Engage children in family philanthropy

The future leadership of communities lies in the hands of children. In addition to quality education, philanthropy provides a great tool for childhood and community development.

Involving your children, no matter the age, in philanthropy is a great way to teach values of community, charity and helping your fellow man. In addition to learning from their idols (their parents/family leaders), children can practice goodwill by participating in their family’s giving plan.

A few ways children can serve as “young” philanthropists include:

  • Donating gently used toys, books and clothes to other children who may benefit
  • Redirecting birthday and holiday gifts to other children or organizations
  • Special occasions (such as birthdays, first communions, bar/bat mitzvahs, graduations) which are promoted with invitations and recognized with gifts, can encourage giving contributions to local charities in lieu of gifts
  • Volunteering with family members at local missions, food distribution centers, and special events
  • Participating in youth giving funds or circles

Family volunteering engages children in philanthropy and creates a unique way of spending time together. Ideas and opportunities are limitless and family fun is just one benefit. Subject matter during family meals and on family trips could be around service and community giving. Another idea could even be a volunteer activity on the family’s next vacation.

Involving children in a family’s giving or philanthropic activity can do wonders toward greater family connectivity and communication. Plus, it’ll teach children about appreciation, values, and communal support.

  

 

Simple, yet empowering charitable investment ideas

Millions of investments are made on a regular basis, mostly for personal or corporate gain. What if a million investments were made each day for the benefit of the community, country, and world? Just because there’s uncertainty with our economy doesn’t mean it needs to be that way with benevolence. Here are a few charitable investment ideas for you to consider.

  • Invest your time to advance an organization’s mission;
  • Invest in a future leader by mentoring;
  • Invest some money to meet a community need;
  • Invest a smile to brighten another’s day;
  • Invest your professional skills to complete a critical task;
  • Invest your voice to cheer and celebrate;
  • Invest a meal to help feed another;
  • Invest a little sweat to set up an event;
  • Invest an idea to create innovative change;
  • Invest compassion to help others;
  • Invest an invitation to encourage others to join you;
  • Invest your attention toward creative ways of giving;
  • Invest a jacket to warm another;
  • Invest hands to change the world;
  • Just Invest…the list can go on and on

Some of these investments can be measured, others provide intangible results. In all cases, the ROI generated is life changing…for the “investor” and each beneficiary.

If you’re interested or ready to make a charitable investment of any kind, give us a call at 775-333-9444 or email us. Our team at NPcatalyst can help you or your company create an empowering charitable investment strategy, find the ideal charitable organization(s), and embrace your own way of giving.

Proud moment for our firm

We take great pleasure in working with charitable organizations and businesses to acheive philanthropic goals on daily basis. It’s incredibly rewarding to play a major role in taking a dream and turning it into something far bigger than ever imagined. This is entirely the case with a special project we guided for Sierra Vista Elementary School.

Our managing director, Pete Parker, received a call from a local education leader who asked for advice on what it would take to make a community garden for the school happen. Pete asked for one hour to find a solution for the elementary school, based in a predominantly low income neighborhood in Reno, Nevada. Not only did we find the solution, a team of community leaders were quickly recruited and put to action. The rest is history…and the beginning.

Click here to see how this big idea become an amazing opportunity, just by creating strong community collaboration.

Article in Generation Boomer magazine

Community volunteerism is a cornerstone of philanthropy. At NPcatalyst, we allocate a considerable amount of resources toward making volunteerism accessible, meaningful, and impactful. We create opportunities and connections for both non-profit organizations and the aspiring leaders who wish to donate their time.

Recently, we were asked to inspire the boomer generation to “give back” to their community. The end result was an article co-authored with Scott Trevithick, who is the executive director of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program at the University of Nevada’s Sanford Center on Aging. The article, entitled “Using your skills to enhance the community”, appears in Generation Boomer magazine.

Here is an excerpt describing the benefits of volunteerism…

There are countless benefits associated with volunteerism. From improving one’s health to helping organizations accomplish goals, the value of “giving back” or “making a difference” felt by the volunteer, as well as the charitable organization, can be significant.

For boomers, there’s one big question – how does someone start volunteering and where does he or she go for direction?

For many, taking the first step is very difficult. Determining which organization to select, how to approach it, how much time to offer and in what capacity, and when to make the initial contact can be stressful, uneasy, intimidating and, to a degree, frightening.

We also offered a little advice…

As you begin your search for the ideal volunteer situation, here are a few tips to consider or questions to ask yourself.

