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20 PBC Nonprofit Professionals Begin Leadership Program

Posted By Charlotte Gill, Tuesday, November 19, 2019

(WEST PALM BEACH, FL) November, 19, 2019 – Twenty Palm Beach County nonprofit professionals have been accepted into the Rising Leaders program presented by Nonprofits First. The nonprofit leadership program is a competitive 6-month program that prepares nonprofit program managers to transform into the sector’s new generation of top leaders.


Rising Leaders Class of 2020

Schiller Ambroise, Community Partners of South Florida

Altagracia Andre, Center for Family Services of Palm Beach County

Amanda Canete, Compass LGBTQ Community Center

Blanca Cartagena, Lake Worth West Resident Planning Group

Jennifer Crane, Community Partners of South Florida

Ericka Estime, City of West Palm Beach, Department of Housing & Community Development

Nancy Finn, CHSFL/BRIDGES at West Palm Beach

Christopher Gay, Palm Beach County School District

Richard Haines, Urban League of Palm Beach County

Natashia Harris. The Lord's Place

Lashaundra Highsmith, Palm Beach County Food Bank

Susan LaRocca, The Lord’s Place

Ana Lopez, Community Partners of South Florida

Wynsome McLean, Community Partners of South Florida

Matthew Meek, Easterseals Florida

Kemba Pinkston, Children's Home Society of Florida

Brian Rowe, CROS Ministries

Jonathan Taylor, Police Athletic League of West Palm Beach

Robbriannia Weekley-Johnson, YWCA of Palm Beach County

Javaris Yarns, Children's Home Society of Florida


Participants will acquire a deeper understanding of their own leadership styles while gaining hands-on experience in strategies for leading their programs and organization to a high level of impact and success.


The Rising Leaders experience fosters interaction, discovery, dialogue, and servant leadership as participants increase skills to lead the nonprofit field. Alumni of the program transfer skills directly to their current roles and many go on to serve in executive level positions in the nonprofit sector.  Nonprofit organizations are a major economic force in Palm Beach County, employing nearly 30,000 people with total annual wages of almost $1.2 billion in Palm Beach County alone (see Florida Nonprofit Alliance’s website for more eye-opening info about the nonprofit sector in the Sunshine State).


The class members were nominated by their managers and selected for their leadership qualities, passion for their missions, and eagerness to learn new skills. They will meet as a group for one full day each month, from November to June, engaging in topics such as new models of leadership, driving social change, public speaking, and critical thinking and decision-making. They will also conduct an extracurricular small group project designed to assist a local charitable or civic organization.


“Rising Leaders is the next generation of leadership in the nonprofit sector, succession planning at its best,” said Jessica Cecere, CEO of Nonprofits First.


Rising Leaders has graduated over 325 nonprofit leaders since the program launched in 2005.




Nonprofits First is a membership organization focused on enhancing the nonprofit community’s effectiveness, efficiency, and ultimately impact.  The vision of Nonprofits First is a community in which nonprofit organizations achieve their highest level of community impact. Nonprofits First strengthens the nonprofit sector through accreditation, leadership development, education, and management support services.  For more information, visit


Tags:  Collaborations  Leadership  Network  Nonprofit  Nonprofits First  Palm Beach County  Professional Development  Rising Leaders 

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Jack the Bike Man, Inc., Names Executive Director Michelle R. H. Phillips to Take the Handlebars of the Growing Nonprofit

Posted By Charlotte Gill, Monday, November 18, 2019
August 23, 2019
WEST PALM BEACH, FL. Boris Zhadanovskiy, President of the Board of Directors of Jack the Bike Man, Inc. and Wheels of Hope Programs wishes to announce the appointment of Michelle R. H. Phillips as Executive Director of the nonprofit devoted to strengthening the community through bicycle education and safety.
Phillips, a second generation native to the City of West Palm Beach, avid community advocate, AmeriCorps VISTA alumni and the Vice President the Directors of Volunteer Services (DOVS) of Palm Beach County. She has been an active member of many community service programs like the American Red Cross, the March of Dimes and the Briana Marie Cox Foundation.


“All of us at Jack the Bike Man see an opportunity to educate the community on how transportation via the bicycle addresses poverty related issues and promotes a healthier lifestyle while encouraging a community synergy for youth and adults who live below the poverty level. We are thrilled to have Phillips lead us in this exciting stage of growth,” Jack Hairston said. “I’m really excited about Jack the Bike Man’s next step and I can’t wait to see where we can go.”


