of the programs, explained the application processes, and highlighted the impact of mobilizing volunteers to support organization capacity & growth.


Attendees also heard from Eric Hubbard, Director of Development at Jovenes, Inc., who is in year 2 of a 3-year grant from the AmeriCorps VISTA program. He spoke about how support from VISTA volunteers has been instrumental in reaching organizational goals and pushing their efforts to the next level. With him was Kalsee Viano, VISTA member, who recently began her year of service at Jovenes, Inc. in the Development Department. Kalsee shared her motivation for moving from the for-profit to the nonprofit sector to work with an organization that serves at-risk communities and youth in Los Angeles. Eric and Kalsee explained how the VISTA program is mutually beneficial and transformative for both the volunteers and organizations involved.



Eric Hubbard, Jovenes, Inc. & Kalsee Viano, VISTA Member


For more information regarding the volunteer programs offered by the Corporation for National & Community Service, please visit the Resources page on the Halo Award website. From there you can access information about individual programs, application instructions and deadlines, and Danette Martin’s presentation from the session. 

2017 Halo Award Luncheon

Posted by HALO Award on February 22, 2017 at 2:50 PM

2016 Volunteer Awardees


On Thursday, February 9, 2017, The Carl & Roberta Deutsch Foundation honored the 2016 Halo Awardees at an annual Luncheon at the historic Marion Davies Beach House in Santa Monica. Despite uncharacteristically cold and cloudy Southern California weather, it was a day full of joyful celebration, recognizing some of the most inspiring volunteer “angels” in our community. The 2017 Halo Award Luncheon was an exciting celebration of individuals and organizations who go above and beyond to serve their community.

 

Of the 113 total applications received, a Selection Committee, comprised of local nonprofit and foundation leaders, selected six Los Angeles-based nonprofit organizations to be the recipients of a $25,000 grant - $20,000 for the nonprofit to strengthen its volunteer program and $5,000 to a nominated volunteer to honor his or her outstanding service to the organization.

 


Lake Avenue Community Foundation


The 2016 awardees, which include Centinela Youth Services, Foothill Unity Center, human-I-T, Lake Avenue Community Foundation, Public Counsel, and Strength United, were officially announced last November, but came together for the first time at the Luncheon to celebrate and publicly recognize their nominated volunteers. Collectively, these volunteers have volunteered over 27,000 hours of service between 2002 and 2016.



Team Rubicon


This year, guests and awardees were gifted with an inspiring message honoring volunteerism from Team Rubicon, a nonprofit organization that utilizes the skills of military veterans to deploy disaster response teams. Jake Wood, Co-Founder and CEO, Michael Davidson, Training Cadre & Programs Associate, Todd DeVoe, Volunteer Leader, and Rick Lambert, Volunteer Leader shared their personal journeys of navigating life after years of military service and how they have found a new sense of community, purpose, and identity through volunteering with Team Rubicon. Since the organization's founding in 2011, Team Rubicon has responded to over 100 disasters and grown from eight to 35,000 volunteer members.



Kathleen Buczko, formerly with Good Shepherd Shelter, 2014 Halo Awardee (left)

Kait Peters, The People Concern, 2015 Halo Awardee (right)


Immediately following the Luncheon, organizations wasted no time kicking-off their year of capacity building support, the third piece of the Halo Award, and convened for a program orientation. At the orientation, the newest awardees had the opportunity to learn from and be encouraged by a panel of past Halo awardees, Kathleen Buczko and Kait Peters. Over the next year, the six organizations will receive support in the form of peer networking sessions and one-on-one coaching led by the Foundation and Blue Garnet, a strategy and management firm for social change organizations, to assist in developing a volunteer management plan to enhance organizational capacity around volunteerism.


The Carl & Roberta Deutsch Foundation looks forward to an amazing 6th year of the Halo Award! 

That's a Wrap!

Posted by HALO Award on February 21, 2017 at 2:25 AM


2015 Halo Awardees

 

The 2015 Halo Awardees, which included CARCEN, The LGBTQ Center of Long Beach, Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging, The People Concern, San Bernardino Symphony, and Valley Family Center, gathered every quarter during their Halo Award program year to engage, teach, and learn from each others’ volunteer management efforts. Each day-long session included discussions with peers on recent accomplishments and emerging challenges and workshops and activities designed to help strengthen and deepen their efforts.


On January 24, 2017, the 2015 awardees met for the last time as “Cohort 5” for their final peer convening at The California Endowment’s Center for Healthy Communities. The organizations reflected on their experiences with the Halo Award program and how their volunteer management capacity have evolved since receiving the Award. All six organizations highlighted that formalizing their volunteer program with the creation and development of a volunteer management plan was instrumental in pushing their efforts to the next level. In her reflection, Anne Viricel, Executive Director of the San Bernardino Symphony said, “When applied thoughtfully, the Halo Award not only improves a volunteer program, but an organization as a whole.”

 



Halo Alumni Panelists: Camrin Christensen, Brooke Lykins, and Joanne Kim


The convening also included a panel discussion represented by past Halo Awardees Brooke Lykins, former Chief Development Officer, Downtown Women’s Center; Camrin Christensen, Volunteer Recruitment & Outreach Director, CASA of Los Angeles; and Joanne Kim, Managing Attorney, Koreatown Youth & Community Center. Each alum shared their own organization’s stories, including how they are managing to sustain the efforts developed during their Halo experiences.


The day concluded with discussions for continuing and institutionalizing their volunteer capacity building post-Halo. Executive Directors joined their volunteer program staff to provide input on integrating the volunteer program into their organizations’ overall operations and missions.


The Carl & Roberta Deutsch Foundation wish the 2015 Halo Awardees great success and look forward to staying in contact to hear of their progress!


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