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WPB Library Foundation Begins Next Exciting Chapter with New Leadership at the Helm

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, October 7, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, October 6, 2020
New Executive Director and Three New Board Members Announced

WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. (September 21, 2020) – The West Palm Beach Library Foundation is turning the page by starting a new chapter with the addition of veteran leadership and development professional, Dean W. Dimke, as its new Executive Director. The nonprofit organization that serves as the fundraising arm for the downtown city library also named three prominent new Board members, all recognized for their commitment and dedication to the West Palm Beach community: former West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio, local attorney and business leader Robert Sanders, and philanthropist and library ambassador Josephine L. duPont Bayard. The importance of the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach to the community has become more evident than ever, and these passionate leaders will ensure that the library can continue to help area children, teens, and adults for years to come.

Dimke, a fundraising and communications professional with more than two decades of experience, will focus on developing a strategic vision and plan to advance the foundation’s mission to raise funds that support the valued and life-changing programs, services and resources of the Mandel Public Library. Dimke will also oversee the Foundation’s fundraising strategy and increase tactical partnerships with community leaders, corporations and other key stakeholders.

“The Mandel Public Library has become a vital resource center for many in our community helping open doors to opportunities that would not otherwise be available. I am confident that working with our donors, volunteers, community partners, and business leaders, we will expand the reach of these critical services,” said Dimke.

Dimke is a well-known leader and tireless advocate throughout Palm Beach County, previously serving as the CEO of American Red Cross, Palm Beach and Treasure Chapter (formerly called the Greater Palm Beach Area Chapter), where he directed the response to several major hurricanes that impacted the area. He has also worked in the private sector bringing his expertise and talents to the National Council on Compensation Insurance and KEMET Electronics. Dimke received several leadership awards from the American Red Cross, and was the keynote speaker at its national convention in 2005. He earned his B.A. in communications from the University of Louisville (KY).

Former West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio is returning home to serve on the Library Foundation Board. Shortly after moving to Florida, Muoio was appointed to the Mandel Public Library Advisory Board and from that start, went on to become a City Commissioner and Mayor. While on the City Commission, she was involved with the design and construction of the new City Center, which included the new library on Clematis Street. Muoio is thrilled that her journey has come full circle and believes the library is one of the city’s most treasured assets. Muoio is currently President & CEO of Great Cities for All, using her experience to work with cities, organizations and leaders across Florida to help them reach their goals and potential.

Robert Sanders is an accountant, lawyer, businessman and leader in West Palm Beach, whose passion for the community is cherished and not limited to business. He currently works at Greenberg Traurig focusing his practice on governmental, administrative and real estate matters. Prior to joining the firm, Sanders served as City Administrator for the City of West Palm Beach, he was past President of the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches, is currently the Chairman of the Downtown Development Authority, and also serves on various local nonprofit organizations. He is an original founding member of the Library Foundation and former Board Chairman who has served the Foundation for over 20 years, and is now returning to the Board after a brief hiatus.

Josephine DuPont Bayard’s family background has been a lifelong catalyst to advance many philanthropic causes which have covered a broad range of non-profit organizations. Her interest in the Mandel Public Library and Library Foundation began as a volunteer for the Let's Read program, where volunteers bring read stories to students in Title I schools. She has also served as honorary chair for the Foundation’s Food For Thought annual fundraising event. The entrepreneur, philanthropist, and advocate has become a true library ambassador wholly supporting community programs and fundraising efforts.
“The Foundation is thrilled to start this new chapter for the organization and to draw upon the leadership, talents, and enthusiasm of these community builders to safeguard the future of the downtown library,” shared Natalie M. Alvarez, Chairwoman of the West Palm Beach Library Foundation Board of Directors.

About the West Palm Beach Library Foundation

The West Palm Beach Library Foundation raises funds for the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach to provide free quality programs, services and resources that enrich and strengthen its diverse community. The Foundation hopes to create an inspired community where children excel and adults thrive. Gifts to the Foundation support popular library programs including afterschool homework centers, summer learning programs, reading programs, teen college prep, job readiness and adult programs in art, technology, education, culture, and entertainment. For more information or to make a donation, please visit 


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September Member Spotlight: Palm Beach Symphony

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 30, 2020
For decades, Palm Beach Symphony has built a reputation as one of the nation’s best orchestras.

