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Report 2003, click
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The Larson Report, copyright
Allen R. Larson,
Priceless Philanthropy—It's the People Involved
We define "sustainability" simply as maintaining and improving the
quality of life of a region. Here on Cape Cod, the nonprofit sector is
at the core of activities that enhance our quality of life. Nonprofit
organizations make up a significant component of our local economy: they
operate year-round, employ thousands of Cape residents, serve thousands
more, and strive each day to do more with less. In this economy, these
capabilities are more important than ever.
If you are in some way connected to one of Cape Cod's nonprofit
organizations, an event planned for March 12th to be held at the
Cotuit Center for the Arts is worth attending. Well-established
Cape nonprofits including the Cape Cod Healthcare Foundation, the
Cape Cod Foundation, the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, the
Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, capeAbilities, and the
nonprofit consulting firm Copley Raff, Inc., are working with
David Chase of Chase Solutions to present a program focused
on how we can weather this roiling economy.
The event will connect people whose experiences and backgrounds are
well versed in the nonprofit world. The panel includes several
individuals whose insights are invaluable. Each has worked to achieve
Bob Dwyer of the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History (www.ccmnh.org)
has injected his high level of energy and commitment to revitalizing the
museum. For more than fifty years, the enthusiasm and dedication of the
museum's extended network of volunteers have been the key resources on
which it has established a natural history museum and a nature education
center, and it has acted as an exemplary steward of 300 acres of museum-owned
land and adjacent conservation property. The Cape Cod Museum of Natural
History has long been a preeminent organization in its field.
Larry Thayer of capeAbilities (www.capeAbilities.org)
has poured incredible creativity and innovativeness into the rebranding
of the organization. Watching the development of the farm on Route 6A
that now grows crops sold in local restaurants is to observe the
flowering of effort by an extended network of people. In addition,
capeAbilities provides a range of support services for people with
disabilities including job training and placement, housing,
transportation, and therapeutic services.
Maggie Van Sciver of the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod (www.artsfoundation.org) continues
to build an organization committed to Cape Cod's arts community. The
yearly open-air concert by the Boston Pops is as fresh with each Cape
performance as if it's being presented for the first time. And at the
same time, with each year, the benefits offered by the Arts Foundation
continue to expand deeper into our arts community. As the regional arts
agency for Barnstable County, the Arts Foundation supports and
serves individual artists as well as Cape Cod's cultural organizations,
museums, archives, performing arts groups, and arts-oriented businesses.
Larry Raff's work at the Copley Harris Company, now known as
Copley Raff (www.copleyraff.com),
focuses on helping nonprofit boards to improve their organizational
effectiveness. His company has thought long and hard about how best to
chart a course through these difficult economic circumstances. And the
breadth of the clients they've served across a range of operational,
philanthropic, governing, recruiting, and staffing concerns is very deep.
Check out the backgrounds of the sixteen consultants presented on their
www.copleyraff.com. Cape Cod Healthcare is one of their success
Tom Mundell of Cape Cod Healthcare Foundation (www.givetocapecodhealth.org) can
confirm the benefits of the expertise that Larry Raff's organization has
provided. And he's then able to suggest how an organization receives
good advice and implements it constructively. In doing so, Cape Cod
Healthcare Foundation effectively secures funds to support and
administer two acute care hospitals, a skilled nursing and
rehabilitation facility, an assisted living facility, a home health
service agency, ambulatory care centers, and community health services
and programs. Overall, Cape Cod Healthcare employs 4,500 people and is
supported by more than 450 physicians.
Elizabeth Gawron of the Cape Cod Foundation (www.capecodfoundation.org)
has been working to connect donors and organizations on the Cape for
several years. She's pushed persistently and tactfully to encourage our
Cape-based nonprofits to improve their competence as they strive to
expand their capacity. For twenty years, the Cape Cod Foundation has
linked community resources with community needs. In so doing, it now
manages more than 170 individual charitable trusts that distribute the
income from their funds to local nonprofit organizations and
Senator Rob O'Leary's career cuts across several sectors. In
addition to his role as our state senator, Rob has taught history at the
Mass Maritime Academy and Cape Cod Community College. He's been at the center
of several community organizing initiatives over the years including the
formation of the Cape Cod Commission and the charter that established
Barnstable County's representative legislature, the Barnstable County
Assembly of Delegates. Rob is now working in the Senate to establish a
planning framework for offshore waters. And key to each of these
initiatives has been the need not only to define and recognize a public
problem but also the need to build consensus that leads to implemented
David Chase of Chase Solutions (www.chasesolutions.com)
will moderate the discussion. As a successful entrepreneur and active
member of community efforts that enhance our quality of life, such as
the redevelopment of the Kennedy ice skating rink in Hyannis, David will make sure
that the discussion leads to actions that can be taken now within the
capacity we have.
Apart from the insights this group of people can offer, those attending
the discussion will benefit from the conversations and opportunities to
share experiences with their peers. The cost is reasonable, and there are
scholarships for those concerned about even this small outlay of funds.
As I look at the event and think of those who will be present, I realize
that much can be gained from the insights to be offered. Each one of our
nonprofit organizations has suffered financially this year. And to all
of us, these times are cause for worry.
Nevertheless, the real loss that I've felt this year is not financial.
Over the past few months, we've lost three people whose commitment and
life activities on the Cape have been significant cornerstones of the
community we've built. Most recently, David Cole. And before
David, Pat Butler. And before Pat, John Creney.
These three people offered their expertise and resources of energy and
knowledge. If you knew one or more of them, you know of what I speak.
And if you did not know them, it's worth reading their histories and
local contributions. They represent the type of commitment that many
others have also made throughout the years to enhance the Cape's quality
of life. Think of Dexter Leen, Grace Grossman, Paul
Lorusso, and many others. The list is long.
