The Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber's April 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.
For the Love of Giving: Building a Culture of Philanthropy

by Ivy Fairchild

I grew up in a culture where asking things for yourself was one of the most selfish things an individual could do. Ask for others however, and you were paving the road of humility. While I have always had difficulty asking for things for myself, I thrive on giving others the opportunity to create impact in their communities by supporting the many nonprofits who are leveling the playing field for individuals who are in need. But loving to ask for others is not always easy.
Many nonprofits perceive fundraising as a means to an end. Little or no resources are devoted to raising funds and often the work of fundraising falls solely on the executive director, with no support from board or staff. In many organizations, fundraising is the big “F” word. Something we must do, but that we don’t have to like.

How much easier it would be if organizations took it upon themselves to build a culture of philanthropy. In an organization where this culture exists, everyone — board, staff, volunteers — everyone understands that philanthropy and fund development are critical to the health of the organization. They, from the janitor to the board, know that each person has a role to play in the process. Everyone is an ambassador for fund development, understanding the role they play in the process. If the board is not talking about your organization and creating visibility, you can’t fundraise; if the receptionist is not participant-centered, it doesn’t matter how good your outreach materials are. In an organization with a culture of philanthropy, everyone plays a role, and everyone respects those who support the work.

So how do you build a culture of philanthropy?

  1.  Cultivate the understanding that fundraising is core to the organization’s ability to fulfill its mission.
  2. Be clear about the fact that fundraising is EVERYONE’s responsibility, regardless of their role. A clean site says a lot about how we feel about our clients; the way a receptionist treats a participant says a lot about our programs.
  3. Ensure that organizational leaders are encouraging and supporting philanthropy throughout the organization.
  4. Make certain that everyone understands development’s impact. What is made possible through philanthropy? What would happen if the funds were not available?
  5. Make sure that everyone embraces donors as part of your organizational mission. Donors have choices. They do not have to give to your organization. Your staff’s job is to help donors find the joy of giving. It is through your organization that they will achieve the greatest impact.
  6. Be proud that you are facilitating others’ ability to effect change. We should not see fund development as a necessary evil, but as an opportunity for those with means to help meet a need or change an ill.
  7.  Make a shift from transactional fundraising to relational fundraising. Philanthropy, the love of mankind, benevolence comes from the Greek terms “philos”—loving in the sense of benefitting, caring, and nourishing and “anthropos”—meaning human. Philanthropy defines a state of giving that drives nonprofit sustainability; it is about love.
  8. Create opportunities for staff to engage in development activities. It is good for staff to understand how their roles make fundraising possible. Make it clear that fundraising is possible because of the role each individual plays in the organization.
  9. Don’t apologize for fundraising. It is your responsibility to meet your organization’s needs to ensure that it can fulfill its mission. You are creating opportunities for donors to change the world.
  10. Make sure 100% of your board contributes financially. Incorporate a “giving” and “asking” role into your board members’ job descriptions.

Building a culture of philanthropy can be a massive undertaking but it is vital to your organization’s growth. Let us know how you are building a culture of philanthropy at your organization!
Ivy Fairchild is the President of Landmark Consultants, a management consulting firm that helps nonprofits build and sustain their infrastructure, raise funds, develop the leaders of tomorrow, and affect change.
To request an article about a
specific topic, please contact
Lucille Geraci-Miranda at
Featured Organization:
NAACP, Peekskill Branch

by Justin Wingenroth and Tim Warn

“Together We Can Make Effective Change” 

This is the credo of Peekskill’s branch of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). Under the leadership of President, Valerie Eaton, the Peekskill NAACP dedicates their work to ensure a society in which all individuals have equal rights without discrimination based on race.
The NAACP mission is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons. 

Here are a few “Game Changers” currently on the Peekskill NAACP agenda:

Civic Engagement - Working to protect and enhance voting rights and fair representation in our democracy

Criminal Justice - Fighting for equitable dispensation of justice and fighting against disproportionate incarceration

Economic Empowerment - Empowering the economy through financial literacy, employment, entrepreneurship (see how you can support local Black Businesses here:, home ownership, and legacy

Education - Supporting education partnering with the Peekskill City School District by participating in Saturday Academy, advocating for equity in educational funding and curricula and providing support for the new virtual learning needs

Environmental Justice - Fostering sustainable, cooperative, regenerative communities that uphold all rights for all people in harmony with the earth

Health - Providing education and awareness on Diabetes Prevention Awareness, Sickle Cell, CoVid 10 and other healthcare related programs

Over the past year, with CoVid hindering everyone’s activities, the NAACP has continued to use technology to ensure all events and standing monthly meetings are visible through their website, Additionally, they have a steady stream of information that gets sent to their membership through willing and able Executive Committee leaders. Eaton, not only branch President, but also Chair of Public Relations/Communications, has continued to use all technical resources available while looking for new ways to reach community members who may not have access to technology as she continues to uphold their mission.

One of the biggest challenges they have faced is ensuring their members continue to be engaged in the important work through their renewed memberships. These members, the main benefactors of the organization, help support the varied and important provided services (see Game Changers above). Often the benefit of these services are not fully realized until the services are critically needed, as we’ve seen this past year. Many community members benefit from and love the programming provided by Peekskill NAACP but are unaware that their staff is made up of volunteers. This programming is dependent on their ongoing memberships and help to keep services visiblevaluable, and viable!

Eaton’s advice for her fellow nonprofit colleagues? Never Give Up!

In (former) President Barak Obama's 2008 speech on race, he states, "...I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together - unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction - towards a better future for our children and our grandchildren.”
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:
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.
To request that your nonprofit be featured in this newsletter, please contact Lynn Amos 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