Along the way, it has offered community outreach programs including children’s concerts, student coaching sessions, and free public concerts. Even now, during the pandemic, the organization is providing a series of digital, interactive sessions for children and adults to enjoy.

We asked the staff of Palm Beach Symphony to share what their organization does and explain how it’s made a difference over the years in Palm Beach County and beyond.

1) Explain what Palm Beach Symphony is, and offers the community.

Founded in 1974, Palm Beach Symphony is South Florida’s premier orchestra known for its diverse repertoire and commitment to community. With a mission of engaging, educating, and entertaining the greater community of the Palm Beaches, the orchestra is celebrated for delivering spirited performances by first-rate musicians and distinguished guest artists. Its numerous education and community outreach programs include children’s concerts, student coaching sessions and master classes, instrument donations, and free public concerts.

2) How has COVID 19 impacted your operations, and what programming are you still providing?

The Symphony is creating engaging and educational online content, such as 48 instructional videos by its musicians, resulting in a 127% increase in YouTube viewership. It partnered with Creative Arts Therapies of the Palm Beaches to create a series of digital, interactive sessions for the children at Quantum House and the Palm Beach Children's Hospital at St. Mary's, which followed an in-person series of programs introduced last year.

3) Explain the difference Palm Beach Symphony has made in the community through the years.

One of the area’s major cultural institutions, Palm Beach Symphony performs in the Kravis Center, a 300% increase in audience capacity from its premiere 47 seasons ago. Music Director Gerard Schwarz, winner of seven Emmy® Awards, has elevated this orchestra to be among the nation’s best. In the past five years alone, the Symphony has impacted the lives of more than 50,000 students and increased the hours of music instruction 42% last season.

4) How has Nonprofits First helped your organization?

Nonprofits First has been an invaluable resource for professional education for Palm Beach Symphony’s staff. Their calendar of webinars and professional development events are always relevant and very engaging. Many Symphony staff members regularly attend these events and always come back with new tools that are useful for their position and career.

Learn more about Palm Beach Symphony here.

Tags:  Arts  Member Spotlight  Nonprofit 

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Call for Nominations: September 7 – October 19 Take Your Hat Off to Local Nonprofit Heroes

Posted By Marilyn Bieber, Monday, August 31, 2020

Hats Off Nonprofit Awards to Celebrate the

Nonprofit Community for Fourth Year

West Palm Beach – Nonprofits First, Inc. will host its fourth annual Hats Off Nonprofit Awards on Tuesday, December 8, 2020, honoring those in Palm Beach County's nonprofit sector for their dedication to service and the business of doing good. The public is invited to submit nominations online at beginning Monday, September 7 through Monday, October 19. 

All nominees will be invited to be recognized at the unique and lively hat-themed event (held live or virtually depending on COVID-19 restrictions). Award winners will be kept secret until that evening when they are announced during the ceremony.

"This is a celebration of the entire nonprofit community," said Nonprofits First CEO Jessica Cecere. "What makes this event unique is that every nominee is honored, not just finalists and award recipients. And even if the event is held virtually, we must show our support for these dedicated nonprofits doing amazing work in our community."

Nominations are accepted in ten categories:  Nonprofit of the Year (small, medium and large;  Nonprofit Volunteer of the Year; Nonprofit MVP, Nonprofit Professional of the Year; Nonprofit Executive of the Year; Lifetime Achievement; Community Collaborators Award, People’s Choice Award, and Best Hat Award. This year, the Hats Off to Heroes Award has been added to honor an organization that has performed extraordinary work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Now more than ever, these organizations, workers, and volunteers deserve to be recognized and rewarded for all the work they have done and continue to do," said Natalie Alvarez, 2020 Hats Off event chair.  "Many have had to adapt to new ways of technology and new virtual channels to fulfill their commitments to those they serve. I am grateful for all they do."

This year's sponsors include FPL and Valley Bank, and there are many sponsorship opportunities available. Funds raised from the Hats Off Nonprofit Awards benefit Nonprofits First educational programs. These programs focus on professional development, leadership, and training that nonprofit community volunteers and employees need to lead and succeed. 

