If you wondered why you joined a hundred or so social sector insiders in downtown Atlanta on a Friday morning for Foundation Center South’s Nonprofit Resource Fair, the answer is clear: “The universe brought you here today for a lot of reasons,” said FC South’s cosmically connected Director, Maria Azuri. A better question would be: Why weren’t you there?
The morning began with breakfast, networking and connecting with vendors before getting down to the overall theme of the day: Collaboration. In a Grantmaker meets Changemaker panel talk, three members of each species talked about their relationships. Moderator Maria kicked it off with a rundown of all the ways Foundation Center can help both sides through training, convening, research and support.
Lesley Grady, of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta talked about how CF’s relationship with Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation (represented by Michael Lucas) has evolved from Grantor-Grantee to partners, particularly over AVLF’s work in the Thomasville Heights community.
Josh Penny, of MailChimp’s Corporate Citizen Program talked about how MailChimp places lots of small bets with nonprofits, including Re:Imagine/ATL (represented by Susanna Spiccia) and how that relationship has grown.
Protip Biswas, of United Way of Greater Atlanta explained that “good things happen when you start talking to people,” detailing how talking to Laura Keefe of Marietta’s YELLS, Inc. has continued to pay dividends for young people in the Franklin Gateway community. Laura told us that “the first meeting was terrifying” but that United Way is a dream funder because of its insistence on not just funding, but training too.
Here’s more from these front line fighters for a better world. Some of these are exact quotes and some are approximations but all of them are the truth:
Lesley Grady (Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta):
"The most impressive nonprofits, large or small are thought leaders. These nonprofits and their leaders are always searching for newer and better ways to serve their communities effectively."
Protip Biswas (United Way of Greater Atlanta):
"Even if your nonprofit has been around for a long time, frankly, everyone is new because of the constant need to innovate, reinvent and probably introduce yourself to new funders."
Laura Keefe (YELLS, Inc.):
"Lead with having results. Foundations don’t fund ideas, they fund programs that work. You’ll have to accomplish something before you get that first grant."
After the panel wrapped up, two groups peeled off for sprint classes and lunch.
Maria Azuri led a group through the process of crafting program designs and processes that make a proposal stand out in a class called “Logic Models for Program Impact and Success.”
Atlanta Lead Asia Hadley shared her insights on recruiting and cultivating board members who can help guide transparent, accountable nonprofits and raise funds and cultivate long-term donors in a class called “Recruiting and Retaining High-Impact Board Members Who Fundraise.”
Everyone at Foundation Center would like to thank Georgia-Pacific for its generous support of this event. Thanks, GP!
RICHARD HALLMAN is a Social Sector Librarian at Foundation Center South and a member of the Online Librarian team. He’s been helping nonprofiteers in Atlanta in person and elsewhere via Foundation Center's Ask Us service since 2014.
Richard spent most of his career working for Atlanta’s daily paper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, helping reporters, editors, and other newsroomers with research for their stories and projects. When he’s not working, he’s mostly about the 3 Bs --bikes, boats, and being in the woods -- but he also enjoys eating and sleeping.