April 2011 E-News 
In This Issue
CEO Message
Grant News
Client Update: Bergen County
Client Update: Newark
Board/Leadership Council News
Staff Update
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A Short Menu For Leadership Sanity 

 One of our most recognizable nonprofit leaders recently told me that he was "fed up' and that the changing nonprofit landscape was leading him to" insanity".   Later that day I began to ponder his dilemma and I decided to ask a group of other successful nonprofit CEOs how they keep themselves sane.  The result -this short "five item menu" for leadership sanity:


1)  Share the work of setting direction -The CEOs said that they discovered that it was the burden of carrying "direction setting" on their own shoulders that weighed them down.  Regular staff and board "strategic discussion" helps relieve the pressure.


2)  Identify and feed the renegades - Nonprofit leaders find they need to support those employees who have a keen sense of the evolving community needs - those with their ears to the ground.  They are supporting those whose emotional energy is invested in the future and who are willing to gently let go of the past.  


3)  Release the notion of "heroic" leadership - No longer riding in on the white horse to save the day, successful nonprofit leaders are focusing on creating collaborative systems and making space for innovation.


Don Crocker

4)Nurture employee autonomy-  New ideas and new approaches need to be "seeded" at all levels.  Successful leaders are creating mechanisms to encourage grassroots experimentation and reward thoughtful ideas and new approaches to service.


5) Foster increased commitment to organization values - Our new world requires us to wrestle with the "discipline versus freedom" model of supervision.  Successful leaders spend more time securing commitment to core organizational values that are at the heart of the work we do in our communities and with our clients.


What are you doing to keep yourself sane?  Let me know at dcrocker@supportcenteronline.org 



Don Crocker

Don Crocker,
Executive Director/CEO


Hooray for General Operating Grants!  

We are especially grateful to Doug Bauer and the Clark Foundation for their renewed 2011 general operating grant to the Support Center. The generous grant helps to keep all of our programs affordable.


General operating grants are highly treasured by all nonprofits and allow us to be flexible, nimble and sustainable.


Doug Bauer

Interim Leader Guides Bergen County YWCA Through Transition

   Bergen County YWCA 

Rosalba M. Messina was named Interim Chief  

Executive Officer of the YWCA Bergen County  

effective February 8, 2011.


As an interim executive with the YWCA, Rosalba--

who is a graduate of the Support Center's Interim  

Executive Leadership training series--has chief responsibility for offering strong and effective leadership during a crucial transition period. "While the YWCA Bergen County conducts the executive search process, Ms. Messina provides considerable experience that will undoubtedly facilitate a smooth transition," said YWCA Board President Nisha Cordero. "We welcome her guidance and insight during this exciting period of change."  


"The hiring of an Interim CEO provides continuity in the amazing programs and services offered by the YWCA Bergen County to the community," Ms. Messina said. "I am thrilled to have been chosen and to be working with the board and staff of the YWCA during this time of transition."


The YWCA Bergen County is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.  It is Bergen County's largest provider of child care services, a recognized leader in health and fitness programs, and operator of the county's only Rape Crisis Center.


>>> Interim Executive Leadership 


Support Center Assists Newark Emergency Services for Families with Action Plan

In March 2010, the Support Center began working with Newark Emergency Services for Families (NESF), an agency which provides quality services to individuals and families who need assistance with emergency food, clothing, shelter, utilities, rent, and other basic necessities during times of crisis.


Newark Emergency Services for Families

At that time the Board was in the final selection process in its search for a new Executive Director. They were committed to ensuring that a landscape of success was in place for the new ED as well as ongoing support for the staff.


Marge Wood, Board Chair of NESF and CEO of Independence: A Family of Services, stated, "I was very pleased with how quickly the Support Center consultant was able to grasp the agency culture and nuances of the challenges we faced and come up with practical recommendations for solutions."


After providing an initial organizational assessment, the Support Center worked with the Board, Executive Director and senior staff to develop a customized plan of action to address a range of challenges facing the organization, including a development plan, a board development plan and management tools that ensure the continued progress and success of the agency in its critical work.


According to Damyn Kelly, J.D. NESF's new Executive Director, "The Support Center's reports allowed me to immediately address the challenges that the organization faced as opposed to conducting my own assessment... The work of the Support Center has been immensely helpful to me in getting the organization back on track and allowing us to meet the needs of our constituents."


Gilles Mesrobian

Support Center Senior Associate   


>>> Executive Search & Transition Management 


Board/Leadership Council Provide Great Conversations

Our Board and Leadership Council members provide support in a wide variety of ways, not the least of which is moderating the New Strategies in Grantmaking: Meet the Grantmakers panel discussions. 


Carol Kurzig, President of the Avon Foundation and Leadership Council member, moderated the Philanthropy for Women and Girls event aboard the Intrepid Museum on March 30.


On April 15, Leadership Council member Helene Blieberg will be moderating the Arts panel, featuring representatives from Con Edison, Nathan Cummings Foundation, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, New York Community Trust and The Rockefeller Foundation.


And, on May 20, Board Secretary Grace Angela Henry will be moderating the Youth & Education panel featuring representatives from ESA Foundation, HSBC, Patrina Foundation and The Pinkerton Foundation.


Carol, Helene and Angela have been moderating our panel discussions for many years and we are very grateful to them for volunteering their time and considerable talents again this year.

Staff Update 
Julia Lu

We are pleased to welcome Julia Lu to the Support Center as the new Director of Consulting. 


Julia brings an in depth knowledge of nonprofit management, which has been acquired over two decades through her professional experience in grantmaking, arts administration and professional development. She previously served as the Director of the Cultural Industry Investment Fund for the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone (UMEZ). This $25 million fund was designated as investment capital for the nonprofit arts and cultural sector as a means of building institutional capacity and advancing organizational development.


Prior to joining UMEZ, Julia was the Director of Programs for the American Academy in Rome-one of the leading independent centers for advanced study in the arts and humanities. From 1996 to 2001, she held dual positions as Program Director and National Conference Director for Chamber Music America.


Julia holds a Master of Public Administration in advanced management and finance from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and is a certified mediator.

>>> Consulting