  • Is there an age group with which you’d particularly like to work, such as children, students, young professionals, or seniors?
  • Is there a cause which connects to you, perhaps animals, environment, arts, recreation, or education?
  • Do you have a special talent or skill? Is there a good place to teach or share that ability?
  • How often would you like to volunteer – one-time for a special event, now and then, or regularly? Is flexibility important to you?
  • Do you have neighbors or friends who volunteer or could you join others from work, a club or church or other group you’re a part of?

Tapping into the interest and expertise of boomers and seniors makes sense.

One thing is certain, nonprofit organizations rely on volunteers to grow and meet community needs. They’re continually looking for leaders, particularly boomers and seniors, who bring experience and skills which can be applied right away.

Click here to read the entire article.

Amazing community opportunities in the Old Pueblo

Summer has been extremely busy for the NPcatalyst team. Rather than spend the warm months surfing waves in the Pacific or backpacking along the Tahoe Rim Trail, we’ve been serving clients and connecting with corporate and charitable leaders across the country.

This past weekend was spent in Tucson, where we met with numerous non-profit officials, social entrepreneurs, and new strategic partners. Here’s a brief list of our new friends:

  • Beads of Courage – an incredible organization which distributes beads to children being treated for cancer throughout the world.
  • TreeHouse Farm – an organization which provides an unforgettable experience for children recovering from cancer treatment, serious burns, and congenital heart issues.
  • The Haven – extraordinary organization which provides substance abuse treatment and housing for men and women.
  • Arizona Oncology Foundation – a new organization which provides support programs for cancer patients and survivors.
  • One-on-One Mentoring – an organization which matchs caring adults with at-risk youth.
  • Pima Prevention Partnership – provides practical solutions to address both individual and community problems, particularly substance abuse related.

They were all introduced to our services, particularly our online gifting tool, GiftingWishes, and our BoardCheck assessment resource.

Saturday was spent in a retreat with one of our new strategic partners. This soon-to-be-launched company will provide job recruitment, leadership development, and career development opportunities to both college students and employers. Much more to follow soon.

It was just another amazing weekend. We hope it leads to many opportunities to continue helping enhance the philanthropic culture in the Old Pueblo. Plus, we may have even landed a new job for a Tucson resident!

Thank you, Tucson, for your hospitality, heat, and spectacular sunsets!

Businesses and charities chipping in to create school garden

A little over a month ago, I was asked by an Education Alliance board member if I had any ideas to help a garden project move forward. It had been three years since the school had conceived the idea, but stalled due to various challenge. I told Jim to give me an hour and I’d have the solution. Weeks later and the project is in full force.

It has happened thanks to key community partners who didn’t think twice of helping. The first person I called was Leonard Guevara, executive director of Safe Harbors of Nevada, a transition program working with ex-offenders and rehabilitating drug addicts re-adjust to society by providing a home, meals, classes, and access to employment and transportation resources. Instead of thinking about it, he jumped and told me that he’d start right away. This guy is amazing! Check out the photo of him making magic happen as he and his crew install planters and prepare the area for a drip system.

Credit goes to the team we assembled. Now, the effort is not just a garden, it’s an “outdoor classroom”, where students will assemble to take care of their own gardens (at least one per grade class), conduct learning exercises a picnic benches, and use the gardens to expand their knowledge in math, science, reading, and writing.

The team includes Moana Nursery, WCSD Capital Projects, Western Nevada Supply, Garden Shop Nursery, and the Reno Lions Club. As a result, we’re receiving interest from others interested in the project. It’s ideal, because there’s one major item we need…well, the KIDS need.

The Moana Nursery family has created a “classroom kit”, containing several garden accessories for the students to use as they cultivate and harvest their gardens. The kit features rakes, gloves, seeds, soil, and other handy items, which will help the students learn in a hands-on manner. The kit can be purchased at the store on Moana Nursery or online at the school’s giving page on the GiftingWishes.com website for $110 until the end of May. Each purchase will be received as a donation, enabling donors to be properly recognized by the school.

More information can be obtained by clicking the following or contacting me at 775-333-9444 or info@npcatalyst.com.

Sierra Vista Elementary Garden webpage

Buy/donate a “classroom kit” on the Sierra Vista Garden giving page on GiftingWishes.com

An opportunity to support Safe Harbors of Nevada

    

Helping people obtain the skills they need to become productive citizens.

Guiding people to reconnect with personal values.

Providing an enriching environment, enabling people to experience changes in behavior, thinking, and feeling.