For more than 13 years, Nonprofits First, Inc. has been the leading resource for strengthening the administrative and operational capacity of nonprofit organizations in the community. Comprised of experienced professionals, consultants, and volunteers, the vision of Nonprofits First is a community in which all nonprofits achieve their highest level of desired impact.


Tags:  Hats Off Nonprofit Awards  HONA 

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Member Spotlight: Speak up for Kids PBC

Posted By Administration, Thursday, August 27, 2020

Every year, hundreds of children in Palm Beach County’s foster care system have to show up for court. The proceedings can be confusing and scary for many children.

Helping them get through it all is Speak Up for Kids of Palm Beach County, Inc., which is the fundraising arm of the 15th Judicial District Guardian ad Litem Program volunteer child advocacy program. 

As part of Nonprofits First’s August member spotlight, we asked the group’s executive director, Coleen LaCosta, to explain what Speak Up for Kids does and how they are doing during the pandemic.

1) Explain what Speak Up For Kids does in the community.

Coleen LaCosta: Founded in 2008, Speak Up for Kids of Palm Beach County, Inc. is the exclusive fundraising entity for the 15th Judicial District Guardian ad Litem Program (GAL) volunteer child advocacy program. 

We exist to champion the efforts of the greater than 600 volunteer heroes who serve the child’s best interest as the eyes and ears of the court while remaining the only consistent voice in the child’s life.

2) How has COVID 19 impacted your operations, and what services are you still offering?

Coleen LaCosta: Like many other nonprofits, we have had to cancel or postpone our events. Very minimal funds are coming in and our requests for funding to help our clients with food, clothing, rent and utilities has increased. The courts are operating remotely, and trials are delayed which prolongs time in foster care. We have 1700+ children. We have increased virtual services including training, virtual tutors, virtual readers and launched STUDENTS Speak Up For Kids.

3) Explain the difference Speak Up For Kids has made in the community through the years.

Coleen LaCosta: We are unapologetically best-interest and normalcy focused to ensure kids in the foster system have the best opportunities for positive outcomes and ultimately breaking the cycle of abuse and neglect. 

We fund trauma-informed therapy, age-appropriate emergency bags, early learning and tutoring interventions, birthday parties, funds to help in reunifying a child with parents and extended family, sibling visits, holiday gifts, normalcy needs etc. In 2019, our volunteers served more than 2,500 children, including ensuring secure permanent placement for more than 1,000 children.  

4) How has Nonprofits First helped your organization?

Coleen LaCosta: Speak Up For Kids makes active use of Nonprofit’s First’s 501c3 pro toolkit and we’ve used it to create and update our policies, including Record Retention and Destruction, Nepotism, Conflict of Interest, EEO, Whistleblower, Credit Card, Grievance Procedure, and Financial Management policies. Through their Executive Masterminds and other trainings, we have been able to network, learn from, and collaborate with nonprofit leaders in Palm Beach County. 

Watch a video about Speak Up For Kids here.

Watch a video about STUDENTS Speak Up For Kids Project here.

If you know a great story about a local nonprofit, please share it with Charlotte Gill, Nonprofits First’s director of development and business strategies. Her email is:


Tags:  Member Spotlight  Membership  Speak up for Kids PBC  Storytelling 

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Member Spotlight: Roots and Wings in Delray Beach

Posted By Marilyn Bieber, Thursday, July 30, 2020

Our member Roots and Wings in Delray Beach helps disadvantaged students lift themselves out of poverty by becoming strong, confident readers and life-long learners.

The nonprofit also collaborates with other community partners in improving education for all children.

We asked the organization’s Founder and President Ted Hoskinson to explain further what Roots and Wings does and how it has made a big difference in the lives of children in Delray Beach and beyond.

1) Explain what Roots and Wings does in the community.

Ted Hoskinson: At Roots and Wings, our mission is to improve the quality of education in our extended South Florida community by supporting the students who most need help in learning to read and providing encouragement for the teachers who are working hard each day to influence and inspire children to learn. 

