Six Nonprofits Graduate from POWER Program

"She met us where we are." "This was an 'Aha' moment for me." These phrases are integral to those participating in POWER, a capacity building program for grassroots and emerging organizations. Learn More »

Earlier this month the Gifford Foundation celebrated the six grassroots and start-up organizations that completed the second POWER program, which stands for “People & Organizations with Energy & Resilience.” The goal of the $85,000 year-long program was to increase the strength and operating capacity of these selected nonprofits. Each organization formed a leadership team and worked with a specially trained consultant to examine capacity and implement a work plan, and each received a small grant for a capacity building project. The organizations also participated in regular learning sessions for networking and knowledge sharing with their peers.

The POWER graduates are:

Believe in Syracuse promotes the positive features of the Greater Syracuse Area and cultivates connections and civic engagement within the Greater Syracuse community.

Cuse Pit Crew’s mission is to “Refuel the Human-Animal Connection” in the Syracuse area through community outreach and educational programming, while advocating for pit bulls and other misunderstood breeds.

Dance Theater of Syracuse is dedicated to providing pre-professional dance training to young artists and providing emerging dance artists with a place to develop new work.

The Onondaga Earth Corps empowers youth to be active participants in creating positive change for their communities and the environment.

Open Hand Theater celebrates the human experience through puppetry, masks and theater traditions from around the world.

RISE (Refugee & Immigrant Self-Empowerment) advocates and promotes self-sufficiency through employment, education, social support and economic independence for members of the refugee and immigrant communities in Onondaga County, NY.

“Our board heard not only from our fantastic consultant, Angela Douglas, but also from a learning session with another arts group at a similar stage to ours. The need for transition planning is now paramount in our thoughts and more board members are stepping up to help out,” reports Carol Charles of DTS. “But I also learned that I needed to speak up, and say what I needed. This was an ‘Aha” moment for me.”

“Our consultant Patty Weisse was an ideal fit. We decided to focus on board development. With Patty’s help we have new committees, a new board structure and stronger recruitment,” states Stefanie Heath of Cuse Pit Crew. ”She met us where we were and helped build on that.”

POWER was designed using concepts developed by organizational consultant Dr. Susan Kenny Stevens and found in her book Nonprofit Lifecycles: Stage Based Wisdom for Nonprofit Capacity. This “meet them where they are” method is known as the “Lifecycle Approach” to capacity building. Consultant Maria Fibiger of Three Dog Consulting served as project leader, training and overseeing five local consultants

(from left) Greg Michel, Onondaga Earth Corps; Carol Charles, Dance Theater of Syracuse; Andrea Wandersee, Open Hand Theater; Natalie Martin, Cuse Pit Crew; Maria Fibiger, lead consultant; Haji Adan, Refugee and Immigrant Self Empowerment; John DeSantis, Believe in Syracuse.

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