These represent the hallmark of Safe Harbors of Nevada…to change lives.

Each year in northern Nevada, thousands of men and women are released from state prisons and jails, with the vast majority returning to the Truckee Meadows. These returning prisoners face a range of challenges, from securing housing and employment to rebuilding relationships with their families and support networks. They must deal with these issues while, at the same time, avoiding old pathways to criminal behavior and substance abuse, avoiding negative influences, maintaining hope and self-esteem, and adjusting to daily life on the outside.

Safe Harbors provides a premier home-like, clean, safe and secure environment to assist individuals in their gradual reentry into the community.

This local organization, located near the UNR campus, has been helping people get back on their feet for years. Until now, the organization has never asked for contributions from the community. Safe Harbors seeks to team with the greater community to enhance transition results and provide opportunities for those looking to make a fresh start. It starts with the basic necessity of a proper meal service program.

  • Goal – to serve more nutritious meals to more people.
  • Project – to renovate their kitchen to facilitate the increasing cooking needs.
  • Cost – $40,000. Roughly $40,000 in in-kind contributions has already been committed.
  • Timeline – now. The flooring is about to be stripped and existing equipment removed.

Safe Harbors was founded in June 2004 and has helped thousands of ex-offenders and substance abusers regain their lives. At the time, Leonard Guevara had a vision to start the organization after completing a similar one himself. He saw how it helped him get back on his feet and give him a support system that he would not have had otherwise. He wanted to be able to give back to the community, and thought the best way to do so was to open a house where people with substance abuse problems could regain their sobriety by living in a clean and safe environment.

The organization’s leaders provide a supportive environment to qualified individuals to guide them toward retaining their sobriety and chemical independence, and developing living skills to become healthy and productive members of society. Through a 90-day structured program, each client:

  • Is provided with bed liners, laundry facilities, bathing facilities, and a clean living environment.
  • Is offered three nutritious meals each day.
  • Is given access the computer lab for job searches and personal communications.
  • Attend daily meetings and work towards completing the 12-step program.

Through partnerships with local businesses and non-profit organizations, Safe Harbors stores enough food and food products to feed an increasing number of clients. However, the kitchen and cooking appliances severely need updating to adequately prepare three square and nutritious meals to more than 48 clients each day.

Each year in northern Nevada, thousands of men and women are released from state prisons and state jails, with the vast majority returning to the Truckee Meadows. These returning prisoners face a range of challenges, from securing housing and employment to rebuilding relationships with their families and support networks. They must deal with these issues while at the same time avoiding old pathways to criminal behavior and substance abuse, avoiding negative influences, maintaining hope and self-esteem, and adjusting to daily life on the outside.

According to founder, Leonard Guevara, “When clients are released from prison, many of them have no access to the basic necessities. Most have less than twenty dollars in their pocket, no support system, and are unable to cope with the freedom of being out of a controlled environment. Since they know no other way to make money, many go back to the criminal activity that they were indicted for and find themselves back in prison.”

Leonard expressed this during a recent interview on the Nevada Matters Media radio show. Click here to become more acquainted with Safe Harbors and its founder.

The program at Safe Harbor works. Clients are making successful transitions back to society, where they are able to obtain employment, secure proper housing, and build strong relationships with family members. As a result, they are becoming well-adjusted, economically-supportive individuals looking to better themselves.

Community members can help by making financial contributions to Safe Harbors. Funds raised will enhance the organization, starting with the kitchen upgrade. Healthy bodies make for healthier minds and brighter perspectives.

Donations of all amounts are welcome and each dollar helps bring the project to completion. Donations can be made by mail, in person, or online. Below are links to facilitate contributions. All contributors, unless identified as “anonymous”, will be tastefully recognized.

Additional information can be gathered by contacting Safe Harbors at 775-337-6777, by email, or on its website at www.SafeHarborsofNV.com. The mailing address is 469 E. 9th St., Reno, Nevada, 89512.

An incredible first year for NPcatalyst

Athough we’re already in the third month of the year 2012, we haven’t really taken an opportunity to reflect upon the first year of NPcatalyst LLC. Like any new or innovative idea, there are many twists and turns and unforeseen obstacles. However, with the right team, positive outlook, and extreme passion, the good far outweighs the uncertainty.

We took a few minutes last night to test a new tool to paint a picture of our initial year of operation.

Here’s to an even more amazing year in 2012.

Yours in Community,

Pete

The issue with our new project – GiftingWishes

We’re barely one month since the creation of GiftingWishes.com and we’re already addressing one major issue. While we suspected it could haunt us, we didn’t expect it to hit this soon.

