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Member Spotlight: West Palm Beach Library Foundation

Posted By Charlotte Gill, Monday, December 16, 2019

The Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach provides free quality programs, services and resources that serve more than 750,000 people each year.

 

It’s a huge operation that’s supported by our member West Palm Beach Library Foundation, which raises funds for the library.

 

As our December member spotlight, Nonprofits First asked the Foundation’s Executive Director Tami R. Lesser to explain why the library is known as a center of learning and inspiration that enriches the entire community.

 

Explain why the foundation exists.

 

Tami R. Lesser: The West Palm Beach Library Foundation (WPBLF) was created to raise funds for the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach to provide free quality programs, services and resources that serve more than 750,000 people each year and enrich and strengthen our diverse community.

 

Private gifts from individuals, foundations, and the corporate arena create public libraries that are world-class institutions.

 

We are fortunate to have the Mandel Public Library, a community building institution offering unlimited possibility. The Mandel Public Library is a vibrant place where diverse members of the community can gather, grow, learn, and live more productive lives.

 

 What impact do the library programs have in the community?

 

Tami R. Lesser: The West Palm Beach Public Library’s KidSpace programs, workshops, Storytimes, special events and services have a lasting impact for more than 38,000 children and teens who participate and on their families.  The Let’s Read program involves reading to children in preschool through second grade. Teachers have seen a difference in their students reading comprehension skills and test scores. The Homework Center for children and teens has certified teachers, librarians and volunteers to help students with assignments or a project.  The summer academy provides free programs, services and a healthy lunch every day all summer to prevent summer slide. The library offers a myriad of health and art classes to promote healthy choices, exercise, art and creativity that attract hundreds of people every day. 

 

Some of the other services the library provides are:

 

  • Lending books, eBooks, movies, music cd’s, downloadable music, movies and audiobooks, magazines, audiobooks on cd, and other information formats.
  • Professional assistance with research, computer use, job hunting, use of e-government services, and utilizing library collections and the internet to get valid.
  • Aiding young adults 16 – 25 years old that are struggling with completing high school, securing employment or gaining the skills to become successful citizens.
  • Computers for patrons, many of whom have no other access to the internet, that helps bridge the "digital divide" and allow them to apply for jobs, utilize government services, and learn.
  • A wide variety of library programs:  Career-Readiness Classes, Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Latin Cardio, Computer Classes, Book Clubs, Art Classes, Job Hunting Classes and many more. 
  • Homework Help, Dog Tales, Coding Classes, Storytime’s, Ballet, Karate, Cooking and Summer Reading programs and classes.
  • Access to a vast array of online commercial databases and magazine articles (not available on the internet to non-library card holders), as well as specialized library informational websites.

 

 

How can the community support your work?

 

Tami R. Lesser: Support of the West Palm Beach Library Foundation is an investment in the entire community.

 

Your gift benefits children, teens, adults, and seniors from all walks of life, whose lives are enriched every day at the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach. Our public library is a community builder and a safe space for children, teens and adults to learn, grow, explore and be inspired. Individuals and businesses can contribute gifts of any size to support the free programs and services and can donate event sponsorships for our main event “Food for Thought 2020.”

 

We also have naming opportunities that range from a $2,000 name plate to a $2.5 million gift to name the Children’s Library. It’s a meaningful way to offer recognition or to honor or memorialize a loved one. The Library Foundation relies on the generosity of our community members, foundations and businesses to support our beloved library and ensure that it will continue to be a center of learning and inspiration that enriches the entire community.

 

Why is the WPBLF a member of Nonprofits First?

 

Tami R. Lesser: WPBLF became a member of Nonprofits first to connect and engage with our colleagues and other organizations in the nonprofit community. We hope to learn and benefit from the many educational opportunities provided by Nonprofits First. We also want to find additional opportunities for the Mandel Public Library to partner with other nonprofits to bring more of the wonderful library programs out into the community and expand access to the library for the benefit of the community.

 

 Learn more about the West Palm Beach Library Foundation 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: cgill@nonprofitsfirst.org

Image credit: Facebook page of West Palm Beach Library Foundation

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Tags:  Charities  Cultivate  Membership  Network  Nonprofit  Nonprofit Philanthropy  Palm Beach County 

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Nonprofit Financial Management Network Provides Opportunities to Collaborate With Financial Peers

Posted By Charlotte Gill, Monday, November 25, 2019

Nonprofit Financial Management Network Provides Opportunities to Collaborate With Peers

 

In 2016, financial leaders at The Arc of Palm Beach County, Community Partners of South Florida, The Lord’s Place, Nonprofits First, and Palm Beach Habilitation Center came together to establish a resource for nonprofit financial managers to collaborate and learn from one another.

 

“The Nonprofit Financial Management Network (NFNM) has created an opportunity to bring our nonprofit financial leaders together to learn, share ideas, and network with their peers in Palm Beach County. Without a doubt, we are creating a valuable resource for our nonprofit community,” says Toby Douthwright, Chief Operating Officer at The Lord’s Place.

 

Opportunities to participate in the NFMN include quarterly trainings, roundtables, and networking events. At a recent training held at Community Partners of South Florida, Keefe and McCullough CPA’s and Trusted Advisors presented to 45 financial professionals on Cost Allocations for Nonprofits. In early November, the group gathered for networking at the West Palm Beach Brewery and Wine Vault. Among those gathered were representatives from Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of PBC, Hanley Foundation, Loggerhead Marinelife Center, First Republic Bank, Adopt A Family of the Palm Beaches, Community Partners of South Florida, The Lord’s Place, The Arc of Palm Beach County, 211 Palm Beach/Treasure Coast, Holyfield & Thomas, Palm Beach Habilitation, and Nonprofits First.

 

Gregory Demetriades, Chief Financial Officer of Community Partners of South Florida says, “we created the network to serve as a resource to the financial managers of the Palm Beach County nonprofit world, regardless of organizational focus or purpose.  We felt that, unlike other senior positions in nonprofit organizations, our profession lacked the recognition of the industry and cohesiveness of an organized support group. The group brings relevant and important issues to the table and engages the individuals that needed it the most – our nonprofit financial peers.”

 

For more information or questions regarding the Nonprofit Financial Management Network, contact Delferine Spooner at Dspooner@nonprofitsfirst.org or 561-214-7435.

Tags:  Charities  Finance  Financial Empowerment  Leadership  Membership  Network  Nonprofit  Nonprofit Finance 

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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, INC.

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 www.nonprofitsfirst.org

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

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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 cgill@nonprofitsfirst.org



Tags:  Charities  Cultivate  Membership  Network  Nonprofit  Nonprofits First  Storytelling 

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Notables Notices Hats Off Nonprofit Awards

Posted By Charlotte Gill, Wednesday, October 16, 2019
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