Phillips’s hiring comes as Jack the Bike Man implements a plan of strategic growth in grant programs, development and outreach, building on the successes of the non for profit.


“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead the Jack the Bike Man team. The organization’s vision is to provide hope to the less fortunate through support, training, and access to bicycles. Bicycles have played a big role in my life and I look forward to being a part of the effort to bring Jack the Bike Man to the next level, making a positive difference for both the day to day operations and for the children and adults who we are serving throughout the year,” Phillips said.


Phillips holds a great passion for people and joins the organization after a seven year tenure with the Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County, based in West Palm Beach, Florida.


About the foundation: Jack the Bike Man, Inc. and the Wheels of Hope programs are a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving bicycle education and safety programs in the community.
The organization has raised more than $3 million since 2007, purchases thousands of bike parts for the refurbishment of the hundreds of donated bicycles each quarter, trains just as many volunteers who help to restore the bicycles so, children living at or below the poverty level may have the healthy option of owning a bicycle. Samuel “Jack” Hairston, started the non for profit in 1999 when he was inspired to help a youth who was falling off of a broken bicycle. Jack the Bike Man, Inc. affirms Jack’s ongoing passion to create a community of healthy active individuals by providing access to bicycles. 

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October Member Spotlight: CHAMP

Posted By Charlotte Gill, Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, October 30, 2019


There are many nonprofits in Palm Beach County serving the needs of intellectually disabled children and adults.


A new agency called CHAMP is one of them, but it focuses on something a little different: Giving differently-abled people with autism, down syndrome, and other diagnoses a paycheck instead of a disability check.


It’s a mission that Brett Carpenter of CHAMP is passionate about.


The CHAMP founder shares his family's journey as part of our October member profile.



It was June 2000 when our family doctor uttered the words that changed the course of our lives: “Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter your son Reese has autism.” Those words started a journey for my wife and I, and 21 years later, we have learned from family, educators, and therapists how to help our son be the best “Reese” he can be.


So when I had a chance to pay it forward, I took it.

After 38 years of working at a large South Florida company, I retired and started a non-profit called Children’s Health And Mentor Program (CHAMP).  Our mission is simple. Provide FREE recreational activities for youth and young adults with intellectual disabilities. 

CHAMP serves people with Autism, Down Syndrome, and Cerebral Palsy to name a few. Through recreational activities, CHAMP will help them improve their social skills and help them reach their full potential, which can include employment. CHAMP’s vision is to replace a disability check with a paycheck.

CHAMP welcomes those with any intellectual disability, or should I say “different ability.”


Some Background


Today, one in 58 children will be diagnosed with autism – up from around one in 150 when Reese was born. Autism is becoming more prevalent and having larger impacts in our community.


When our children hit age 22, they "age out" of school and there are no formal services for them. In the intellectual disability community, this is known as "THE CLIFF," meaning the services drop off. 


As a father of a 21-year-old son with autism, I understand what the challenges have been for my family and we are now facing "THE CLIFF" ourselves.  


My hope is to serve youth/young adults before and after "THE CLIFF."


Seven Great Trips

Since our inception in March 2019, CHAMP has had seven events: teaching about flying drones, bowling with Special Olympians, a Hawaiian-themed dance, paddle boarding, a croquet lesson, a fishing trip on the Intracoastal, and a trip to Miami on the Brightline Train to visit the Science Museum.


“The one I feel most passionate about is the Brightline Train trip to Miami to see the Frost Science Museum on October 12,” said Brett.

CHAMP took 20 youth/young adults and 25 parents/caregivers as chaperones, traveled on the Brightline Railway, and then met seven VIVINT employee volunteers at the Miami Brightline Station. Later on, all of us visited the museum’s planetarium show and the multiple levels of aquariums.


All these activities were very visible and enjoyable by all.


What wasn’t visible is that there were a variety of teachable moments that occurred and the group didn’t realize they were learning. Learning while having fun is the hallmark of CHAMP’s program.


Visit WWW.MYYCHAMP.COM to learn more about what we do and to see the pictures and associated descriptions in the EVENT PICTURES section. If you know of a family that could benefit from FREE recreational activities for those with intellectual disabilities, please share this article and visit the website.

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, at

Tags:  Charities  Cultivate  Membership  Network  Nonprofit  Nonprofits First  Storytelling 

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Boca Rio Foundation RFP Opens

Posted By Charlotte Gill, Friday, October 25, 2019

Boca Rio Foundation Now Accepting Grant Proposals.

Download the guidelines and application here.