Each non-profit leader who registers their wishes with GiftingWishes, represents an organization which we become instantly attached. Whether it’s the mission, their beneficiaries, their locations, or their future plans, we (the GiftingWishes team) become attracted as potential donors and voluntary leaders. It’s a “virus” that affects both John from YourVolunteers and Pete from NPcatalyst, but neither of us are looking for a remedy. Instead, we’re actively seeking to infect others with ways to support these organizations.

Here’s a brief sampling of the organizations registered on GiftingWishes and you may quickly recognize our “issue” or, really, opportunity!

  • I am Love Farms (San Diego, CA) – a Veteran Equine Assisted Therapy Charity that helps Armed Forces Veterans heal the visible & non-visible wounds of war through the practice of love, equine assisted therapy & good horsemanship.
  • Arbor Bay School (San Carlos, CA) – fosters academic and social success for children with learning differences through individualized instruction in a small classroom environment.
  • The First Tee of Northern Nevada (Reno, NV) – impacts the lives of young people in northern Nevada by providing learning facilities and educational programs that promote character-development and life-enhancing values through the game of golf.

We encourage you to become familiar with these organizations and consider supporting them through your time and/or dollar. Even if you contribute an hour or a $10 donation, your leadership will go a long way toward fulfilling their wishes and helping pave the road to greater sustainability.

For more information about GiftingWishes, YourVolunteers, or NPcatalyst, click on those links or send a note to info@npcatalyst.com or call 775-333-9444.

Working with community leaders to build stronger communities!

Meeting the needs of local philanthropy

NPcatalyst was created and designed to meet the needs of philanthropy in local communities. The company spawned from a consulting firm, Parker Development Services, which worked with select non-profit organizations on their fund development models. To follow a strong desire to help many charities and, at the same time, help businesses and individuals become more strategic with their giving, we decided to re-brand ourselves.

A short ten months later, we’ve worked to address the needs of hundreds of non-profit organizations and community events. This occurred by managing projects like KOLOCares, which designs media partnerships to promote community and charitable events; Blue Moon Promotions’ One Community grant program, which awarded $20,000 to four organizations after analyzing the needs of many grant requests; and, Summer Of Service, which promoted volunteerism by linking community residents with volunteer opportunities at non-profit organizations.

Rather than fit a specific mold, the essence of the company was sculpted to offer innovative solutions to its clients so that, through these relationships, it could meet the ever-changing needs of local communities. “With relatively no direct competition, we’re seeing the greatest competition come from misunderstanding…where businesses don’t immediately recognize that they can generate business by effectively supporting local charities,” says Pete Parker, NPcatalyst’s managing partner. “We’re also hearing that we’re “ahead of our time” by thinking out of the box and offering innovative solutions in the charitable landscape, which has traditionally focused solely on the “check-writing” way of making donations.”

While the root of NPcatalyst’s operations and performance is earthed in strong relationships and communications, the firm recognizes that charitable support can be generated in other forms. In fact, the “success model” the firm designed five months ago has naturally morphed into a service model identifying the ways it’s working to meet the needs of today’s charitable organizations and local businesses.

The model illustrates the firm’s desire to service both non-profit organizations and local businesses, separately. The firm also found a niche in creating solutions which connects charitable organizations and potential supporters by designing mutually-beneficial partnerships or collaborations which, ultimately, benefit the larger communities.

Recently, NPcatalyst launched its Community Catalyst program, which features a charitable fund designed for small businesses. Through the Fund, businesses with annual revenues below $500,000 can pool their funds together to make significant, meaningful contributions to specific needs as identified by local charitable organizations. “Now that businesses which might only be able to donate $250 each quarter, can connect with other small business owners to contribute an amount exponentially greater,” according to Parker. “Not only are we creating opportunities for businesses to amplify their donation power, we’re creating new relationships between local businesses, potential customers, and the area’s charities.”

As the holiday season approaches, NPcatalyst is working on two new innovative projects aimed at generating funds for local charities. One project provides donors with specific information relating to their contributions, enabling them to know exactly how their donations will be used and what they’ll pay for. The other connects non-profits with local merchants to increase spending at the businesses and, in turn, drive income directly to specific charities.

“The heart of NPcatalyst is to drive dollars and leaders to charitable organizations…period,” says Parker.

Businesses and non-profit organizations seeking opportunities to ignite growth and financial impact are invited to contact NPcatalyst at 775-333-9444 and info@npcatalyst.com.