The Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber's August 2021 Nonprofit Newsletter
The Nonprofit Committee brings you a newsletter once a month that focuses specifically on the issues confronting nonprofit organizations including an educational article and an article highlighting a Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber member nonprofit.
Are You Gearing Up for Your Fall Fundraiser?

by Chereese Jervis-Hill

Yes, it’s August, and you know what that means… Labor Day will be here before you know it, so use this time wisely.

I’m sure your fall fundraising plans are underway, and I wanted to share a few tips to consider, so you will shine like the Rockstar you are!
  1. I hate to say that word that we are all so sick of, but it must be said COVID-19… plan for Covid-19 precautions like masks, social distancing, and a virtual component with online fundraising; and if you don’t have to use these precautions, that’s great, but you are ready.
  2. Start and end with your goals; this will keep you grounded and keep you on task.
  3. Take some time to come up with a plan to set your event apart from other organizations, and be ready to tell the world about your event via event promotion and social media to create that FOMO (fear of missing out) effect.
  4. Tell your story… You have a room full of people or a screen full of people that took the time to celebrate with you, show them all of the good your organization is doing in the community. Every person should leave your event empowered by the work you’re doing.
  5. Last but not least, remember that time is your friend; make sure you’re giving yourself enough planning time. Events are very time-consuming, give yourself as much time as possible and delegate where you can and most importantly, have fun in the process, and shine bright like the Rockstar you are!

I wish you the best of luck!
Chereese Jervis-Hill is President & Founder of Events To Remember and PR To Remember. ETR specializes in conceptualizing, organizing, managing, marketing, and publicizing for entrepreneurs, not-for-profit organizations, municipalities, and small to mid-size corporations, helping them manage their events and tell their stories with our PR campaigns. ETR focuses on corporate, community, fundraising galas and benefits, trade shows, and social events. In short, we create lifetime memories and experiences that allow our clients to thrive.
For these upcoming events:

October 7, 2021 (Evening)
Speed NP-BIZ Dating: Nonprofits meet local businesses to identify volunteer and sponsorship opportunities.

October 26, 2021 (Breakfast)
Make the Most of Your Membership: Discover all the ways the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber can help your organization! Deb Milone will present your options with an emphasis on the marketing and social media benefits.

November 23, 2021 (Virtual Lunch)
Featured Speaker: Cynthia Knox of CHOPP
Topic to be announced.

Holiday Mixer
Date and time to be announced.
To request an article about a
specific topic, please contact
Lucille Geraci-Miranda at
To request that your nonprofit be featured in this newsletter, please contact Lynn Amos at
Featured Organization: New Era Creative Space (NECS)

by Mary F. Foster
Ridvan Foxhall, founder of NECS, has been inspiring our youth through the Children’s Theater program for more than 15 years and created the nonprofit organization known as New Era Creative Space in 2013. The mission of New Erainspire stronger communities through creative programsis itself inspiring and impactful. Youth between the ages 7 to 18 have the opportunity to learn and grow through multicultural programs in the arts, sciences, nature, technology and media.

Programs vary each year but are developed around the core values of building character, learning life skills and bridging academic abilities with intellectual knowledge and moral capacity. Whether creating their own music, poems and plays or exploring the natural world or visiting farms and forests, the activities are designed to teach participants how to give voice to injustice, to be more empathetic, to be service oriented, to be impactful in their words and work, and to value the art of collaboration.

Programs are open to all on a sliding scale fee, based on the ability to pay. Fundraising and grant revenue is critical for New Era’s success.
Pivoting during the pandemic presented a host of challenges but also allowed participants to learn new media technology skills. The difficult choice was made to work only with middle school and high school students from October 2020 through June 2021. The teens wrote, directed and performed in a show, called Melanin Magic, learning about and sharing the history of the African Diaspora. They worked virtually, recorded their individual music and spoken word pieces, and assembled the performances into one seamless show performed virtually in the winter and in-person on Juneteenth. By openly discussing the challenges of operating in a different mode and sharing anxiety about the pandemic, teens were able to give voice to hope, build confidence and develop resiliency.

A critical outcome of the pandemic experience was sharpening the mission to focus on having an impact in the lives of the youth and the youth, in turn, having an impact in their community. Hence, New Era is partnering with schools and children’s organizations to bring character building, leadership, mentorship, and empowerment programs to their locations. Bringing more programs to the community and spending less on rent.
This summer New Era provided programs at Peekskill schools offering a Nature Connection and Drama camp for K-2nd graders, a Multicultural Dance, Drama and Drumming camp for 3rd - 5th graders, a Nature Connection camp for middle schoolers and a Documentary Filmmaking camp for High Schoolers.

Throughout the year New Era hires 10- 15 teaching artists to supplement their core staff of 5. The Board is currently 5 members with a goal of adding 4 more. New Era’s values are embedded in what they do through Board and staff training and professional development.

What will the future bring? More programs at various locations throughout Peekskill --Be First Boxing, Assumption Guardian Building, school buildings, Chamber conference room-- both after school and on weekends. There are also plans to develop a daytime preschool program, so stay tuned.

Here’s advice from New Era to other nonprofits. Be really clear on your mission and rethink how to most effectively provide your services. Seek out partners and collaborators to create operating flexibility. Keep your Board close and involved. Pay attention to the fundamentals of strong staff relationships. Promote your organization consistently and authentically through social media. Most importantly, really listen to and learn from the community of people you serve.

Mary F. Foster is a member of the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce Nonprofit Committee; Vice President of the Peekskill Rotary Foundations Board; Treasurer of The Field Library Board; a founding member of HVH2O; and a retired partner from Deloitte, an accounting and consulting firm. 
Follow the Chamber's Nonprofit Committee on Facebook:
The Chamber’s Nonprofit Committee provides meaningful opportunities for nonprofit staff, managers and board members to come together to collaborate, and embrace the importance of growth and sustainability. The Committee serves as a resource for ongoing professional development and as a forum for sharing best practices.

Committee Chairperson
Lucille Geraci-Miranda
Geranda Projects

Committee Members
Lynn Amos, Fyne Lyne Ventures
Ivy Fairchild, Landmark Consultants
Mary F. Foster, HVH2O and The Field Library
Chereese Jervis-Hill, Events To Remember
Tim Warn, Civic Member
Justin Wingenroth, The Dance Conservatory