The deadline for proposals is January, 10th 2020.


Karla Souza

Boca Rio Golf Club


Download File (PDF)

Tags:  Charities  Development  Fundraising  Grants  Nonprofit Philanthropy  Palm Beach County  Philanthropy 

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I.T. Solutions of South Florida Nabs Two Corporate Honors

Posted By Charlotte Gill, Thursday, October 24, 2019


Lake Worth-based I.T. Solutions of South Florida Nabs Two Corporate Honors
CIO Award Finalist & Ranked Among Fastest-Growing Technology Companies


[Lake Worth, FL, October 15, 2019] Normally his energy and enthusiasm are impossible to contain. And it was no different when Jason Pizzo learned he was a top three finalist for the CIO Award for companies with revenue under $50 Million. But Jason’s exuberance quickly faded when he learned he might have to speak at the South Florida Business Journal’s 2019 Technology Awards last Thursday, October 10th.


Jason, CIO and co-founder of I.T. Solutions of South Florida, has experience with his growing technology company winning awards. But Jason shies away from taking the stage.


“Deana usually handles accepting the awards,” he joked. Jason managed to avoid public speaking, but not the stage at The Signature Grand in Davie. Jason joined his wife and company CEO, Deana Pizzo, on stage when I.T. Solutions of South Florida was named 7th among the 2019 Fastest-Growing Technology Companies.


Two awards in one night for I.T. Solutions of South Florida capped off an incredibly successful year for the Lake Worth based Managed Service Provider. In August, the Journal ranked I.T.S. 13th among the 25 finalists in the under $25 million revenue category for 2019 Fastest-Growing Companies in South Florida award. This was the first Fast 50 Award for the growing tech company.


I.T. Solutions of South Florida started 2019 celebrating the milestone achievement of 15 years in business. In January, they made the Journal’s list of 2019 Best Places to Work and continued to win awards throughout the year. A leading tech industry trade magazine, CRN, named I.T.S. to its 2019 MSP 501 ranking, as well as its Managed Security 100 list.


Uncomfortable as the spotlight shone directly on him individually, Jason was quick to defer the attention for the CIO accolade to his team at I.T.S. “We have an amazing corporate culture which allows me to surround myself with great people and I respect them enough to execute their tasks without micromanaging them. We all share the awareness that technology means nothing unless it enables business to do more, earn more, and run more efficiently,” he said.


Outside of the office, Jason serves on the executive board of Clinics Can Help as Treasurer. The non-profit accepts gently used and new durable medical equipment and unwrapped medical supplies from individuals and organizations and makes it available to children and adults who may not otherwise be able to afford such equipment and supplies for their physical recovery. Jason joined Clinics Can Help because he recognized the need in the community for durable medical equipment and personally experienced the impact access to life-saving equipment can make.


Jason founded I.T. Solutions of South Florida with his wife Deana in 2004 out of their living room, with a strong desire to use his passion for technology to help others. Since then, I.T.S. has grown into a full-service I.T. consulting company, serving small and medium-sized businesses both locally and nationally. His goal as CIO is to make their clients more productive through technology.


“We align our goals with the goals of our clients. When you are running successfully, so are we,” Jason said.



Photo Information

Photo by Jock Fistick, South Florida Business Journal

Pictured: (center) Deana and Jason Pizzo of I.T. Solutions of South Florida are honored as one of the fastest growing technology companies in South Florida. Jamie Javorsky (left) of StevenDouglas, the presenting sponsor and South Florida Business Journal Editor-in-Chief Mel Melendez (right) are also pictured.



About I.T. Solutions of South Florida

I.T. Solutions of South Florida, Inc. is an award-winning Managed Service Provider in Palm Beach County, specializing in solving the unique I.T. and business challenges for small to medium size businesses. I.T. Solutions of South Florida serves a vast array of businesses from manufacturing to construction, schools, non-profit organizations, and can easily accommodate the needs of any professional service industry, including those with multiple locations and remote workers. Credo


I.T. Solutions of South Florida was founded in 2004 and has become one of the Fastest Growing Technology Companies in South Florida. Their mission is to help businesses develop cost-effective solutions by implementing the proper technology to improve their bottom line. They deliver flat-rate I.T. implemented by a dedicated and professional staff. Along with providing superior service and utilizing cutting-edge technology, they also strive to make positive contributions to their local community.


Above all, they serve wholeheartedly.


I.T. Solutions of South Florida Contact

Lisa Keeney

Tags:  Board of Directors  Technology 

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