From their stories, as well as from those of many others who have lived
here, it's clear that the single resource we need to get through these
difficult economic times is the support and commitment we each bring to
the effort within the capacities we individually possess.
I hope you'll attend this event on March 12th, which you can learn more
about by going to the following link: www.donorresearch.com/survival.html. The
setting at the Cotuit Center for the Arts (www.cotuitcenterforthearts.org)
is warm and inviting. The day will be time well spent.
Editor of the Larson Report and president of the
Cape Cod Center for Sustainability
Establishing a Management Support Organization
to Serve the Nonprofit Sector
by Allen Larson
The article below,
"Establishing a Management Support Organization to Serve the Nonprofit
Sector," was first published here and in the Cape Cod Times
in December 2003. We are reprinting it now, in October 2008,
because the current turmoil in the financial markets has the
nonprofit sector heading into a serious financial storm.
Last week, in an article published on September 22 and linked to in the
box above, the Boston Globe highlighted that nonprofits will face
constrained giving by their usual funding sources. There's no time to
dawdle now. We need to come together and find ways that reduce costs and
potentially add new sources of revenue.
One way would be to promote the existence of the Community Directory and
its list of individuals interested to be engaged in the Cape community.
This is something we had not developed at the time of the first printing
of the article below in December of 2003.
Another way would be to become part of the Massachusetts Nonprofit
Network (MassNonprofitNet.org), which also did not exist in 2003 and is something that is
patterned after discussions that we helped prompt at that time about the
need to collaborate.
The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MassNonprofitNet.org) is hosting its first conference
October 24 at Bentley College, for which Gloria Larson, the president of
Bentley, will be giving the keynote address. The
conference will be organized similarly to the Volunteer Expos the Cape Cod Center
for Sustainability has held in the past.
Revised and updated from the first version originally published in
Sustaining Cape Cod involves a lot more than attention to the Cape's
natural environment. Equally important are the people who live here, the
factors that affect their ability to make a living and to use each day
to fulfill their interests and ambitions. In this context, one sector of
the Cape's economy that tends to be overlooked is the region's active
and extensive nonprofit sector.
Over the past several years, the Center for Sustainability has been
working with many of the nonprofit organizations that direct their
efforts to serving Cape Cod and its residents. These organizations
define their missions in terms of the economy, the environment, health
concerns, and social welfare. Many have been struggling recently. Some
have even closed. These events compel the effort to determine if there
is anything to do.
From these discussions and observations, we've concluded that there is
an outline of an idea that merits closer scrutiny by others who have
knowledge and expertise. We suggest that there is a void in the
nonprofit sector that could be filled and lead to improved
administrative and operational efficiency. Doing so would provide
economic and operational benefits that could help sustain our nonprofit
Common organizational tasks provide the context in which technology
advances as well as specialized professional services could be used in
ways that would save money by realizing efficiencies of scale and by
providing access to a deeper reserve of managerial experience and
counsel. These savings could be applied to the programmatic purposes for
which any particular charity was formed. (continued)
and his sister Sally
The Service Nation Day of
Action was on Saturday, September 27, 2008. Some of the participating
organizations are listed below. Their needs for volunteers and donations
continue on; please contact them if you can help.
"Uniting Americans in common cause. Tackling our greatest social
challenges. Citizens giving back to community and country: We are
building a national movement to inspire a new era of citizen service in
America. ServiceNation is a campaign by the people, for the people, and
of the people. It launches September 11, and we need your help."
"Give a Year. Change the World."
Be the Change:
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world. —Gandhi."
Enterprises, LLC: "Civic Enterprises is a public policy firm that
helps corporations, nonprofits, foundations, universities, and
governments develop and spearhead innovative public policies to
strengthen our communities and country."
Points of Light
New Profit Inc.: "New Profit
helps visionary entrepreneurs and their organizations bring about
widespread and transformative impact on critical social problems."
And close to home:
"Inform, share, thrive: We provide information about the nonprofit
sector in Massachusetts. Check in frequently to be informed."
Cape Cod Center for
Sustainability: Helps nonprofits sustain their activities
and the Larson Report's BarnRaisers
section for resources for nonprofits, especially its list of local
nonprofits, all of which are always in need of volunteers.
September 11, 2001
Community Indictors: Media Reporting of Community Indicators
Reports, a blog that tracks reports in the media on the use of
sustainability indicators in local communities
A Day in
the Life of
Project International (EPI):
EPI involves student groups,
individuals, and families in authentic field research that catalyzes
conservation, science education, and intercultural exchange. Our
programs engage local residents and international students in field
research; inspire learning about science, culture, and communication;
and empower citizens to engage in the world around them make a
difference. EPI operates educational programs in Missoula, Montana (the
Yellowstone Ecology Program); on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica; on
the Baja California Sur; and the Galapagos Islands (a province of
Interested to make
a donation to a local charity? You might find the
information you need to do that from the Larson Report's list of Web sites
for local charities:
New England Energy
The Wind Farm: A
Video Recording of the
Report: Winds of Change
The Need for Fresh Air
Energy for Life
Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound
of Natural History
Cape Cod Center
TeenAIDS PeerCorps: "TeenAIDS
is devoted to helping teenagers pass the news about HIV and AIDS among
their generation to save the lives of family, friends and neighbors.
Our PeerCorps is a voluntary program for teens that is not government-run
or funded. . . . Our organization's message is simple:
HIV/AIDS is now infecting youth here in America and worldwide.
PeerCorps' mission is life-saving: to empower teens to protect themselves
and their best friends from HIV. We use a combination of personal
contact and the Internet to spread our message locally and globally.
program . . . emphasizes medically sound information and peer