Our founder was an elementary school teacher for many years, and his heart is still very much tied to early learning. Each of us involved with Roots and Wings has a deep passion for education, and particularly for helping disadvantaged students lift themselves out of poverty. We are helping the children who most need support to become strong, confident readers. We hope our efforts will lead them to life-time learning. In line with this goal we also reward and encourage Master Teachers who we recognize as our most important partners.

2) How has COVID 19 impacted your operations, and what services are you still offering?

Ted Hoskinson: With Palm Beach County public schools not opening this fall, Roots and Wings is diligently focused on working with the School District of Palm Beach County, elementary school principals, the City of Delray and community partners to ensure that internet connectivity in poor neighborhoods of Delray Beach, Boca Raton and Boynton Beach is sufficient, helping to ensure that every child has internet access to participate fully in distance learning.  

We are also working with our partners to devise a meaningful distance learning solution for Project UpLift, our free, intensive, small group after school reading program slated to serve seven schools and 420 2nd and 3rd grade students this fall. We are determined to ensure that young students who are struggling to read, and already engaged in a perilous COVID-slide, have the support they need to regain ground and achieve grade level reading. New research tells us that on average students are only retaining about 70% of what they learned last year. 

With our school-based and community partners, we are developing an individualized distance-learning program utilizing certified teachers who will establish tailored learning pathways and monitor weekly reading progress through distance learning for each of the struggling 2nd and 3rd grade students that Project UpLift primarily serves. In addition, when schools open again, we are hoping to expand our after-school programming from three afternoons a week to five afternoons a week, and to stretching our hours to 6 p.m. each day. This expansion will allow Project UpLIft to help the students most-in-need to catch up on their skills so they can pass that all- important Florida Standards Assessment in reading at the end of 3rd grade. 

3) Explain the difference Roots and Wings has made in the community through the years.

Ted Hoskinson: When Roots and Wings was founded in 2016 we had one small teacher recognition program, the Above and Beyond Awards at Pine Grove Elementary School, a Title One school in Delray Beach.  In the early days we gave our award-winning teachers a small gift bag containing $100 and some candy to share with their students. Four years later we can proudly say that we have presented nearly 1,000 Above and Beyond Awards at 18 Title One public schools to dedicated teachers and public school staff in Delray Beach, Boynton Beach and Boca Raton. Now, our award-winning teachers and staff receive $100 in cash and nearly $1,000 worth of gift cards for area restaurants and service providers.  Their goodies are presented in a handsome canvas tote inscribed with “Dedicated Educator” and are accompanied by a framed certificate recognizing them as Above and Beyond Award-winners. 

Project UpLift, our free, intensive, small group after school tutoring program will serve 420 kids at 7 area Title One schools in 2020-21. In just 3 years we have grown from serving 30 students to serving 420! The proof of Project UpLift’s effectiveness is in the impressive reading growth our participating students are demonstrating.  Due to COVID-19, students were not tested at the end of the 2019-20 school year, but we are proud to say that in January of 2020, at the school-year’s mid-point, more than half of our Project UpLift students had already achieved a year’s worth of reading growth. 

Roots and Wings board and our small team are also champions for community collaboration. We partner with the School District, the City of Delray Beach, many other non-profit organizations and area businesses to achieve our goals. We truly believe that “all boats rise on the same tide,” and it is very important to us to collaborate in improving education, but more broadly, to collaborate for a strong, vibrant, cohesive South Florida community. We are working hard to set an example as a community collaborator and we have been formally recognized by the School District for two consecutive years as an “outstanding community partner.”

4) How has Nonprofits First helped your organization?

Ted Hoskinson: Our South Florida community is fortunate to have an organization that supplies such comprehensive services to non-profit organizations that are working so hard to achieve their missions and improve the quality of life for all of us. The educational seminars, workshops and networking opportunities that Nonprofits First provides are very helpful. They assist our non-profits in learning what they need to know to be most effective at achieving their philanthropic goals and they open the door and invite meaningful collaborations among us.  These efforts make a big difference. 

Learn more about Roots and Wings here.

If you know a great story about a local nonprofit, please share it with Charlotte Gill, Nonprofits First’s director of development and business strategies. Her email is:

Tags:  Member Spotlight  Nonprofit Nugget  Palm Beach County  Philanthropy 

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