The Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber's February 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 considering
the Attendee Value when planning your Virtual Event?

by Chereese Jervis-Hill

Providing attendee value is critical when pulling all the pieces together for your upcoming virtual event. Whether it’s a Virtual Fundraising Gala, a Virtual Business Conference, or a fun Virtual Networking or Happy Hour event, always consider the attendee value at the beginning of your planning strategy session.
It’s hard to believe that we all have been in this virtual event space for the past ten months and have participated in some way, shape, or form in quite a few virtual events. Think about it for a minute, the ones that made us feel like we were all together again are the ones that gave us the most enjoyment, I’m sure, and those are the events that made attendee value a priority when the planning for those events began. 
Here are a few things to consider when planning your next virtual event that I hope will help you keep the attendee value top of mind:
Screen Time: Consider how much time we spend on the computer these days; please don’t subject anyone to 2, 3, or 4 hours of content and expect them to stay tuned in; it’s just not going to happen.

Togetherness: The best virtual events are where we are watching alone, but we don’t feel alone. Build-in pieces of your virtual event that will allow your guests to feel like they are directly interacting with other guests; this builds a great deal of attendee value and fun. 
Examples of ways to build in Attendee Value: 
  • Emcee: have an emcee welcome your guests as soon as they log on, and to encourage your guests to use the chat features, and be sure your emcee references the chats, so your guests know they are heard; 
  • Break-out Rooms: have a moderator manage the break-out rooms, so they can make sure everyone feels apart of the program and facilitate the conversations to keep them flowing; 
  • Fun: build in some fun trivia or have a dance or exercise break to get everyone moving together; your attendees will love this! 
The overall goal is to think about the attendee value from the very beginning when mapping out your event and make sure you are tying in engagement opportunities between all of your guests for a memorable experience.
Happy planning, and let us know what you think about this article; please share your thoughts with us on our social media pages: or 
and be sure to sign up for our newsletter for additional resources
Chereese Jervis-Hill
Chereese Jervis-Hill is a member of the Chamber’s Nonprofit Committee and is President & Founder of Events To Remember. Read more about her services at:
To request an article about a
specific topic, please contact
Lucille Geraci-Miranda at
Upcoming Events
Featured Organization:
The Salvation Army

by Tim Warn and Justin Wingenroth

The Salvation Army on Nelson Avenue has a long history of serving the people of Peekskill. In 1889, The Salvation Army ‘opened fire’ (commenced the work) in Peekskill, NY — 132 years serving the community of Peekskill! The organization has provided outreach to the community-at-large with services such as a Soup Kitchen, a Food Pantry, programs for children, and more. Now under the direction of the husband-and-wife team of Captain Moises Muniz and Captain Raquel Muniz, with the help of a small staff and two small advisory boards, the Salvation Army in Peekskill seeks to fulfill its mission to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
The Peekskill Salvation Army provides the following services:
  • A Soup Kitchen provides lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30 to 12:30, serving approximately 200 meals per week.
  • A weekly Food Pantry opens on Wednesdays for food distribution to include fresh produce every third Wednesday of the month.
  • We distribute approximately over 100 bags of produce once a month.
  • We distribute approximately 150 pantry bags per month.
  • A Troops program for elementary school girls and opportunities for a summer camp for children in the community.
  • School supply give-away.
  • The Angel Tree program provides gifts to children at Christmas.
  • We served 160 families which was over 311 children. We distributed over 30 bikes and scooters. Each child got at least 5 gifts though in most cases it was more than that. This brings total gifts including clothes to at least 1,555 as a minimum. And we distributed 160 Christmas food bags to these families. We had a variety of organizations and individuals from the community help us with toys this year.
  • League of Mercy gift distribution during nursing home visits.
  • We distributed a total of 420 gifts to 4 nursing homes during Christmas.
  • Opportunities for volunteer community service hours and temporary employment opportunities during Kettle Season.
  • Referral to other social service agencies as needed.

The Christmas season’s traditional Kettle Drive, the Salvation Army’s main source of income, was greatly impacted this year by the COVID-19 pandemic due to social distancing guidelines and the safety concerns of some businesses to host the bell-ringers this year. The organization is grateful to the Rotary and Lions Clubs who each took turns ringing the bells and providing much Christmas cheer. If any group would like to help during the 2021 Christmas season, please contact Captain Moises Muniz at

Other challenges due to the pandemic besides the increased demand for services has been how the Soup Kitchen now functions as a “to-go” model vs the traditional sit-down meal. There were efficiencies realized using this model but at the same time “social distancing” decreased person-to-person interaction that is vital for the ministry of the Salvation Army as well as the clientele.

Staff shortages have also impacted the mission during the past year. Currently, they are looking to hire a part-time Janitor/Maintenance worker and a full-time Social Services Coordinator/Office Administrator. Both postings can be found on the Hudson Valley Chamber’s job board.

The Peekskill Salvation Army truly adheres to its mission and is “Doing the Most Good” for the community during this unprecedented time. The Salvation Army accepts donations to accomplish their mission of helping those in need.
Tim Warn is a retired U.S. Army Major and serves on the HVGCC Board of Directors, the Salvation Army in Peekskill Advisory Board, and is a member of the Nonprofit Committee.
Justin Wingenroth is a member of the Chamber's Nonprofit Committee and is Owner/Director of The Dance Conservatory. Read more about his services at:
To request that your nonprofit be featured in this newsletter, please contact Lynn Amos at
USCJ Seeks Senior Director of Development

USCJ (United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism) seeks a highly motivated, relationship driven Senior Director of Development at this pivotal time of growth. The professional will work with the CEO, Board Chair and other senior leadership to increase funding and stakeholder engagement that will enable USCJ to move its core priorities forward. This opportunity will require a professional with strategic acumen, creative spark, strong execution skill and attention to detail, and the interpersonal grace to work effectively with a range of external and internal audiences and partners.

The full job description and instructions for how to apply for the position are located on our website at
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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
Chereese Jervis-Hill, Events To Remember
Tim Warn, Civic Member
Justin Wingenroth, The Dance Conservatory